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9/11 Ballot * Parliament * Griffin & Moyers

18 February 2008
In a time of universal deceit,
telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

- George Orwell

1) NYC Ballot & More for an Independent 9/11 Investigation
- - 9/11 Truth Debate at European Parliament, February 26
- - Principal Electrical Engineer for WTC Calls for Investigation
- - Newly Released FBI Timeline Reveals New Information about 9/11
- - Lifting the veil to understand the 9/11 Commission
- - British Judges Slam Prosecutors for Framing Algerian on 9/11
- - The Shell Game -- Expose Another 9/11 before it happens
- - The Reflecting Pool - Reviews
- - Bill Moyers Debunnking 9/11 Debunking Comment
2) Bush Fascist – Iran Forum – Obama’s White Mom
- - Mr. Bush You Are A Fascist - Keith Olbermann MSNBC
- - Western Massachusetts Town Meeting on Iran
- - Obama Drive Gets Inspiration From His White Mom Born in Kansas

Editor’s Notes:

Top on this issue again is more from the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative. This is our Country’s best chance for an independent investigation, empowered by the citizens of NYC that have suffered long enough in the lies, distortion, treachery, and inhumane treatment of the survivors. Also note the film and debate at European Parliament later this month, and the new information coming out all over the place regarding the Bush administrations cover-up in one of the greatest crimes in US history. Note too my comments to Bill Moyers program where he mentioned not allowing David Ray Griffin’s book, Debunking 9/11 Debunking, to be considered to be recommended to the next US President.

Item 2 has another powerful Keith Olbermann video commentary: “Mr. Bush You Are A Fascist.” I could not have said it plainer myself. Also in this item is a press release on a Western Massachusetts forum on preventing US war on Iran. Note the connection on this issue with The Shell Game novel campaign. We need all of us to work together on this, which is also why I included a background article on Barack Obama, about his receiving inspiration from his non-conventional White Mom Born in Kansas. Obama has the best chance in defeating war hawk John McCain and the uncertain treachery of another Clinton administration. Obama is just less messed up than the other major candidates, though far from perfect, but has a better chance of redirecting the total collapse of what is left in the democratic republic of the United States. This way, maybe, we will have a chance for a Candidate like Cynthia McKinney in the future, rather than being absorbed in a complete meltdown-loss of freedom and going deeper into fascism.

"Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving
the Constitution of the United States as our
Fathers made it inviolate. The people of the
United States are the rightful masters of
both Congress and the Courts, not to
overthrow the Constitution, but to
overthrow the men who pervert
the Constitution."

-- Abraham Lincoln

1) NYC Ballot & More for an Independent 9/11 Investigation

- - 9/11 Truth Debate at European Parliament, February 26
- - Principal Electrical Engineer for WTC Calls for Investigation
- - Newly Released FBI Timeline Reveals New Information about 9/11
- - Lifting the veil to understand the 9/11 Commission
- - British Judges Slam Prosecutors for Framing Algerian on 9/11
- - The Shell Game -- Expose Another 9/11 before it happens
- - The Reflecting Pool - Reviews
- - Bill Moyers Debunnking 9/11 Debunking Comment

- - NYC Ballot Initiative for an Independent 9/11 Investigation

There is widespread awareness that the events of 9/11 were never adequately investigated, and that our government has sidestepped accountability on all fronts. As a result, there is growing public desire for a more thorough re-examination of what occurred.

Now there is a grassroots action which is designed to obtain an honest, independent investigation of 9/11 by placing an initiative on the ballot of the Nov. 6th, 2008 general election allowing registered New York City voters to create a new Commission.

YOU can help achieve the goal of passing this important referendum by becoming a part of a historic campaign called the NYC 911 Ballot Initiative.

We must get 30,000 valid petition signatures of registered New York City voters as quickly as possible. To ensure we reach this goal, we are aiming for 100,000 signatures. Our target date is May 1st. At that time our petition will be reviewed by New York City Council. They will either approve it, or reject it. If they do reject it, we go back to the people for another 15,000 signatures, which will then override City Council's decision.

To download a petition, to sign up for updates, see:
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This is going to happen!

Listen to this Air America Radio program of Les Jamieson and Christine Ebersole talking about the New York City 9/11 Investigation Ballot Initiative
Recorded November 20, 2007 - Click for MP3 Audio Clip Interview

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- - 9/11 Truth Debate at European Parliament, February 26
Posted on February 15 2008

Film & debate in the European Parliament about 9/11.

Brussels 26 February 2008 7pm, PHS 3C50 (this is where the debate will be held) – this event is NOT open to the public, only to journalists and the politicians. (Nevertheless, Belgian & French Truthers have their contacts and will make sure this debate is videotaped and put online afterwards).

Organised by the Italian Europarlementarian Giulietto Chiesa.


The documentary will be followed by a debate
lead by Andreas von Bulow, Giulietto Chiesa,
David Ray Griffin, Yukihisa Fujita, et al.

Read more:

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- - Principal Electrical Engineer for WTC Calls for Investigation

Principal Electrical Engineer for WTC:
"Fuel and Planes Alone Did NOT Bring the Towers Down"
Richard Humenn

Richard F. Humenn, PE was the Senior Project Design Engineer for electrical systems for the entire World Trade Center, and he had 60 people working under him. In other words, he was the guy in charge of all electrical at the WTC. A retired licensed professional engineer, he was certified by the States of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

Humenn stated to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth:

“On September 11, I watched the live TV broadcast of the progressive collapse of the World Trade Towers with disbelief, as the mass and strength of the structure should have survived the localized damage caused by the planes and burning jet fuel.

I viewed the presentation of Richard Gage and other related material, which compels me to believe that the fuel and planes alone did not bring the Towers down. I, therefore, support the proposal to form an international group of professionals to investigate all plausible causes for the virtual freefall and the almost total destruction of the WTC structures.

Humenn also recently gave a two-hour recorded interview to an attorney and former law school professor (a transcript of the interview will soon be posted to In that interview, Humenn expressed his opinion that the Twin Towers were intentionally demolished. (He stated that he could not believe the U.S. government could have done such a thing; however, he was not asked about rogue elements within the government).

Few engineers have as much first-hand knowledge of the Twin Towers as Humenn, so his opinion carries some weight. As he explains, "Though an electrical engineer by trade, I was also very familiar with the structures and their conceptual design parameters.”

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For additional authoritative voices calling for 9/11 investigation &

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- - Newly Released FBI Timeline Reveals New Information about 9/11

Hijackers that Was Ignored by 9/11 Commission
From, posted February 16, 2008 has posted new information from the "Hijackers Timeline," recently released by the FBI. Links to the full FBI documents are at the end of the article, (which also contains many links to other Timeline entries in the original announcement, at the source).

In addition, the 90-page "Charge Sheet" (see also press release 2/11/08, "Sept. 11 Co-Conspirators Charged") conveys an enormous amount of information relating to the hijackers for a significant period of time before, and on, September 11th.

For an event this government has said "no one could have imagined," they sure do seem to have a lot of detail about guys they weren't even worried about...

For articles, links, etc., see:

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- - Lifting the veil to understand the 9/11 Commission
By Colette Bancroft, Times Book Editor Published by ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
February 17, 2008 - Perspective

It's no wonder the 9/11 attacks have spawned a vigorous community of conspiracy theorists. As Philip Shenon's new book makes clear, the reaction to the attacks in just about every branch of the federal government was a gigantic round of "cover your butt," a massive scurry to hide information, avert responsibility and guard turf that was guaranteed to feed every paranoid nightmare imaginable.

The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation is a clearly written, meticulously detailed, exhaustively reported account of the work of the unhandily named National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Better known as the 9/11 Commission, it was created by Congress in 2002 as an independent, bipartisan investigative body headed by former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, a Republican, and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana.

The commission's final report, issued in 2004, became a bestseller and was nominated for a National Book Award. It laid little blame on anyone in the government and, despite fears it would become a political football in an election year, had no discernible effect on George W. Bush's re-election.

Shenon, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, was its lead reporter on the 9/11 Commission. This book includes some of the material that got in the paper and a lot that didn't; most valuably, it compiles several years of reporting on the commission's work into a single complex but coherent narrative.

Written in brief, tightly focused chapters, the book spotlights the territorial imperatives and personal animosities that made the commission's task - to record the history of the attacks and determine whether the government had done all it could have to prevent them - enormously difficult.

Much of what Shenon writes about has been covered before, but the cumulative effect of reading all of it in one book is stunning. For example, the fact that in 2001 the FBI made almost no use of the Internet - agents didn't even have e-mail - is astounding, but Shenon adds the telling details: "In the hours after the 9/11 attacks, FBI agents sent around copies of photographs of the suspected hijackers by Express Mail ... because they did not have computer scanners in the bureau's field offices."

The commission's investigation led it to many government agencies: the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the White House. It met resistance, secrecy and downright hostility at almost every turn.

Given the level of bungling, incompetence and cluelessness the commission managed to discover anyway, it's no wonder these people covered their tracks - though no less appalling.

Shenon focuses much of the book on the commission's executive director, Philip Zelikow. A historian at the University of Virginia, Zelikow had a reputation for brilliance. He is also notoriously abrasive: Shenon recounts his shouting matches with everyone from commission staffers to families of 9/11 victims.

But questions about whether he was the man to lead the investigation - and, ultimately, exert the most control over what appeared in the final report -run far deeper than his disposition.

Zelikow was a longtime friend and associate of Condoleezza Rice, with whom he had written a book, and other Bush administration officials. He had served on Bush's 2000 transition team and written a policy paper that would be used to justify the invasion of Iraq. During his tenure on the commission he not only had frequent phone conversations with Karl Rove, he instructed his secretary to stop keeping a log of them.

Released in July 2004, the commission's report was widely praised by everyone from the Saudi ambassador to John Updike. It led to some changes in the top levels of agencies such as the CIA and FBI. But it assigned virtually no specific blame for failure to anticipate and prevent the attacks, despite mountains of evidence that warnings of al-Qaida's activities had been at fever pitch. That infamous president's daily brief on Aug. 6, 2001, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," was the tip of a very large iceberg.

Bush was re-elected in November 2004 and named Rice as secretary of state in January 2005.

A month later, she "announced that she had decided to re-establish the job of State Department counselor, a sort of all-purpose adviser who would have her ear at all times."

The man for the job? Philip Zelikow.

Colette Bancroft can be reached at or (727) 893-8435.

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Excerpts from The Commission The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation

Many commission members and staff came to believe that Condoleezza Rice, then President Bush's national security adviser, had ignored many warnings about a terrorist attack before 9/11 and done little to bring them to the president's attention. Former Sen. Bob Kerrey was one of the commission members who questioned Rice in February 20004.

Kerrey recalled a comment that Rice made about her responsibilities as national security adviser - and how troubling her description was. She said something like "I took the president's thoughts, and I helped the president describe what he was thinking," Kerrey remembered.

Kerrey thought that was a rare, unguarded acknowledgement from Rice, and it captured what she had done wrong as national security adviser. ... Rice's job was not simply to repackage and prettify the thoughts of a president whose understanding of national security issues was limited enough in 2001. Her job was to wake up in the morning, review the raw intelligence presented to the White House by the government's spy agencies and the Pentagon, and then advise the president what to do. Condi Rice had turned the definition of her job on its head.

Thomas Pickard, a longtime FBI agent, served as the acting director of the FBI in the summer of 2001. He testified before the commission about his first briefings of Attorney General John Ashcroft, who had jurisdiction over the FBI, in the months before the attacks.

During the briefing, Ashcroft suggested he knew little about al-Qaida, so Pickard offered a primer on the terrorist network and its murderous history. "I told him about al-Qaida and bin Laden, a little history about the World Trade Center bombing (in 1993) and East Africa." Ashcroft listened, but he seemed far more intrigued by other items on the agenda, especially the latest on the FBI's efforts to end delays on background checks for gun buyers. ...

Pickard opened the next briefing, on July 12, 2001, with the latest on the CIA warnings about an al-Qaida attack.

"We're at a very high level of chatter that something big is about to happen," Pickard began. "The CIA is very alarmed -"

He had barely begun the presentation when Ashcroft jumped in angrily. "I don't want to hear about that anymore," he said. "There's nothing I can do about that. ...

"I don't want you to ever talk to me about al-Qaida, about these threats," Ashcroft said. "I don't want to hear about al-Qaida anymore."

Truncated, for the complete article, see:

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- - British Judges Slam Prosecutors for Framing Algerian for 9/11

British Judges Slam Police & Prosecutors for Lying
& Framing Algerian as “Lead Instructor” for 9/11 Hijackers

Six years of fighting for justice left Lotfi Raissi an emotional and physical wreck and his marriage close to ruin. But yesterday, the Algerian pilot falsely accused of training the September 11 terrorists heard, finally, that he was “completely exonerated” of any part in the attacks on the twin towers... Three of Britain’s most senior judges condemned the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for abusing the court process, presenting false allegations and not disclosing evidence.

For this article, see:
also posted at

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- - The Shell Game -- Expose Another 9/11 before it happens
A VITAL PLEA from Steve Alten, author of The SHELL GAME –
Published by February 15, 2008


A few days ago, Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security, essentially told reporters that he fears the next 9/11, which could be a suitcase nuke. Yesterday, in threatening to veto a waterboarding ban, Bush said, and I quote, "terrorists are planning new attacks on our country... that will make Sept. 11 pale by comparison."

If this plot isn't straight out of The SHELL GAME then you haven't read the book. Now add this little tidbit: Presidential Directives NSPD51 & HSPD20 ... essentially new Homeland security directives.

Click here: YouTube - Bush/Cheney to Attempt Possible Coup

These orders would place the United States under total Martial Law and Military Dictatorship in the event of another attack. This Executive Order allows the President to declare a National Emergency at any time, and freeze everything...including a national election. Congress is powerless to prevent such an Executive Dictatorship, as long as the President advises Congress in a timely matter.

THE SHELL GAME could actually EXPOSE ANOTHER 9/11 before it happens.

For the complete article to learn more and on how you can help, see:

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- - The Reflecting Pool - Reviews
by Carol Brouillet
Published by 911Blogger - February 17, 2008


The most moving part of the film, for me, was when Cooper, the bereaved father, says to Alex Prokop “I can’t do this alone.” I think that statement sums up what the film is about. The truth is much too big and heavy for one person to bear. Our only hope to face the reality of the current situation, and change it is by sharing the truth, the burden, the responsibility, and the challenge ahead, as widely as possible. Just as the filmmakers have drawn their strength and courage from others, their work will serve to illuminate, encourage and expand the search for truth, for a real investigation, for an end to false flag operations designed to terrorize the population and silence us into submission and support of endless wars against fabricated enemies.

The filmmakers are valiantly attending each theatrical screening in Los Angeles, answering questions, making the DVD available, hoping the growing truth movement will support their work, and use the tool they have created to reach audiences who would not watch a documentary.

In the bonus material on the DVD, Joseph Culp offers a running commentary, sourcing the information covered in the film. There is also a recent book by best-selling author Steve Alten called The Shell Game which uses the power of story to point people to source material relevant to 9/11--to get them thinking, questioning, and ultimately participating in an effort that requires the courage of many.

The Reflecting Pool and The Shell Game do not fall neatly into the categories of either propaganda or truthful journalism; they engage us in the drama of large events, the immense personal struggles people go through when they stick their necks out for truth and justice, to prevent major acts of violence against innocent people. They call on our spirit, demand that we pay attention, think for ourselves, not succumb to the mind-numbing lies propagated by an Orwellian press. They help us to see that there is something deeply amiss with the media in this country and encourage us to help change that.

Films like The Reflecting Pool can have a profound effect on society. My own life was changed by Oliver Stone’s film JFK, which I saw in 1992. It disturbed me and sent me to the library to find out for myself what happened and prompted me to become a media activist. The Reflecting Pool has the potential to stir a person’s curiosity in the same way to question the official story about 9/11. The government spends hundreds of millions of dollars to sell “the war on terrorism,” which is entirely based on the official lies about 9/11. The Reflecting Pool, which was produced on a shoestring budget like most of the 9/11 truth movement, can be a stone from David’s sling that helps to bring Goliath down.

For the complete article, see:

Trailer at

Film Website:

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- - Bill Moyers Debunnking 9/11 Debunking Comment
Power Reading: A Final Note
Posted by Bill Moyers Journal on February 15, 2008 01:24 PM

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The following comment posted by: jonathan mark - February 16, 2008 12:13 PM

I am very thankful that Bill Moyers announced the name of the book that was removed due to a claim that an "organized effort" was made to recommend it to the next US President, DEBUNKING 9/11 DEBUNKING As a founder of an organized 9/11 group, hValley 9/11 Truth and working with the grassroots national organization, I was not aware of any 'organized effort' in this regard. Actually I recommended a novel, which was based on the events of September 11 and a cautionary tale of what may happen if a thorough investigation of 9/11 continues to be neglected. This book, THE SHELL GAME by Steve Alten is about another 'false flag' or deceptive action, like the incident at the Gulf of Tonkin, which could lead the US into invading Iran. I actually did cheat on my recommending a book, since I added a second recommendation that I believe would be worthwhile for peace and justice, PRISON WRITINGS: MY LIFE IS MY SUN DANCE by Leonard Peltier.

However, I am thankful of everyone who recommended Debunking 9/11 Debunking, and hopeful that Bill Moyers may follow up on this by interviewing David Ray Griffin; and/or announcing a special campaign by we, the people, a NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative for this coming November election. It is critical that we all deal with the unanswered questions regarding the events around 9/11, including the omission in the 9/11 Commission report of the collapse of World Trade Center number 7. This was a 47-story steel-framed skyscraper that imploded in the exact manner of a professionally engineered demolition. The official investigation and mainstream media have not thoroughly reported on this unprecedented event. Fire has never before caused a steel-framed building to collapse at near free fall speeds.

DEBUNKING 9/11 DEBUNKING is an especially relevant book for anyone to read. Dr. Griffin rebuts Popular Mechanics and other defenders of the official conspiracy theory. He reveals that most objections to the alternative theory, according to which 9/11 was an inside job, are based on a propagandistic use of the term “conspiracy theory” and he shows that if we really analyze the facts about 9/11, we discover that the official story cannot be true.

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Also, see this related comment on the Bill Moyers blog
by Jonathan Mark "An Age of American Unreason?"

2) Bush Fascist – Iran Forum – Obama’s White Mom

- - Mr. Bush You Are A Fascist - Keith Olbermann MSNBC
- - Western Massachusetts Town Meeting on Iran
- - Obama Drive Gets Inspiration From His White Mom Born in Kansas

- - Mr. Bush You Are A Fascist - Keith Olbermann
MSNBC - Video - Keith Olbermann Special Comment. Click to view 8 minute video.

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- - Western Massachusetts Town Meeting on Iran

For Immediate Release: February 7, 2008
Press Contact:
- Ben Grosscup: 413-658-5374

Available for Interview:
- Ira Helfand, past President of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, phone: 413-320-7829; e-mail:
- Tyler Boudreau, former Marine Captain who served on active duty in Iraq, phone: 413-301-2525; e-mail:
- Michael Klare, Professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College. Expert on Iran and oil geopolitics, phone: 413-559-5563; e-mail:
- Norma Akamatsu, Spokesperson for the Pioneer Valley Coalition to Prevent War on Iran, phone: 413-586-9919; e-mail:

Congressman Richard Neal to Participate in Town Meeting on Iran
Wednesday, February 20, at 7:00 p.m.
American Legion Post 271, 162 Russell Street, Hadley

Hadley -- Congressman Richard Neal will participate in a town meeting in Hadley called to examine US threats of an attack on Iran. The event will take place on Wednesday, February 20, at 7:00 p.m. at the American Legion Post 271, 162 Russell Street. Congressman John Olver has indicated he may be able to attend, and representatives for Senators Kerry and Kennedy have been invited to the forum. The Pioneer Valley Coalition to Prevent War on Iran has organized the forum to ask the two Western Massachusetts congressional representatives and the two senators to take even stronger leadership to prevent escalation of the Iraq war into Iran.

The coalition plans to express its support for Congressman Neal's co-sponsorship of North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones' proposed resolution requiring the White House to obtain Congressional approval before going to war with Iran. Norma Akamatsu, co-convener for the coalition's forum said, "Congressmen Neal’s resolution enforces the Constitution's limits on executive authority to declare war by explicitly and unequivocally requiring the President to obtain congressional authorization before any attack on Iran. This administration’s past assumption of war powers beyond what the Constitution grants means that we urgently need our representatives to take these stronger initiatives to prevent war."

The group will also request that the representatives open an investigation of how information on Iran's suspension of its weapons program was suppressed before the National Intelligence Estimate was released last November. Ms. Akamatsu added, "The President's rhetoric on Iran is a replay of the deceptive build up to the Iraq invasion. The president has bucked diplomacy and taken a belligerent position with Iran. Iran is another example of an oil-rich country whose hostility to the U.S. could subvert our government's goal of maintaining strategic dominion over access to Middle East oil reserves, which are so vital to our petroleum-dependent economy.”

The National Intelligence Estimate had confirmed that the Iranian government shut down its nuclear weapons program more than four years ago and confirmed that Iran is not a major supporter of Iraqi resistance to the U.S. occupation. However, despite the news, the Bush administration has continued threats of attacking Iran. In his trip to the Middle East last month to shore up opposition to Iran, President Bush promised $20 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia to counter Iranian influence.

Forum organizers say that the Pentagon's claims of a crisis of small boats provoking US Naval ships in the Straits of Hormuz, which have since been discredited by investigative reporter Gareth Porter, raise concerns that the White House is eagerly seeking an excuse to attack Iran.

Dr. Ira Helfand, past President of the Physicians for Social Responsibility said, "The U.S. took many months to build up its forces to invade Iraq in 2003. The difference now for a possible attack on Iran is that the U.S. military is already deployed in neighboring Iraq and in the Persian Gulf. Unless Congress acts decisively to stop the President from waging war at will in new countries, a calamitous military confrontation with Iran could happen quickly and without much chance for the public to respond.

“As terrible as the quagmire in Iraq is right now, the consequences of war on Iran would be even more catastrophic. It is also very disturbing that the Bush Administration has refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in an attack on Iran. The enormous danger that an expanded war against Iran would pose to the world makes it all the more urgent that our congressional representatives stand firm in curtailing the President's power to make war."

In addition to remarks from Congressman Neal, the town meeting will include statements from community experts on Iran. Professor Michael Klare of Hampshire College will present historical background and discuss how our dependence on oil drives the United States toward the dangerous precipice of war. Dr. Helfand will comment on the likely medical consequences of such an escalation. Tyler Boudreau, former Marine Captain who served on active duty in Iraq, will contribute his personal reflections on the meaning of widening war into Iran. The forum will also include time for attendees to ask questions of the representative.

The event is co-sponsored by American Friends Service Committee, Arise for Social Justice, Bob Feuer for Congress, Enviro Show-WXOJ, First Churches Peace and Justice Committee, Flyby News, Food for Thought Books, Haydenville Congregational Church Peace & Justice Steering Committee, Iraqi Children's Art Project, Mount Toby Friends Peace and Social Concerns Committee, Northampton Committee to Stop the War in Iraq, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Pioneer Valley Coalition Against Secrecy and Torture, Pride and Joy, SAGE, Sisters of St. Joseph, Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, Social Workers for Peace and Justice, Veteran's for Peace, Chapter 95, West Springfield citizens for Peace, Western Mass Code Pink, Western Mass Iraq Moratorium Coalition, Western Mass Progressive Democrats of America, Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, Western Mass Interfaith Coalition for Peace and Justice, Women's Congress for Peace.

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- - Obama Drive Gets Inspiration From His White Mom Born in Kansas
By Kim Chipman

Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Barack Obama's mother was most at home a world away from her Midwest roots, trekking the old Silk Road or arranging small loans for weavers in Indonesia.

``I'm so tired of seeing her described as just a white woman from Kansas,'' says Bronwen Solyom, 63, who first met Ann Dunham in the 1970s when they were graduate students in anthropology at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. ``She was much more than that.''

Her son, who may become the first black U.S. president, displays a penchant for defying convention and forging his own path that those who knew Dunham well trace back to her arrival with her family in Hawaii after high school. Although the son has channeled the rebelliousness of his early years, he remains impatient with customs, such as the political dictate that he should wait his turn for national office.

``She certainly gave us her open-mindedness and our desire to challenge ourselves with new vistas and perceptions,'' says Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama's half-sister from Dunham's second marriage to an Indonesian businessman.

The influence of Stanley Ann Dunham -- named after a father eager to pass on his name -- ``is very, very deep,'' says U.S. Representative Neil Abercrombie, a Hawaii Democrat who attended university with Dunham and Obama's father, a Kenyan graduate student who was the son of a goatherd. Obama's ``eclectic views of the world are a direct reflection of his mother.''

`Strong Concern'

Terance Bigalke, who worked with Dunham at the Ford Foundation in Jakarta, says she also fostered social activism in her children through her work on behalf of the world's poor.

``She had such a strong concern for people who were in difficult circumstances economically,'' says Bigalke, 59. That concern led her to study the underground economy of Jakarta street vendors.

Obama himself, in a 2004 preface to a new edition of his best-selling memoir, ``Dreams From My Father,'' described his bond with his mother, who died of cancer in 1995 at age 52. ``What is best in me I owe to her,'' wrote Obama, now a 46-year- old Democratic senator from Illinois.

Dunham was born in 1942 in the American heartland and spent her teen years near Seattle. In 1960, she began college in Honolulu at a time when a multicultural student body, Hawaii's recent statehood, a burgeoning civil-rights movement and, soon, the looming Vietnam War made for a heady atmosphere on campus.

Father's `Arrogance'

As a freshman, she caught the eye of Barack Obama Sr., a charismatic older student who radiated a self-confidence bordering on ``arrogance,'' says Abercrombie, 69. Dunham, he recalls, was ``quiet, unassuming.'' She was ``a kid, but had this adventurous spirit,'' he says.

She and Obama wed later that same year, a highly unusual act at a time when interracial marriage was illegal in many U.S. states.

``This was a young girl in 1960 married not just to a black man, but to an African,'' Abercrombie says. Dunham, he says, was ``very, very self-contained but with a little burning flame in there.'' It never occurred to her that ``she couldn't go and try anything.''

Dunham's parents reluctantly accepted the marriage, though her husband's family in Kenya remained vehemently opposed. Barack Jr. was born the following year, on Aug. 4, 1961. Dunham and Obama divorced at around the time he left to study for a Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University and then returned to Kenya. The future senator only met his father again in person when he was about 11, though he corresponded with Barack Sr. shortly before the father's death in 1982.


After her breakup with Obama, Dunham met and eventually married an Indonesian graduate student named Lolo Soetoro. In 1967, when Soetoro's student visa was revoked because of political unrest in Indonesia, Dunham and Barack, then in first grade, accompanied him to Jakarta.

The move sparked a lifelong passion that later led Dunham to return to Hawaii for graduate studies in anthropology and an 800-page Ph.D. thesis on Indonesian blacksmithing.

Her interest in the local culture was aroused almost immediately, when she started teaching English to Indonesians. Meanwhile, her husband was growing more and more Westernized through his work for a U.S.-based oil company.

``They were simply developing into different people: He was becoming an American oil type and she was becoming a Javanese weaver,'' says Alice Dewey, 79, an anthropologist who knew Dunham in Indonesia and Hawaii. Dunham came to dread oil- company-employee get-togethers in which golf scores would be announced.

Back to Hawaii

She sent Obama to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents at age 10 so he could attend the prestigious Punahou School, whose alumni also include America Online founder Steve Case.

``Ann saw first of all that he was so bright that he needed to come and really be challenged by a good school,'' says Benji Bennington, 73, the retired curator of the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii. Dunham also hoped that ``maybe he'd meet a few blacks while here, because he was not meeting them in Jakarta.''

The family was reunited about a year later when Dunham separated from Soetoro and returned to Honolulu for graduate school. Obama began to take on a caretaking role for the family, says his half-sister Maya, 37, a teacher in Honolulu.


``He was very much the patriarch as a young person,'' she says. ``Our mother was incredibly strong but also incredibly sensitive. She would cry easily. He was always protective of her.''

When Dunham moved back to Jakarta for her anthropology field work, Barack saw his mother and half-sister only for Christmas and summer break.

Friends say Dunham found her calling through her work, which evolved from studying batik and ironwork to obtaining microfinancing for craftspeople, especially women, in rural areas of developing countries.

``She was a scholar who was one of the first to see about microbanking,'' Abercrombie says.

In 1986, Dunham did a one-year development project in Pakistan. That year, mother and daughter took a two-week journey along the old Silk Route to China.

Dunham's work for the Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan was followed by stints at People's Bank of Indonesia and Women's World Banking in New York. She also did consulting work for the World Bank and USAID.

High-Powered Positions

``She was getting to pretty high-powered positions, working in world organizations as an expert, but she always liked the people at the bottom,'' says Dewey, the granddaughter of the philosopher John Dewey.

In her 40s, Dunham talked about adopting a baby. ``She loved kids, and we were taking too long making her a grandmother,'' says Maya, noting that her mother never got to meet any of her grandchildren.

After seeing a news report about the offspring of children in Korea born to African-American soldiers, she decided that would be the perfect addition to her multiethnic family, Dewey says. Dunham was ``very specific about what she wanted,'' Maya says.

Instead, Dunham found herself battling both ovarian and uterine cancer. Until her death, she displayed the unflappable temperament that she passed on to Obama, Dewey says.

``She took it in stride,'' she says. ``She didn't fuss about it.''

Dunham would have delighted in her son's ascent to the highest reaches of U.S. politics, Dewey says.

``It's too bad she's not here,'' she says. ``She'd be saying, with a little chuckle, `Here's one of our own' and `He's going to show them.'''

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Chipman in Hawaii at .

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