Sunday, December 09, 2012



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:








Marx Reloaded
Sat, Dec 15 • 4:00pm and 7:30pm // Sun, Dec 16 • 2:00pm and 4:00pm
Marx Reloaded is a new documentary that examines the relevance of German socialist and philosopher Karl Marx's ideas for understanding the global economic crisis. Recent events triggered the deepest global recession in 70 years and prompted the US government to spend more than a trillion dollars to rescue its banking system from collapse. Today a new generation of philosophers, artists and political activists are returning to Marx's ideas in order to try to make sense of the crisis and to consider whether a world without — or beyond — capitalism is possible. Interviews with leading experts include Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Nina Power, Jacques Rancière, Peter Sloterdijk, Alberto Toscano, and Slavoj Zizek. (2011, 52 min, digital)

Preceded by the short The Immigrant, Charlie Chaplin’s poignant and hilarious tale of the immigrant’s journey and subsequent class struggles. (1917, 20 min, 16mm)

For more information:

Admission per screening: $10 Regular/ $8 YBCA members, students, seniors, teachers
Location: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: 701 Mission Street, San Francisco, near the Powell and Montgomery BART/Muni stations

I would appreciate it if you could share this information with your community. Please let me know if you have any questions.

All best,--
Jonathan L. Knapp
Film/Video Curatorial Assistant

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission St
San Francisco CA 94103 USA

415-978-9635 fax

Office Days: Wed., Thu. and Fri.



[Some of these videos are embeded on the BAUAW website: or]


Danny Glover Greetings to the Labour Start Global Solidarity Conference

Join Danny Glover in supporting Nissan Mississippi workers' right to have a free and fair union election. Go to: and send a message to Nissan to stop the union busting and DO BETTER. For more information go to:

Danny Glover, the star of Lethal Weapon and other Hollywood blockbusters, delivered a message to the LabourStart conference which opened yesterday in Sydney, Australia. 

I'd like to ask you to take a minute to watch the video:

Then please sign up to the online campaign, here:

Here's why:

Management at Nissan’s plant in Mississippi is running an aggressive and sophisticated anti-union campaign against its employees who are forming a union to achieve a voice in the workplace.

Nissan is denying these workers a fair, democratic election, and management has sent a clear message to the workforce that considering a union could cost them their job.

Supported by workers, students, community leaders and human rights activists around the world, the United Auto Workers (UAW) have launched a campaign on LabourStart calling on Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer, Toshiyuki Shiga, to intervene to make things right in Mississippi.

Speaking yesterday at the LabourStart conference now taking place in Sydney Jeffrey Moore, one of the Mississippi auto workers, said:

“Nissan workers are seeking union representation because they want fairness and a chance to be heard.  They are seeking a voice on the job just like their colleagues in Japan and elsewhere.”

“At Canton Mississippi, Nissan management is making propaganda against the UAW and intimidating workers depriving them from a free choice. This is unacceptable and against freedom of association,” said Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union in support of the workers’ campaign.

“UAW has offered Nissan a positive, collaborative approach, but the US management is refusing partnership despite the fact that most of Nissan's operations in countries such as Mexico, Spain, UK, Russia, Japan, Australia, South Africa and Thailand are unionized and enjoy constructive labour and management relations,” said Raina.

Please spread the word -- let's make sure that Nissan is overwhelmed with messages of support for the workers in Canton, Mississippi.  Please forward this message to your fellow union members, your friends and your family.

Thank you.

Eric Lee

Fukushima Never Again

"Fukushima, Never Again" tells the story of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns in north east Japan in March of 2011 and exposes the cover-up by Tepco and the Japanese government.
This is the first film that interviews the Mothers Of Fukushima, nuclear power experts and trade unionists who are fighting for justice and the protection of the children and the people of Japan and the world. The residents and citizens were forced to buy their own geiger counters and radiation dosimeters in order to test their communities to find out if they were in danger.
The government said contaminated soil in children's school grounds was safe and then
when the people found out it was contaminated and removed the top soil, the government and TEPCO refused to remove it from the school grounds.
It also relays how the nuclear energy program for "peaceful atoms" was brought to Japan under the auspices of the US military occupation and also the criminal cover-up of the safety dangers of the plant by TEPCO and GE management which built the plant in Fukushima. It also interviews Kei Sugaoka, the GE nulcear plant inspector from the bay area who exposed cover-ups in the safety at the Fukushima plant and was retaliated against by GE. This documentary allows the voices of the people and workers to speak out about the reality of the disaster and what this means not only for the people of Japan but the people of the world as the US government and nuclear industry continue to push for more new plants and government subsidies. This film breaks
the information blockade story line of the corporate media in Japan, the US and around the world that Fukushima is over.
Production Of Labor Video Project
P.O. Box 720027
San Francisco, CA 94172
For information on obtaining the video go to:


Labor Beat: SOJO - The Fight for Social Justice High School 
["This is not an education plan, it's a business plan." quote from the] 

The fight for community democratic control of Social Justice High School is an important battle waged during the countdown to a possible strike of the Chicago Teachers Union in early September, 2012. And on August 31, students and faculty achieved a victory in forcing SOJO (as the High School is known) to hire back two teachers who were earlier fired for opposing destructive changes in the school's programs. All this took place in the midst of a student sit-in, an intense mass meeting of the school community, and a powerful student protest campaign that got the fired teachers reinstated.

Here are scenes from that fight: The dramatic August 23 mass meeting, testimonies of student leaders (one who reads a poem she was earlier prohibited from reading by CPS toadies), a big Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign indoor rally featuring speeches by the two fired teachers Angela Sangha and Katie Hogan; the student protest march two days later; the reinstatement of the two fired faculty members.

Speaking/interviewed: Andrea Guzman (Little Village community activist); Professor David Stovall (Advisory Local School Council representative); Dennis Kosuth (Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign member); Angela Sangha (founding teacher, Social Justice High School); Katie Hogan (founding teacher, Social Justice High School); Professor Rico Gutstein (University of Illinois - Chicago).

Please make a Donation to Labor Beat (Committee for Labor Access) and help rank-and-file tv:

Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info:, 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search "Labor Beat".

On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat has regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY. For more detailed information, send us a request at


all the sons 
By Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Published on Aug 27, 2012 by
Men have been going off to war for centuries. In the past couple centuries, they have been migrating to other countries (especially the U.S.) for work. They have been organizing, too, to fight oppression and stop the deaths of their sons and brothers.

"And I don't know why it has to be this way again."

I wrote this song for the mothers, too, who lose their sons to war and murder by police officers. Maybe someday "it doesn't have to be this way again."


Labor Beat: Chicago Teachers Stand Strong

On May 23, 2012, Chicago Teachers Union held a massive rally at the Auditorium
theater to inform their membership about the coming contract struggle they face.
In the climate of school closings, budget cuts, a terrible new proposed
contract, and teacher-bashing on the part of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Chicago
schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizzard, CTU took to the streets to show their numbers
and appeal to the public, and within two weeks CTU was voting to authorize a

Meanwhile a few blocks away, Stand Up Chicago, Action Now, and many other
community organizations rallied against the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME,
the operator of the Chicago Board of Trade) and the $110 million tax break
they've been given by Illinois. CME is one of the most profitable companies in
the region, and yet now Illinois government is making broad cuts to social
programs needed by struggling families. These two marches converged at Jackson
and LaSalle in a unified demand for economic justice for Chicago's 99%.

Please make a Donation to Labor Beat (Committee for Labor Access) and help
rank-and-file tv:

Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is
a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer
Labor Beat. For info:, 312-226-3330. For
other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search "Labor Beat".

On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat has
regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia,
PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY.


Guantanamo Bay Prisoners Were Tortured with Sesame Street\

Guantanamo Bay prisoners were reportedly tortured with the sounds of children's
Sesame Street songs, in an attempt to get them to talk.

Read more at\


15 yr old Teen girl in jail beating video speaks out on cop attacking her in
Police brutality case


1000 year of war through the world


Anatomy of a Massacre - Afganistan

Afghans accuse multiple soldiers of pre-meditated murder

To see more go to

Follow us on Facebook ( or Twitter

The recent massacre of 17 civilians by a rogue US soldier has been shrouded in
mystery. But through unprecedented access to those involved, this report
confronts the accusations that Bales didn't act alone.

"They came into my room and they killed my family". Stories like this are common
amongst the survivors in Aklozai and Najiban. As are the shocking accusations
that Sergeant Bales was not acting alone. Even President Karzai has announced
"one man can not do that". Chief investigator, General Karimi, is suspicious
that despite being fully armed, Bales freely left his base without raising
alarm. "How come he leaves at night and nobody is aware? Every time we have
weapon accountability and personal accountability." These are just a few of the
questions the American army and government are yet to answer. One thing however
is very clear, the massacre has unleashed a wave of grief and outrage which
means relations in Kandahar will be tense for years to come: "If I could lay my
hands on those infidels, I would rip them apart with my bare hands."

A Film By SBS

Distributed By Journeyman Pictures

April 2012


Photo of George Zimmerman, in 2005 photo, left, and in a more recent photo.\

SPD Security Cams.wmv


Kids being put on buses and transported from school to "alternate locations" in
Terror Drills


Private prisons,

a recession resistant investment opportunity


Attack Dogs used on a High School Walkout in MD, Four Students Charged With

"Thought Crimes"


Common forms of misconduct by Law Enforcement Officials and Prosecutors


Organizing & Instigating: OCCUPY - Ronnie Goodman


Rep News 12: Yes We Kony


The New Black by The Mavrix - Official Music Video


Japan One Year Later


The CIA's Heart Attack Gun\


The Invisible American Workforce


Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment

For more detailed information, send us a request at


Anti-War Demonstrators Storm Pentagon 1967/10/24


Liberal Hypocrisy on Obama Vs Bush - Poll


Greek trade unionists and black bloc October 2011!


The Battle of Oakland

by brandon jourdan plus


Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces


February 1, 2012, 10:56 am\


Defending The People's Mic

by Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street

The North Star

January 20, 2012

Grand Central Terminal Arrests - MIRROR

Two protesters mic check about the loss of freedom brought about by the passage
of the NDAA and both are promptly arrested and whisked out of public sight.


This is excellent! Michelle Alexander pulls no punches!

Michelle Alexander, Author of The New Jim Crow, speaks about the political

behind the War on Drugs and its connection to the mass incarceration of Black
and Brown people in the United States.

If you think Bill Clinton was "the first black President" you need to watch this
video and see how much damage his administration caused for the black community
as a result of his get tough attitude on crime that appealed to white swing

This speech took place at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on January 12,


Release Bradley Manning

Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)

Written by Graham Nash and James Raymond (son of David Crosby)

School police increasingly arresting American students?



Nuclear Detonation Timeline "1945-1998"

The 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are
plotted visually and audibly on a world map.


We Are the 99 Percent

We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to
choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are
suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay
and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1
percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU occupy?


Drop All Charges on the 'Occupy Wall Street' Arrestees!

Stop Police Attacks & Arrests! Support 'Occupy Wall Street'!




We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools



In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the 44-Day Flint Michigan sit-down strike at
GM that began December 30, 1936:

According to Michael Moore, (Although he has done some good things, this clip
isn't one of them) in this clip from his film, "Capitalism a Love Story," it was
Roosevelt who saved the day!):

"After a bloody battle one evening, the Governor of Michigan, with the support
of the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, sent in the National
Guard. But the guns and the soldiers weren't used on the workers; they were
pointed at the police and the hired goons warning them to leave these workers
alone. For Mr. Roosevelt believed that the men inside had a right to a redress
of their grievances." -Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story'

- Flint Sit-Down Strike

But those cannons were not aimed at the goons and cops! They were aimed straight
at the factory filled with strikers! Watch what REALLY happened and how the
strike was really won!

'With babies & banners' -- 75 years since the 44-day Flint sit-down strike



HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov




ILWU Local 10 Longshore Workers Speak-Out At Oakland Port Shutdown

Uploaded by laborvideo on Dec 13, 2011

ILWU Local 10 longshore workers speak out during a blockade of the Port of
Oakland called for by Occupy Oakland. Anthony Levieges and Clarence Thomas rank
and file members of the union. The action took place on December 12, 2011 and
the interview took place at Pier 30 on the Oakland docks.

For more information on the ILWU Local 21 Longview EGT struggle go to

For further info on the action and the press conferernce go to:

Production of Labor Video Project


UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

19 November 11\

UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed


Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis


UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car!

Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed




Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland


Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs


Occupy Oakland 11-2 Strike: Police Tear Gas, Black Bloc, War in the Streets


Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest
were actually undercover Quebec police officers:

POLICE STATE Criminal Cops EXPOSED As Agent Provocateurs @ SPP Protest


Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail



Occupy Oakland Protest

Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland

Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police

Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES

KTVU TV Video of Police violence

Marine Vet wounded, tear gas & flash-bang grenades thrown in downtown

Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland

Arrests at Occupy Atlanta -- This is what a police state looks like


Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share


Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part I

Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part II


#Occupy Wall Street In Washington Square: Mohammed Ezzeldin, former occupier of
Egypt's Tahrir Square Speaks at Washington Square!


#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street

By adele pham


Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change




One World One Revolution -- MUST SEE VIDEO -- Powerful and

"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." Thomas Jefferson


Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)

Posted by Xeni Jardin on Monday, Jul 25th at 11:36am



I received the following reply from the White House November 18, 2011 regarding
the Bradley Manning petition I signed:

"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning

"Thank you for signing the petition 'Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused
WikiLeaks whistleblower.' We appreciate your participation in the We the People
platform on

The We the People Terms of Participation explain that 'the White House may
decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or
similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or
agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.' The military justice
system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of

Military Justice. Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the
specific case raised in this petition...

That's funny! I guess Obama didn't get this memo. Here's what Obama said about


"He broke the law!" says Obama about Bradley Manning who has yet to even be
charged, let alone, gone to trial and found guilty. How horrendous is it for the
President to declare someone guilty before going to trial or being charged with
a crime! Justice in the U.S.A.!

Obama on FREE BRADLEY MANNING protest... San Francisco, CA. April 21, 2011-
Presidential remarks on interrupt/interaction/performance art happening at
fundraiser. Logan Price queries Barack after org. FRESH JUICE PARTY political


Labor Beat: Labor Stands with Subpoenaed Activists Against FBI Raids and Grand
Jury Investigation of antiwar and social justice activists.

"If trouble is not at your door. It's on it's way, or it just left."

"Investigate the Billionaires...Full investigation into Wall Street..." Jesse
Sharkey, Vice

President, Chicago Teachers Union


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks


Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale




Petition to US White House and State Department: Condemn Israeli Aggression in Gaza

Please spread the word far and wide about this petition.

Please invite all of your facebook friends to the "event" to sign the petition.

If you are on twitter, sign the petition there as well and pass it around.

In solidarity and peace,

African Americans for Justice in the Middle East and North Africa
Statement Regarding the Aggression Against Gaza

African Americans for Justice in the Middle East and North Africa (AAJMENA) strongly condemns Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza. The arguments offered by the Israeli government for its attack on Gaza are nakedly cynical in both form and content. That a truce had been negotiated, with the assistance of the Egyptian government, between Israel and Hamas only to be broken by the Israeli assassination of Hamas military commander Ahmad Jabari clearly indicates that the Netanyahu government is not interested in peace. Israel is responsible for the escalating violence and for this epic breach of human rights.

This crisis underscores a stunning power imbalance. Nuclear-armed Israel, by far the most powerful military force in the Middle East (and among the mightiest in the world), has unleashed its immense war making capacity on Gaza’s captive population, mobilizing warships and tanks and launching more than 1,000 F-16 airstrikes since the attack began. The use of such weapons on civilians is a flagrant violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act.

The aggression against Gaza must be understood as the latest act in the decades-long oppression of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli government. Blockaded Gaza has been plunged into misery by the Israeli-U.S. effort to thwart the democratic will of the Palestinian people as demonstrated in their 2006 legislative elections. When a coup was attempted against Hamas—and failed—the Israelis sealed Gaza, spinning events to make it appear that those not interested in peace were the Palestinians. As a result, Gaza is the largest open-air prison in the world, with 1.5 million people locked into a roughly 140-square-mile strip of land. This latest humanitarian crisis has caused the disproportionate death and suffering of Palestinians, but casualties on both sides will be the consequence of Israeli aggression.

Rather than taking a stand against Israeli’s onslaught and issuing an unambiguous demand for an end to the bloodshed, the Obama administration has condemned alleged Palestinian terrorism, repeating the dishonest line that this violent attack is merely in defense of Israel (a position reinforced by the one-sided coverage of the corporate news media). This represents a massive failure on the administration’s part. For all Obama’s denunciation of the Assad regime in Syria, it appears that his administration regards the outright slaughter of civilians in Palestine as acceptable. It is crucial that we recognize the extent of U.S. complicity in the bloodshed; our tax dollars ($8.5 million a day) enable Israeli militarism at a time when those funds are desperately needed to fill gaps in services and infrastructure back home.

As African Americans and people of African descent in the U.S. from academia, activism and various social movements, we cannot remain silent. We call upon all people of good will to:

1. Endorse this statement.

2. Communicate with the White House and the U.S. Department of State to request that President Obama demand that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and the IDF cease the bombardment of Gaza and withdraw their armed forces immediately. Insist that the U.S. condition aid to Israel on compliance with U.S. and international law.

3. Contact the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. and demand that Israel withdraw its forces and end the blockade.

4. Send your local media outlet a “letter to the editor” expressing outrage against the provocative and murderous acts of the Israeli government.

5. Join protests against Israeli aggression.

6. Support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions ( and U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (, and back the efforts of labor unions and student groups to compel their employers and administrators to divest from companies that do business in Israel.


An Appeal from Conscientious Objectors in Israel - Resistance to serving in the I.D.F. is growing among Israeli youth.

International Support is important in strengthening and broadening this spirit of defiance:

Conscientious objector Natan Blanc sentenced to prison for the first time for his refusal to join the Israeli Army.

CO Natan Blanc, 19 years old from, Haifa, arrived, Sunday, 19 November, to the Induction Base in Tal-hashomer, where he declared his refusal to serve in the Israeli Army. he was sentenced to 10 days of imprisonment for his refusal, he also received a suspended sentence of 10 days.
In his refusal declaration Blanc wrote:
"I began thinking about refusing to conscripted into the Israeli Army during the “Cast Lead” operation in 2008. The wave of aggressive militarism that swept the country then, the expressions of mutual hatred, and the vacuous talk about stamping out terror and creating a deterrent effect were the primary trigger for my refusal. Today, after four years full of terror, without a political process [towards peace negotiations], and without quiet in Gaza and Sderot, it is clear that the Netanyahu Government, like that of his predecessor Olmert, is not interested in finding a solution to the existing situation, but rather in preserving it.  From their point of view, there is nothing wrong with our initiating a “Cast Lead 2″ operation every three or four years (and then 3, 4,5 and 6): we will talk of deterrence, we will kill some terrorist, we will lose some civilians on both sides, and we will prepare the ground for a new generation full of hatred on both sides. As representatives of the people, members of the cabinet have no duty to present their vision for the futures of the country, and they can continue with this bloody cycle, with no end in sight.  But we, as citizens and human beings, have a moral duty to refuse to participate in this cynical game."

You can read the full declaration here.

His prison address is:
Natan Blanc
Military ID 7571369
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Fax: ++972-4-9540580
Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send them your letters of support and encouragement via e-mail to: (hitting “reply all” to this message will send the message to the same address), and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.

Recommended Action
First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, social networks, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.
Other recommendations for action:

1. Sending Letters of Support
Please send Natan letters of support to the prison address above and via e-mail to: and

2. Letters to Authorities
It is recommended to send letters of protest on the objectors’ behalf, preferably by fax, to:
Mr. Ehud Barak,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
Tel-Aviv 61909,
E-mail: or
Tel.: ++972-3-6975220
Fax: ++972-3-6962757
Copies of your letters can also be sent to the commander of the military prison at:
Commander of Military Prison No. 6,
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Fax: ++972-4-9540580
Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General:
Denny Efroni,
Chief Military Attorney
Military postal code 9605, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-569-45-26
It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison, and it is the same officer who is ultimately in charge of the military Conscience Committee:
Gil Ben Shaul,
Commander of Induction Base,
Meitav, Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-737-60-52
For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.
Here is a generic sample letter, which you can use in sending appeals to authorities on the prisoners’ behalf. Feel free to modify this letter or write your own:
Dear Sir/Madam,
It has come to my attention that Natan Blanc (military ID 7571369), a conscientious objector to military service, has been imprisoned for the second time for his refusal to become part of the Israeli army, and is held in Military Prison no. 6 near Atlit.
The imprisonment of conscientious objectors such as Blanc is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals.
I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of Natan Blanc, without threat of further imprisonment in the future, and urge you and the system you are heading to respect the dignity and person of conscientious objectors, indeed of all persons, in the future.
3. Letters to media in Israel and in other countries
Writing op-ed pieces and letters to editors of media in Israel and other countries could also be quite useful in indirectly but powerfully pressuring the military authorities to let go of the objectors and in bringing their plight and their cause to public attention.
Here are some contact details for the main media outlets in Israel:


Contact the Obama campaign now to voice your support for Bradley!

The Obama campaign keeps track of how many calls and e-mails they get about each issue.

Contact President Obama's team now and tell them "Obama must uphold his promise to protect whistle-blowers and free Bradley Manning!"
Call: 312-698-3670



You Have the Right to Remain Silent: NLG Guide to Law Enforcement Encounters

Posted 1 day ago on July 27, 2012, 10:28 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Occupy Wall Street is a nonviolent movement for social and economic justice, but in recent days disturbing reports have emerged of Occupy-affiliated activists being targeted by US law enforcement, including agents from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. To help ensure Occupiers and allied activists know their rights when encountering law enforcement, we are publishing in full the National Lawyers Guild's booklet: You Have the Right to Remain Silent. The NLG provides invaluable support to the Occupy movement and other activists – please click here to support the NLG.
We strongly encourage all Occupiers to read and share the information provided below. We also recommend you enter the NLG's national hotline number (888-654-3265) into your cellphone (if you have one) and keep a copy handy. This information is not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact the NLG or a criminal defense attorney immediately if you have been visited by the FBI or other law enforcement officials. You should also alert your relatives, friends, co-workers and others so that they will be prepared if they are contacted as well.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent: A Know Your Rights Guide for Law Enforcement Encounters

What Rights Do I Have?

Whether or not you’re a citizen, you have rights under the United States Constitution. The Fifth Amendment gives every person the right to remain silent: not to answer questions asked by a police officer or government agent. The Fourth Amendment restricts the government’s power to enter and search your home or workplace, although there are many exceptions and new laws have expanded the government’s power to conduct surveillance. The First Amendment protects your right to speak freely and to advocate for social change. However, if you are a non-citizen, the Department of Homeland Security may target you based on your political activities.

Standing Up For Free Speech

The government’s crusade against politically-active individuals is intended to disrupt and suppress the exercise of time-honored free speech activities, such as boycotts, protests, grassroots organizing and solidarity work. Remember that you have the right to stand up to the intimidation tactics of FBI agents and other law enforcement officials who, with political motives, are targeting organizing and free speech activities. Informed resistance to these tactics and steadfast defense of your and others’ rights can bring positive results. Each person who takes a courageous stand makes future resistance to government oppression easier for all. The National Lawyers Guild has a long tradition of standing up to government repression. The organization itself was labeled a “subversive” group during the McCarthy Era and was subject to FBI surveillance and infiltration for many years. Guild attorneys have defended FBI-targeted members of the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement. The NLG exposed FBI surveillance, infiltration and disruption tactics that were detailed during the 1975-76 COINTELPRO hearings. In 1989 the NLG prevailed in a lawsuit on behalf of several activist organizations, including the Guild, that forced the FBI to expose the extent to which it had been spying on activist movements. Under the settlement, the FBI turned over roughly 400,000 pages of its files on the Guild, which are now available at the Tamiment Library at New York University.

What if FBI Agents or Police Contact Me?

What if an agent or police officer comes to the door?

Do not invite the agents or police into your home. Do not answer any questions. Tell the agent that you do not wish to talk with him or her. You can state that your lawyer will contact them on your behalf. You can do this by stepping outside and pulling the door behind you so that the interior of your home or office is not visible, getting their contact information or business cards and then returning inside. They should cease questioning after this. If the agent or officer gives a reason for contacting you, take notes and give the information to your attorney. Anything you say, no matter how seemingly harmless or insignificant, may be used against you or others in the future. Lying to or misleading a federal agent is a crime. The more you speak, the more opportunity for federal law enforcement to find something you said (even if not intentionally) false and assert that you lied to a federal officer.

Do I have to answer questions?

You have the constitutional right to remain silent. It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions. You do not have to talk to anyone, even if you have been arrested or are in jail. You should affirmatively and unambiguously state that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to consult an attorney. Once you make the request to speak to a lawyer, do not say anything else. The Supreme Court recently ruled that answering law enforcement questions may be taken as a waiver of your right to remain silent, so it is important that you assert your rights and maintain them. Only a judge can order you to answer questions. There is one exception: some states have “stop and identify” statutes which require you to provide identity information or your name if you have been detained on reasonable suspicion that you may have committed a crime. A lawyer in your state can advise you of the status of these requirements where you reside.

Do I have to give my name?

As above, in some states you can be detained or arrested for merely refusing to give your name. And in any state, police do not always follow the law, and refusing to give your name may make them suspicious or more hostile and lead to your arrest, even without just cause, so use your judgment. Giving a false name could in some circumstances be a crime.
Do I need a lawyer?

You have the right to talk to a lawyer before you decide whether to answer questions from law enforcement. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer if you are considering answering any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer present during any interview. The lawyer’s job is to protect your rights. Once you tell the agent that you want to talk to a lawyer, he or she should stop trying to question you and should make any further contact through your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, you can still tell the officer you want to speak to one before answering questions. Remember to get the name, agency and telephone number of any investigator who visits you, and give that information to your lawyer. The government does not have to provide you with a free lawyer unless you are charged with a crime, but the NLG or another organization may be able to help you find a lawyer for free or at a reduced rate.
If I refuse to answer questions or say I want a lawyer, won’t it seem like I have something to hide?

Anything you say to law enforcement can be used against you and others. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information might be used or manipulated to hurt you or someone else. That is why the right not to talk is a fundamental right under the Constitution. Keep in mind that although law enforcement agents are allowed to lie to you, lying to a government agent is a crime. Remaining silent is not. The safest things to say are “I am going to remain silent,” “I want to speak to my lawyer,” and “I do not consent to a search.” It is a common practice for law enforcement agents to try to get you to waive your rights by telling you that if you have nothing to hide you would talk or that talking would “just clear things up.” The fact is, if they are questioning you, they are looking to incriminate you or someone you may know, or they are engaged in political intelligence gathering. You should feel comfortable standing firm in protection and defense of your rights and refusing to answer questions.

Can agents search my home or office?

You do not have to let police or agents into your home or office unless they have and produce a valid search warrant. A search warrant is a written court order that allows the police to conduct a specified search. Interfering with a warrantless search probably will not stop it and you might get arrested. But you should say “I do not consent to a search,” and call a criminal defense lawyer or the NLG. You should be aware that a roommate or guest can legally consent to a search of your house if the police believe that person has the authority to give consent, and your employer can consent to a search of your workspace without your permission.

What if agents have a search warrant?

If you are present when agents come for the search, you can ask to see the warrant. The warrant must specify in detail the places to be searched and the people or things to be taken away. Tell the agents you do not consent to the search so that they cannot go beyond what the warrant authorizes. Ask if you are allowed to watch the search; if you are allowed to, you should. Take notes, including names, badge numbers, what agency each officer is from, where they searched and what they took. If others are present, have them act as witnesses to watch carefully what is happening. If the agents ask you to give them documents, your computer, or anything else, look to see if the item is listed in the warrant. If it is not, do not consent to them taking it without talking to a lawyer. You do not have to answer questions. Talk to a lawyer first. (Note: If agents present an arrest warrant, they may only perform a cursory visual search of the premises to see if the person named in the arrest warrant is present.)

Do I have to answer questions if I have been arrested?

No. If you are arrested, you do not have to answer any questions. You should affirmatively and unambiguously state that you wish to assert your right to remain silent. Ask for a lawyer right away. Do not say anything else. Repeat to every officer who tries to talk to or question you that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to speak to a lawyer. You should always talk to a lawyer before you decide to answer any questions.

What if I speak to government agents anyway?

Even if you have already answered some questions, you can refuse to answer other questions until you have a lawyer. If you find yourself talking, stop. Assert that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to speak to a lawyer.
What if the police stop me on the street?

Ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, consider just walking away. If the police say you are not under arrest, but are not free to go, then you are being detained. The police can pat down the outside of your clothing if they have reason to suspect you might be armed and dangerous. If they search any more than this, say clearly, “I do not consent to a search.” They may keep searching anyway. If this happens, do not resist because you can be charged with assault or resisting arrest. You do not have to answer any questions. You do not have to open bags or any closed container. Tell the officers you do not consent to a search of your bags or other property.

What if police or agents stop me in my car?

Keep your hands where the police can see them. If you are driving a vehicle, you must show your license, registration and, in some states, proof of insurance. You do not have to consent to a search. But the police may have legal grounds to search your car anyway. Clearly state that you do not consent. Officers may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them, but no one has to answer any questions.

What if I am treated badly by the police or the FBI?

Write down the officer’s badge number, name or other identifying information. You have a right to ask the officer for this information. Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers. If you are injured, seek medical attention and take pictures of the injuries as soon as you can. Call a lawyer as soon as possible.

What if the police or FBI threaten me with a grand jury subpoena if I don’t answer their questions?

A grand jury subpoena is a written order for you to go to court and testify about information you may have. It is common for the FBI to threaten you with a subpoena to get you to talk to them. If they are going to subpoena you, they will do so anyway. You should not volunteer to speak just because you are threatened with a subpoena. You should consult a lawyer.
What if I receive a grand jury subpoena?

Grand jury proceedings are not the same as testifying at an open court trial. You are not allowed to have a lawyer present (although one may wait in the hallway and you may ask to consult with him or her after each question) and you may be asked to answer questions about your activities and associations. Because of the witness’s limited rights in this situation, the government has frequently used grand jury subpoenas to gather information about activists and political organizations. It is common for the FBI to threaten activists with a subpoena in order to elicit information about their political views and activities and those of their associates. There are legal grounds for stopping (“quashing”) subpoenas, and receiving one does not necessarily mean that you are suspected of a crime. If you do receive a subpoena, call the NLG National Hotline at 888-NLG-ECOL (888-654-3265) or call a criminal defense attorney immediately.

The government regularly uses grand jury subpoena power to investigate and seek evidence related to politically-active individuals and social movements. This practice is aimed at prosecuting activists and, through intimidation and disruption, discouraging continued activism.

Federal grand jury subpoenas are served in person. If you receive one, it is critically important that you retain the services of an attorney, preferably one who understands your goals and, if applicable, understands the nature of your political work, and has experience with these issues. Most lawyers are trained to provide the best legal defense for their client, often at the expense of others. Beware lawyers who summarily advise you to cooperate with grand juries, testify against friends, or cut off contact with your friends and political activists. Cooperation usually leads to others being subpoenaed and investigated. You also run the risk of being charged with perjury, a felony, should you omit any pertinent information or should there be inconsistencies in your testimony.

Frequently prosecutors will offer “use immunity,” meaning that the prosecutor is prohibited from using your testimony or any leads from it to bring charges against you. If a subsequent prosecution is brought, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving that all of its evidence was obtained independent of the immunized testimony. You should be aware, however, that they will use anything you say to manipulate associates into sharing more information about you by suggesting that you have betrayed confidences.

In front of a grand jury you can “take the Fifth” (exercise your right to remain silent). However, the prosecutor may impose immunity on you, which strips you of Fifth Amendment protection and subjects you to the possibility of being cited for contempt and jailed if you refuse to answer further. In front of a grand jury you have no Sixth Amendment right to counsel, although you can consult with a lawyer outside the grand jury room after each question.

What if I don’t cooperate with the grand jury?

If you receive a grand jury subpoena and elect to not cooperate, you may be held in civil contempt. There is a chance that you may be jailed or imprisoned for the length of the grand jury in an effort to coerce you to cooperate. Regular grand juries sit for a basic term of 18 months, which can be extended up to a total of 24 months. It is lawful to hold you in order to coerce your cooperation, but unlawful to hold you as a means of punishment. In rare instances you may face criminal contempt charges.

What If I Am Not a Citizen and the DHS Contacts Me?

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is now part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and has been renamed and reorganized into: 1. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS); 2. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and 3. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). All three bureaus will be referred to as DHS for the purposes of this pamphlet.

■ Assert your rights. If you do not demand your rights or if you sign papers waiving your rights, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may deport you before you see a lawyer or an immigration judge. Never sign anything without reading, understanding and knowing the consequences of signing it.

■ Talk to a lawyer. If possible, carry with you the name and telephone number of an immigration lawyer who will take your calls. The immigration laws are hard to understand and there have been many recent changes. DHS will not explain your options to you. As soon as you encounter a DHS agent, call your attorney. If you can’t do it right away, keep trying. Always talk to an immigration lawyer before leaving the U.S. Even some legal permanent residents can be barred from returning.

Based on today’s laws, regulations and DHS guidelines, non-citizens usually have the following rights, no matter what their immigration status. This information may change, so it is important to contact a lawyer. The following rights apply to non-citizens who are inside the U.S. Non-citizens at the border who are trying to enter the U.S. do not have all the same rights.

Do I have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any DHS questions or signing any DHS papers?

Yes. You have the right to call a lawyer or your family if you are detained, and you have the right to be visited by a lawyer in detention. You have the right to have your attorney with you at any hearing before an immigration judge. You do not have the right to a government-appointed attorney for immigration proceedings, but if you have been arrested, immigration officials must show you a list of free or low cost legal service providers.

Should I carry my green card or other immigration papers with me?

If you have documents authorizing you to stay in the U.S., you must carry them with you. Presenting false or expired papers to DHS may lead to deportation or criminal prosecution. An unexpired green card, I-94, Employment Authorization Card, Border Crossing Card or other papers that prove you are in legal status will satisfy this requirement. If you do not carry these papers with you, you could be charged with a crime. Always keep a copy of your immigration papers with a trusted family member or friend who can fax them to you, if need be. Check with your immigration lawyer about your specific case.

Am I required to talk to government officers about my immigration history?

If you are undocumented, out of status, a legal permanent resident (green card holder), or a citizen, you do not have to answer any questions about your immigration history. (You may want to consider giving your name; see above for more information about this.) If you are not in any of these categories, and you are being questioned by a DHS or FBI agent, then you may create problems with your immigration status if you refuse to provide information requested by the agent. If you have a lawyer, you can tell the agent that your lawyer will answer questions on your behalf. If answering questions could lead the agent to information that connects you with criminal activity, you should consider refusing to talk to the agent at all.

If I am arrested for immigration violations, do I have the right to a hearing before an immigration judge to defend myself against deportation charges?

Yes. In most cases only an immigration judge can order you deported. But if you waive your rights or take “voluntary departure,” agreeing to leave the country, you could be deported without a hearing. If you have criminal convictions, were arrested at the border, came to the U.S. through the visa waiver program or have been ordered deported in the past, you could be deported without a hearing. Contact a lawyer immediately to see if there is any relief for you.

Can I call my consulate if I am arrested?

Yes. Non-citizens arrested in the U.S. have the right to call their consulate or to have the police tell the consulate of your arrest. The police must let your consulate visit or speak with you if consular officials decide to do so. Your consulate might help you find a lawyer or offer other help. You also have the right to refuse help from your consulate.

What happens if I give up my right to a hearing or leave the U.S. before the hearing is over?

You could lose your eligibility for certain immigration benefits, and you could be barred from returning to the U.S. for a number of years. You should always talk to an immigration lawyer before you decide to give up your right to a hearing.

What should I do if I want to contact DHS?

Always talk to a lawyer before contacting DHS, even on the phone. Many DHS officers view “enforcement” as their primary job and will not explain all of your options to you.

What Are My Rights at Airports?

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is illegal for law enforcement to perform any stops, searches, detentions or removals based solely on your race, national origin, religion, sex or ethnicity.

If I am entering the U.S. with valid travel papers can a U.S. customs agent stop and search me?

Yes. Customs agents have the right to stop, detain and search every person and item.

Can my bags or I be searched after going through metal detectors with no problem or after security sees that my bags do not contain a weapon?

Yes. Even if the initial screen of your bags reveals nothing suspicious, the screeners have the authority to conduct a further search of you or your bags.

If I am on an airplane, can an airline employee interrogate me or ask me to get off the plane?

The pilot of an airplane has the right to refuse to fly a passenger if he or she believes the passenger is a threat to the safety of the flight. The pilot’s decision must be reasonable and based on observations of you, not stereotypes.

What If I Am Under 18?

Do I have to answer questions?

No. Minors too have the right to remain silent. You cannot be arrested for refusing to talk to the police, probation officers, or school officials, except in some states you may have to give your name if you have been detained.
What if I am detained?

If you are detained at a community detention facility or Juvenile Hall, you normally must be released to a parent or guardian. If charges are filed against you, in most states you are entitled to counsel (just like an adult) at no cost.

Do I have the right to express political views at school?

Public school students generally have a First Amendment right to politically organize at school by passing out leaflets, holding meetings, etc., as long as those activities are not disruptive and do not violate legitimate school rules. You may not be singled out based on your politics, ethnicity or religion.

Can my backpack or locker be searched?

School officials can search students’ backpacks and lockers without a warrant if they reasonably suspect that you are involved in criminal activity or carrying drugs or weapons. Do not consent to the police or school officials searching your property, but do not physically resist or you may face criminal charges.


This booklet is not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact an attorney if you have been visited by the FBI or other law enforcement officials. You should also alert your relatives, friends, co-workers and others so that they will be prepared if they are contacted as well.

NLG National Hotline for Activists Contacted by the FBI



Letter from Lynne Stewart

9/27/12 9:15 am

Once again the 2d Circuit has turned me down–this time the whole Court, en
banc. Not surprising, I was well aware that we were dealing with the Company
Store and could expect very little. Nonetheless as a favorite line from Edna
St Vincent Millay:

“Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the Quick mind beholds at every turn”
I never lose hope that my case will be resolved as being too obvious a
contradiction to justice for them to sustain !

Our next stop is the petition for Certiorari to the Supreme Court, asking them
to hear us. We will be trying to impress them with the significant
wrongfulness of the whole prosecution itself and of the errors at trial and
later at sentencing. Our due date is some time in late December and we are
hoping to have Amicus support, so if you are part of a group that supports
lawyers or civil rights etc. please suggest it as early as possible. Contact
Jill Shellow, my lawyer by email, for further explanations.

Looking forward to my 73 birthday on October 8, the one bright ray of light is
that my husband, Ralph Poynter, will be speaking at the National Lawyers Guild
convention held in Pasadena, California from the 10th to 14th of October.

Addressing the Plenary he will speak of my case and that of other political
prisoners locked away for decades by a vindictive government. I wish I could
attend and meet and greet and hug and laugh with my lawyer buddies of many
years and many conventions but I will have to be content with my usual micro-
management style from afar — Texas, that is !!!

Meanwhile, I continue to tough it out. I am feeling quite well after the
surgery, an infection and then a severe iron deficiency — my usual vim and
vigor are back and ready for the fight with the Supreme Court who thinks
corporations are people—what will they make of me, a real person ??!! (smile)
Join me. Bring me Home, where I can join in some of the epic battles now at

Posted in BEHIND BARS, FROM LYNNE | No Comments »

“Court Denies Lynne Stewart Re-hearing” by Jeff Mackler

September 26th, 2012
Dear Friends of Lynne Stewart,
On Monday, September 24, 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
rejected Lynne’s appeal for a re-hearing before the entire court. Her original
conviction was upheld in 2009 by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit.
The Second Circuit’s opinion was not unexpected. This was the same court that
earlier pressed Federal District Court John Koeltl to re-consider his original
28-month sentence and instead sentence Lynne to ten years.

Lynne, a leading civil rights attorney for 30 years, was convicted in 2005 on
frame-up charges of conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism. Her crime? She
issued a press release on behalf of her client, the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel
Rachman, a leading Egyptian Islamic cleric, was also a victim of the U.S. “war
on terror” when a government-instigated frame-up trial convicted him of
conspiracy to destroy New York buildings. Typical of “conspiracy” convictions,
no evidence of wrongdoing was presented at his trial.

Rachman, a leading critic of the Hosni Mubarack dictatorship in Egypt, and now
serving a life sentence in Rochester, Minnesota, was the subject of national
attention a few months ago when Egypt’s new president, Mohammad Morsi,
embarrassed the Obama administration by demanding his release.

Lynne’s attorneys explained on Monday that “The clock now starts running on
our Petition for Certiorari to the Supreme Court. We have 90 days to get it
filed (with the possibility of a 30-day extension).”

Lynne is presently imprisoned at FMC Carswell outside of Fort Worth, Texas.
She has successfully recovered from a difficult surgery that was spitefully
delayed by prison authorities. For the past 45 days Lynne was denied all
visitors, mail and other basic prison rights on the trumped-up accusation that she violated prison rules in assisting a fellow prisoner certify a legal document.

Her spirits are high and she is now going through a backlog of some 100-plus
letters from friends and supporters.

Here’s a brief summary/timeline of Lynne’s case.
- indicted on April 9, 2002;
- on February 10, 2005, convicted on all counts of conspiracy to aid and
abet terrorism;
- on October, 17, 2006, sentenced to 28 months;
- on November 17, 2009, a US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit three-
judge panel upheld the conviction, shamelessly accusing Lynne of “knowingly
and willfully making false statements,” re-directing her case to District
Court Judge John Koeltl for re-sentencing, instructing him to consider
enhancements for terrorism, perjury, and abuse of her position as a lawyer –
an outrageous mandate intimidating Koeltl to comply.
- on November 19, 2009, Stewart jailed at MCC-NY, 150 Park Row, New York, NY;
andon July 15, 2010, Stewart re-sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for doing
her job honorably, ethically, and admirably with distinction for 30 years.
Disgracefully, Judge Koeltl explained it, saying: .”(C)omments by Stewart in
2006, including a statement in a television interview that she would do ‘it’
again and would not ‘do anything differently’ influenced (the)
decisionŠ.indicat(ing) the original sentence ‘was not sufficient’ to reflect
the goals of sentencing guidelines.”

Forgotten were Koeltl’s October 2006 comments, calling Lynne’s character
“extraordinary,” saying she was “a credit to her profession,” and that a long
imprisonment would be “an unreasonable result,” citing “the somewhat atypical
nature of her case (and) lack of evidence that any victim was harmed.”
He also considered her age (70), health (at times poor), distinguished career
representing society’s disadvantaged and unwanted, and the unlikelihood she’d
commit another “crime.” However, the Second Circuit Appeals Court intimidated
him to comply, his own career perhaps on the line otherwise.

Please write Lynne at:
Lynne Stewart
FMC Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Ft. Worth, Texas 76127
In solidarity,
Jeff Mackler, West Coast Coordinator
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee

Write to Lynne Stewart Defense Committee at:
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216
For further information: 718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759 

Visiting Lynne:

Visiting is very liberal but first she has to get people on her visiting list;
wait til she or the lawyers let you know. The visits are FRI, SAT, SUN AND MON for 4 hours and on
weekends 8 to 3. Bring clear plastic change purse with lots of change to buy from the
machines. Brief Kiss upon arrival and departure, no touching or holding during visit (!!) On visiting
forms it may be required that you knew me before I came to prison. Not a problem for most of

Commissary Money:

Commissary Money is always welcome It is how Lynne pay for the phone and for

Also for a lot that prison doesn't supply in terms of food and "sundries"
(pens!) (A very big list that includes Raisins, Salad Dressing, ankle sox, mozzarella (definitely
not from Antonys--more like a white cheddar, Sanitas Corn Chips but no Salsa, etc. To add money,
you do this by using Western Union and a credit card by phone or you can send a USPO money
order or Business or Govt Check. The negotiable instruments (PAPER!) need to be sent to

Bureau of Prisons, 53504-054, Lynne Stewart, PO Box 474701, Des Moines Iowa

(Payable to Lynne Stewart, 53504-054) They hold the mo or checks for 15 days.

Union costs $10 but is within 2 hours. If you mail, your return address must be
on the envelope. Unnecessarily complicated? Of course, it's the BOP !)

The address of her Defense Committee is:

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216

For further information:

718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

Please make a generous contribution to her defense.


Free Mumia NOW!

Write to Mumia:

Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335

SCI Mahanoy

301 Morea Road

Frackville, PA 17932

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rachel Wolkenstein
August 21, 2011 (917) 689-4009

On August 13, 2012, without any notice and in violation of his constitutional rights and state law, Mumia Abu-Jamal was formally sentenced by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe to life imprisonment without parole. The impact of this illegal sentencing is to prevent a possible challenge to the slow death of life imprisonment. All sentences, including "mandatory" sentences, require a formal proceeding allowing the person to be sentenced the right to be heard and to challenge his sentence.

Mumia confirmed to his son Jamal and to attorney Rachel Wolkenstein during a visit with him on Sunday, August 19, 2012, that he had no prior knowledge of the re-sentencing. The record of this re-sentencing is contained in the official Court of Common Pleas Docket Sheet. In attempting to find out more details, Wolkenstein searched for the court file on August 20. But there is no file containing a record of this sentencing with the Criminal Division Court of Common Pleas Clerk. The information released so far by Elaine Rattliff, Deputy Clerk of Courts is that the sentencing followed a call from the Department of Corrections and further explanation awaits a call back from Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe.

Notably Judge Dembe is same judge who refused in 2001 to consider a legal challenge to "hanging judge" Albert Sabo's self-confessed racism and bias against Mumia during his trial and post-conviction appeals from 1995-1998. Court reporter Terri Mauer-Carter heard Sabo declare before the start of the trial, "I'm going to help them fry the n-----."

For thirty years Mumia was kept in solitary confinement on death row under a death sentence that was illegally and unconstitutionally imposed. Federal district court Judge William Yohn ruled in December 2001 that Judge Albert Sabo incorrectly and unconstitutionally instructed the jury in deciding on life or death. Despite this decision, Mumia was kept on death row, in solitary confinement for the next ten years, while the prosecution pursued two appeals in the Federal Court of Appeals and two attempts at U.S. Supreme Court rulings to uphold the death sentence. All that time, Mumia sat in solitary confinement. According to Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rappatour on Torture, solitary confinement for longer than 15 days is a form of torture! Mumia should be freed from prison, now!

This latest legal outrage comes nine months after the state conceded defeat in obtaining its desired "legal lynching" of Mumia. On December 8, 2011, Philadelphia District Attorney, Seth Williams—with the support of Maureen Faulkner, the Fraternal Order of Police and former District Attorney, Philadelphia Mayor and PA governor, Edward Rendell—announced that they were no longer seeking a death sentence for Mumia. This was their recognition that it was neither legally possible nor politically advantageous to hold a new sentencing hearing.

Mumia's 1982 trial contained violations of every single element of due process and a fair trial. But it began with framing an innocent man. Mumia was framed for a crime he did not commit. His crime in the eyes of the state is that he was and continues to be "the voice of the voiceless," a former spokesman for the Black Panther Party and continuing supporter of the MOVE organization.

In his first phone call from general population on January 28, 2012, Mumia relayed the following message to his wife, Wadiya Jamal: "My dear friends, brothers and sisters – I want to thank you for your real hard work and support. I am no longer on death row, no longer in the hole, I'm in population. This is only Part One and I thank you for the work you've done. But the struggle is for freedom!"


Police Attack Antiwar Protester

Police Brutality Against Anti War demonstrator Buffalo New York 2011
NFTA Police and anti terror task force assault anti war demonstration in Buffalo.
Nate Buckley maced while in handcuffs. His new trial date is October 16, 2012.

For updates or to donate please go to:
Sign the petition:
Watch a video of the incident:


Sign the petition for the NATO 5!
Drop all charges against the NATO 5 and all anti-NATO protesters!
Protesters are still being held in Cook County Jail in Chicago. Release them all
Sign the Petition Here:

The charges against the NATO 5 and the others are false. All these prisoners
urgently need your solidarity. Please sign our petition. Share it with your
family, friends and coworkers. Signing the petition will generate a direct email

Illinois State's Attorney Anita Alvarez
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, and
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel,
and several other public officials, demanding all charges against the NATO5
be dropped.

Email addresses for the targets

Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war
and international solidarity activists!

Our mailing address is:

Committee to Stop FBI Repression

PO Box 14183

Minneapolis, MN 55414


Tarek Mehanna - another victim of the U.S. War to Terrorize Everyone. He was
targeted because he would not spy on his Muslim community for the FBI. Under the
new NDAA indefinite military detention provision, Tarek is someone who likely
would never come to a trial, although an American citizen. His sentencing is on
April 12. There will be an appeal.

Another right we may kiss goodbye. We should not accept the verdict and continue
to fight for his release, just as we do for hero Bradley Manning, and all the
many others unjustly persecuted by our government until it is the war criminals
on trial, prosecuted by the people, and not the other way around.

Marilyn Levin

Official defense website:



(For a complete analysis of the prospects of war, click here)


"A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against
Censorship" book


Justice for Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace: Decades of isolation in Louisiana
state prisons must end

Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:\




Write to Bradley

View the new 90 second "I am Bradley Manning" video:

I am Bradley Manning

Courage to Resist

484 Lake Park Ave. #41

Oakland, CA 94610


"A Fort Leavenworth mailing address has been released for Bradley Manning:

Bradley Manning 89289

830 Sabalu Road

Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

The receptionist at the military barracks confirmed that if someone sends
Bradley Manning a letter to that address, it will be delivered to him."

This is also a Facebook event!/event.php?eid=2071005093\

Courage to Resist needs your support

Please donate today:

"Soldiers sworn oath is to defend and support the Constitution. Bradley Manning
has been defending and supporting our Constitution." --Dan Ellsberg, Pentagon
Papers whistle-blower

Jeff Paterson

Project Director, Courage to Resist

First US military service member to refuse to fight in Iraq

Please donate today.

P.S. I'm asking that you consider a contribution of $50 or more, or possibly
becoming a sustainer at $15 a month. Of course, now is also a perfect time to
make a end of year tax-deductible donation. Thanks again for your support!

Please click here to forward this to a friend who might also be interested in
supporting GI resisters.


The Battle Is Still On To


The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610


Call for EMERGENCY RESPONSE Action if Assange Indicted,

Dear Friends:

We write in haste, trying to reach as many of you as possible although the
holiday break has begun.......This plan for an urgent "The Day After"
demonstration is one we hope you and many, many more organizations will take up
as your own, and mobilize for. World Can't Wait asks you to do all you can to
spread it through list serves, Facebook, twitter, holiday gatherings.

Our proposal is very very simple, and you can use the following announcement to
mobilize - or write your own....



New Federal Building, 7th and Mission, San Francisco (nearest BART: Civic

4:00-6:00 PM on The Day FOLLOWING U.S. indictment of Assange

Demonstrations defending Wikileaks and Assange, and Brad Manning, have already
been flowering around the world. Make it happen here too. Especially here . . .

To join into this action plan, or with questions, contact World Can't Wait or
whichever organization or listserve you received this message from.

World Can't Wait, SF Bay




Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper

Chronicle Editorial

Monday, December 13, 2010

Death penalty -- Kevin Cooper is Innocent! Help save his life from San Quentin's
death row!


- From Amnesty International USA

17 December 2010

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Short Video About Al-Awda's Work

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Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected
over the past nine years.


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D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) Returning Home, but Only to Mourn
December 4, 2012

From time to time, Pedro Correa goes home. To get there, these days, he drives his red pickup down Kissam Avenue on Staten Island, pulls on some chest-high waders, steps off the road and into the adjoining marsh and starts slogging through the mire.

His one-story house was once located at 103 Kissam Avenue, on dry land. But the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy ripped it from its foundations, carried it several hundred yards into the middle of the marsh and dropped it in the muck. Its rooftop juts from the high phragmites at an awkward angle.

“You can still go in it and walk through the rooms,” Mr. Correa said. “For a second you get the sense of being home, but very quickly you get the feeling that there’s something wrong.”

Before the storm, there were about three dozen houses on Kissam Avenue, which stretches like a pointed index finger from Mill Road, in the Oakwood neighborhood, to the beach. Encompassed by wetlands, the area feels closer to the Florida Everglades than to the rest of New York City.

But the very qualities that made the place so attractive to many homeowners — its proximity to the Lower New York Bay, its quiet isolation in the whispering swale — suddenly made it vulnerable to the storm’s destructive power.

The water and wind destroyed nearly half of the homes, and flooded the rest. All that remains of about a dozen are concrete foundations and gaping cellars surrounded by blossoms of mildewed belongings.

Pieces of those pulverized homes were carried, just like Mr. Correa’s house, into the swamp to the south: porches, furniture, a swing set, a chicken coop, detached rooftops.

On the morning after the storm, some residents of the street gathered at a berm on Mill Road and looked out across the landscape of debris.

Mr. Correa was there, along with his friend, Robert Gavars. Wearing borrowed clothes, they recounted how they had been trapped in Mr. Correa’s house as the bay water engulfed it, and only made it to dry land by leaping onto the roof of a neighbor’s house that had broken from its foundations, riding it inland a few hundred yards and then swimming to safety.

“We should be dead, bro,” Mr. Correa told Mr. Gavars.

It would be another few days before the water receded enough to allow residents to discover what had become of their lives. All of the avenue’s residents have had to live in rented homes elsewhere, or with family and friends.

Some of the residents whose homes were destroyed still return every few days to sift through the detritus.

On a recent afternoon, Phyllis and Anthony Puglia were picking through the remains of their two-story home at 114 Kissam, where they had lived for 18 years. The hurt had not faded all that much.

“Look at what I lost!” Mr. Puglia hollered, gesturing broadly at the wreckage. A musician and photographer, he pointed to equipment that had once been part of a darkroom and a recording studio. “Our home exploded, man!” he yelled.

Later that afternoon, Mr. Correa ambled out of the marsh in his waders, accompanied by two insurance adjusters. They had been out to inspect his house, where he had lived with his wife and two young children.

As the adjusters wandered off to survey his property, Mr. Correa said he feared that his insurance policies had left him exposed financially.

“Every room had a TV. We were good,” he said. “Now we’re talking to bankruptcy lawyers.”

A lifelong resident of Brooklyn, Mr. Correa moved to Kissam Avenue six years ago to be closer to the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, where he worked as a correction officer until the center was closed. He now works at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.

The family embraced the neighborhood. It was quiet. Neighbors looked out for one another. “We all had keys to each other’s houses,” he said. “It was like a hidden jewel.”

But the future of the community is uncertain right now, at best.

Some, like Franca Costa of 14 Kissam Avenue, have pushed forward with rebuilding, gutting her one-story bungalow with the help of volunteers. “I’m not going anywhere,” she declared.

But others, like Mr. Puglia, have decided to leave. He has looked over a retirement community in New Jersey, he said — “three and a half miles inland and on a hill.”

There has been much speculation up and down the road about whether the state or the city might buy out some or all of the homes, and integrate the properties into the surrounding wetlands. Short of that, residents ask, can the government offer any new protection against storm surges?

Mr. Correa is almost sure he will not return. As much as he loved the place, he said, he could not see how it would be economically or emotionally feasible to stay. The sound of the ocean lapping at the shoreline at night, once soothing, would keep his family awake.

“I can’t do this again,” he said.

As he spoke, a car drove slowly by: nobody Mr. Correa knew.

“Disaster tourists,” he mumbled. On one visit to Kissam Avenue, he said, he found someone standing in what had been his backyard, taking photographs. He asked the person to leave.


2) How the Coastline Became a Place to Put the Poor
December 3, 2012

In retrospect, after the storm, it looked like a perverse stroke of urban planning. Many of New York City’s most vulnerable people had been housed in its most vulnerable places: public housing projects along the water, in areas like the Rockaways, Coney Island, Red Hook and Alphabet City.

How is it possible that the same winding, 538-mile coastline that has recently been colonized by condominium developers chasing wealthy New Yorkers, themselves chasing waterfront views, had been, for decades, a catch basin for many of the city’s poorest residents? The answer is a combination of accident, grand vision and political expedience.

New York started building housing projects on the waterfront because that’s where its poorest citizens happened to live. It continued because that’s where space was most readily available. Finally, it built them there because that’s where its projects already were.

Consider the Rockaways, the narrow spit of land in southern Queens that was so emblematic of Hurricane Sandy’s undemocratic wrath, and whose long row of oceanside towers (the Arverne, Hammel, Redfern and Edgemere developments) stand as a kind of dubious monument to a bygone era of New York City housing policy.

Projects first started to rise in the Rockaways in 1950. At the time, there was an unprecedented demand for housing, from returning veterans and blacks migrating from the South, as well as plenty of federal financing as a result of the Housing Act of 1949.

Above all, there was Robert Moses.

“Why did the Rockaways end up with so much government-financed housing? Largely because Robert Moses wanted it there,”says Robert Caro, author of “The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York.”

It’s impossible to talk about the landscape of modern New York without talking about Moses, who leveraged his position as head of the Mayor’s Committee on Slum Clearance to mass-produce thousands of units of high-rise public housing, often near the shoreline. His shadow looms over much of the havoc wreaked by the storm.

The Rockaways were irresistible to Moses. Once a popular summer resort for middle-class New Yorkers, who filled its seaside bungalows and crowded into its amusement parks, the area had fallen on hard times when cars, new roads and improved train service made the beaches of Long Island more accessible.

Never one for nostalgia, Moses saw the Rockaways as both a symbol of the past and a justification for his own aggressive approach to urban renewal, to building what he envisioned as the city of the future. “Such beaches as the Rockaways and those on Long Island and Coney Island lend themselves to summer exploitation, to honky-tonk catchpenny amusement resorts, shacks built without reference to health, sanitation, safety and decent living,” he said, making his case for refashioning the old summer resorts into year-round residential communities.

What is more, the Rockaways had plenty of land that the city could buy cheaply, or simply seize under its newly increased powers of eminent domain, swaths big enough to accommodate the enormous public-housing towers Moses intended to build as part of his “Rockaway Improvement Plan.” Though only a tiny fraction of the population of Queens lived in the Rockaways, it would soon contain more than half of its public housing.

The old summer bungalows that weren’t bulldozed in the process were repurposed as year-round housing for those uprooted by Moses’ urban renewal — derided as “negro removal,” by the writer James Baldwin — across the city. In “The Power Broker,” Caro describes a federal housing official’s shock at finding the bungalows filled in the winter, with “several shivering Negro and Puerto Rican families in each.”

Initially, there was a strict screening process to get into the Rockaways’ new projects. Over time, though, those with steady incomes were encouraged to leave, to make room for people on public assistance. To city officials, the Rockaways’ distant location made it an ideal destination for troubled families and individuals. The projects that lined the seven-mile-long peninsula were soon joined by facilities for recently deinstitutionalized mental patients and high-rise nursing homes.

“After World War II, Rockaway was essentially treated as a dumping ground,” says Lawrence Kaplan, the co-author of “Between Ocean and City: The Transformation of Rockaway, New York,” which details the area’s devolution into an outpost for the city’s neediest populations.

Today, in the aftermath of the storm, it is hard not to see the Rockaway projects as inherently flawed, doomed not only by their exposure to the storm-churned waters of the Atlantic, but by their very design. Densely populated, without any retail space, and isolated from the rest of the city, the mostly poor residents have relied on help arriving from the outside. Moses may have thought he was breaking up the city’s ghettos; in fact, he was relocating them and setting them in concrete.

Dig a little further back, though, and there is another way to look at these and the rest of New York’s projects, not as a callous solution to the city’s obligation to provide shelter for those in need, but as the product of a progressive government’s good intentions gone awry.

It was New York’s Little Flower, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who first decided that the city’s slums had to go, that all of his citizens — including “the other half,” as Jacob Riis unforgettably described the city’s poor — were entitled to clean, modern and affordable housing.

La Guardia’s gaze turned immediately to the derelict waterfront and its cold-water flats, “rotten, antiquated ratholes” that had been hastily constructed in the 19th century to accommodate the surge of European immigrants who worked predominantly on the docks, which were then bustling. The city’s first projects, on the Lower East Side, along the Harlem River and in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, were erected as part of Depression-era work relief programs.

New York’s first project to be underwritten by the United States Housing Authority, the Red Hook Houses, was built on a large patch of cheap land just blocks from what was once one of the city’s busiest port. A modest six stories tall, they were hailed in 1940 as a model of public housing, “a Versailles for the Millions,” in the words of the architecture critic Lewis Mumford. The description could not have seemed more dissonant in the aftermath of the storm, when its residents endured three weeks of Third World squalor.

Gradually, the projects grew taller and drifted farther from the city’s center, in large part thanks to Moses, who, like many urban planners of his era, believed that high-rises represented the most land-efficient and cost-effective way to house the maximum number of people.

In Coney Island, as in the Rockaways, Moses looked at a struggling seaside resort and saw an opportunity for large-scale public housing. There too, his grand improvement plans probably only accelerated the neighborhood’s decline. “From the 1940s on it was like a self-fulfilling prophecy,” says Charles Denson, the author of “Coney Island: Lost and Found.”

By the middle of the 1960s, Moses’ power was waning, and his approach to public housing — the imposition of large projects on unstable neighborhoods — had been judged a failure, both from a moral and an urban-planning perspective. But the need for low-income housing hadn’t abated, and the only areas where it was politically feasible to build it were places where projects already existed. And so more towers went up, in both the Rockaways and Coney Island.

Mayor John V. Lindsay, who took office in 1965, was determined to break this cycle, to put low-income projects in middle-class neighborhoods. He tried, memorably, in 1971 in Forest Hills, Queens, figuring that the community’s predominantly liberal Jewish population would not object to the arrival of three 24-story towers. He was wrong. The construction site was soon overrun with angry protesters.

The Forest Hills debacle more or less put an end to the construction of large-scale public housing in New York. Politicians and urban planners were moving on to a new idea, known as “ghetto rehabilitation.” The large sums required to build high-rise towers were no longer flowing from Washington, and New York City itself was on the brink of bankruptcy. The Rockaways’ last high-rise project, the Beach 41st Street Houses, were completed in 1972, Coney Island’s in 1974.

That so many huge islands of public housing still exist in New York some 40 years later makes the city something of an anomaly: The federal government has literally blown up similarly scaled public housing in cities across America, writing it off as the legacy of a badly misguided era of urban planning.

But in New York the projects have survived, outlasting first the ever-evolving policies of housing reformers, and now, Hurricane Sandy.


3) Bradley Manning Support Network
Contact: Nathan Fuller, (516) 578-2628
You can watch the first hour of the presentation on CSPAN's website:
Bradley Manning's attorney gives public speech about Wikileaks case

Last night, David Coombs, defense attorney in the WikiLeaks case, US. v. Bradley Manning, gave his first public presentation to an audience of over 100 at All Souls Church in Washington DC.  In addition to being defense attorney in one of the most controversial and important ongoing cases today, Coombs was described as being a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves having done 12 years of active duty, with 15 years experience practicing and teaching law.  Additional speakers included Emma Cape and Kevin Zeese of the Bradley Manning Support Network, Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, and Marsha Coleman-Adebayo of the National Whistleblower Center.

Mr. Coombs spoke on topics including Bradley's mistreatment at Quantico and Bradley's personality and future dreams, as well as Mr. Coombs own opinion of the military, and how having supporters worldwide inspired him and gave him hope.  Bradley Manning spent the first nine months of his pretrial incarceration in a 6x8 ft cell in solitary conditions described as "degrading and inhuman" by the UN Chief Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez. Regarding Coombs' lengthy ongoing motion to have Bradley's charges dismissed due to 'unlawful pretrial punishment,' he explained, "I’m enjoying my opportunity to cross-examine those who had Bradley Manning in those conditions for nine months"

The audience was particularly excited to hear Coombs talk about Bradley as a person.  Coombs said that Brad is one of the smartest young men he'd ever met, who does things from the heart, and relayed a conversation he had about Bradley's future goals:  "And he told me that his dream would be to go to college, go into public service, and perhaps one day, run for public office.  And I asked Brad, why would he want to do that? And he said, 'I want to make a difference. I want to make a difference in this world.'"

While Coombs acknowledged he has been intimidated facing off against a government prosecution with "unlimited resources and personnel," he relayed that actions by supporters gave him hope.  He also acknowledged the political significance of his case, "It is by far the most important military case, but it's a case that is significant for all of us," says Coombs. "We live in a country that is built on freedom of speech. We live in a country that is built on government accountability and informed citizens."  He said that Bradley is "excited" his case is finally going forward.

Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, has launched a lawsuit against the US military demanding Bradley Manning's court documents be made public.  He is available for interviews.


4) Thousands of Egyptians Protest Plan for Charter
December 4, 2012

CAIRO — Riot police officers fired brief rounds of tear gas on Tuesday night at tens of thousands of demonstrators outside the presidential palace protesting the Islamist-backed draft constitution. It was the clearest evidence yet that the new charter has only widened the divisions that have plagued Egypt since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago.

Eleven newspapers stopped publication for the day on Tuesday to protest limits on the new constitution’s protections for freedom of expression. At least three private television networks said they would go dark on Wednesday. By Tuesday night, demonstrators had also filled Tahrir Square and taken to the streets in Alexandria, Suez and several other Egyptian cities.

President Mohamed Morsi’s supporters say the constitution establishes a new democracy, not a theocracy. But while it does not impose religious rule, his opponents say, it does not preclude it, either. They say it contains major loopholes in individual liberties, could enable Muslim religious authorities to wield new influence and still leaves too much power in the hands of the president.

“It seeks to impose a one-sided religious extremist national identity, contrary to Egypt’s moderate character and openness to the world,” a coalition of secular opposition groups said Tuesday.

Still, the document promises an end to nearly two years of tumultuous transition, and the odds are against blocking its ratification in an up-or-down vote on Dec. 15, many in the opposition acknowledge. But Mr. Morsi’s opponents hope that their campaign to defeat the draft might at least narrow its margin of approval.

They hope to carry that momentum into parliamentary elections in two months, and hurt the Islamists’ chances at the polls. Last year Islamists won about three-quarters of the seats in the parliamentary elections, before a court dissolved the chamber.

Protesters turned out on Tuesday for the third day in the last two weeks to protest against Mr. Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president and a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Marchers used slogans recycled from the revolt against Mr. Mubarak against Mr. Morsi and the Islamists. “Bread, freedom and bring down the Brotherhood!” some chanted. “Shave your beard, show your disgrace, you will find that you have Mubarak’s face!”

When the crowds reached the palace around 6 p.m., they pushed briefly against police barricades, and officers responded with short volleys of tear gas. But the riot police then retreated behind the palace walls, apparently to avoid further clashes.

Two rows of riot police officers stood guard so Mr. Morsi’s motorcade could leave for his suburban home. “Coward!” they chanted. “Leave!” The crowd looted a guardhouse and covered the palace walls with graffiti mocking either Mr. Morsi, the Brotherhood, or other Islamists.

President Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, met Tuesday in Washington with his Egyptian counterpart, Essam el-Haddad, and emphasized “the need to move forward with a peaceful and inclusive transition that respects the rights of all Egyptians,” according to a White House spokesman.

The protests did not suggest widespread defections from among core Morsi supporters. The crowd appeared more affluent than those at the usual Tahrir Square protests here, to say nothing of the Islamist rallies. There was an unusually high concentration of women, especially for an event after dark, and very few traditional Islamic headscarves. Interviews suggested a heavy representation from Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, who fear marginalization under the Brotherhood.

The relative affluence of the crowd “is a good thing,” said Farid Beshay, a 29-year-old Christian. “This is not a revolt of the poor. This is people coming to demand their rights.”

The newspapers that shut down for the day said their action was aimed specifically at the draft constitution’s failure to protect free expression. “You are reading this message because Egypt Independent objects to continued restrictions on media liberties, especially after hundreds of Egyptians gave their lives for freedom and dignity,” a short statement declared Tuesday morning on the Web site of Egypt Independent, the English-language sister publication of the country’s largest independent daily, Al Masry Al Youm.

That paper and 10 others did not publish. Among other criticisms, analysts and human rights groups say the draft all but eviscerates its provisions for freedom of expression, in part by also expressly prohibiting “insults” to any living individual or to religious “prophets.”

The draft charter also stipulates that a purpose of the news media is to uphold public morality and the “true nature of the Egyptian family,” and specifies that government authorization may be required to operate a television station or a Web site.

“The protection of freedom of expression is fatally undermined by all the provisions that limit it,” said Heba Morayef, a researcher with Human Rights Watch who has studied the text. “On paper, they have not protected freedom of expression. It is designed to let the government limit those rights on the basis of ‘morality’ or the vague concept of ‘insult.’ ”

The Web site of the state newspaper Al Ahram on Tuesday reported that at least 60 of its own journalists had joined the protest marches — a sign that could be taken as a notable endorsement of the cause, or a measure of how much has already changed since Mr. Mubarak’s exit.

Mayy El Sheikh contributed reporting from Cairo, and Peter Baker from Washington.


5) For Young Latino Readers, an Image Is Missing
December 4, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — Like many of his third-grade classmates, Mario Cortez-Pacheco likes reading the “Magic Tree House” series, about a brother and a sister who take adventurous trips back in time. He also loves the popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” graphic novels.

But Mario, 8, has noticed something about these and many of the other books he encounters in his classroom at Bayard Taylor Elementary here: most of the main characters are white. “I see a lot of people that don’t have a lot of color,” he said.

Hispanic students now make up nearly a quarter of the nation’s public school enrollment, according to an analysis of census data by the Pew Hispanic Center, and are the fastest-growing segment of the school population. Yet nonwhite Latino children seldom see themselves in books written for young readers. (Dora the Explorer, who began as a cartoon character, is an outlier.)

Education experts and teachers who work with large Latino populations say that the lack of familiar images could be an obstacle as young readers work to build stamina and deepen their understanding of story elements like character motivation.

While there are exceptions, including books by Julia Alvarez, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Alma Flor Ada and Gary Soto, what is available is “not finding its way into classrooms,” said Patricia Enciso, an associate professor at Ohio State University. Books commonly read by elementary school children — those with human characters rather than talking animals or wizards — include the Junie B. Jones, Cam Jansen, Judy Moody, Stink and Big Nate series, all of which feature a white protagonist. An occasional African-American, Asian or Hispanic character may pop up in a supporting role, but these books depict a predominantly white, suburban milieu.

“Kids do have a different kind of connection when they see a character that looks like them or they experience a plot or a theme that relates to something they’ve experienced in their lives,” said Jane Fleming, an assistant professor at the Erikson Institute, a graduate school in early childhood development in Chicago.

She and Sandy Ruvalcaba Carrillo, an elementary school teacher in Chicago who works with students who speak languages other than English at home, reviewed 250 book series aimed at second to fourth graders and found just two that featured a Latino main character.

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, which compiles statistics about the race of authors and characters in children’s books published each year, found that in 2011, just over 3 percent of the 3,400 books reviewed were written by or about Latinos, a proportion that has not changed much in a decade.

As schools across the country implement the Common Core — national standards for what students should learn in English and math — many teachers are questioning whether nonwhite students are seeing themselves reflected in their reading.

For the early elementary grades, lists of suggested books contain some written by African-American authors about black characters, but few by Latino writers or featuring Hispanic characters. Now, in response to concerns registered by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others, the architects of the Common Core are developing a more diverse supplemental list. “We have really taken a careful look, and really think there is a problem,” said Susan Pimentel, one of the lead writers of the standards for English language and literacy. “We are determined to make this right.”

Black, Asian and American Indian children similarly must dig deep into bookshelves to find characters who look like them. Latino children who speak Spanish at home and arrive at school with little exposure to books in English face particular challenges. A new study being released next week by pediatricians and sociologists at the University of California shows that Latino children start school seven months behind their white peers, on average, in oral language and preliteracy skills.

“Their oral language use is going to be quite different from what they encounter in their books,” said Catherine E. Snow, a professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. “So what might seem like simple and accessible text for a standard English speaker might be puzzling for such kids.”

Hispanic children have historically underperformed non-Hispanic whites in American schools. According to 2011 data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a set of exams administered by the Department of Education, 18 percent of Hispanic fourth graders were proficient in reading, compared with 44 percent of white fourth graders.

Research on a direct link between cultural relevance in books and reading achievement at young ages is so far scant. And few academics or classroom teachers would argue that Latino children should read books only about Hispanic characters or families. But their relative absence troubles some education advocates.

“If all they read is Judy Blume or characters in the “Magic Treehouse” series who are white and go on adventures,” said Mariana Souto-Manning, an associate professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College, “they start thinking of their language or practices or familiar places and values as not belonging in school.”

At Bayard Taylor Elementary in Philadelphia, a school where three-quarters of the students are Latino, Kimberly Blake, a third-grade bilingual teacher, said she struggles to find books about Latino children that are “about normal, everyday people.” The few that are available tend to focus on stereotypes of migrant workers or on special holidays. “Our students look the way they look every single day of the year,” Ms. Blake said, “not just on Cinco de Mayo or Puerto Rican Day.”

On a recent morning, Ms. Blake read from “Amelia’s Road” by Linda Jacobs Altman, about a daughter of migrant workers. Of all the children sitting cross-legged on the rug, only Mario said that his mother had worked on farms.

Publishers say they want to find more works by Hispanic authors, and in some cases they insert Latino characters in new titles. When Simon & Schuster commissioned writers to develop a new series, “The Cupcake Diaries,” it cast one character, Mia, as a Latino girl. “We were conscious of making one of the characters Hispanic,” said Valerie Garfield, a vice president in the children’s division, “and doing it in a way that girls could identify with, but not in a way that calls it out.”

In some respects, textbook publishers like Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are ahead of trade publishers. Houghton Mifflin, which publishes reading textbooks, allocates exactly 18.6 percent of its content to works featuring Latino characters. The company says that percentage reflects student demographics.

Students should be able “to see themselves in a high-quality text,” said Jeff Byrd, senior product manager for reading at Houghton Mifflin.

But Latino education advocates and authors say they do not want schools to resort to tokenism. “My skin crawls a little when this literature is introduced because people are being righteous,” said Ms. Alvarez, the author of the “Tia Lola” series, as well as “Return to Sender.” “It should be as natural reading about these characters as white characters,” she said.

At Bayard Taylor, another third-grade teacher, Kate Cornell, said that she would love to explore more options featuring Hispanic characters. “It would be more helpful as a teacher,” she said, “to have these go-to books where I can say ‘I think you are going to like this book. This book reminds me of you.’ ”


6) Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports to Reopen After 8-Day Strike
December 5, 2012

LOS ANGELES — After an eight-day strike that crippled the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, clerical workers from a local office of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on Tuesday night agreed to a new contract with the terminal operators at the ports. Union members will return to work Wednesday morning.

As the strike dragged into its second week, both sides had come under increasing pressure from local officials to end the dispute, which had threatened to derail the Southern California economy during the holiday season. Officials from the Port of Long Beach estimated that $650 million in trade has been idled each day of the strike. A federal mediator arrived on Tuesday to help broker a deal.

“I am pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached between labor and management that will bring to an end the eight-day strike that has cost our local economy billions of dollars,” Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles said in a statement released Tuesday night. “With the strike now ending, we must waste no time in getting the nation’s busiest port complex’s operations back up to speed.”

Although only about 600 clerical workers had been participating in the strike, they managed to shut down 10 of the 14 shipping container terminals at the two ports because thousands of longshoremen from the union would not cross the picket lines.

“This victory was accomplished because of support from the entire family of 10,000 members in the harbor community,” Robert McEllrath, the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said in a statement announcing the agreement.

Neither the union nor the terminal operators offered details of the new contract agreement on Tuesday night.

Steve Getzug, a spokesman for the Harbor Employers Association, which represents the terminal operators, said the union voted on the proposal from the employers on Tuesday shortly before the federal mediator arrived. He added that the deal included “some compromise on staffing issues that were important to the employers.”

“And, importantly, a deal has been reached,” Mr. Getzug said. “The longshoremen expected to return 7 a.m., ready to get the cargo moving again.”


7) Oklahoma: Abortion Restrictions Struck Down
December 4, 2012

 Oklahoma laws that require women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound image placed in front of them while they hear a description of the fetus and that ban off-label use of certain abortion-inducing drugs are unconstitutional, the State Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. The court determined that lower court judges were right to halt the laws, which received wide bipartisan support in the Legislature.


8) Cheering U.N. Palestine Vote, Synagogue Tests Its Members
By and
December 4, 2012

Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, a large synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is known for its charismatic rabbis, its energetic and highly musical worship, and its liberal stances on social causes.

But on Friday, when its rabbis and lay leaders sent out an e-mail enthusiastically supporting the vote by the United Nations to upgrade Palestine to a nonmember observer state, the statement was more than even some of its famously liberal congregants could stomach.

“The vote at the U.N. yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world,” said the e-mail, which was sent to all congregants. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition.”

The statement, at a time when the United Nations’ vote was opposed by the governments of the United States and Israel, as well as by the leadership of many American Jewish organizations, reflected a divide among American Jews and a willingness to publicly disagree with Israel.

Clergy at several Jewish congregations have, in various ways, spoken out sympathetically about the United Nations’ vote. But B’nai Jeshurun stood out because of its size and prominence, and reaction from congregants was swift. Allan Ripp, a member, said he and his wife were appalled.

“We are just sort of in a state of shock,” he said. “It’s not as if we don’t support a two-state solution, but to say with such a warm embrace — it is like a high-five to the P.L.O., and that has left us numb.”

Other congregants, however, said it was a bold move that they welcomed.

“I thought it was very courageous of them,” said Gil Kulick, a congregant. “I think as of late there has been a reluctance to speak out on this issue,” he added, “and that’s why I was really delighted that they chose to take a strong unequivocal stand.”

American Jews have long had a vigorous, and sometimes vitriolic, debate about the positions of the Israeli government and the peace process with the Palestinians. But the tendency has been to keep critical views within the fold.

“At most times we impose a kind of discipline upon ourselves — nobody imposes it on us — particularly on a matter that the Israeli government has asked for unanimous support from the Jewish community,” said Samuel Norich, the publisher of The Forward, a Jewish affairs weekly based in New York. “When they speak out, that is rare,” Mr. Norich said of mainstream congregations.

Gary Rosenblatt, the editor and publisher of The Jewish Week, the largest-circulation Jewish newspaper in the country, said, “I think the sense of a need for a unified front in the American Jewish community is breaking down.”

In White Plains, a group of synagogues from different branches of Judaism — Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist — sent an e-mail to congregants after the United Nations’ vote expressing cautious optimism about Palestine’s new status.

“For their own reasons, most of the American Jewish organizations felt it was necessary to fall into line,” said Lester Bronstein, a rabbi at Bet Am Shalom Synagogue in White Plains and one of the signers of the letter. “I think what we said is indicative of what more and more rabbis believe, and more and more, but in trickles, are able to say it.”

The rabbis at B’nai Jeshurun — J. Rolando Matalon, Marcelo R. Bronstein and Felicia L. Sol — did not respond to requests for comment on the e-mail, which was also signed by the president of the synagogue’s board of directors and its executive director.

While its gist — that the vote could be a step toward a two-state solution and Middle East peace — was not surprising to congregants, its tone and its timing were jarring, some said.

“It’s very shocking to many of the congregants that this position was taken publicly and this e-mail was sent around,” said Eve Birnbaum, a member of the congregation for about 15 years.

“I am very dismayed, as a longstanding member of the synagogue, that the rabbis and the board would take a position that is contrary to what many members believe, contrary to the peace process,” she added.

It was not immediately clear how widespread opposition to the rabbis’ e-mail has been within the congregation, but Mr. Ripp said he had been inundated with messages from people upset about the rabbis’ statement, and some members had posted comments online and circulated e-mails expressing concern.

But others supported the action.

“The statement reflected the views of the rabbinate and the leadership,” said Scott A. Weiner, 63, a congregant. Mr. Weiner said that during the Gaza conflict, he had been among about 20 people in Israel with Rabbi Matalon, the congregation’s senior rabbi, and that the group had been forced into bomb shelters several times.

“There is an unwavering commitment of support for the State of Israel,” he said. “But just as Israeli society is multidimensional, so, too, is the congregation.”

B’nai Jeshurun, which is not affiliated with any of the major branches of Judaism, generally worships in an elaborate Moorish-style sanctuary on West 88th Street; its best-attended services, which draw several thousand people, spill over into a church nearby.

Among those attending have been Representative Jerrold L. Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat; the actress Debra Winger; the actor Rick Moranis; and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

The synagogue has attracted attention for its success at energizing a once-struggling congregation. During services, congregants are encouraged to express themselves and often clap and even dance to the music, which is at times accompanied by keyboard, congas, mandolin, flute, guitar or cello.

Lectures and events are popular not only among members, but also among young single Jews seeking social connections.

A heated debate also ensued online over an e-mail that Rabbi Sharon Brous of Los Angeles sent to her congregants during the Gaza conflict that said the Palestinian people “are also children of God, whose suffering is real and undeniable.”

Her sentiment was attacked by Rabbi Daniel Gordis, senior vice president at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, in a column for The Times of Israel.

“I wanted her to tell her community to love my family and my neighbors more than they love the people who elected Hamas and who celebrate each time a suicide bomber kills Jews,” he wrote. “Is that really too much to ask?”

Rabbi David Ingber of Romemu, another liberal synagogue on the Upper West Side, said the criticism of Rabbi Brous had helped inspire him to lead his congregants in a prayer for the children of Gaza, as well as for the Israeli people.

Still, he said, he would not go as far as sending an e-mail like the one from B’nai Jeshurun because he feared it would be divisive.

“This is the constant question among liberal, progressive Jews: what does it mean to support Israel?” he said. “Does it mean never criticizing Israel?”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 4, 2012

An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the congregation at one point. It is B’nai Jeshurun, not B’nai Jeshrun


9) Horrific Fire Revealed a Gap in Safety for Global Brands
December 6, 2012

ASHULIA, Bangladesh — The fire alarm shattered the monotony of the Tazreen Fashions factory. Hundreds of seamstresses looked up from their machines, startled. On the third floor, Shima Akhter Pakhi had been stitching hoods onto fleece jackets. Now she ran to a staircase.

But two managers were blocking the way. Ignore the alarm, they ordered. It was just a test. Back to work. A few women laughed nervously. Ms. Pakhi and other workers returned to their sewing tables. She could stitch a hood to a jacket in about 90 seconds. She arranged the fabric under her machine. Ninety seconds. Again. Ninety more seconds. She sewed six pieces, maybe seven.

Then she looked up.

Smoke was filtering up through the three staircases. Screams rose from below. The two managers had vanished. Power suddenly went out throughout the eight-story building. There was nowhere to escape. The staircases led down into the fire. Iron grilles blocked the windows. A man cowering in a fifth-floor bathroom called his mother to tell her he was about to die.

“We all panicked,” Ms. Pakhi said. “It spread so quickly. And there was no electricity. It was totally dark.”

Tazreen Fashions Ltd. operated at the beginning of the global supply chain that delivers clothes made in Bangladesh to stores in Europe and the United States. By any measure, the factory was not a safe place to work. Fire safety preparations were woefully inadequate. The building itself was under construction — even as sewing work continued inside — and mounds of flammable yarn and fabric were illegally stored on the ground floor near electrical generators.

Yet Tazreen was making clothing destined for some of the world’s top retailers. On the third floor, where firefighters later recovered 69 bodies, Ms. Pakhi was stitching sweater jackets for C&A, a European chain. On the fifth floor, workers were making Faded Glory shorts for Walmart. Ten bodies were recovered there. On the sixth floor, a man named Hashinur Rahman put down his work making True Desire lingerie for Sears and eventually helped save scores of others. Inside one factory office, labor activists found order forms and drawings for a licensee of the United States Marine Corps that makes commercial apparel with the Marines’ logo.

In all, 112 workers were killed in a blaze last month that has exposed a glaring disconnect among global clothing brands, the monitoring system used to protect workers and the factories actually filling the orders. After the fire, Walmart, Sears and other retailers made the same startling admission: They say they did not know that Tazreen Fashions was making their clothing.

But who, then, is ultimately responsible when things go so wrong?

The global apparel industry aspires to operate with accountability that extends from distant factories to retail stores. Big brands demand that factories be inspected by accredited auditing firms so that the brands can control quality and understand how, where and by whom their goods are made. If a factory does not pass muster, it is not supposed to get orders from Western customers.

Tazreen Fashions was one of many clothing factories that exist on the margins of this system. Factory bosses had been faulted for violations during inspections conducted on behalf of Walmart and at the behest of the Business Social Compliance Initiative, a European organization.

Yet Tazreen Fashions received orders anyway, slipping through the gaps in the system by delivering the low costs and quick turnarounds that buyers — and consumers — demand. C&A, the European retailer, has confirmed ordering 220,000 sweaters from the factory. But much of the factory’s business came through opaque networks of subcontracts with suppliers or local buying houses. Labor activists, combing the site of the disaster, found labels, order forms, design drawings and articles of clothing from many global brands.

Walmart and Sears have since said they fired the suppliers that subcontracted work to Tazreen Fashions. Yet some critics have questioned how a company like Walmart, one of the two biggest buyers in Bangladesh and renowned for its sophisticated global supply system, could have been unaware of the connection.

The factory’s owner, Delowar Hossain, said his managers arranged work through local middlemen. “We don’t know the buyers,” Mr. Hossain said in an interview. “The local man is important. The buyer — I don’t care.”

Bangladesh is now a garment manufacturing giant, the world’s second-leading apparel exporter, behind China, which is no longer the cheapest place to make many basic goods. Bangladesh has the lowest garment wages in the world, and many of the Tazreen factory’s victims were young rural women with little education, who earned as little as $45 a month in an industry that now accounts for $19 billion in exports.

In Bangladesh, public outrage about the fire has boiled over. An estimated 100,000 people attended the burial ceremony of 53 workers whose bodies could not be identified. Industry leaders have promised financial support for survivors and the families of the dead. The Bangladeshi government has started inspecting the country’s 4,500 garment factories; it has already found fire code violations in almost a third of the hundreds it has examined.

“Now we have to do much more,” said Mohammad Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, conceding past failures. “We have learned. We start from here.”

In the United States, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis compared the Tazreen blaze to the 1911 Triangle shirtwaist factory fire in New York, which led to sweeping reforms of American sweatshops. In Bangladesh, factory fires have been a persistent problem, with the International Labor Rights Forum saying more than 600 garment workers have died in such fires since 2005.

And even before the Tazreen blaze, outside pressure was building on Bangladesh’s garment sector to increase wages and ease restrictions on union organizing. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, along with European diplomats, has urged the government to investigate the unsolved murder of a labor organizer, Aminul Islam.

In reconstructing the deadly blaze, The New York Times interviewed more than two dozen survivors; relatives of the victims; Bangladeshi fire officials; garment factory owners and managers; auditors; and others. In the end, analysts said, the conflagration was a tragic byproduct of an industry in which global brands and retailers, encouraged by hundreds of millions of consumers around the world, are still primarily motivated by the bottom line.

“We as consumers like to be able to buy ever-greater quantities of ever-cheaper goods, every year,” said Richard M. Locke, deputy dean of the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management. “Somebody is bearing the cost of it, and we don’t want to know about it. The people bearing the cost were in this fire.”

‘Precious’ Escape Time Is Lost

Several months ago, Shima Akhter Pakhi was summoned to the sixth floor of Tazreen Fashions. Ms. Pakhi, 24, had worked at the factory for three years, and every month she sent money back to her family in rural Bangladesh. Now she earned a monthly base salary of $51, maybe $20 more with overtime. Up on the sixth floor, managers were tapping her for fire safety duty.

When Ms. Pakhi started at Tazreen, the factory had only three floors, but the owner was adding five upper floors in expectation that business would grow. The empty, unfinished sixth floor was nearly the size of a football field. Ms. Pakhi and a few other employees were handed fire extinguishers and taught to remove the pin, squeeze the handle and spray. They were also told that in the case of a fire on upper floors, employees should evacuate down the staircases in descending order from top to bottom.

“They did not tell us what we would do if the fire started on the ground floor,” Ms. Pakhi recalled.

Fire investigators say the blaze erupted on the cavernous ground floor after stacks of yarn and fabric caught fire. Had the fabric been stored in an enclosed, fireproof room, as required by law, the fire could have been contained and the workers could have escaped.

Instead, the blaze spread quickly, pushing up the staircases, along with toxic fumes from burning acrylic. Investigators discovered that few fire extinguishers had been used. And, finally, managers made a catastrophic mistake by initially dismissing the fire alarm.

“They killed time,” said Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah, the director general of Bangladesh’s national fire service. “Time was so precious, so important. But they said it was a false alarm.”

Mr. Hossain, the factory owner, said in a separate interview with Bangladeshi news media that he did not know why managers on the floor would have tried to stop employees from leaving the factory. He added that none of the gates in the staircases were locked.

Managers had been preparing the factory for inspections from buyers and staged a drill a few days before the fire, several employees said. Ms. Pakhi said managers had even displayed photographs of the fire training session on bulletin boards.

“I think they took the pictures and hung them on the board to show the buyers,” she said. “They would see the pictures and think they have trained people to fight fires. But personally, I don’t think I could fight fires with this training.”

Tazreen Fashions is part of a larger garment conglomerate, the Tuba Group, which owns at least half a dozen apparel factories in Bangladesh. Mr. Hossain said a team from Walmart’s local office conducted a compliance audit last year and faulted the factory for excessive overtime, while making no mention of fire safety or other issues. Moreover, he said, the local buying houses had also inspected and approved the factory, tantamount, he assumed, to approval from Walmart and the other global brands these middlemen represented.

Kevin Gardner, a Walmart spokesman, said the company stopped authorizing production at Tazreen “many months before the fire.” But he did not say why. Accredited outside auditors inspected the factory on Walmart’s behalf at least twice in 2011, he said. That May, auditors gave the factory an “orange” rating, meaning there were “higher-risk violations.” Three months later, the factory’s grade improved to “yellow,” meaning there were “medium-risk violations.”

Sears, in a statement, said its supplier “was not authorized” to produce goods at the Tazreen factory and that it had done so “in violation” of Sears’s rules.

But David Hasanat, the chairman of the Viyellatex Group, one of the country’s most highly regarded garment manufacturers, pointed out that global apparel retailers often depend on hundreds of factories to fill orders. Given the scale of work, retailers frequently place orders through suppliers and other middlemen who, in turn, steer work to factories that deliver low costs — a practice he said is hardly unknown to Western retailers and clothing brands. The order for Walmart’s Faded Glory shorts, documents show, was subcontracted from Simco Bangladesh Ltd., a local garment maker. “It is an open secret to allow factories to do that,” Mr. Hasanat said. “End of the day, for them it is the price that matters.”

A Friend Shouts, ‘Save Us!’

On the sixth floor, Hashinur Rahman heard the screams and rushed to a staircase. He and others had been making satiny lingerie, but they pushed past a manager and began descending into thicker and thicker smoke. Ignoring the manager would save their lives.

The factory did not have ceiling sprinklers or an outdoor fire escape. Fire officials later concluded that the two staircases on the eastern side of the building were quickly overwhelmed with fire and toxic smoke. But officials say the lone western staircase remained passable for many minutes and provided an escape route for many survivors. About 1,150 people were working that night, and all of the roughly 300 workers on the second floor managed to escape down the stairs, fire officials said.

Mr. Rahman, 32, had barely made it out of the building, along with many of his colleagues, when his cellphone rang. It was a friend who worked on the third floor. Hundreds of people were trapped.

“Save us!” the friend shouted. “Help us!”

Mr. Rahman said he ran to the narrow alley that separated the factory’s western wall from a building under construction. The gap was maybe five feet. Work crews had covered the western wall with rickety bamboo scaffolding so they could put plaster on the exterior of the still-unfinished Tazreen factory.

Mr. Rahman climbed the bamboo to a third-floor window covered with an iron grille. He leapt onto a concrete slab of the new building and found a brick. He began smashing the grille, trying to break it open. He looked inside and saw his co-workers’ desperate faces. They were in the room where samples were made and sent to buyers for final approval, and they stood on sewing tables, pulling frantically on the grille.

One seamstress, who goes by a single name, Rahima, had tried to escape the third floor by a stairwell but began choking on smoke. As the smoke thickened, Ms. Rahima said, she fell to the floor. Then people trampled her.

“When I fell down, and the people were stepping on me, I did not think I would survive,” she recalled. “But then I thought of my daughter.”

Ms. Rahima had been married to a husband who beat her. When their daughter was born five years ago, the husband fled. Ms. Rahima left her village to find work in the garment industry, which has provided an escape from grinding rural poverty for millions of women like her in Bangladesh and around the world. She moved into a rented room with her two sisters and got a job at Tazreen. In the village, Ms. Rahima’s parents cared for her daughter while she sent back money. Two days before the fire, the little girl arrived for a rare visit.

“I got my strength, and I stood up,” Ms. Rahima said. “I ran to the sample room.”

Finally, the iron grille gave way.

A few men jumped to the concrete slab of the adjacent building. Leaning against the scaffolding, they reached across the gap to help co-workers make the leap. Women went first. Ms. Rahima made it across. So did Ms. Pakhi. On other floors, people smashed open windows or tore out exhaust fans and leapt into the darkness. Some landed on the metal roofs of nearby shanties. Some landed on the ground.

And some never made it out at all.

Son Phones ‘Ma’ Before Dying

As word spread, people raced to the factory: mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and gawkers. Soon a throng stood beneath the building, their faces glowing in the cruel brilliance of the flames. Golapi Begum left her own factory job and raced to Tazreen Fashions to find her son, Palash Mian. He was 18 and worked on the fifth floor. Ms. Begum stared up at the factory and shrieked.

Then her cellphone rang. It was her son.

“Ma, I have no way to save my life,” he told her. “I cannot find any way to get out. I am in the bathroom of the fifth floor. I am wearing a black T-shirt. And I have a shirt wrapped around my waist. You will find me in the bathroom.”

He hung up. He called his father, as well as several friends. Then his phone went dead.

“I became insane,” his mother said. “I spent the whole night in front of the main gate of the factory. I was screaming all the time.”

She found him the next day. Rescuers had lined up all the recovered bodies on the grounds of a nearby school. Family members unzipped bag after bag, searching. One husband looking in vain for his young wife said the charred human remains looked like chunks of coal.

But Ms. Begum unzipped a bag and found her son. She recognized his face. And he was wearing a black T-shirt.

She collected his body and returned it to their village, where he was buried.

Julfikar Ali Manik contributed reporting from Ashulia, and Steven Greenhouse from New York.


10) Cairo Protesters Take to Streets as Opposition Rejects Dialogue
By and
December 7, 2012

CAIRO — With the country’s main political blocs locked in fierce confrontation, Egypt’s turmoil seemed likely to deepen on Friday as an opposition coalition rejected a dialogue proposed by President Mohamed Morsi and thousands of rival demonstrators poured into the streets after the noon prayer, a traditional time for protest.
 As tanks and armored cars ringed the presidential palace, news reports quoted several leaders of the opposition coalition as saying they would not join the dialogue proposed by Mr. Morsi in a speech on Thursday in which he blamed the outbreak of violence on a “fifth column.” He also vowed to proceed with a referendum on an Islamist-backed constitution that has prompted deadly street battles between his supporters and their opponents.

Mr. Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, spoke a day after the growing antagonism between his supporters and the secular opposition triggered the worst outbreak of violence between political factions here since Gamal Abdel Nasser’s coup six decades ago. By the time the fighting ended, six people were dead and hundreds were wounded.

The violence also led to resignations that rocked the government, as advisers, party members and the head of the commission overseeing the planned vote on a new constitution stepped down, citing the bloodshed.

“The National Salvation Front is not taking part in the dialogue, that is the official stance,” Ahmed Said, a member of the coalition and head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, told Reuters.

Several other prominent opposition figures, including Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said they would not participate.

In a message on Twitter, Mr. ElBaradei said the president’s offer “lacks the basics of real dialogue.”

“We are for dialogue that is not based on arm-twisting and imposing a fait accompli,” he said.

The sight of protesters on Cairo’s streets has been common since the beginnings of Egypt’s transition toward democracy that began with the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak last year.

In the latest protests, the target of the demonstrations has been the presidential palace in the wealthy suburb of Heliopolis, where protesters converged on Friday.

Since clashes there earlier this week, the elite presidential guard has ringed the palace with barbed wire, tanks and armored vehicles. After Mr. Morsi’s speech on Thursday, his opponents mocked his words and called for new demonstrations on Friday.

Some observers said the president speech echoed his predecessor, Mr. Mubarak, who always saw “hidden hands” behind public unrest. Mr. Morsi said that corrupt beneficiaries of Mr. Mubarak’s autocracy had been “hiring thugs and giving out firearms, and the time has come for them to be punished and penalized by the law.” He added, “It is my duty to defend the homeland.”

Mr. Morsi received a phone call on Thursday from President Obama, who expressed his “deep concern” about the deaths and injuries, the White House said in a statement.

“The president emphasized that all political leaders in Egypt should make clear to their supporters that violence is unacceptable,” the statement said, chastising Mr. Morsi and the opposition leaders as failing to urge their supporters to pull back during the fight.

Prospects for a political solution also seemed a casualty, as both sides effectively refused to back down on core demands.

The opposition leadership refused to negotiate until Mr. Morsi withdrew a decree that put his judgments beyond judicial review until the referendum — which he refused to do. And it demanded that the referendum be canceled, which he also refused.

The hostilities have threatened to undermine the legitimacy of the constitutional referendum with concerns about political coercion. The feasibility of holding the vote also appears uncertain amid attacks on Brotherhood offices around the country and open street fighting in the shadow of the presidential palace.

Though Mr. Morsi spoke of opening a door for dialogue and compromise, leaders of the opposition and the thousands of protesters surrounding his palace dismissed his conspiratorial saber rattling as an echo of Mr. Mubarak. And his tone, after violence many here view as a national tragedy, seemed only to widen the gulf between his Islamist supporters and their secular opponents over his efforts to push through the referendum on an Islamist-backed charter approved over the objections of other factions and the Coptic Christian church.

Outside the palace, demonstrators huddled around car radios to listen to Mr. Morsi’s words and mocked his efforts to blame outside infiltrators for the violence, which began when thousands of his Islamist supporters rousted an opposition sit-in.

“So we are the ones who attacked him, the ones who attacked the sit-in?” one protester asked sarcastically. “So we are the ones with the swords and weapons and money?” asked another.

Some left for the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, where a mob had broken in, looted offices, and made a bonfire out of the belongings of the group’s spiritual leader — until riot police officers chased them away with tear gas.

“I never thought I would say this, but even Mubarak was more savvy when he spoke in a time of crisis,” said Hossam Bahgat, executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

The director of state broadcasting resigned Thursday, as did Rafik Habib, a Christian who was the vice president of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the party’s favorite example of its commitment to tolerance and pluralism. Their departures followed an announcement Wednesday by Zaghoul el-Balshi, the new general secretary of the commission overseeing the planned constitutional referendum, that he was quitting. “I will not participate in a referendum that spills Egyptian blood,” Mr. Balshi said.

Mr. Morsi’s speech, previously set for 6 p.m. here and delayed for several hours, was his first effort to address the night of deadly violence and the underlying crisis set off by his Nov. 22 decree putting his own edicts above the review of any court until the ratification of a new constitution. He had said he needed those powers to protect the constitutional assembly and planned referendum. He has also said he wanted to head off interference by a counterrevolutionary conspiracy of corrupt businessmen and foreign enemies, cynical opposition leaders willing to derail democracy rather than let Islamists win elections, and the Mubarak-appointed judges who had already dissolved an earlier assembly and the democratically elected Parliament.

Each side of the political battle is now convinced that it faces an imminent coup. Secular groups believe Mr. Morsi is forcing through a constitution that will ultimately allow Islamist groups and religious leaders to wield new power. And the demands to stop the referendum have convinced Islamists that their secular opponents seek to abort the new democracy.

Advisers to Mr. Morsi say he has sought for days to find a way to reach out to his critics and resolve the building tension. In his speech, he offered to withdraw an article of his recent decree whose Orwellian language giving him ill-defined powers to protect the revolution had unnerved his opponents. He invited opposition and youth leaders to join him for a meeting at his palace at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday to try to hammer out some compromise, suggesting certain elements of the draft charter might be revised. And he declared that even if the constitution failed he would relinquish his emergency powers at the referendum on Dec. 15.

But opposition leaders dismissed his offers as all but meaningless. Their main objection to Mr. Morsi’s decree is the more essential article removing the judicial check on his power. They said that his proposed dialogue would take place on the first day of overseas voting on the new constitution, giving the meeting little chance of changing the text or the schedule. And the text of the draft constitution, if approved as expected, would already end his emergency powers.

Mr. ElBaradei, the former diplomat now acting as coordinator of the secular opposition, said Mr. Morsi’s refusal to postpone the referendum until there was consensus on a new constitution had “closed the door to any dialogue.” He argued that the Morsi government’s failure to stop the previous night’s bloodshed had “made the authority lose its legitimacy.”

Nadine Sherif of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said in a statement: “President Morsi had a choice to either bring the country together or tear it apart. Today it seems clear that he has made his decision and civil war seems looming.”

David D. Kirkpatrick reported from Cairo, and Alan Cowell from London. Two employees of The New York Times contributed reporting from Cairo.


11) Strong Quake Hits Off Japan Near Fukushima
December 7, 2012

TOKYO (Reuters) - A strong quake centered off northeastern Japan shook buildings as far away as Tokyo on Friday and triggered a one-meter tsunami in an area devastated by last year's Fukushima disaster, but there were no reports of deaths or serious damage.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and thousands of coastal residents were ordered to evacuate to higher ground, but the tsunami warning was lifted two hours after the tremor struck.

The March 2011 earthquake and following tsunami killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years when the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant was destroyed, leaking radiation into the sea and air.

Workers at the plant were ordered to move to safety after Friday's quake. Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, reported no irregularities at its nuclear plants.

All but two of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors have been idled since the Fukushima disaster as the government reviews safety.

The quake measured a "lower 5" in Miyagi prefecture on Japan's scale of one to seven, meaning there might be some damage to roads and houses that are less quake resistant.

The scale measures the amount of shaking and in that sense gives a better idea of possible damage than the magnitude. The quake registered a 4 in Tokyo

The one-meter tsunami hit at Ishinomaki, in Miyagi, at the centre of the devastation from the March 2011 disaster. All Miyagi trains halted operations and Sendai airport, which was flooded by the tsunami last year, closed its runway.

Five people in the prefecture were slightly injured.

"I was in the centre of the city the very moment the earthquake struck. I immediately jumped into the car and started running away towards the mountains. I'm still hiding inside the car," said Ishinomaki resident Chikako Iwai.

"...I have the radio on and they say the cars are still stuck in the traffic. I'm planning to stay here for the next couple of hours."

There are vast areas of Ishinomaki that still have not been cleaned up since last year's tsunami. Many houses lie in ruins, full of rubble. Workers by the shore still sort through thousands of cars that were swamped and destroyed. The cars are piled up and being taken apart for parts and scrap.


Narita airport outside Tokyo was back in action after a brief closure for safety checks. There were small tsunamis, measuring in the centimeters, elsewhere near the epicenter.

Last year's quake, which measured 9.0, triggered fuel-rod meltdowns at Fukushima, causing radiation leakage, contamination of food and water and mass evacuations. Much of the area is still deserted.

The government declared in December that the disaster was under control.

"Citizens are now escaping to designated evacuation centers and moving to places on higher ground," office worker Naoki Ara said in Soma, 30 km (18 miles) from the Fukushima-Daiichi plant.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda cancelled campaigning in Tokyo ahead of a December 16 election and was on his way back to his office, but there was no immediate plan to hold a special cabinet meeting.

Public spending on quake-proofing buildings is a big election issue.

Japanese were posting photos of their TV screens with tsunami warnings on Facebook, asking each other whether they're safe, confirming their whereabouts.

"It shook for a long time here in Tokyo, are you guys all right?" posted Eriko Hamada, enquiring about the safety of her friends.

Phone lines were overloaded and it was difficult to contact residents of Miyagi.

"Owing to the recent earthquake, phone lines are very busy, please try again later," the operator said.

The yen rose against the dollar and the euro on the news, triggering some safe-haven inflows into the Japanese currency.

Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, with a tremor occurring at least every five minutes.

Located in the "Ring of Fire" arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches partly encircling the Pacific Basin, the country accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater.

Tokyo, with a population of 12 million, sits on the junction of four tectonic plates: the Eurasian, North American, Philippine and Pacific. The sudden bending or breaking of any plate can trigger an earthquake.

(Additional reporting by Tomasz Janowski, Leika Kihara and Aaron Sheldrick; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Ken Wills)


12) Administration Weighs Legal Action Against States That Legalized Marijuana Use
December 6, 2012

WASHINGTON — Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in those states, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.

Even as marijuana legalization supporters are celebrating their victories in the two states, the Obama administration has been holding high-level meetings since the election to debate the response of federal law enforcement agencies to the decriminalization efforts.

Marijuana use in both states continues to be illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. One option is to sue the states on the grounds that any effort to regulate marijuana is pre-empted by federal law. Should the Justice Department prevail, it would raise the possibility of striking down the entire initiatives on the theory that voters would not have approved legalizing the drug without tight regulations and licensing similar to controls on hard alcohol.

Some law enforcement officials, alarmed at the prospect that marijuana users in both states could get used to flouting federal law openly, are said to be pushing for a stern response. But such a response would raise political complications for President Obama because marijuana legalization is popular among liberal Democrats who just turned out to re-elect him.

“It’s a sticky wicket for Obama,” said Bruce Buchanan, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin, saying any aggressive move on such a high-profile question would be seen as “a slap in the face to his base right after they’ve just handed him a chance to realize his presidential dreams.”

Federal officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Several cautioned that the issue had raised complex legal and policy considerations — including enforcement priorities, litigation strategy and the impact of international antidrug treaties — that remain unresolved, and that no decision was imminent.

The Obama administration declined to comment on the deliberations, but pointed to a statement the Justice Department issued on Wednesday — the day before the initiative took effect in Washington — in the name of the United States attorney in Seattle, Jenny A. Durkan. She warned Washington residents that the drug remained illegal.

“In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance,” she said. “Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6 in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.”

Ms. Durkan’s statement also hinted at the deliberations behind closed doors, saying: “The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington State. The department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.”

Federal officials have relied on their more numerous state and local counterparts to handle smaller marijuana cases. In reviewing how to respond to the new gap, the interagency task force — which includes Justice Department headquarters, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the State Department and the offices of the White House Counsel and the director of National Drug Control Policy — is considering several strategies, officials said.

One option is for federal prosecutors to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with, waiting for a defendant to make a motion to dismiss the case because the drug is now legal in that state. The department could then obtain a court ruling that federal law trumps the state one.

A more aggressive option is for the Justice Department to file lawsuits against the states to prevent them from setting up systems to regulate and tax marijuana, as the initiatives contemplated. If a court agrees that such regulations are pre-empted by federal ones, it will open the door to a broader ruling about whether the regulatory provisions can be “severed” from those eliminating state prohibitions — or whether the entire initiatives must be struck down.

Another potential avenue would be to cut off federal grants to the states unless their legislatures restored antimarijuana laws, said Gregory Katsas, who led the civil division of the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration.

Mr. Katsas said he was skeptical that a pre-emption lawsuit would succeed. He said he was also skeptical that it was necessary, since the federal government could prosecute marijuana cases in those states regardless of whether the states regulated the drug.

Still, federal resources are limited. Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued a policy for handling states that have legalized medical marijuana. It says federal officials should generally not use their limited resources to go after small-time users, but should for large-scale trafficking organizations. The result has been more federal raids on dispensaries than many liberals had expected.


13) Unused Pills Raise Issue of Disposal and Risks
December 6, 2012

Brand name drug makers and their generic counterparts rarely find themselves on the same side of an issue, but now they are making an exception. They have teamed up to fight a local law in California, the first in the nation, that makes them responsible for running — and paying for — a program that would allow consumers to turn in unused medicines for proper disposal.

Such so-called drug take-back programs are gaining in popularity because of a growing realization that those leftover pills in your medicine cabinet are a potential threat to public health and the environment.

Small children might accidentally swallow them and teenagers will experiment with them, advocates of the laws say. Prescription drug abusers can, and are, breaking into homes in search of them. Unused pills are sometimes flushed down the toilet, so pharmaceuticals are now polluting waterways and even drinking water. One study found the antidepressant Prozac in the brains of fish.

Most such take-back programs are run by local or other government agencies. But increasingly there are calls to make the pharmaceutical industry pay.

“We feel the industry that profits from the sales of these products should have the financial responsibility for proper management and disposal,” said Miriam Gordon, California director of Clean Water Action, an advocacy group.

In July, Alameda County, Calif., which includes Oakland and Berkeley, became the first locality to enact such a requirement. Drug companies have to submit plans for accomplishing it by July 1, 2013.

But the industry plans to file a lawsuit in United States District Court in Oakland on Friday, hoping to have the law struck down. The suit is being filed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, which represents brand-name drug companies, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

James M. Spears, general counsel of PhRMA, said the Alameda ordinance violated the Constitution in that a local government was interfering with interstate commerce, a right reserved for Congress.

“They are telling a company in New Jersey that you have to come in and design and implement and pay for a municipal service in California,” he said in an interview.

“This program is one where the cost is shifted to companies and individuals who are not located in Alameda County and who won’t be served by it.”

Mr. Spears, who is known as Mit, said that the program would cost millions of dollars a year to run and that pharmaceutical companies were “not in the waste disposal business.” He said it would be best left to sanitation departments and law enforcement agencies, which must be involved if narcotics, like pain pills, were to be transported.

Nathan A. Miley, the president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the champion of the legislation, said late Thursday, “It’s just unfortunate that PhRMA would fight this because it would be pennies for them.”

“We will win legally and will win in the court of public opinion as well,” Mr. Miley said.

The battle in Alameda could set the direction for other states and localities. Legislators in seven states have introduced bills to require drug companies to pay for take-back programs in the last few years, said Scott Cassel, founder and chief executive of the Product Stewardship Institute, a nonprofit group that advocates such programs. But none of the bills have passed.

Mr. Cassel said about 70 similar “extended producer responsibility” laws have been enacted in 32 states for other products, like electronic devices, mercury-containing thermometers, fluorescent lamps, paint and batteries. He said he was not aware that any had been struck down on constitutional grounds.

The pharmaceutical industry already pays for take-back programs in some other countries. The law in Alameda is modeled partly on the system in British Columbia and two other Canadian provinces. There, the industry formed the Post-Consumer Pharmaceutical Stewardship Association, which runs the programs.

Consumers can take unused drugs back to pharmacies, from which they are periodically collected. Drug companies pay for the program in proportion to their market share, said Ginette Vanasse, executive director of the association. The program for British Columbia, with a population over four million, costs about $500,000 a year, she said.

The extent of the problem of unused pills and how best to handle them are matters of debate.

The United States Geological Survey has found various drugs, including antidepressants, antibiotics, heart medicines and hormones, in waterways it has sampled. Sewage treatment plants and drinking water treatment plants are not meant to remove pharmaceuticals.

Still, it is not known what effect the chemicals might have. “It’s a hard-to-pin-down problem,” said Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group. It is thought that trace amounts in drinking water are probably not harmful. But larger amounts found in wastewater could be having an impact on wildlife.

It is also unclear whether take-back programs will help. Experts generally agree that the bigger source of pollution is urine and feces containing the remnants of drugs that are ingested, not the unused pills flushed down the toilet.

PhRMA also argues that take-back programs will not help much with the problem of drug abuse either. Mr. Spears said that it was better to have consumers tie up unused pills in a plastic bag and throw them in the trash. That is more effective, he said, because people would not have to travel to a collection point. Such collection points could become targets for thieves and drug abusers.


14) High Above the Floods, Still Feeling a Storm’s Sting
December 7, 2012

Get to higher ground — a warning implicit in calls to evacuate waterside pockets of New York City as Hurricane Sandy bore down. In an apartment on the 19th floor of Building 1 in Ocean Village, a complex of tattered low-income housing in the Arverne section of Far Rockaway, Queens, Luther Houston thought he was doing just that.

Hunkered down on the top floor of the building, there was less need to evacuate, he thought, the roiling ocean visible beyond the window. The sea might rise — but 19 stories? Above the fray and foam, as the storm descended, he felt secure.

Then, he says, he felt the building sway.

The endless stream of devastating images after the hurricane — low-slung bungalows washed from their foundations, mud-sluiced sitting rooms, the contents of entire homes bogged with seawater and junked on the curb — have one thing in common: the destruction was ground-level, in the sea’s path. But that was just the most visible form of the tumult that enveloped lives in the storm’s wake.

Above, on the upper floors of Ocean Village and some of the other towering apartment complexes that dot the city’s seashore, like the even-taller Sand Castle, just east on Seagirt Boulevard, buildings shook in the wind.

That night, residents who had felt safe on high plunged into darkness; a month bereft of elevators, toilets and heat followed. Today some, but not all, of those totems of modern life have slowly returned, but for many, a sense of stability is still elusive.

“The 19th floor, sometimes it has its advantages: you look out, in the night, it’s really pretty,” said Nilejawel Stora, 18, who is Mr. Houston’s niece. “But when you’re stuck up here for days and you just look outside and feel like a prisoner.”

(Mr. Houston, 43, and on disability, lives in the one-bedroom apartment his sister shares with her husband. Her two teenage children live elsewhere but often stay over. His sister declined to give her name or to be interviewed.)

The windowless, cavelike staircase terrified Ms. Stora.

“You can’t see, you don’t know what direction you’re in, you don’t know what floor,” she said.

Ms. Stora has asthma; a trip up 19 flights could require 38 stops, she said — to catch her breath every half-flight.

In the dark, the already hazardous complex devolved into sporadic crime. The courtyard bodega was ravaged days after the power went out, the cigarillos and rolling papers behind the register snatched up and the store’s safe spirited away, employees said. Last week, a 28-year-old man was fatally shot on the sixth floor of another building in the complex, according to the police.

Rumors of break-ins cemented the family’s decision to stay and protect their belongings, even as other residents were leaving.

Ms. Stora would climb the stairs in total silence, she said, arched with fear. “I was scared to even talk, because I didn’t want anybody to think I was in the staircase,” she said. “I was scared somebody might try and jump out and rape me.”

The blackness shrunk the cramped apartment even further.

A misplaced cellphone in the darkness could set off a vicious quarrel. “I was very aggravated with my family, I was yelling a lot,” Mr. Houston said. “The dark is no good.”

In powerless refrigerators, food did not keep. The building smelled of rot. Local grocery stores were shut, their own wares spoiling. Sometimes a volunteer would show up with a meal. The pipes dry, the toilet became a bucket lined with a bag, hastily run to the incinerator in the hall. “It made us feel nasty,” Mr. Houston said.

Two weeks ago, giant generators re-energized the dead buildings, to a degree. The lights flicker, and residents fear getting stuck in the elevator when the power goes out several times a day.

On an afternoon last week, Mr. Houston exclaimed with joy at the gurgle of once-again running water, and leapt to do dishes. But the pipes were still fickle, Ms. Stora said: “I’m playing Russian roulette with the shower.”

There is a crack lacing through the living room window with the to-die-for view of the sea, where a hurricane-propelled rock appears to have flown up 19 floors and smacked it as a pebble hits a windshield. “You might have a beautiful view at night, but it’s not worth it,” Mr. Houston said of upper-floor living. “Because if something goes wrong, you’re messed up.”

Five years ago, Mr. Houston said, when his sister moved to the Ocean Village penthouse — though it is unlike the popular conception of the term in almost every respect, with its grime-ridden hallways, molding walls and staircase strewed with cigarette butts — it was a refuge from a period in her life spent cycling through homeless shelters.

After the storm, it no longer feels that way.

“It’s not, ‘O.K., the lights are on, we’re good,’ ” his niece said. “Because it’s not a guarantee that it’s going to stay on.” She was lying on her bed, the curtain drawn against the cracked ocean view.

“Right now,” she said, “this isn’t feeling like I’m home.”


15) New York State Is Sued Over Use of Isolation in Its Prisons
December 6, 2012

Excessive tobacco. Unauthorized jewelry. An untidy cell. Those were among the nonviolent infractions by prisoners in New York State that led to extended stays in solitary confinement, a widespread punishment for prison offenses, according to a lawsuit the New York Civil Liberties Union filed on Thursday.

The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, names Brian Fischer, the state’s corrections commissioner, and several other prison officials. It challenges policies that give corrections officers wide discretion in imposing isolation and says a disproportionate number of black prisoners are punished. The organization also says the isolation causes physiological and psychological damage.

The plaintiff, Leroy Peoples, spent two periods in isolation, totaling more than two years. One was for possessing dietary supplement pills and the other was for filing false liens against members of the Queens district attorney’s office who handled his prosecution, the suit says.

“Mr. Peoples’s experience in S.H.U. was psychological torture,” the suit says, referring to the segregated housing unit. The barren, elevator-size isolation cells cut off the inmates from almost all human contact. They leave for no more than an hour a day to exercise in concrete pens. Sometimes two inmates are put in the tiny cells together.

Mr. Peoples, who is from Jamaica, Queens, was convicted of two first-degree rapes in 2005 and sentenced to 13 to 16 years in prison. He is currently at the Attica state prison.

A spokesman for the Corrections Department declined to respond to the allegations, citing a policy against discussing current litigation. In October, Commissioner Fischer released a statement in response to the N.Y.C.L.U. report, “Boxed In,” whose findings served as the foundation for the lawsuit.

“If we fail to protect everyone in our facilities, we fail to maintain the task that has been placed in our trust,” Mr. Fischer said. “The use of disciplinary segregation is important to the overall well-being of any of our prisons.”

The suit is one in a string around the country seeking to curb the use of isolation cells as cruel and unusual. A class-action suit was filed on behalf of prisoners who spent 10 years or more in isolation at Pelican Bay State Prison in California. Mississippi reduced the use of solitary cells after a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

A spokesman for the New York department said that a review of the use of solitary cells was continuing.


16) Instant View: Consumer Confidence Plunges in December
December 7, 2012

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans' outlook on the economy and their finances took for turn for the worst in early December due likely to anxiety about higher taxes from the budget stalemate in Washington, a survey released on Friday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading in the overall index on consumer sentiment plunged to 74.5 in early December, the lowest level since August.

It was far below November's figure of 82.7 and the median forecast of 82.4 among economists polled by Reuters.



"It's a disappointing and surprising number. A very large plunge. It looks similar to what was going on in the summer of 2011 when the debt ceiling crisis was reaching a fever pitch. And it looks like this might be what is going on here.

"Consumers' views about their present situation are not getting worse, but they are more pessimistic about the future. There's a lot of uncertainty going forward."


"Consumer Confidence dropped to its lowest level since August, unexpectedly falling to 74.5 versus 82.0 consensus and 82.7 in November.

"Overall, a weaker release with inflation forecasts creeping higher. Treasuries are doing very little with the release, retaining the weakness seen in the wake of the higher-than-expect non-farm payrolls release this morning."


"As you know the number is very disappointing, it reversed all the gains of the last few months. We're now well below 80 again, not a good sign. It maybe a sign that the average American is at least implicitly seeing the worries of the fiscal cliff so the only good thing from the number is, it might persuade our friends in the Beltway to get in gear."

"The market is going to act as if it is, and take this as the first tangible sign that the cliff is affecting household attitudes.

"The Federal Reserve analyzes this report to death, they are going to be very, very concerned. That's going to be a big discussion point at their meeting next week."


"It seems that the average household is now paying attention to the fiscal cliff and that is the key takeaway from this report. In recent months it surprisingly held up well even with the fiscal cliff headlines, but with the media picking up on the fiscal cliff even more people are now paying attention to it and the pullback in confidence is a reflection of that."


STOCKS: U.S. stocks pare gains

BONDS: U.S. bond prices slightly cut losses

(Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)


17) Chávez Says His Cancer Has Returned and Names His Successor
December 8, 2012

ORURO, Bolivia — President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela announced Saturday in Caracas that he would have to undergo another operation for cancer, and he designated his vice president, Nicolás Maduro, as his successor if he should prove unable to continue to lead the country.

Mr. Chávez, appearing somber and contemplative, made the announcement in a televised address from the presidential palace. Mr. Maduro sat to his left, and several other cabinet members were also present.

It was the first time that Mr. Chávez had said publicly whom he wanted as his successor. Mr. Chávez said that he would fly to Havana on Sunday for the operation. The announcement came just weeks after he was elected to a new six-year term, beginning in early January.

He said Saturday that tests immediately after his re-election found no cancer. But he said he later experienced swelling and pain. He went to Cuba on Nov. 27 for what the government said was hyperbaric treatment meant to aid in healing.

Exhaustive tests at the time found “some malignant cells,” Mr. Chávez said.

“With the favor of God, as on the previous occasions, we will be victorious,” he added.

But he acknowledged the possibility that he may not be able to continue as president or begin his new term. If he is unable to do so, the Constitution says that new elections would have to be called within 30 days.

In that case, he said, “my strong opinion, as clear as the full moon, irrevocable, absolute, total” is that “you should elect Nicolás Maduro” as the new president.

“I ask it from my heart,” he added.

Mr. Chávez said that he was in a significant amount of pain and that his doctors had urged him to have the operation no later than Friday, but he had insisted on postponing it so that he could return briefly from Cuba, where he had been undergoing medical treatment. He flew back to Caracas on Friday.

Mr. Chávez first received a cancer diagnosis in June 2011. He had surgery and chemotherapy, but in February he said the cancer had returned. He then had another operation, followed by radiation treatment.

He has refused to say what kind of cancer he has, or exactly where in his body it had appeared.

Mr. Maduro is a former bus driver and legislator who has served for years as Venezuela’s foreign minister.