Monday, April 22, 2013


Central Park Five documentary can be watched online:



Stop the media blackout on Bradley Manning’s trial!

Despite the unprecedented and historic nature of Army whistleblower Bradley Manning’s trial, journalists have thus far been banned from recording the proceedings. Because Americans more commonly get their news through television than from any other media source, this presents a major barrier to the American public staying informed on a trial that will profoundly affect the future of our country.

It’s outrageous that the American public is being denied the right to view the trial of U.S. vs. Bradley Manning.  Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was appointed by President Obama to ensure civilian oversight of the U.S. military.

Sign our petition demanding that he ensure journalists can record Bradley Manning’s court martial proceedings!  When you sign our petition, our e-mail system will send a message on your behalf to the office of Secretary of Defense.

The petition:

"According to the PEW research institute, Americans get most of their news on television.  United States vs. Bradley Manning is one of the most important trials in America today, and covers such fundamental issues as the American public’s right to know what government officials do in our name with our resources, and whether our military is following international human rights law. 

"The judge has determined that most of the proceedings are safe for the public to attend, and so it’s outrageous that journalists are not being allowed to record this historic trial in order that Americans everywhere can stay informed of what happens in the courtroom.

"As the Presidentially appointed office responsible for civilian oversight of the U.S. military, the Secretary of Defense should take responsible for ensuring that these proceedings are accorded as high level of public accessibility as befits the historic and unprecedented nature of the proceedings themselves. 

"We therefore call upon Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to act immediately to ensure journalists may use electronic recording in the press room."

Freedom of the Press Foundation Publishes Leaked Audio of Bradley Manning’s Statement


Want to flashmob for WikiLeaker Bradley Manning?

Some San Francisco activists and all-around fun folks are organizing a flash mob on Saturday, June 1st, an International Day of Action for whistle-blower Bradley Manning before his court martial begins.  And we want YOU to join us!

Wondering what a "flash mob" is?  (

Our flash mob, which we view as a creative way to bring public attention to the plight of Bradley Manning, will consist of people in military-style jackets saluting, then removing the jackets to reveal "Free Bradley Manning" t-shirts while dancing to Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us."

The dance comes from: but will be easier and shorter (sans Drill). If you don't know the dance, we're going to teach you! We don't care if you 'dance' or not. Practice will be on all Mondays leading up to the day of action.

Practice times: Mondays, 7:45 - 9:30pm, starting now. This Monday (April 22nd) we'll start from the beginning of the dance, and teach the first half.
Practice location: Feintech room @ ODC (351 Shotwell b/w 17th & 18th Streets in the Mission)

Instructional videos:
Full speed (we're skipping Drill, so start at 1:10):

Please RSVP to join our practices on facebook:

Hasta la victoria! (See you Monday.)
Leez, Emma and Mariko



Petition to Free Lynne Stewart: Save Her Life - Release Her Now!
Urgent: Please sign the petition for compassionate release for Lynne Stewart

Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent this Cri de Coeur: “It is devastating, totally unbelievable. Is this in a democracy, the only superpower? I am sad. I will sign. Praying God’s blessings on yr efforts.”
+Desmond Tutu

Pete Seeger declared: “Lynn Stewart should be outa jail!” on a postcard signed “old Pete Seeger” accompanied by a drawing of his banjo.

Your outpouring of support has lifted Lynne’s spirits as she undergoes the ravaging effects of chemotherapy. On March 20, she sent this message to each and every one of you from her seven-person cell in the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, Texas:

“I want you, individually, to know how gratified and happy it makes me to have your support. It is uplifting, to say the least, and after a lifetime of organizing it proves once again that the People can rise.

“The acknowledgement of the life-political, and solutions brought about by group unity and support, is important to all of us. Equally, so is the courage to sign on to a demand for a person whom the Government has branded with the ‘T’ word — Terrorist. Understanding that the attack on me is a subterfuge for an attack on all lawyers who advocate without fear of Government displeasure, with intellectual honesty guided by their knowledge and their client’s desire for his or her case, I hope our effort can be a crack in the American bastion. Thank you.” — Lynne

A Call to Action from Ed Asner:

Ed Asner, as committed to the struggle for social justice as he is to his acting career, issued a call to action on April 13, days before the April 19 anniversary of the 1776 battles of Concord and Lexington: “The fight to free Lynne Stewart is a front-line battle for basic rights secured through the American Revolution and is a measure of our will to reclaim a land of the free in the home of the brave.”

Asner joins noted celebrities, lawyers, activists and people from all walks of life in the worldwide petition effort to compel the Bureau of Prisons to meet its legal obligation to file a motion for compassionate release for Lynne Stewart.

We are 9,000 and counting! We can see the difference that our efforts make: as the Center for Constitutional Rights features the petition on its Facebook page, as individuals contact people they know, as journalists publish articles and conduct radio interviews, as organizations sponsor and reach out to their members. Now, let us ramp up our efforts – contact five more people this week and ask them to contact another five. The Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice are on notice: people of conscience worldwide are concerned and will continue to press on until Lynne Stewart is freed.

Visit the Justice for Lynne Stewart website for the full text of the declarations from Ed Asner and Dick Gregory and for the list of signers up to April 10.

Free Lynne Stewart! — A Call to Action from Ed Asner, April 13, 2013

Given the enormous good that Lynne Stewart has done for humanity throughout her life as a courageous lawyer for the poor, the oppressed and the unjustly accused, I am shocked by the cynical perversity of a government that has pursued her savagely and vengefully.

Lynne Stewart's treatment by the government has been demonic. Prevented from scheduled surgery, her breast cancer spread to her lymph nodes, bones and lungs. Denied proper medical treatment, she has been bound with 10 pounds of shackles and chains, even when in a hospital bed.

In tormenting Lynne Stewart the government seeks to terrorize all lawyers who would defend those targeted by State repression. The treatment of Lynne Stewart is a threat to due process, an assault on fundamental rights that date to Magna Carta.

Lynne Stewart must be free. The law requires her compassionate release and the medical care that can save her life. We must deny the State a death sentence aimed at the freedom of us all.

The State power that torments Lynne Stewart invades countries at will, murders hundreds of thousands with impunity and creates a climate of fear and repression to prevent the people of this country from calling those in power to account.

The fight to free Lynne Stewart is a front-line battle for basic rights secured through the American revolution and is a measure of our will to reclaim a land of the free in the home of the brave.

For more information on the petition campaign launched by Lynne Stewart's husband Ralph Poynter and Family, Contact Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone @ 707.552.9992;

Check out the Justice for Lynne Stewart website to view the signatories (up to 03/31/13), comments from signers, the postcard from Pete Seeger, and much more.

Remind your friends to sign the petition and to disseminate it to others. Ask each person to get five people to sign, and each of those five to ask five people of their own. In five stages, you will have reached another 3,000 people! Sign the petition at:
Let the struggle spread far and wide!

Lynne's letter to Archbishop Desmond Tutu in response to his support:
03/26/13 9:40 am

My dear honorable Desmond Tutu:

I hardly know how to address you for while we have never met face to face we are bonded as only those who fight for the rights and justice of humanity can be. As my husband and I are activists of many years and struggles, we can claim this lovely unity with you harking back to Nelson Mandela at Robbin Island, the original ANC and before. While I know you are still engaged in helping South Africa reach the highest level of the expectations of freedom, I am most pleased and amazed that you have taken the time to support my efforts against the US prison system.

I have now been in jail as a political prisoner since 2009, but only recently been diagnosed with fatal cancer. The "mechanism" in the US law that allows "compassionate release" is so infrequently utilized that the New York Times did an editorial criticizing the system.  Anytime the key to the jailhouse is placed in the hands of uncaring bureaucrats, freedom is at stake. Having been informed that their "rule" is that one must have death in the room--a prognosis of a year or less, to be considered, once again forces me to don my armor and do battle---not just for me but for all the millions of prisoners who do not receive the consideration that they deserve.  It is a fight to demand that each person is treated with individual care and attention. It is with great joy that I see you joining me and this renews my hope and belief that the worldwide network of good caring people exists and can be made manifest.  Thanks. Lynne Stewart

Letter from Dick Gregory to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Director and to the Warden of the Federal Medical Center, Carswell

March 13, 2013

Charles E. Samuels, Jr., Director

Federal Bureau of Prisons

320 First St., NW

Washington, DC 20534

Dear Director Samuels,

I am writing urgently to ask you to make an immediate request of the Bureau of Prisons to file a motion with Judge Koetl for compassionate release of Lynne Stewart 53504-054.

Judge Koetl acknowledged on the record that Lynne Stewart has devoted her life to representing the poor, disadvantaged and oppressed, declaring: “Ms. Stewart has performed a public service not only to her clients but to the nation.”

Lynne Stewart's humanity has provided a moral compass for all of us who have fought for justice. It is only fitting that the humanity that she has manifested to so many should be extended to her. 

Now her breast cancer, in remission when she was sent to prison, despite the fact that her legal rights were not exhausted, is in Stage Four, having metastasized to her lymph nodes, shoulder, bones and lungs.

Her physicians have made clear that to surmount her grave illness and to cope with the collateral impact of treatment, it is imperative for Lynne Stewart to have the emotional support essential to survival in daily conjunction with that coordinated treatment from her medical team impossible in her prison setting.

In compliance with the1984 Sentencing Act, I call upon you to urge upon the Court the immediate release of Lynne Stewart.

We, too, will be judged for generations to come by our adherence to legal standards rooted in compassion and decency.

I am attaching the international petition setting forth the reasons for her compassionate release that I endorse in the strongest terms.

Yours sincerely,

Dick Gregory

In the event that your computer has an older operating system and browser, send your support for the petition to so we can incorporate your name in the list of signers.

If you have any doubts about the care Lynne will likely get at Carswell, check out this article from Ms. Magazine:

Carswell Prison Blues
It's a crime how inmates have been treated at a federal hospital for incarcerated women.
My name is Janice Pugh. I was released from FMC Carswell [the only federal prison facility in the U.S. that includes a hospital for inmates] on January 10, 2000. … The reason for me being at Carswell was for medical treatment. I have a history of lung cancer. …The last six months I was coughing up blood, and a lot of it. …There was sputum tests done and a test where they put a scope down your nose. Well, I received NO results from these tests. …[Pugh went home to Alabama after her release; she had served 18 months for drug possession.] On January 20 at the Southern University of Alabama Medical Center there was a test done. …On January 24 I was admitted. …A bacteria was found growing in my lungs …and a mass was found on my top right lobe. They done a biopsy today, January 31, 2000. This is just a few things I have to say and proof that it’s true.
quoteOn March 27, 2000, two months after I received this letter, Janice Pugh died of metastasized cancer in a Mobile, Ala., hospice. She was 52 years old. She had served her sentence at FMC (Federal Medical Center) Carswell, near Fort Worth, Texas, because of her medical needs, yet her symptoms went undiagnosed and untreated there.
 “We were told by the oncologist who treated Mama [in Alabama] that she was ‘very neglected’ at Carswell,” said her daughter, Tracy Ingram.
I wish I could write that Janice Pugh’s case is an aberration. It is not. For almost a decade, I have been writing about the Janice Pughs of FMC Carswell—women as old as 80 and as young as 18, from all races and all classes, who have needlessly suffered or died from what a former Carswell doctor described as “medical mistakes, substandard care and unconscionable delays” in treatment.
Behind the nation’s razor-wire fences, egregious medical neglect has been the norm for decades. But for the most part, this dark side of prison life is ignored by the mainstream media and lawmakers, and too often accepted by the general population as just another price paid by those committing crimes. The Carswell women’s debt to society, however, shouldn’t have included their lives.
The hospital at Carswell is located on a former World War II Air Force base. The facility opened in June 1994 after the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) closed its women’s hospital in Lexington, Ky., following a scathing General Accounting Office report that cited the bureau for failing to provide adequate medical care in its federal prisons and singled out the Lexington hospital’s care as particularly egregious. Little has changed since then, critics say.
According to Bureau of Prison figures, more than 32,500 women were incarcerated in the nation’s federal prisons as of this June. That’s far fewer than men, but women’s rates at all prisons (federal, state, local) are increasing at nearly double the men’s.
Medical neglect is not the only hazard faced by women at Carswell. This May, Vincent Inametti, the prison’s Catholic chaplain for the past seven years, was sentenced to four years in jail for what the judge called “surprisingly heinous” sexual crimes against two imprisoned women. He is now the eighth sexual predator since 1997 to be convicted after working at Carswell. Most were professionals in high positions, including another chaplain, a gynecologist, a counselor, a supervisor of food services and three guards.
Most women currently behind bars in local jails, state prisons, federal penitentiaries and private for-profit penal institutions will eventually return to their communities. Their health care while incarcerated can thus have a huge social impact, financially and otherwise. If not treated effectively in prison hospitals, released inmates return to their homes with a host of mental and medical problems, including untreated AIDS and hepatitis.
Calls for an investigation of Carswell have been made to no avail by inmates’ families for years. Their voices have now been joined by Ross Sears, a retired Texas appellate judge and former Harris County district attorney. He was drawn into the Carswell quagmire when a friend asked him in 2005 to help a breast-cancer victim who suffered from what he terms “grossly negligent follow-up care” at Carswell. He then contacted U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a longtime political friend, asking him to open a congressional investigation. Cornyn’s staff contacted the Bureau of Prisons and got a response, but it was of the no-problems-here variety, so the senator took no further action.
What will get Congress’ attention quicker than anything is media exposure and citizen outrage. In the meantime, little has changed for the Janice Pughs of Carswell, who remain largely forgotten as they continue to die and suffer needlessly from medical neglect in a prison system that is much more of a threat to them than they ever were to anyone else.
The full text of this article appears in the Summer issue of Ms. magazine, available on newsstands or by joining the Ms. community at
BETTY BRINK is a staff writer for Fort Worth Weekly, where her series of investigative reports on Carswell has won numerous journalism awards.

For more information, go to

Write to Lynne Stewart at:

Lynne Stewart #53504-054

Federal Medical Center, Carswell

PO Box 27137

Fort Worth, TX 76127




ANNOUNCING:  IZ, by Robert Davis, originally published by Lost Books Press, is now available on Kindle for $7.

       This odyssey of a 13 yr. old musical prodigy born into a family of hustlers, criminals and fanatics, takes place at the height of the Vietnam War. It has been called “a masterpiece,” “porno,” “the product of a deranged mind,” “a wonderful comic romp,” and various unmentionable things. When it first appeared in 1995, it won no awards and sold few copies. Very few – and those mainly to relatives and friends who after reading it quit speaking to the author.

       But thanks to cheap digital publishing, the world may now be ready for IZ.

       Izzy Aronson, on Kindle, is definitely ready for the world.

[Just had to pass this around. It's a great little novel with a real flavor of San Francisco in those times....Bonnie Weinstein]




Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:













A. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)













1) Court Declines to Rule in Wikileaks Complaint
April 17, 2013

2) ‘The War on Drugs Is a Failure’
April 19, 2013 

3) Criminalizing Children at School
April 18, 2013 

4) Ad About Women’s Self-Image Creates a Sensation
April 18, 2013 

5) After Airstrike, Afghan Points to C.I.A. and Secret Militias
April 18, 2013 

6) A Tough New Test Spurs Protest and Tears
By and
April 19, 2013

7) Part-Time Work Becomes Full-Time Wait for Better Job

8) Military Says Hunger Strike by Detainees Is Growing

11) Danes Rethink a Welfare State Ample to a Fault
April 20, 2013 
12) Rape of 5-Year-Old Girl Sets Off New Furor in India
April 20, 2013

13) Relatives of Flotilla Raid Victims Reject Compensation From Israel
April 20, 2013 
14) Legal Questions Riddle Boston Marathon Case
By , and
April 20, 2013 

15) City Report Shows More Were Near Poverty in 2011
April 21, 2013 

16) The Persecution of Lynne Stewart
By Chris Hedges
Truthdig, April 21, 2013

17) Broken Justice in the Bronx







1) Court Declines to Rule in Wikileaks Complaint
April 17, 2013

A military appeals court on Wednesday declined to rule on a lawsuit seeking greater access for journalists to court filings and proceedings in the criminal case against Pfc. Bradley Manning, who has admitted to leaking 700,000 confidential government documents to WikiLeaks. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces decided 3 to 2 that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal, filed by a coalition of journalists and organizations, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, which said in a statement that the ruling meant that Private Manning’s trial, set for June 3, will be “fundamentally unfair.” Military officials initially withheld from the public all documents in the case, including some the judge read aloud in court. More recently, officials have released a selection of documents, but with names and other information blacked out.



2) ‘The War on Drugs Is a Failure’
April 19, 2013

Could it truly be a coincidence that April 20 lands only five short days after Tax Day? Surely the Internal Revenue Service orchestrated this calendar synchronicity, understanding that after another harrowing round of W-2s, 1099s and 1040s, many Americans relish the hard-earned opportunity to illegally relax, while conveniently relieving their glaucoma in the process. Legally, in some states. If they have glaucoma. Or a doctor who will say they have glaucoma. Or backaches sometimes. (For the uninitiated, “420” is a code for pot smoking and April 20 a sort of countercultural holiday.)

The simple state-to-state disparity of the legality of marijuana already undercuts the authority of America’s modern “War on Drugs” — a war originally declared by Richard M. Nixon largely in response to the discovery of high rates of heroin addiction in American soldiers in Vietnam. But the unjust rates of incarceration among blacks, Hispanics and the poor highlight why the war we have been fighting for decades should itself be considered illegal.

There must be something amiss if Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, former Representative Ron Paul of Texas and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, despite having different views on drug legalization, can all agree that the War on Drugs is fundamentally flawed. Mr. Paul has long favored ending the federal War on Drugs, while Governor Christie recently called it a failure. Though he does not support legalization. Governor Cuomo has introduced plans to bring fairness, through decriminalization methods, to the racial imbalance of marijuana-related arrests in New York City.

To us, the harmony of these criticisms begged to be recast as harmony of the musical variety. With the help of a supporting cast (including Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes of “Jay and Silent Bob” fame), the governors and the former congressman are almost able, in song, to resolve the dissonance of this failed policy.

The Gregory Brothers are Andrew, Michael, Evan and Sarah (who is married to Evan) Gregory. They are best known for their YouTube music-video mash-ups, including the series Auto-Tune the News and Songify This! in which they make songs out of non-songs and unintentional singers out of intentional speakers. They also produced a series of political Op-Docs, including “Patriot Game,” during the 2012 presidential campaign. They live in Brooklyn.



3) Criminalizing Children at School
April 18, 2013

The National Rifle Association and President Obama responded to the Newtown, Conn., shootings by recommending that more police officers be placed in the nation’s schools. But a growing body of research suggests that, contrary to popular wisdom, a larger police presence in schools generally does little to improve safety. It can also create a repressive environment in which children are arrested or issued summonses for minor misdeeds — like cutting class or talking back — that once would have been dealt with by the principal.

Stationing police in schools, while common today, was virtually unknown during the 1970s. Things began to change with the surge of juvenile crime during the ’80s, followed by an overreaction among school officials. Then came the 1999 Columbine High School shooting outside Denver, which prompted a surge in financing for specially trained police. In the mid-1970s, police patrolled about 1 percent of schools. By 2008, the figure was 40 percent.

The belief that police officers automatically make schools safer was challenged in a 2011 study that compared federal crime data of schools that had police officers with schools that did not. It found that the presence of the officers did not drive down crime. The study — by Chongmin Na of The University of Houston, Clear Lake, and Denise Gottfredson of the University of Maryland — also found that with police in the buildings, routine disciplinary problems began to be treated as criminal justice problems, increasing the likelihood of arrests.

Children as young as 12 have been treated as criminals for shoving matches and even adolescent misconduct like cursing in school. This is worrisome because young people who spend time in adult jails are more likely to have problems with law enforcement later on. Moreover, federal data suggest a pattern of discrimination in the arrests, with black and Hispanic children more likely to be affected than their white peers.

In Texas, civil rights groups filed a federal complaint against the school district in the town of Bryan. The lawyers say African-American students are four times as likely as other students to be charged with misdemeanors, which can carry fines up to $500 and lead to jail time for disrupting class or using foul language.

The criminalization of misbehavior so alarmed the New York City Council that, in 2010, it passed the Student Safety Act, which requires detailed police reports on which students are arrested and why. (Data from the 2011-12 school year show that black students are being disproportionately arrested and suspended.)

Some critics now want to require greater transparency in the reporting process to make the police even more forthcoming. Elsewhere in the country, judges, lawmakers and children’s advocates have been working hard to dismantle what they have begun to call the school-to-prison pipeline.

Given the growing criticism, districts that have gotten along without police officers should think twice before deploying them in school buildings.

Meet The New York Times’s Editorial Board »



4) Ad About Women’s Self-Image Creates a Sensation
April 18, 2013

The latest commercial for Dove seems to have gone beyond the skin and touched a nerve.

An online video, presented in three- and six-minute versions, shows a forensic sketch artist who is asked to draw a series of women based only on their descriptions.

Seated at a drafting table with his back to his subject, the artist, Gil Zamora, asks the women a series of questions about their features. “Tell me about your chin,” he says in the soft voice reminiscent of a therapist’s. Crow’s feet, big jaws, protruding chins and dark circles are just some of the many physical features that women criticized about themselves.

After he finishes a drawing of a woman, he then draws another sketch of the same woman, only this time it is based on how someone else describes her. The sketches are then hung side by side and the women are asked to compare them. In every instance, the second sketch is more flattering than the first.

“I’ve come a long way in how I see myself, but I think I still have some way to go,” says one of the women as her eyes fill with tears.

The video, shot in a loft in San Francisco, has become a sensation online. The three-minute version has been viewed more than 7.5 million times on the Dove YouTube channel, and the version that is twice as long has been viewed more than 936,000 times.

More than 2,000 people “liked” the video on the Dove Facebook page and more than 1,000 have shared it.

The video also has caught fire on other Web sites. An article on Mashable about the campaign was shared more than half a million times in 24 hours; on Buzzfeed, it was one of the top 10 items on Thursday.

The video is part of Dove’s campaign, beginning in 2005, that focuses on what the brand, which is owned by Unilever, calls “real beauty.” Dove executives said the campaign resulted from company research that showed only 4 percent of women consider themselves beautiful.

The mission of the campaign, said Fernando Machado, the global brand vice president for Dove Skin at Unilever, is “to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence and not anxiety.” The campaign was created by Ogilvy & Mather Brazil, part of WPP.

Brenda Fiala, a senior vice president for strategy at Blast Radius, a digital advertising agency, said Dove was trying to create a sense of trust with the consumer by tapping into deep-seated emotions that many women feel about themselves and their appearance.

“It hits on a real human truth for women,” Ms. Fiala said. “Many women undervalue themselves and also the way they look.”

Ms. Fiala compared the strategy to a campaign that Procter & Gamble released during last summer’s Olympics that focused on the relationship between mothers and their athlete children. “It’s emotion that drives brands you feel like you can trust and brands you want to bring close to you and your family,” she said.

The campaign certainly has generated a wealth of emotion online. On his Facebook page, the actor George Takei acknowledged that the video was an ad, but said “it brought tears to my eyes through its powerful message.” More than 29,000 people have “liked” Mr. Takei’s post.

Russell Glass, the chief executive of Bizo, an advertising technology company, sent a Twitter post on Wednesday saying that the ad had made him think of his daughters, who are 4 and 2. “I started tearing up,” Mr. Glass said in an interview. “One day they might have this perspective when they look at themselves in the mirror.”

Audrey Olive, a stay-at-home mother in Phoenix with two sons, ages 9 and 11, said she saw the video on a friend’s Facebook page and shared it with more of her friends. “As women we are so hard on ourselves physically and emotionally,” Ms. Olive said. “It gets you to stop and think about how we think of ourselves.”

Both Mr. Glass and Ms. Olive said they were not bothered that the video that has tugged on the emotional heartstrings of so many is, in fact, marketing for Dove.

“I think they are promoting the idea that women need to take a step back and not be so critical of themselves,” Ms. Olive said. “If they end up selling more products, great.” Mr. Glass said the video balanced out many of the negative portrayals about women that he said are often found in advertising.

Ms. Fiala at Blast Radius said that when consumers go to the store to buy toiletries, they will remember the warm feelings they have associated with the brand. “If you have to choose between one deodorant and the other and you see Dove and you’ll think, ‘That’s the brand for me,’ ” she said.

But not everyone was as moved. Jazz Brice, 24, saw the campaign online and decided there was something about it that made her uncomfortable. After watching the video a few times she wrote a post on her Tumblr site, which has become the dissident voice toward the campaign on social media. In a telephone interview, Ms. Brice took issue with the tag line for the ad, “You’re More Beautiful Than You Think.”

“I think it makes people much more susceptible to absorbing the subconscious messages,” Ms. Brice said, “that at the heart of it all is that beauty is still what defines women. It is a little hypocritical.”

While Ms. Brice praised the quality of the ad and said she did not want to “demonize” Dove or the ad, her mixed feeling lingered.

“What if I did look like that woman on the left?” she said, referring to the less flattering sketches of the women. “There are people that look like that.”



5) After Airstrike, Afghan Points to C.I.A. and Secret Militias
April 18, 2013

KABUL, Afghanistan — The spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that the C.I.A. was responsible for calling in an airstrike on April 7 that left 17 Afghan civilians dead, 12 of them children, and that the secret Afghan militias that the agency controls behaved as if they were “responsible to no one.”

“It was a C.I.A. operation using a security structure that was in full service of the C.I.A. and run by the C.I.A.,” said the spokesman, Aimal Faizi, who said his remarks reflected the views of the Afghan president. Mr. Faizi also criticized the agency and American Special Operations troops for running numerous similar militias elsewhere in Afghanistan, with similar problems.

The criticism from Mr. Faizi and other Afghan officials pulled aside a curtain on a clandestine operation that went badly awry in the rugged mountains of eastern Kunar Province, killing an American C.I.A. employee and seriously wounding three other Americans working for the agency. The American who died had been in charge of a group of undercover paramilitaries known as the 0-4 Unit, a so-called Counterterrorist Pursuit Team, according to Afghan investigators.

Afghan reaction to the episode challenges the core assumptions in negotiations with the Afghan government about the nature of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan after 2014. The military wants a mission with two main goals: training Afghan forces and conducting counterterrorism raids against groups like Al Qaeda. Special Operations forces and irregular forces like the militias run by the C.I.A. are a crucial part of the effort, American officials say.

But Mr. Karzai has been deeply suspicious about the activity of irregular forces in his country, and in March he banned American Special Operations forces from operating in Wardak Province. Now, the C.I.A. is the focus of his ire.

A spokesman for the C.I.A. would not comment about the case.

A spokesman for the American military, Col. Thomas Collins, declined to comment on the raid in Kunar Province or to discuss the military’s investigation into it. He said only that the operation was run by the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence agency.

“There was a battle going on, this N.D.S. unit was under grave pressure,” Colonel Collins said. “But as to what caused the civilian casualties, that’s still under investigation.”

Mr. Faizi said that after Mr. Karzai received a report from his own investigation, he fired the head of the National Directorate of Security in Kunar Province, whom others identified as Gen. Saadullah. (He uses only one name.)

But Mr. Faizi said that the 0-4 Unit, a roughly 1,200-member force, was not truly under the control of the Afghan security agency, asserting instead that American intelligence officials were solely responsible for the unit. “It was a joint op at most in name,” he said, “but really in fact a C.I.A.-run parallel security structure, and such structures have been a factor of insecurity themselves.”

Mr. Faizi said Mr. Karzai had ordered a review throughout the country of all Counterterrorist Pursuit Teams, which are mostly used in the east and the south, and of similar irregular forces run by the C.I.A. or by American Special Operations units.

“We are informed five minutes before they are conducting an operation,” Mr. Faizi said, “and our security agencies do not have authority over them.”

A United States official familiar with the events disagreed with that characterization. “The Afghan unit involved in this prolonged firefight with the Taliban was under Afghan government control — rumors of a ‘rogue’ unit or Americans commanding the team reflect internal power struggles in Kabul,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Details about the fighting in Kunar were scant in the days afterward. Mr. Karzai appointed a delegation to go there and investigate, and he later said he blamed both the Taliban and international forces for causing the civilian deaths, although at the time he did not mention the C.I.A. by name.

“As the reports confirm that armed Taliban were there in the area, we strongly condemn the use of civilians and their homes as shields by the Taliban, as well as we do not accept the conduct of any airstrike on residential areas under any name and for any purpose whatsoever,” Mr. Karzai said. “This act by the I.S.A.F. forces was a violation of human rights and the presidential executive order which bans airstrikes during operations in residential areas.”

Mr. Karzai ordered the ban on airstrikes on Feb. 16 after a coalition airstrike in Kunar Province killed 10 civilians, five of them children. That strike took place in the same district as the April 7 fighting — Shigal district — but in a different village. At the time, officials said that the airstrike had been called to support a joint operation involving the Afghan security agency, and that an investigation was under way.

Afghan officials, including the head of Mr. Karzai’s delegation investigating the latest Kunar episode, said that the earlier Kunar attack also involved elements of the 0-4 Unit under the command of American C.I.A. personnel, including the unidentified American who was killed on April 7.

A copy of the Kunar delegation’s report was obtained by The New York Times, and two members of the delegation were interviewed about the fighting: its chairman, Shuja ul-Malk Jalala, an adviser to Mr. Karzai, and Hajji Sakh Mushwanai, a member of Parliament from Kunar Province. One member of the 0-4 Unit was also interviewed, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to comment to the news media.

They all said that 75 members of the 0-4 Unit, with four American advisers along, marched for four hours into a mountainous area near the village of Sunoo on the night of April 6 and the morning of April 7.

The force was planning to arrest Taliban commanders suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda, and around 5 a.m. on April 7, it raided a house where one of them, Ali Khan, was believed to be living. But the only man present was a mentally ill man who could neither speak nor hear; he and about two dozen women and children were herded into one room of Mr. Khan’s house, the Afghans said.

A short time later, the house came under Taliban fire from all sides. “We had no choice but to stay in that house; we were totally surrounded,” the 0-4 Unit member said. “We thought this was the last day of our lives.”

One of the investigators, Mr. Mushwanai, saw matters differently. “These are irregular soldiers, and they do not know the rules of war very well,” he said. “By being in the house, it made those women and children a target.”

The Taliban’s barrage lasted until 8 a.m., when reinforcements from the 0-4 Unit arrived. The force that was pinned down in the house tried to withdraw, and the four Americans were hit by insurgent fire. Air support was called in to protect the retreat and to allow medical evacuation helicopters to rescue the wounded.

When the 0-4 Unit members left the house and withdrew from the area, they told investigators, all of the women and children were still alive. Hours later, when villagers reached the scene, all but a few of the women were dead, the report said. The investigators said they determined that none of the bombs or rockets used in the air-support operation — which included drones, jets and attack helicopters, they said — hit the house where the victims were. But the concussion from the explosions made the upper floor of the mud-and-timber house collapse on top of the victims.

One of the investigators, Mr. Jalala, said that of the 12 children killed, all were the sons, daughters, nieces or nephews of the Taliban commander, Mr. Khan, who was among seven insurgents killed in the attack. On that basis, Mr. Jalala rejected what he described as a coalition military claim that the Taliban had killed the civilians for propaganda purposes. “Common sense just doesn’t accept this,” he said. “Nobody would do that to their own family.”

He said it was clear from pictures that the house had collapsed on the family, and that the strikes, including by rockets that exploded in the yard, were the only possible cause.

Mr. Faizi, the presidential spokesman, agreed with that assessment. “There is no evidence they were killed by the Taliban,” he said. “These children were killed only because of the airstrikes. These are irresponsible armed militias and irresponsible armed people, carrying out operations for and on the payroll of the C.I.A.”

Mr. Mushwanai, the member of Parliament from Kunar, said his own home had been raided by the 0-4 Unit twice. “They shot out the TV and the water cooler,” he said. “America will leave behind these types of forces in 2014, and it will further destabilize Afghanistan.”

An Afghan employee of The New York Times contributed reporting from Kunar Province, and Mark Mazzetti from Washington.



6) A Tough New Test Spurs Protest and Tears
By and
April 19, 2013

Students at the Hostos-Lincoln Academy in the Bronx blamed the English exams for making them anxious and sick. Teachers at Public School 152 in Manhattan said they had never seen so many blank stares. Parents at the Earth School in the East Village were so displeased that they organized a boycott.

As New York this week became one of the first states to unveil a set of exams grounded in new curricular standards, education leaders are finding that rallying the public behind tougher tests may be more difficult than they expected.

Complaints were plentiful: the tests were too long; students were demoralized to the point of tears; teachers were not adequately prepared. Some parents, long skeptical of the emphasis on standardized testing, forbade their children from participating.

Maya Velasquez, 14, an eighth grader at the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering in Upper Manhattan said she had done well on tests in the past. But when a teacher on Wednesday informed her class that only 15 minutes remained in the exam, she knew she was in trouble. She had only written an introduction to her essay.

“All the kids were, like, open-mouthed, crazy-shocked and very upset,” she said.

Education officials said that any big change, especially one aimed at making it harder to earn a diploma, would attract critics. Anticipating some frustration, the city embarked on a flashy media campaign, producing advertisements warning of the higher standards, known as Common Core.

Ken Wagner, who oversees testing for the New York State Education Department, said the feedback that tests provided was essential for preparing students for college and the work force. The scores are also used in some districts to determine promotions and admission to selective middle or high schools. New York City education officials said children without test scores would have to go through alternative evaluations.

Mr. Wagner said that he worried that parents’ concerns were rubbing off on children and hurting their confidence.

“My heart goes out to any kid that’s suffering stress or anxiety,” Mr. Wagner said. But, he added, “We have to think very strategically about the messages that students are getting from the adults they are around.”

English exams were given this week for students in the third through eighth grades; math tests begin next week.

Some parents, particularly at elite schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn, have withdrawn their children from testing this year, joining a broader nationwide opt-out movement.

At the Earth School, about one-third of students slated to take the tests decided to sit out, parents said.

“The current boycott is against the one song the mayor and the rest of the country have been increasingly singing, which is: test scores, test scores, test scores,” said Casey Fuetsch, a member of the Earth School’s parent advocacy group.

Even outside of New York City, there was an unusual amount of protest.

At South Side Middle School in Rockville Centre, on Long Island, more than half of the eighth-grade class, 134 out of 260 students, opted out of the exams, according to the principal, Shelagh McGinn.

Katie Zahedi, the principal at Linden Avenue Middle School in the Hudson Valley town of Red Hook, where 55 out of 480 students opted out, said education officials too often assumed that more testing would improve results.

“The amount of disruption this is creating is actually a threat to the quality of education,” Dr. Zahedi said.

Adopted by 45 states, Common Core aims to foster independent thinking, with an emphasis on relating material to real-world issues. Common Core tests made their debut in Kentucky last year, and scores fell significantly.

New York officials are expecting a similar decline. But officials say leaving the old standards intact would be worse, forcing thousands of students into costly remediation programs in college.

David Coleman, president of the College Board and an architect of the Common Core standards, said he did not understand skepticism about the tests.

“When the alternative is shallower passages and shallower questions, what are we debating here?” he said.

Across the city on Thursday, teachers and principals reported that the test required more stamina and concentration than students were used to.

Students said they struggled with questions that asked them to discuss how a writer constructed a story rather than about the content of the passage itself. One question, for instance, asked students to analyze how an author built suspense in describing a girl whose rope snapped while in a cave.

At the Computer School on the Upper West Side, students said teachers had warned them that the test would be the most challenging they had taken. “When they ask, ‘What’s the main idea?’ and you have to put it in your own words, it’s a lot harder,” said Ron Yogev, a sixth grader.

Many did not finish, and some students said classmates were crying at the end. Mr. Wagner said the state was aware of complaints about the time allowed for the test and would look more extensively at the results to determine whether a change was necessary.

For all the concern, some students were unfazed by the new exams.

Jonathan Steuer, the parent of a third-grade girl at the Neighborhood School, said he was not sure why there was such an outcry.

“It was built up into this thing,” he said. After the test, according to Mr. Steuer, his daughter said simply, “It was a snap.”

Kyle Spencer and Vivian Yee contributed reporting.



7) Part-Time Work Becomes Full-Time Wait for Better Job

The American economy has generated 30 straight months of job growth. But for millions of people looking for more work and greater income, that improvement provides little solace.

In March, 7.6 million Americans who want more hours were stuck in part-time jobs, about the same as a year earlier and three million more than there were when the recession began at the end of 2007.

These almost invisible underemployed workers do not count toward the standard jobless rate of 7.6 percent. A broader measure, which includes the involuntary part-timers as well as people who want to work but have stopped looking, stands at 13.8 percent.

“There’s nothing inherently wrong with people taking part-time jobs if they want them,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago. “The problem is that people are accepting part-time pay because they have no other choice.”

Even for those who have been able to take advantage of the better job market, the opportunities have not been good. Since the economy began to recover almost four years ago, hiring has been concentrated in relatively low-wage service sectors, like retailing, home health care, and food preparation, and in contingent jobs at temporary-hiring companies. For example, nearly one out of every 13 jobs is at a restaurant, bar or other food-service establishment, a record high.

Household incomes have been stagnant throughout the recovery, and actually fell in the latest report, according to Sentier Research. As a result, economists and policy makers have been expressing concerns about not only the pace of hiring but the quality of new jobs as well.

“It’s important to look at the types of jobs that are being created,” Sarah Bloom Raskin, a member of the Federal Reserve Board, said in a recent speech. “Those jobs will directly affect the fortunes and challenges of households and neighborhoods as well as the course of the recovery.”

While increases in part-time and temporary work can sometimes be an early sign that employers will soon take on more permanent hiring, many workers have been trapped in such jobs far longer than they had anticipated.

Part-time work rose rapidly in the recession and early parts of the recovery, and it has not let up much. Today, 19.1 percent of workers say they usually work part time, defined as fewer than 35 hours a week, versus 16.9 percent when the recession started.

Essentially all of the gains in part-time employment have been among people who are reluctantly working fewer hours because of slack business conditions for their employer or an inability to find a full-time job.

“It was a relief just to find something,” said Amie Crawford, 56, of Chicago. After four months looking for a new job as an interior designer, which she had been for 30 years before the recession, she accepted a position as a part-time cashier at a quick-service health-food cafe called Protein Bar.

She keeps asking for more hours, but her manager’s response is always the same.

“He tells me, ‘I try to give you as many hours as I can, but everybody wants as many hours as they can,’ ” Ms. Crawford said.

The owner of the company, Matt Matros, said that it was working on giving her more hours, but that each location had a limited need for cashiers. He added that Ms. Crawford had the opportunity to get trained in other skills if she wanted to advance or take on other positions.

Holding a part-time job when a full-time one is desired is frustrating for workers, and not only because fewer hours means less income. Like temp workers, part-timers are also less likely to get benefits and are more likely to be stuck with unpredictable schedules that make it hard to plan for child care, transportation or even a second part-time job.

“I’ll be on the schedule from this time to this time, so I expect to work from this time to this time,” Ms. Crawford said. “But because on a particular day, who knows, it’s snowing, raining, or people just didn’t come in today for whatever reason, they start cutting people. So I get sent home in the middle of my shift.”

Part-timers also generally earn less per hour than their full-time counterparts.

“The only remaining legal form of discrimination in the labor market is against part-time workers,” said John Schmitt, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal research organization. “You can hire part-time workers and full-time workers doing the same job, and you’re allowed to pay them different money and different benefits.”

There are multiple reasons for an increased reliance on part-timers, primarily continuing low demand and uncertainty about the economy.

“This job recovery has been more modest than previous cycles,” said Joseph A. LaVorgna, chief United States economist at Deutsche Bank in New York. “That, the corporate uncertainty and the recent financial crisis have caused a lot of companies to worry about access to financing. They want to hold extraordinary amounts of cash in this environment, and they’re reluctant to make a more permanent commitment to hiring or hiring someone full time.”

Strong job growth in food services and retailing, which disproportionately rely on part-time work, is probably also skewing the overall composition of full- versus part-time employees. Changes in health care policy may be playing a role, too.

Paul Dales, senior United States economist for Capital Economics, said, “There is another reason to believe that part-time employment will stay higher for longer, namely the incentives to employ part-time workers created by Obama’s health care reforms.”

Starting in 2014, employers that had an average of at least 50 full-time employees in the previous calendar year will have to provide health insurance or face penalties. Some companies and franchise locations, like Darden Restaurants, which operates brands like Red Lobster and Olive Garden, suggested last year that they might seek to limit full-time staff to avoid activating this mandate.

Confusion about the law and its requirements abounds, and even some small businesses that will not be affected may be changing their behavior because of it.

“Operators can’t be as casual about workers’ total hours as they could before because there are fines and penalties and costs associated with it,” said Scott DeFife, executive vice president for policy and government affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “You can’t accidentally let them become full time without a specific purpose.”

There may be other cost and efficiency pressures for employers to shift more of their workers into part-time jobs, independent of either public policy or the business cycle.

Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said it was much easier to fit workers’ schedules to fill longer hours of operation and meet the ups-and-downs of customer demand if they were part time.

“Trying to efficiently schedule full-time workers in McDonald’s shifts requires some real brain power, some sophisticated math or software scheduling to make that work,” Professor Cappelli said. “If on the other hand you can do it with part-time workers, it’s a piece of cake.”



8) Military Says Hunger Strike by Detainees Is Growing

GUANTÁNAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — The number of detainees at the wartime prison here deemed to be on a hunger strike by the military spiked again on Friday, to 63. Defense lawyers contend that an overwhelming majority of the 166 prisoners have been participating in the protest.

Still, the official count of 63 was an increase from 52 on Wednesday. On April 12, the eve of a briefly violent predawn raid by guards who forced prisoners living in communal cellblocks into lockdown in individual cells, there were 43 participating.

Military officials told reporters this week that the detainees who had been living in the communal cellblocks, who previously had complied with rules, had been increasingly unruly amid the hunger strike. They had covered surveillance cameras and refused to go into their cells for daily lockdowns that enabled guards to enter the recreation yards and common space.

A Muslim cultural adviser to the military who has worked here since 2005, identified only as “Zak” for security reasons, told reporters on Thursday that the military had given the prisoners time to start complying with the rules again, but the prisoners refused.

The timing of the raid, he said, was chosen because officials feared it was possible that a detainee would die.

“That is why we broke up the communal and put them in single-cell operations,” he said. “They wanted to die out of hunger and thirst behind covered cameras.”

One reason the military’s official numbers started lower and are growing, Zak said, is that some detainees “did not come and present themselves” to be weighed, and it was hard for the medical specialist to tell who was losing weight.

Fifteen prisoners have lost enough weight that they are being forced to take a liquid nutritional supplement through a tube in the nose, an increase from 13 earlier in the week.

Lawyers for the detainees say their clients attributed the protest to a searching of Korans for contraband on Feb. 6. Military officials contend that there was nothing different about that search from previous ones.

Zak said in a discussion with reporters that some “10 percent” of the detainee population are “thinkers” who have recently been rallying the bulk of the inmates to refocus attention on their indefinite detention without trial. He said the leaders spread claims of Koran abuse as a “tool to attract others to the hunger strike.”

The military does not allow reporters to talk with detainees here, and the account by officials and Zak could not be independently verified.



9) No Charges for Police Commanders Over Actions During Protests

During the Occupy Wall Street protests and their aftermath, they were the online-video symbols for those who said the New York Police Department was using excessive force:

Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, in his white commander’s shirt, walking up to a crowd of people and appearing to pepper-spray protesters at random. And Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona, who appears to turn around a protester who is walking away and punch him in the face.

Inspector Bologna was found by the Police Department to have violated internal guidelines and was docked 10 vacation days. Both men are facing civil lawsuits in which the city has declined to defend them.

But there will be no criminal charges against either commander, the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said Friday afternoon.

“The district attorney’s office has concluded, after a thorough investigation, that we cannot prove these allegations criminally beyond a reasonable doubt,” a spokeswoman, Erin M. Duggan, said in a brief statement. “We have informed the Police Department, the complainants, and the city of our decision.”

A former Manhattan prosecutor, Thomas J. Curran, said that it is harder to prosecute police personnel, particularly for conduct in a chaotic situation like a street demonstration, because using force “is part of their job.”

“The use of force would have to be a complete departure from any legitimate police activity,” said Mr. Curran, who is now a defense lawyer. “You’d have to show an intent to assault, and you have to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt, as opposed to using force as allowed pursuant to police activity. It’s very difficult to do.”

Kaylee Dedrick, one of the protesters pepper-sprayed by Inspector Cardona who has since sued him, said in a phone interview, “Part of me expected that he wouldn’t be prosecuted, but I’m still pretty shocked, with all the evidence against him.”

Her lawyer, Ron Kuby, who represents several protesters who are suing the inspectors, called the decision “cowardly and despicable.”

Prosecutors said they investigated possible assault charges against Inspector Bologna for his use of pepper spray in a protest on East 12th Street on Sept. 24, 2011. In a widely viewed video, Inspector Bologna can be seen striding up to a crowd penned behind orange mesh netting, discharging his pepper-spray canister with a sweeping motion, and walking away.

In the episode involving Inspector Cardona, video shot from several angles on Oct. 14, 2011, appears to show the inspector tapping a man, Felix Rivera-Pitre, on the shoulder, and then, after Mr. Rivera-Pitre turns to look at Inspector Cardona and walks away, the inspector grabbing Mr. Rivera-Pitre and punching him in the face.

The police said at the time that Mr. Rivera-Pitre had tried to elbow Inspector Cardona in the face beforehand and was being sought for attempted assault.

Mr. Curran, who said he had spoken to prosecutors in Mr. Vance’s office about the cases, said that in the case of Inspector Bologna, “he used the spray not specifically at any one person but at the crowd, in response to a situation that’s getting out of control.” The department guidelines Inspector Bologna was found to have violated had to do with using pepper spray in a nonarrest situation without sufficient training, which Mr. Curran said was an entirely different thing from committing assault.

In the Cardona case, Mr. Curran said of Mr. Rivera-Pitre, “the evidence that the D.A. saw suggests that he had his arm cocked in a fist form before Cardona hit him.”

Roy Richter, president of the union to which both commanders belong, the Captains Endowment Association, said that declining to prosecute Inspector Bologna was “the right decision” and that Inspector Cardona had been injured by Occupy protesters and “is the true victim of the O.W.S. fiasco.”

Mr. Kuby said he would ask federal prosecutors to review the cases.



10) Budget Negotiating Chip Has Big Downside for Old and Poor

President Obama has put Social Security on the table in an attempt to reach a bipartisan agreement on the federal budget deficit, a move that would hit the program’s beneficiaries when they are at their most vulnerable.

The president has proposed slowing the rate at which benefits increase over time, a change that would ultimately hit the oldest of the old, often single women, many of whom have probably exhausted any other savings. Many members of this group also face higher health costs, have little hope of working again and often live without the support of a life partner.

But advocates for retirees say that what is perhaps the most frustrating about all of this is that Social Security, which is self-financed through payroll taxes, does not contribute to the deficit. Yet it is being lassoed into the broader debate.

“With people facing an increasingly insecure retirement, this is no time to say, ‘Let’s cut Social Security,’ ” said Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security at the National Women’s Law Center. “It’s even more disturbing to be having a discussion about how much to cut benefits for people who already struggle to make ends meet — while some lawmakers insist that we can’t ask the wealthiest Americans and large corporations to pay a penny more in taxes.”

The Obama administration proposes to water down one of Social Security’s strongest features: the inflation adjustment, which enables retirees to maintain their purchasing power over long periods. Starting in 2015, the program would switch to a measure of inflation that has risen more slowly than the current index — on the order of about 0.3 percentage point less each year.

That does not sound like much. Nor would it lead to a big benefit cut right away. Moreover, President Obama did include a measure to soften the impact of the change, which we will dissect below. But the rate of slower growth would still compound over time and would ultimately cost many older people thousands of dollars over the course of their retirement.

“When you look at the retirement system, people don’t have anything else,” said Alicia H. Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. “And to have the only statement about Social Security solvency being a suggestion that what we need to do is reduce the indexing is not a useful conversation.”

It has been widely reported that if no changes are made to Social Security, its reserves will be exhausted in 2033, according to the latest annual report from the Social Security Administration’s trustees. After that, the payroll taxes collected would be enough to pay about 75 percent of benefits through 2086.

The switch to a different measure of inflation — known as the “chained C.P.I.-U” — would resolve about 20 percent of the program’s current shortfall, according to Social Security’s actuaries. (C.P.I.-U stands for the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.)

But here is how it would initially hit retirees’ pocketbooks: Workers who retired at age 65 would receive 3.7 percent less in benefits after 10 years than they would under the current system; after 20 years, 6.5 percent less; and after three decades, 9.2 percent less, according to calculations by the Social Security Administration.

The administration has said it will only make a deal that includes some protections, and it incorporated two small benefit “bump-ups” — each equivalent to 5 percent of the average retiree’s benefit check, or about $800 annually in today’s dollars — as part of its proposal. The bumps would be phased in over 10 years, beginning at ages 76 and 95.

So take a woman with an initial benefit of $1,100 a month, or $13,200 a year, which is the median benefit of single women 65 and older, according to the National Women’s Law Center. (This benefit represents about 73 percent of this group’s total income, which is about $18,000.)

By the time she is 75, her benefits would be $41 less a month, or nearly $500 a year less, than under the current program.

“That doesn’t sound like so much,” Ms. Entmacher said. “Well, it’s equal to five days’ worth of food. So if you have your monthly Social Security check and you are trying to figure out how to get to the doctor, how to pay your rent and how you pay your out-of-pocket medical expenses, every dollar counts. So are you going to skip a meal for 15 days, each month, to save five days’ worth of food? Or are you going to cut your pills in half?”

At 76, the woman in the example would receive her first bump-up, starting at about $6.70 a month. But it would take a decade to claim the full bump of $67 a month or about $800 a year (she would receive 10 percent of the full bump a year), according to the center.

By the time she was 85, even with the bump-up, she would have a cumulative loss in benefits of almost $6,000 in today’s dollars. And by 94, the cumulative loss would be more than $8,300, according to the center’s calculations. But if she lived until 95, she would get the privilege of the second increase, also equivalent to 5 percent of the average benefit check. Her monthly check would climb back to the levels under the current law if she lived until 104, but by then, she would have lost about $10,200 in total income.

Of course, since the bump-up is a flat amount, some people with lower benefits might receive a bigger increase than they would under the current system, a senior administration official from the White House explained. Conversely, the bump-up offsets a smaller portion of the cut when benefits are higher.

This is not a popular move. According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 51 percent of respondents opposed changing the way Social Security benefits are calculated so that benefits increase at a slower rate, while 37 percent supported such a change (11 percent had no opinion). The survey said there were no partisan differences, but among people 65 and older opposition was 64 percent.

The “three-legged stool” of retirement — that is, pensions, savings and Social Security — has already become more of a lopsided two-legged stool, because pensions have been waning for years. And the Social Security leg is providing most of the support for many retirees: about 43 percent of single people and 22 percent of married couples rely on the benefits for more than 90 percent of their income, the Social Security Administration says. More than half of couples and 73 percent of singles draw more than half their income from the program.

The new measure of inflation would alter the way their benefits increase. Right now, Social Security is pegged to the C.P.I.-W, which tracks the typical purchases of a sample of urban wage and clerical workers, but does not include retirees. (Social Security uses this index because it was the only one that existed when the benefits were first adjusted for inflation.) The chained C.P.I.-U includes some retirees.

The chained C.P.I. would more broadly account for how people change their buying habits when prices rise, substituting cheaper items for more expensive ones. When the price of Porterhouse steak increases, the current index considers that a consumer can switch to a cheaper cut, as explained in an AARP paper. But the chained index would account for substitution between category types. So instead of buying cheaper beef, the consumer might switch to chicken.

But critics argue that the elderly and disabled do not have the ability to substitute as much as other consumers. “When so much of their budget goes toward health care expenses,” said Cristina Martin Firvida, director of financial security at AARP, “you are not going to choose to replace a hip treatment with another treatment just because it is cheaper. There is a limit for substitution with older people. We already account for a great deal of it in the current calculation.”

Many opponents say that neither inflation index accounts for the higher out-of-pocket health care expenses that older people have.

The fate of the president’s proposal is still unclear. But on Thursday afternoon, Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, submitted a “concurrent resolution,” which, “if passed by both chambers, would officially express the sense of the House and Senate that we should not use the chained C.P.I. to calculate Social Security” cost of living adjustments, a spokesman said. The measure had 81 co-sponsors when it was introduced, he added.

Social Security advocates say there are a variety of other ways to strengthen the program that would not be as burdensome to retirees. Currently, employees and employers each pay 6.2 percent on the first $113,700 of earnings (self-employed people must pay the entire 12.4 percent). Eliminating the cap on which earnings are taxed would eliminate about 88 percent of the current shortfall, according to the Social Security Administration.

“What we want Congress to do is follow the will of the people,” said Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works, an advocacy group. “They don’t want to see benefits cut. As a wealthy country, we can afford this.”

And at the very least, we can afford to have a separate debate on how best to bolster the program.



11) Danes Rethink a Welfare State Ample to a Fault
April 20, 2013

COPENHAGEN — It began as a stunt intended to prove that hardship and poverty still existed in this small, wealthy country, but it backfired badly. Visit a single mother of two on welfare, a liberal member of Parliament goaded a skeptical political opponent, see for yourself how hard it is.

It turned out, however, that life on welfare was not so hard. The 36-year-old single mother, given the pseudonym “Carina” in the news media, had more money to spend than many of the country’s full-time workers. All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16.

In past years, Danes might have shrugged off the case, finding Carina more pitiable than anything else. But even before her story was in the headlines 16 months ago, they were deeply engaged in a debate about whether their beloved welfare state, perhaps Europe’s most generous, had become too rich, undermining the country’s work ethic. Carina helped tip the scales.

With little fuss or political protest — or notice abroad — Denmark has been at work overhauling entitlements, trying to prod Danes into working more or longer or both. While much of southern Europe has been racked by strikes and protests as its creditors force austerity measures, Denmark still has a coveted AAA bond rating.

But Denmark’s long-term outlook is troubling. The population is aging, and in many regions of the country people without jobs now outnumber those with them.

Some of that is a result of a depressed economy. But many experts say a more basic problem is the proportion of Danes who are not participating in the work force at all — be they dawdling university students, young pensioners or welfare recipients like Carina who lean on hefty government support.

“Before the crisis there was a sense that there was always going to be more and more,” Bjarke Moller, the editor in chief of publications for Mandag Morgen, a research group in Copenhagen. “But that is not true anymore. There are a lot of pressures on us right now. We need to be an agile society to survive.”

The Danish model of government is close to a religion here, and it has produced a population that regularly claims to be among the happiest in the world. Even the country’s conservative politicians are not suggesting getting rid of it.

Denmark has among the highest marginal income-tax rates in the world, with the top bracket of 56.5 percent kicking in on incomes of more than about $80,000. But in exchange, the Danes get a cradle-to-grave safety net that includes free health care, a free university education and hefty payouts to even the richest citizens.

Parents in all income brackets, for instance, get quarterly checks from the government to help defray child-care costs. The elderly get free maid service if they need it, even if they are wealthy.

But few experts here believe that Denmark can long afford the current perks. So Denmark is retooling itself, tinkering with corporate tax rates, considering new public sector investments and, for the long term, trying to wean more people — the young and the old — off government benefits.

“In the past, people never asked for help unless they needed it,” said Karen Haekkerup, the minister of social affairs and integration, who has been outspoken on the subject. “My grandmother was offered a pension and she was offended. She did not need it.

“But now people do not have that mentality. They think of these benefits as their rights. The rights have just expanded and expanded. And it has brought us a good quality of life. But now we need to go back to the rights and the duties. We all have to contribute.”

In 2012, a little over 2.6 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 were working in Denmark, 47 percent of the total population and 73 percent of the 15- to 64-year-olds.

While only about 65 percent of working age adults are employed in the United States, comparisons are misleading, since many Danes work short hours and all enjoy perks like long vacations and lengthy paid maternity leaves, not to speak of a de facto minimum wage approaching $20 an hour. Danes would rank much lower in terms of hours worked per year.

In addition, the work force has far more older people to support. About 18 percent of Denmark’s population is over 65, compared with 13 percent in the United States.

One study, by the municipal policy research group Kora, recently found that only 3 of Denmark’s 98 municipalities will have a majority of residents working in 2013. This is a significant reduction from 2009, when 59 municipalities could boast that a majority of residents had jobs. (Everyone, including children, was counted in the comparison.)

Joachim B. Olsen, the skeptical politician from the Liberal Alliance party who visited Carina 16 months ago in her pleasant Copenhagen apartment, is particularly alarmed. He says Sweden, which is already considered generous, has far fewer citizens living on government benefits. If Denmark followed Sweden’s example, it would have about 250,000 fewer people living on benefits of various sorts.

“The welfare state here has spiraled out of control,” Mr. Olsen said. “It has done a lot of good, but we have been unwilling to talk about the negative side. For a very long time it has been taboo to talk about the Carinas.”

Already the government has reduced various early-retirement plans. The unemployed used to be able to collect benefits for up to four years. Now it is two.

Students are next up for cutbacks, most intended to get them in the work force faster. Currently, students are entitled to six years of stipends, about $990 a month, to complete a five-year degree which, of course, is free. Many of them take even longer to finish, taking breaks to travel and for internships before and during their studies.

In trying to reduce the welfare rolls, the government is concentrating on making sure that people like Carina do not exist in the future. It is proposing cuts to welfare grants for those under 30 and stricter reviews to make sure that such recipients are steered into jobs or educational programs before they get comfortable on government benefits.

Officials have also begun to question the large number of people who are receiving lifetime disability checks. About 240,000 people — roughly 9 percent of the potential work force — have lifetime disability status; about 33,500 of them are under 40. The government has proposed ending that status for those under 40, unless they have a mental or physical condition that is so severe that it keeps them from working.

Instead of offering disability, the government intends to assign individuals to “rehabilitation teams” to come up with one- to five-year plans that could include counseling, social-skills training and education as well as a state-subsidized job, at least in the beginning. The idea is to have them working at least part time, or studying.

It remains possible that the cost-cutting push will hurt the left-wing coalition that leads the government. By and large, though, the changes have passed easily in Parliament and been happily endorsed by conservatives like Mr. Olsen, who does his best to keep his meeting with Carina in the headlines.

Carina was not the only welfare recipient to fuel the sense that Denmark’s system has somehow gotten out of kilter. Robert Nielsen, 45, made headlines last September when he was interviewed on television, admitting that he had basically been on welfare since 2001.

Mr. Nielsen said he was able-bodied but had no intention of taking a demeaning job, like working at a fast-food restaurant. He made do quite well on welfare, he said. He even owns his own co-op apartment.

Unlike Carina, who will no longer give interviews, Mr. Nielsen, called “Lazy Robert” by the news media, seems to be enjoying the attention. He says that he is greeted warmly on the street all the time. “Luckily, I am born and live in Denmark, where the government is willing to support my life,” he said.

Some Danes say the existence of people like Carina and Mr. Nielsen comes as no surprise. Lene Malmberg, who lives in Odsherred and works part time as a secretary despite a serious brain injury that has affected her short-term memory, said the Carina story was not news to her. At one point, she said, before her accident when she worked full time, her sister was receiving benefits and getting more money than she was.

“The system is wrong somehow, I agree,” she said. “I wanted to work. But she was a little bit: ‘Why work?’ ”

Anna-Katarina Gravgaard contributed reporting.



12) Rape of 5-Year-Old Girl Sets Off New Furor in India
April 20, 2013

NEW DELHI — Hundreds of demonstrators besieged New Delhi’s police headquarters on Saturday to protest the kidnapping, rape and torture of a 5-year-old girl last week.

The injured girl was moved Friday evening to New Delhi’s finest public hospital on a gurney covered with stuffed toys, and by Saturday she was alert and in stable condition, according to doctors there. She was being given fluids and intravenous antibiotics to fight a blood infection, the doctors said, and further operations will have to wait until the infection has abated.

Meanwhile, the police arrested a 22-year-old garment worker early Saturday morning in Bihar, said Rajan Bhagat, a Delhi police spokesman. The police identified the suspect as Manoj, who, like many Indians, uses only one name. He had recently married and was tracked down with the help of cellphone records in the town where his in-laws live, according to Indian news reports.

The suspect had an apartment in New Delhi in the same building as the girl, whom he is accused of abducting, raping and torturing last Sunday night. The Times of India reported that he told the police he fled his apartment shortly thereafter because he believed that the girl had died. The girl’s parents discovered her on Wednesday in the man’s apartment.

“This is the first time I have seen such barbarism,” R. K. Bansal, medical superintendent of Swami Dayanand Hospital, said Friday in a televised interview. “There were injuries on her lips, cheeks, arms and anus area. Her neck had bruise marks suggesting that attempts were made to strangle her.”

He said a bottle almost eight inches long and pieces of candle had been inserted “into her private parts.”

In December, a woman was gang-raped and tortured and her companion beaten in a case that shocked the nation and led to weeks of spontaneous protests by Indians demanding better security for women. That case led to changes in the country’s rape laws, but horrific sexual assaults continue to be reported around India with regularity. Whether women are less safe in India than in other emerging countries is uncertain, but rape and police competence have become burning political issues.

On Saturday, demonstrators sought to reawaken the outrage that convulsed India in December, but the day’s protests were far smaller and seemed less spontaneous.

Anger at the authorities began to build after the parents of the 5-year-old said that the police had failed to take their complaint seriously, failed to carry out an adequate search and then offered them 2,000 rupees — about $37 — if they would keep quiet about the case. Then on Friday, television news channels showed a large mustachioed police officer slapping a small female protester in the face.

The government’s concerns about the case ratcheted up so quickly on Friday night that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed regrets about the episode. And on Saturday, the president of the Indian National Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi — whose house was also the site of protests on Saturday — released a statement condemning the rape and saying that “action and not words are required to ensure that such incidents never happen again.”

Two police officers, including the lead investigator on the case and the one seen slapping the protester, were suspended. The lead investigator is being investigated after being accused of trying to bribe the child’s family to remain silent, said Mr. Bhagat, the police spokesman.

The quick arrest of the suspect may do little to calm the anger surrounding the case since fairly quick police work also led to the arrests of five suspects in the December rape case. Such rapid resolutions are not the norm in India, where highly politicized police forces and a backlogged and inefficient judiciary often mean that cases remain unresolved for years.

Hari Kumar contributed reporting.



13) Relatives of Flotilla Raid Victims Reject Compensation From Israel
April 20, 2013

ISTANBUL — As Israeli and Turkish officials prepared for talks on Monday to restore relations, frozen since Israel’s deadly raid on a Turkish-led flotilla to Gaza, relatives of the nine people killed said Saturday that they would reject the compensation promised by Israel until it fully removes restrictions on the movement of goods and people in Gaza.

The relatives also said that they would not drop their lawsuits against Israelis involved in the 2010 raid, potentially complicating the Washington-brokered reconciliation between the two governments that began last month when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to apologize.

“Compensation and apology had always been government demands, not ours,” said Nimet Akyuz, whose husband, Cengiz Akyuz, was among those killed. “At this stage, we are going to see how sensitive and sincere the government really is about Gaza, the Palestinian situation.”

Added Cigdem Topcuoglu, who was on board the flotilla’s lead ship, the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, and whose husband was also killed, “We consider claims that we would give up our criminal cases against Israeli commanders and other legal cases in return for an apology and compensation as an insult.”

The families’ position could create problems for the Turkish government, which had demanded an apology from Israel, compensation to the families and lifting the Gaza blockade as a condition for restoring relations.

President Obama persuaded Mr. Netanyahu to apologize last month. Local news media have reported that Israel is ready to pay each family about $100,000. And Israel has eased restrictions on Gaza. The gestures seemed to set the stage for the resumption of normalized relations between the two countries, both important American allies in the region. Both share several security concerns, particularly regarding the civil war in neighboring Syria.

A Turkish diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity in accord with diplomatic protocol, said talks on Monday would take place regardless of families’ opposition because they concerned state matters.

“We would come to a decision, a final agreement with Israel on compensation and it would be up to the families to accept or reject it,” he said. “It would ultimately be a political process and decision.”

He also rejected the families’ contention that the government was dropping the blockade issue. Compensation, the official said, was “about Israel’s accountability for what it has done,” and was not being prioritized over the blockade.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Mr. Netanyahu, declined to respond to the families’ statements.

The flotilla, which was trying to break Israel’s military blockade of Gaza, was intercepted by Israeli forces in international waters when the vessels refused orders to turn back. When Israeli commandos boarded the lead vessel, a firefight broke out — Israel says the commandos were fired on first — and nine activists were killed, eight Turks and one American of Turkish descent.

The blockade has been loosened since then, and restrictions were further lifted under an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire that ended eight days of cross-border violence between Israel and Gaza in November. But travel, imports and exports remain at a fraction of the level they were before Hamas, the militant Islamic Palestinian faction, took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Sari Bashi, the executive director of Gisha, an Israeli human rights organization, said while imports between 2007 and 2010 were limited to “essential humanitarian items,” now everything but construction materials was allowed in freely. Agricultural exports have doubled over the past three years, she said, but remain about 2 percent of pre-2007 levels because of a ban on sales to Israel and the West Bank.

Travel from Gaza into Israel through the Erez crossing has expanded from “exceptional humanitarian cases” to include some merchants, family visitation and attendance at academic conferences, Ms. Bashi added, and exiting through the Rafah crossing into Egypt is generally open to all.

November’s cease-fire agreement expanded the permissible fishing zone to six nautical miles off the Gaza coast, from three, and provided Palestinians access to land near the Israeli borders that had been closed off. But some Palestinians have been shot by Israeli soldiers in the border zones — the military said they had approached the fence — and the fishing limits have been restored recently after rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel.

“The loosening of restrictions was a response to the quiet,” said a senior Israeli official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to do so publicly. “The process that was going forward has not continued to go forward because of the violence.”

But for relatives of the flotilla raid victims, it is all or nothing.

“We want the naval, land and air blockade on Gaza to be entirely lifted, not some free passage of few more goods through the gates, before any talks with Israel could begin,” said Ahmet Dogan, father of the 19-year-old Turkish-American who was killed in the raid. “We are constantly in touch with people in Gaza and there is absolutely no difference in the status of the blockade.”

Sebnem Arsu reported from Istanbul, and Jodi Rudoren from Jerusalem.



14) Legal Questions Riddle Boston Marathon Case
By , and
April 20, 2013

The capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect raises a host of freighted legal issues for a society still feeling the shadow of Sept. 11, including whether he should be read a Miranda warning, how he should be charged, where he might be tried and whether the bombings on Boylston Street last Monday were a crime or an act of war.

The suspect, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, was taken, bleeding, to a hospital on Friday night, and it remained unclear on Saturday whether he was conscious.

The authorities would typically arraign a suspect in a courtroom by Monday, a process that involves his being represented by a lawyer.

Most experts expected the case to be handled by the federal authorities, who were preparing a criminal complaint, including the use of weapons of mass destruction, which can carry the death penalty because deaths resulted from the blasts.

The decision to seek the death penalty must be made by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Under federal law, prosecutors must go through what is known within the Justice Department as a death-penalty protocol, under which the United States Attorney’s Office and Justice Department lawyers in Washington analyze all aspects of the crime, as well as the defendant’s background, criminal history and other characteristics.

“I think we can expect the prosecution to put together a meticulous case based on the forensic evidence, the videos, eyewitness testimony and any statements that the surviving defendant makes to the authorities,” said Kelly T. Currie, who led the Violent Crimes and Terrorism section in the Brooklyn United States Attorney’s Office from 2006 to 2008, where he supervised a number of terrorism prosecutions.

“I would think it’s going to be a very strong case, and ultimately all the pieces put together are cumulatively going to show a pretty full mosaic of this defendant’s actions leading up to the attack and in its wake,” Mr. Currie said.

Massachusetts has no death penalty, so a defense attorney in this case might seek to have the case tried in state court. State and county officials might also be eager to prosecute the defendant in the deaths of four of their residents.

President Obama described the attack that Mr. Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, were accused of committing as “terrorism.” Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed.

The administration has said it planned to begin questioning the younger Mr. Tsarnaev for a period without delivering the Miranda warning that he had a right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present.

Normally such a warning is necessary if prosecutors want to introduce statements made by a suspect in custody as evidence in court, but the administration said it was invoking an exception for questions about immediate threats to public safety. The Justice Department has pressed the view that in terrorism cases the length of time and type of questioning that fall under that exception is broader than what would be permissible in ordinary criminal cases, a view upheld by a federal judge in the case of the man convicted of trying to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner in 2009.

Civil libertarians have objected to the more aggressive interpretation of the exception to the Miranda rule, which protects the Constitutional right against involuntary self-incrimination. Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that it would be acceptable to withhold Miranda before asking whether there were any more bombs hidden in Boston, but that once the F.B.I. went into broader questioning, it must not “cut corners.”

But some prosecutors suggested that if any confession was unnecessary to convict him, then the F.B.I. might keep him talking without a warning without ultimately invoking the more disputed version of the public-safety exception to introduce it in court.

“I see a fairly strong case against this young man based on a great deal of evidence so, as a prosecutor, the top of my list would not be necessarily to Mirandize him and get a usable confession,” said David Raskin, a former federal prosecutor in terrorism cases in New York.

At the same time, some Republican senators, including John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, argued that using the criminal-justice system was a mistake and that Mr. Tsarnaev should instead be held indefinitely by the military as an “enemy combatant,” under the laws of war, and questioned without any Miranda warning or legal representation, in order to gain intelligence.

Still, there is not yet any public evidence suggesting that Mr. Tsarnaev was part of Al Qaeda or its associated forces — the specific enemy with which the United States is engaged in an armed conflict. And some legal specialists also doubted that the Constitution would permit holding a suspect like Mr. Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant.

“This is an American citizen being tried for a crime that occurred domestically, and there is simply no way to treat him like an enemy combatant — not even close,” said Alan M. Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and seasoned defense lawyer.

Whether legal proceedings take place in state or federal court — and both could occur, one after the other — a defense lawyer for Mr. Tsarnaev could contend that a fair trial was impossible in the Boston area and seek to have it moved. The lawyer could argue that so many people in Boston were affected by the bombings that no objective jury could be empaneled. The trial of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber responsible for killing scores and injuring hundreds in 1995, was moved to Colorado.

On the other hand, witnesses and officials are all in the Boston area, and a trial that required them to travel extensively could be seen by a judge as an inappropriate burden on the community.

Based on statements by the authorities to date, the case against Mr. Tsarnaev appears relatively strong. The F.B.I. released videos showing him and his brother at the marathon in the area of the explosions, carrying backpacks like those that forensic tests indicated contained the pressure-cooker bombs that killed three and maimed scores. Boston’s top F.B.I. official said when the videos were released that Mr. Tsarnaev, then identified as Suspect 2, placed one bag at the site of the second explosion, outside the Forum restaurant, moments before the second blast.

Law-enforcement officials have also said the brothers admitted to the bombings — as well as to the killing on Thursday night of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer — to a man whose car they stole at gunpoint. There is, in addition, the possibility of testimony by one of the bombing victims, a man whose legs were blown off, who told the F.B.I. that he saw Tamerlan Tsarnaev place the other bomb.

Officers who exchanged gunfire with the brothers Friday morning would also be witnesses, and their testimony would most likely focus on the gun battle.

Thomas Anthony Durkin, a defense lawyer and former assistant United States attorney in Chicago, said he doubted that a fair trial could be had for Mr. Tsarnaev anywhere in the country, given the emotion around the case. In any case, he said, the primary goal of a defense lawyer would be “to save his life.”

To that end, he and others said, three factors would most likely be highlighted — Mr. Tsarnaev’s relative youth, at 19; the influence his older brother seems to have had on him; and his own impressive past of sports, friendships and academic performance.

Mr. Dershowitz, who said that any lawyer who took the case would become the most despised person in the country, agreed that a number of factors should play a role in preventing the death penalty. On the other hand, he noted, Mr. Tsarnaev is accused of putting down “a bag full of nails and bombs in front of an 8-year-old kid, and that will probably trump everything.”



15) City Report Shows More Were Near Poverty in 2011
April 21, 2013

The rise in New York City’s poverty rate as a result of the recession has apparently eased, but not before pushing nearly half of the city’s population into the ranks of the poor or near-poor in 2011, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg administration.

That year, according to the city’s measure, about 46 percent of New Yorkers were making less than 150 percent of the poverty threshold, a benchmark used to describe people who are not officially poor but who still struggle to get by. That represents a rise of more than three percentage points since 2009, when the nation’s recession officially ended.

By the city’s definition, a family with two adults and two children could earn $46,416 a year and still fall within 150 percent of the city’ poverty level. Unlike the official but rigid federal poverty level, the city’s measure balances the added value of tax credits, food stamps, rent subsidies and other benefits against expenses like health and day care, housing and commuting that reflect New York’s higher living costs. The city says a two-adult, two-child family is poor if it earns less than $30,949 a year. The federal government sets the level at $22,811.

Though more New Yorkers were working in 2011 than the year before, larger shares of children and working adults were classified as poor in 2011, and the proportions of Asians, noncitizens and Queens residents — overlapping groups — each rose by more than four percentage points since 2008.

The city’s analysis warned that cutbacks in federal programs could threaten any recovery and place pressure on the next mayor to maintain or expand public assistance.

“The recent increase in the state minimum wage affects the working poor and near-poor, and paid sick days are important, but missing rungs in the ladder make it really hard to climb out of poverty,” said Nancy Rankin, vice president for policy research and advocacy at the Community Service Society, which lobbies on behalf of the poor.

“The next mayor is going to face a very difficult budget situation in which he or she will struggle to maintain basic services and have little room to expand welfare-related programs or services to needy New Yorkers, a fiscal situation that is getting very little attention in the current mayoral race,” said Steven Malanga, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative group.

The author of the analysis, Mark Levitan, director of poverty research for the Center for Economic Opportunity, said the near-poor — people making up to 50 percent above the poverty level — were often not eligible for food stamps and other benefits because of their higher incomes. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg established the center in 2006 to devise antipoverty strategies.

“After two bad years, things are not getting worse, and that’s the beginning of things getting better,” Dr. Levitan said. “The city we see in 2011,” he added, “is one that’s at a turning point. From 2008 to 2010, we see a city deeply impacted by the recession — big declines in unemployment, earned income and increases in poverty. We get to 2011 and things have leveled off. We haven’t turned the corner, but that may occur soon.”

More New Yorkers were poor in 2011 — 19.3 percent by the federal rate and 21.3 percent by the city’s standard — compared with 16.8 and 19.8 percent in 2007, before the recession. Still, while the city’s measure is the highest since it was first calculated in 2005, the official rate is lower in New York than in many other major cities.

While the center’s annual report, to be released this week, suggested that a better job market may have reversed the rising poverty in 2012, its outlook for this year and beyond was more problematic.

“Coinciding with the end of the slump in the job market is the end of the recession-related expansion of the safety net,” Dr. Levitan wrote, which could reduce food stamp benefits on top of cutbacks in unemployment insurance, tax credits and the payroll tax rate.

With some government programs under fire in Washington, Dr. Levitan credited those benefits and others with keeping more people out of poverty. Without food stamps alone, the city’s poverty rate would have soared by 3.6 percentage points, to nearly 31 percent.

Housing subsidies and the tax system make the biggest dents in the poverty rate (lowering the rate by 6.2 percent and 3.6 percent) while unreimbursed medical care drains income and drives more people into poverty (another 2.9 percent) than any other nondiscretionary expense.

Poverty rates declined among single adults with children, but rose most among Hispanic and Asian New Yorkers. The report said that since 2008, the rate was “remarkably” flat among blacks.

Since 2005, the Bronx has remained the poorest borough. The poverty rate in Manhattan then was about the same as in Queens, but it is now about even with Staten Island, which used to have the lowest share of poor people.

“In the very short term, I’m sort of an optimist,” Dr. Levitan said. “Looking further, I see storm clouds with tremendous pressure for austerity. My fear is that we are moving to another dynamic where employment and earnings are rising and the safety net is contracting.”



16) The Persecution of Lynne Stewart
By Chris Hedges
Truthdig, April 21, 2013

Lynne Stewart, in the vindictive and hysterical world of the war on terror, is one of its martyrs. A 73-year-old lawyer who spent her life defending the poor, the marginalized and the despised, including blind cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, she fell afoul of the state apparatus because she dared to demand justice rather than acquiesce to state sponsored witch hunts. And now, with stage 4 cancer that has metastasized, spreading to her lymph nodes, shoulder, bones and lungs, creating a grave threat to her life, she sits in a prison cell at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, where she is serving a 10-year sentence.

Stewart’s family is pleading with the state for “compassionate release” and numerous international human rights campaigners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have signed a petition calling for her to be freed on medical grounds. It is not only a crime in the U.S. to be poor, to be a Muslim, to openly condemn the crimes committed in our name in the Muslim world, but to defend those who do. And the near total collapse of our judicial system, wrecked in the name of national security and “the war on terror,” is encapsulated in the saga of this courageous attorney—now disbarred because of her conviction.

“I hope that my imprisonment sends the wake up call that the government is prepared to imprison lawyers who do not conduct legal representation in a manner the government has ordained,” she told me when I reached her through email in prison. “My career of 30-plus years has always been client centered. My clients and I decided on the best legal course, without the interference of the government. Ethics require that the defense lawyer DEFEND, get the client off. We have no obligation to obey [the] ‘rules’ government lays down.

“I believe that since 9/11 the government has pursued Muslims with an ever heavier hand,” she wrote, all messages to her and from her being vetted by prison authorities. “However, cases such as the Sheikh’s in 1995 amply demonstrate that Muslims had been targeted even earlier as the new ENEMY—always suspect, always guilty. After 9/11, we discovered that the government prosecutors were ordered to try and get Osama Bin Laden into EVERY Muslim prosecution inducing in American Juries a Pavlovian response. Is it as bad as lynching and the Scottsboro Boys and the Pursuit of Black Panthers? Not as of yet, but getting close and of course the incipient racism that that colors—pun?—every action in the U.S. is ever present in these prosecutions.”

Stewart, as a young librarian in Harlem, got an early taste of the insidious forms of overt and covert racism that work to keep most people of color impoverished and trapped in their internal colonies or our prison complex. She went on to get her law degree and begin battling in the courts on behalf of those around her for whom justice was usually denied. By 1995, along with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Abdeen Jabara, she was the lead trial counsel for the sheik, who was convicted in September of that year. He received life in prison plus 65 years, a sentence Stewart called “outlandish.” The cleric, in poor health, is serving a life sentence in the medical wing of the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina. Stewart continued to see the sheik in jail after the sentence. Three years later the government severely curtailed his ability to communicate with the outside world, even through his lawyers, under special administrative measures or SAMs.

In 2000, during a visit with the sheik, he asked Stewart to release a statement from him to the press. The Clinton administration did not prosecute her for the press release, but the Bush administration in April 2002, the mood of the country altered by the attacks of 9/11, decided to go after her. Attorney General John Ashcroft came to New York in April 2002 to announce that the Justice Department had indicted Stewart, a paralegal and the interpreter on grounds of materially aiding a terrorist organization. That night he went on “Late Show with David Letterman” to tell the nation of the indictment and the Bush administration’s vaunted “war on terror.”

“Rev up the military industrial complex,” Stewart wrote when I asked her what purpose the “war on terror” served. “Keep the populace terrorized so that they look to Big Brother Government for protection. Cannon Fodder for the ‘throwaways’ in our society—young, poor, uneducated, persons of color.”

Stewart’s 2005 trial was a Punch-and-Judy show. The state demanded an outrageous 30-year prison sentence. It showed the jurors lurid videos of Osama bin Laden and images of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers, and spun a fantastic web of Islamic, terrorist intrigue. To those of us who covered groups such as al-Qaida and the armed Islamic groups in Egypt—I was based in Cairo at the time as the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times—the government scenarios were utterly devoid of fact or credibility. The government prosecutors, for example, blamed numerous terrorist attacks, including the killing of 62 people in 1997 in Luxor, Egypt, on the sheik, although he publicly denounced the attack and had no connection with the radical Islamic group in Egypt that carried it out. And even Manhattan District Judge John Koeltl instructed the jury more than 750 times that the photos of Osama bin Laden and the 2001 World Trade Center attacks were not relevant to the case. Stewart was sentenced to 28 months. The Obama administration appealed the ruling. The appeals court ruled that the sentence was too light. Koeltl gave her ten years. She has served three.

Her family’s appeal for a “compassionate release“ must defy the odds. Human Rights Watch and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) noted in a 2012 report, “The Answer is No: Too Little Compassionate Release in U.S. Federal Prisons,” that the Federal Bureau of Prisons rarely even bothers to submit compassionate release requests to the courts. Since 1992, the bureau has averaged two dozen motions a year to the courts for compassionate release. The bureau does not provide figures for the number of prisoners who seek compassionate release.

“No messy side effects—vomiting, diarrhea—thank goodness,” Stewart wrote to me about her cancer care. “I have one more treatment and then they have used all the poison it’s safe to use. I am bald but the hardest for me to endure, who has always relied on her memory and quick wit, is the chemo brain that slows and sometimes stops me.

“I am up at 4:30 [A.M.] and wait till the ‘Count’ is over and have a shower etc.,” she noted of her daily routine. “I get dressed and take a short rest (feet up) until breakfast at 6:00 A.M. I am in a room with six other women—the unusual mix of inmates and I rely on them to help me with just about everything—getting to the clinics, picking up meds, filling my ice bucket, helping with my laundry, etc. At 9:00 A.M. every day, they laughingly say, I go to the ‘office.’ That means email or the law library where I correspond and meet with women who need my help. I go back up by 10:30 A.M. and take a short nap till lunch. Meals here are meager and not well prepared. Of course, I have favorites—the hamburgers (beef THIN patty) served every Wednesday in every federal prison for lunch. Some of the women count their time in terms of how many hamburger days they have left! We are served cut up iceberg lettuce with a little red cabbage and carrots with meals and I have used my commissary purchases to concoct some more exotic dressings than those offered here.

“After lunch I go back to bed for a longer nap and then up for mail call—lots of letters, newspapers, magazines, etc.” she wrote, “a time of the day I sometimes shed a few tears at the love and intensity of those who have written to state their support. Then supper and back to bed and reading—pure pleasure—much fiction (mysteries, Scottish, etc. and authors I love Morrison, Sarmargo). [There is] some conversing with my roommates and then after the 9:00 P.M. count I am off to sleep. I have a hospital bed that is next to large windows—no bars. I can see the Trinity River, barely. Trees. This view of nature is responsible for keeping me alive in the real sense.

“I hoped that there would be common cause among the women here because we are all confronted by totally arbitrary authority every minute of every day,” she went on. “Prison is a perverse place of selfishness and sometimes generosity but not much unity. There are a few and we recognize each other but by and large the harsh realities of people’s origins and the system have ruined most of us. It is particularly horrendous to realize the number of children that the prison system rips from their mothers’ arms, thus creating yet another generation to feed the beast of prison industrial complex.

“I fear we are headed into a period of ever increasing cruelty to those who can least stand it,” she wrote. “As corporate agendas become national agendas there is a profound disrespect for all those who are not able to even get to the starting line. We do not love the children except when they are massacred—the daily mental, emotional deaths in the public schools are ignored. We are now a nation of Us and Them. I would HOPE that the people would recognize what is happening and make a move. After all, who in the fifties could have predicted the uprisings of the sixties? There must be a distaste and willful opposition to what is happening and a push to take it back—local movements scaring the HELL out of the Haves.”

In a 2003 speech at a National Lawyers Guild convention in Minneapolis, Stewart eloquently laid out her mission as an advocate, and more important as a mother and a member of the human race.

“For we have formidable enemies not unlike those in the tales of ancient days,” she told the gathering. “There is a consummate evil that unleashes its dogs of war on the helpless; an enemy motivated only by insatiable greed—the Miller’s daughter made to spin gold—the fisherman’s wife: Midas, all with no thought of consequences. In this enemy there is no love of the land or the creatures that live there, no compassion for the people. This enemy will destroy the air we breathe and the water we drink as long as the dollars keep filling up their money boxes.

“We now resume our everyday lives but we have been charged once again, with, and for, our quests, and like Hippolyta and her Amazons; like David going forth to meet Goliath, like Beowulf the dragon slayer, like Queen Zenobia, who made war on the Romans, like Sir Galahad seeking the holy grail,” she said. “And modern heroes, dare I mention? Ho and Mao and Lenin, Fidel and Nelson Mandela and John Brown, Che Guevara who reminds us ‘At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.’ Our quests like theirs are to shake the very foundations of the continents.

“We go out to stop police brutality—to rescue the imprisoned—to change the rules for those who have never ever been able to get to the starting line much less run the race, because of color, physical condition, gender, mental impairment,” she said. “We go forth to preserve the air and land and water and sky and all the beasts that crawl and fly. We go forth to safeguard the right to speak and write, to join; to learn, to rest safe at home, to be secure, fed, healthy, sheltered, loved and loving, to be at peace with ones identity.”

From prison Stewart wrote to me in closing, “I have been fortunate to live a charmed life—parents who loved me without qualification (yes, we fought about Vietnam and my African American husband but I never doubted that they would always be there for me). I had children when I was young enough to grow with them. Today they are the backbone of my support and love. I came to politics in the early sixties and was part of a vibrant movement that tried to empower local control of public schools to make the ultimate changes for children and break the back of racism in minority communities. My partner/husband Ralph Poynter was always—60 years and counting—in my corner and when at a less than opportune moment I announced my desire to go to law school, he made sure it happened. I had a fabulous legal career in a fabulous city—championing the political rights of the comrades of the ’60s and ’70s and also representing many who had no hope of a lawyer who would fight for them against the system. I have enjoyed good friends, loved cooking, had poetry and theater for a joy. I could go on and on BUT all of this good fortune has always meant only one thing to me—that I have to fight, struggle to make sure EVERYONE can have a life like mine. That belief is what will always sustain me.”



17) Broken Justice in the Bronx

Quietly over time, the gleaming glass building near Yankee Stadium that houses the Bronx criminal courts has become a place where delay and dysfunction are the norm and central ideals of the American justice system — especially the promise of a speedy trial — have been disgracefully subverted.

The state court system has a guideline that requires most felony cases to go to trial or be resolved within 180 days of the suspect’s indictment. While criminal courts in every borough in New York City violate that guideline, in the Bronx, the city’s poorest borough, 73 percent of all felony cases exceeded the 180-day limit, as of January.

In recent years, there were more defendants waiting years in jail for their trials in the Bronx than in the rest of the boroughs combined. The Bronx accounted for more than half of the cases in the city’s criminal courts that were more than two years old, and for two-thirds of people held for more than five years awaiting trial.

A powerful series by William Glaberson of The Times has painted a devastating portrait of a lackadaisical court culture in which the main actors in the Bronx seem utterly paralyzed or incompetent. None appear to have the necessary drive to ensure that justice is done for the defendants, the victims or the public.

The Bronx district attorney, Robert Johnson, and the prosecutors serving under him show little sense of urgency as cases age. In one ludicrous case, an assistant district attorney actually left on vacation in the middle of a trial she was working on. Defense lawyers have been allowed to exploit delays to help their clients, since witnesses can move away and evidence can become tainted; sometimes the defense lawyers simply delay cases to suit their own schedules. And there are the judges — many elected through a political machine-controlled process — who are unable or unwilling to exert strong control over their courtrooms to resolve cases in a reasonable time.

The inordinate delays impose heavy tolls. Innocent people remain in jail for crimes they did not commit. Memories fade, evidence dries up, and witnesses disappear, making convicting the guilty harder. Victims and their families suffer, as does faith in the justice system’s ability to protect the public.

In one case, as reported by Mr. Glaberson, Bronx prosecutors did not try a defendant accused of murder until five years after the crime. The defendant ended up going free after the first police officer to testify answered that he could not remember numerous details under questioning by the defense lawyer. In another murder case, which also resulted in a not-guilty verdict, the star witness at the trial four years after the crime testified that he could no longer be sure who pulled the trigger.

As old cases have piled up in the Bronx, conviction rates have declined to less than half in jury trials, far lower than elsewhere in the city and well below the national rate. In 2011, Bronx prosecutors won guilty verdicts in 46 percent of their jury trials, court data shows, down from 67 percent in 1989, when Mr. Johnson took office.

While that dismal record may be partly a product of the skepticism Bronx juries have of the police, it also raises questions about whether the breakdown in the borough’s court system is letting dangerous criminals go free. Like many other states, New York has slashed court budgets in the past few years in the face of a harsh recession. But the problem in the Bronx began festering long before that and goes beyond a shortage of resources.

Because of budget problems, the court day has been shortened and now ends at 4:30. But a lot more could be accomplished if judges required all participants in proceedings to show up on time — something that rarely happens now — and stopped accepting prosecutors’ and defense lawyers’ weak excuses for delays.

Part of the blame for the current mess belongs to state court administrators. They should have acted sooner to dismantle the well-meaning but unsuccessful reorganization plan put in place in 2004 by Judith Kaye, then the state’s chief judge, and take muscular action to address the Bronx backlog. In a positive step in January, the state’s current chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, dispatched a “SWAT team” of judges to deal with the delays. According to court officials, they have already cut the number of cases two years or older by 21 percent, mostly by arranging plea deals and dismissing cases.

But the problem runs deep. Changing the culture will require a new commitment by Mr. Johnson, Bronx criminal court judges and court administrators to improve the management and work ethic in every part of the system. It will also require enlisting more seasoned defense lawyers to take cases in the Bronx. Some additional financing for court employees will be needed, too. But no management reform will be sufficient or lasting unless the city’s political and judicial leaders raise expectations about what a well-functioning criminal justice system requires.



18) Restyled as Real Estate Trusts, Varied Businesses Avoid Taxes
April 21, 2013

A small but growing number of American corporations, operating in businesses as diverse as private prisons, billboards and casinos, are making an aggressive move to reduce — or even eliminate — their federal tax bills.

They are declaring that they are not ordinary corporations at all. Instead, they say, they are something else: special trusts that are typically exempt from paying federal taxes.

The trust structure has been around for years but, until recently, it was generally used only by funds holding real estate. Now, the likes of the Corrections Corporation of America, which owns and operates 44 prisons and detention centers across the nation, have quietly received permission from the Internal Revenue Service to put on new corporate clothes and, as a result, save many millions on taxes.

The Corrections Corporation, which is making the switch, expects to save $70 million in 2013. Penn National Gaming, which operates 22 casinos, including the M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas, recently won approval to change its tax designation, too.

Changing from a standard corporation to a real estate investment trust, or REIT — a designation signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower — has suddenly become a hot corporate trend. One Wall Street analyst has characterized the label as a “golden ticket” for corporations.

“I’ve been in this business for 30 years, and I’ve never seen the interest in REIT conversions as high as it is today,” said Robert O’Brien, the head of the real estate practice at Deloitte & Touche, the big accounting firm.

At a time when deficits and taxes loom large in Washington, some question whether the new real estate investment trusts deserve their privileged position.

When they were created in 1960, they were meant to be passive investment vehicles, like mutual funds, that buy up a broad portfolio of real estate — whether shopping malls, warehouses, hospitals or even timberland — and derive almost all of their income from those holdings.

One of the bedrock principles — and the reason for the tax exemption — was that the trusts do not do any business other than owning real estate.

But bit by bit, especially in recent years, that has changed as the I.R.S., in a number of low-profile decisions, has broadened the definition of real estate, and allowed companies to split off parts of their business that are unrelated to real estate.

For example, prison companies like the Corrections Corporation and the Geo Group successfully argued that the money they collect from governments for holding prisoners is essentially rent. Companies that operate cellphone towers have said that the towers themselves are real estate.

The conversions generally do not require the companies to change their underlying business. The chief executive of the Corrections Corporation, Damon T. Hininger, told investors in February that the new structure should help in the company’s aim of “housing more and more population for federal, state and local levels as they grow or deal with overcrowding.”

The I.R.S. released its latest decision, allowing a data and document storage company to convert, on April 5. The letter did not include the name of the company, but several data storage companies, including Iron Mountain and Equinix, are in the process of converting.

A few days later, a strategist at the Wall Street firm Jefferies wrote in a report: “It is not a far stretch to envision REITs concentrated in railroads, highways, mines, landfills, vineyards, farmland or any other ‘immovable’ structure that generates revenues.”

Today, there are more than 1,000 real estate investment trusts, about 10 percent of them traded publicly on the stock market. Investors like them because, by law, they must distribute at least 90 percent of their taxable income to their shareholders — a particularly alluring prospect today, given the low interest rates paid by many other basic investments.

The benefits of converting are obvious for stockholders and corporate insiders as well. The conversion typically drives up a company’s stock price. Investors are drawn by the prospect of lucrative dividends under the new structure. The mere rumor that a company might convert has been enough to send its stock price soaring.

The trend has been a concern to advocates of the traditional trusts, who fear that the newcomers may eventually jeopardize the tax status of older funds that do not do any business other than owning real estate.

“I worry that in a world where Congress is very sensitive to taxes, that a lot of these structures could end up attracting a lot of attention that might not be entirely positive,” said Ross L. Smotrich, an analyst at Barclays.

Steven Rosenthal, a staff member at the Joint Committee on Taxation during the 1990s and now a visiting fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, said that the trend raises questions about the purpose of corporate income taxes at a time when there are so many ways around them. The conversions are one of many strategies that businesses use to avoid paying the corporate tax rate of 35 percent.

“What is there about a business owning real estate that suggests we should not tax them?” Mr. Rosenthal said.

Some Congressional staff members said they had noticed the recent conversions and were monitoring the issue.

This is not the first wave of companies seeking out a new type of corporate status to avoid taxes. In the 1980s, dozens of companies, including Sahara Resorts and the Boston Celtics, became master limited partnerships, another corporate form that is tax-exempt. After the practice attracted notice, Congress passed laws that limited the industries that could use the structure. In the 1990s, hotel companies took advantage of the laws, but a change to the laws in 1999 soon snuffed that out.

It is too soon to tell how far the current round of conversions will spread. PricewaterhouseCoopers recently counted 20 companies that are at some stage in the process of converting, and there has been a steady stream of suggestions for what industry might next secure I.R.S. approval.

Lawyers have also been finding creative ways to follow the letter of the law by splitting off parts of a company into subsidiaries that can be taxed. In the legal world, the most controversial such effort is being undertaken by Penn National, the casino company. It won approval from the I.R.S. late last year to turn itself into a real estate holding company. In the process, it created a tax-paying subsidiary that holds the casino operations and pays rent to the parent company.

Mr. O’Brien, at Deloitte & Touche, said he has been talking with other casino operators that are looking at making similar moves. The ruling could also open the door for restaurant companies like McDonald’s and retailers like J. C. Penney to follow a similar route, though neither company has indicated it is considering such a move.

For now, companies like the Corrections Corporation are quickly moving through the process.

“The good news about this is that we are going to be able to enjoy a full year of tax savings for 2013,” Mr. Hininger, the chief executive, said in February. Last week, the company’s share price hit its highest level in over a decade.


























































Stop Condo Conversions, Save Rent Control

Monday 4/22: Rally at noon, Hearing at 1:30

We’re going to stop condo conversions for the next decade or more, permanently ban condo conversions on all 5+ units buildings and we’ve removed the threat to rent control in the Wiener-Farrell legislation!

We’re almost there—there has be one more hearing because of our amendments and we really need people at this one. Join us next Monday, April 22, at 12 noon for a rally prior to the final Land Use Committee hearing. The rally will be on the steps of City Hall (Civic Center side) and the hearing will be in Room 263 of City Hall.

The Wiener-Farrell legislation to convert apartments into condos was turned from one of biggest threats to tenants into legislation which will save thousands of apartments from conversions and thousands of tenants from evictions. Under amendments crafted by Sups. Chiu, Kim & Yee, all condo conversions will be stopped for at least the next decade and, if and when they resume, conversions will no longer be allowed for 5+ unit buildings. In addition, future conversions will need a higher level of owner-occupancy, which will prevent condo conversions from being used solely for rent control repeal.

These gains were significant enough to allow Existing TICs an expedited condo conversion process over the next several years, but amendments were made here as well. The lifetime leases were made enforceable and other loopholes were plugged up.

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Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco
427 South Van Ness
San Francisco, California 94103

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Last October, 60 activists from Northern California gathered to take a strong stance against the brutality of Obama's secret drone wars and U.S. global warring.  After blocking the main gate of Beale AFB for 5 hours, nine activists were arrested.  This month we will gather again in defiance of U.S. militarism that causes so much suffering and pollution around the planet.  This will be our second direct action against drones at Beale AFB, after 2 1/2 years of continuous monthly vigils.  Won't you join us?  If not now, when?  Bring friends and family!

This will be the culmination of a month long national call to action against drone warfare.  Help us end it with a humongous SURGE for PEACE!
Join us for one or both days.......we need support folk, as well as those who can risk arrest.  Spread the word!

Monday, April 29th:
    3:00-5:00 pm,  Wheatland Gate, South Beale Rd.
Vigil and bannering rush hour traffic.  Bring banners and signs....plenty extra available!
    5:30pm,  Main Gate:  North Beale Rd.
Potluck, final planning for Tuesdays nonviolent direct action.  Campout at the main gate, or stay in local hotel.  Other overnight arrangements possible.
Nonviolence training available if needed.
Tuesday, April 30th, 6:00-8:30am  
Join or support the non-violent direct action.
We say Not One More Death from Drones! 
Legal observers and legal team available. 

Sign up on Facebook:

More Info: 

Videos from last October's direct action:

For Questions and Carpooling: 
Nevada County:  Shirley-941-320-0291
Bay Area:
Sacramento:  John-916-456-4595



Rally for Bradley Manning.
Join us at Fort Meade on June 1, 2013.

By the Bradley Manning Support Network, February 25, 2013.

• 1pm Gather (Reece Road and US 175, Fort Meade, Maryland)

• 2pm March

• 3pm Rally and Speak Out

Sponsored by the Bradley Manning Support Network and the national Veterans for Peace organization, with the help of Courage to Resist, and many other groups.

After more than three years of imprisonment, including nine months of torture, Nobel Peace

Prize nominee Bradley Manning’s trial is finally scheduled to begin June 3, 2013, at Fort Meade,

Maryland. The outcome of this trial will determine whether a conscience-driven 25-year-

old WikiLeaks whistle-blower spends the rest of his life in prison. Bradley believed that the

American people have a right to know the truth about what our government does around the

world in our name. We the People must send a message to the military prosecuting authority,

and President Obama, that Bradley Manning is a patriot and heroic truth-teller.

June 1st is the International Day of Action to Support Bradley Manning. Join us at Fort Meade on

the eve of Bradley’s court martial. Solidarity actions are welcome at bases, recruiting centers and US

embassies worldwide. We ask that Veterans for Peace join us in cosponsoring these historic events.


Monday, June 3, 2013


8:30 am, enter Fort Meade at Reece Road and US 175, Fort Meade, Maryland

9:00 am scheduled daily start of hearings at Magistrate Court

4432 Llewellyn Avenue, Fort Meade, MD. It is 2 miles from the Main Gate.

The court martial is expected to last 6-12 weeks. Supporters are encouraged to attend as many days of

this trial as they are able.


Parking for Saturday, June 1, 2013. We hope to come to an understanding with local

authorities regarding the best place for supporters to park for the Saturday rally. Parking is

available about one mile south near Blue Water Blvd (Weis Market) and US 175. We’ll try to

help shuttle folks as needed.

Portable toilets are expected to be available.

Join us in the courtroom for the trial beginning June 3, 2013. Drive (or taxi) to the Fort Meade Visitor

Control Center at the Fort Meade Main Gate (all the other gates are for military ID holders only), Reece Road and US 175, Fort Meade, Maryland. We suggest arriving when the visitor center opens at 7:30am, and certainly before 8:15am. The proceedings are scheduled to begin at 9am daily. The multiple layers of security take time to navigate, and procedures often change from day to day. Each person will need a valid state or federal photo ID such as a driver’s license, state photo ID card, or passport. Foreign passports are accepted. Anyone driving on to Fort Meade will be required to submit their driver’s license, vehicle registration, and printed (not digital) proof of insurance. Your vehicle will be subject to search, and you may be required to cover over political bumper stickers on your vehicle. Consider walking on base if there are any questions at all regarding your vehicle and paperwork.

The proceedings will be held at the Magistrate Court, 4432 Llewellyn Ave, Fort Meade, MD

20755 (this is one mile from the Visitor Center). Electronic devices, including cell phones,

computers, cameras, are not allowed in the courtroom, and should be left in your vehicle.

There are no pre-registration requirements for the public to attend the proceedings. However,

those wishing to attend as credentialed media should contact the US Army Military District of

Washington Public Affairs Office at 202-685-4645.


The Fort Meade Main Gate is less than 10 miles south of the Baltimore-Washington DC

International (BWI) airport. It is located between Washington DC and Baltimore MD.


From Washington, DC, take MD-295 N towards BALTIMORE to US 175 EAST, then follow

175 EAST until you come to Reece Road. From Baltimore, MD, take MD-295 S towards

WASHINGTON to US 175 EAST, then take 175 EAST until you come to Reece Road.


We hope to charter buses for supporters from both downtown Washington DC and Baltimore,


There is regional bus service from BWI Airport to the Arundel Mills Shopping Center (Bus 017).

Then take the CTC K to the Main Gate. For a Google Maps public transit view of this option:


Note that the nearby Odenton MARC train station serves commuter trains only and does not

run on the weekend. Amtrak does not stop at this station.


There are many hotels serving this area just south of the BWI Airport. The closest of these are

5-6 miles from the Ft. Meade Main Gate. One option is Aloft Arundel Mills, 7520 Teague Rd,

Hanover, MD, 21076 (866-539-0036), $80-$100 night. A search of the area turns up

rooms nearby starting at $60 a night. The only lodging really close to the Ft. Meade Main Gate

is the White Gables Motel; however, for a number of reasons, we strongly suggest avoiding it.



















Wealth Inequality in America

[This is a must see to believe]



Read the transcription of hero Bradley Manning's 35-page statement explaining why he leaked "state secrets" to WikiLeaks.

March 1, 2013


 The statement was read by Pfc. Bradley Manning at a providence inquiry for his formal plea of guilty to one specification as charged and nine specifications for lesser included offenses. He pled not guilty to 12 other specifications. This rush transcript was taken by journalist Alexa O’Brien at Thursday’s pretrial hearing and first appeared on



Please forward widely

Lynne Stewart Emergency Alert!

Dear Friends,

Below you will find today's critical communication from longtime Lynne Stewart supporter, Betty Davis. The information concerns Lynne's health and her legal status.

As you will read below Lynne's breast cancer has returned. Lynne was successfully treated, we had hoped, two years ago and given a clean bill of health, as much as such diagnoses can be counted on. But a single spot was found on one lung a few months ago. Now another has appeared on the other lung and others in her upper back, all associated with her original breast cancer.

Her husband Ralph Poynter told me today that Lynne's condition was still very treatable and that a cure was not at all to be ruled out and especially so if prison officials allowed her the expert treatment afforded her previously in a prominent New York City hospital. Lynne's request to be moved to that facility was denied. She is to be treated in a prison related facility, but fortunately under the direction of and using the protocols of her doctor/daughter, who is expected to be with Lynne at any moment.

We are still hopeful for a positive outcome, even under the most difficult conditions.

Meanwhile, Lynne's appeal preparations for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court are now in progress, with Lynne having assembled a first rate team of attorneys including members of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild.

Lynne campaigned for Mumia's freedom for the several years that she was free on bail and traveling the country in her own defense. She was present at Mumia's court hearing in Philadelphia and appeared on Democracy Now!, with Mumia phoning in in her defense.

I urge you to carefully read the material below and lend a hand. The stakes are high. We will continue to demand the finest medical treatment for Lynne and, of course, continue to campaign for her freedom and immediate release.

Lynne, a prominent civil rights attorney of 30 years, was the victim of a government-orchestrated 2005 frame-up trial that was riddled with violations of fundamental legal principles. She was convicted on five counts of conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism. This was based on the government's charge that her public issuance a press release on behalf of her client, the "blind sheik" Omar Abdel Rachman, an Egyptian cleric who was similarly framed up and imprisoned for life on "terrorism" charges, was illegal.

Ironically, Rachman's freedom is today being demanded by Egypt's new President Mohamed Morsi.

Lynne, 72, was originally convicted and sentenced to 28 months in prison, but this "light" sentence was contested by the reactionary U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and her sentence was outrageously increased to 10 years, by the compliant Federal District Court trial judge, John Koeltl.

I urge you to write to Lynne and convey your love and solidarity. She toured the Bay Area several times in previous years, always speaking to admiring and stunned audiences, who realized that Lynne's case was central to everyone's civil liberties. Lynne's conviction was a message to all attorneys that defense of the unpopular, defense of democratic rights and especially defense of Muslim victims of government persecution, was dangerous. Lynne's conviction and extended sentence served to massively chill the defense bar.

Lynne's freedom and life itself in large part depends on our solidarity.

Write Lynne at:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054

Federal Medical Center Carswell

P.O. Box 27137

Fort Worth, Texas 76127

Send your generous contribution payable to:

Lynne Stewart Organization

1070 Dean Street

Brooklyn, New York 11216

In solidarity,

Jeff Mackler, West Coast Coordinator

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee




It  is urgent  that you  listen  to  the audio email below.  It is  the latest update  from  Ralph Poynter,  Mya Shone  &  Ralph Schonmann about LYNNE STEWARTS fate in prison.

Lynne Stewart's breast cancer is spreading to her lungs and shoulders.  She needs immediate treatment NOW.  The prison authorities have known

this since September.


All we are asking you to:

Listen to the audio below and update yourself on the facts. Check out the website as well.

   You don't have to write the prison authorities because THEY READ EVERYTHING WE SEND AND TELL HER SO.

Send this email out to all your listservs, especially to LAWYERS because we are asking ALL ATTORNEYS SUPPORT HER CERT , (A REQUEST FOR THE SUPREME COURT TO HEAR HER CASE.)

 When it comes to the oppressed, there is no such thing as law or justice.  THEREFORE, the movement determines the argument before the courts, not this myth of justice before the law. We need attorneys who understand this and understand that LYNNE STEWART was one of  the very few attorneys who understood this. She never had her political prisoners surrender their right to self defense or self determination.  In her trial when questioned she still defended this human right and her right to give her clients the best defense possible.  When she was resentenced from 28 months to ten years, one of the reasons was that  SHE "SHOWED NO REMORSE." SHE DOES NOT FEEL REMORSE FOR DEFENDING THE BILL OF RIGHTS, therefore, we should defend her and all POLITICAL PRISONERS.



Write a letter  of support to    Lynne Stewart-   53504 - 054,     FEDERAL MEDICAL CNTR, CARSWELL,  P.O. BOX 27137,  FT. WORTH, TEXAS 76127.

-----Original Message---

    But, to listen to the report, go to:

128 kbps version (hi fi):

32 kbps version (lo fi):

    Please listen from the links here in this email.      Let me know what you think.





Statement of Support for Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine:

We Condemn Attacks Against Advocates for BDS and Palestinian Rights!

We the undersigned deplore the efforts of politicians and others to bully student activists and faculty and to smear supporters of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel as anti-Semites.

In recent days, opponents of an event on BDS to be held on campus February 7th have attacked the organizers and scheduled speakers, internationally renowned philosopher Judith Butler and Palestinian human rights activist Omar Barghouti, as well as the political science department and university administration for co-sponsoring the event. This is just the latest in a series of incidents involving attempts to silence criticism of Israel at Brooklyn College.

Opponents of the February 7 event have made deeply offensive and inflammatory accusations against supporters of BDS, with State Assemblyman Alan Maisel going so far as to warn of “the potential for a second Holocaust here.” Other prominent critics include lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who has openly called for the United States and Israel to use torture, and State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a follower of the late Meir Kahane, an Israeli-American rabbi whose racist Kach movement has been outlawed by the US and Israel as a terrorist organization for advocating the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel and the occupied territories and for carrying out violent terrorist attacks against Palestinians and others.

It is outrageous and perverse to conflate BDS proponents and our stance in support of equal rights and freedom for Palestinians with anti-Semitism and Nazism. Contrary to the claims of these detractors, the BDS movement is an inclusive, nonviolent, civil society-led campaign whose goal is to pressure Israel into respecting Palestinian human rights and abiding by international law, in the absence of action on the part of the US government and international community to do so. It is comprised of people of all faiths and backgrounds, including many Israeli and American Jews. Leaders of the BDS movement have always rejected and condemned any and all forms of racism and bigotry, including anti-Semitism. As SJP-BC’s mission statement says, we “reject any form of hatred or discrimination against any religious or ethnic group.”

As supporters of Palestinian rights and of academic freedom and free speech on campus, we commend Brooklyn College President Karen Gould for showing leadership and not succumbing to pressure from bullies like Dershowitz and Hikind, who seek to suppress criticism of Israel by smearing advocates of Palestinian freedom and equality as bigots.

For nearly 65 years, Palestinians have been dispossessed, colonized, and denied the most basic of human rights and freedoms by Israel. For more than 45 years, they have endured a brutal and illegal Israeli military occupation that becomes more entrenched each day. More than 11 million Palestinian refugees, the survivors and descendants of the approximately 750,000 Palestinians who were ethnically-cleansed during Israel’s creation in 1948, are prevented from exercising their internationally-recognized right of return to the land and homes they were expelled from simply because they are not Jewish, while those Palestinians who remained inside Israel after 1948, who make up about 20% of the population today, face widespread institutionalized discrimination and are treated as second- or third-class citizens. As the international community looks on and does nothing to hold Israel accountable for its actions, global civil society is taking the lead with BDS.

In light of the attacks, we pledge our continued support to SJP’s efforts to educate the public about Israel’s grave and systematic abuses of Palestinian human rights and the racist, apartheid regime Israel has instituted in the territories it controls between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

For more information, visit SJP Brooklyn College's website at or email us at



Emergency Appeal—Hunger strike in second month—solidarity funds needed for fired Colombian GM workers

Many of you have heard and met Jorge Parra, president of the Association of Injured Workers and Ex-workers of GM Colomotores (Asotrecol). Asotrecol represents the workers who were fired after sustaining work-related injuries and illnesses at GM’s plant in Bogota, Colombia. They are still fighting for the right to return to jobs at GM that they can do, or receive compensation. The occupation outside the U.S. embassy in Bogota has been maintained for over 500 days. Jorge, who is here in Detroit, is in the second month of his third hunger strike to pressure GM to negotiate with Asotrecol. Thus far GM has not met with him. The situation is urgent.

When Jorge and his coworkers were fired it left them with no source of income; their injuries prevent them from getting other jobs. For this struggle to continue funds are critically needed—for Jorge’s living expenses here and for the families of the workers who are living in tents outside the embassy. Their children, one of whom has a life threatening case of cerebral palsy, are in urgent need of medical care.

We cannot let these courageous autoworkers or their families down.

To make a donation, please send a check to ”Wellspring UCC” with “Colombia relief” on the memo line. Their mailing address is: Wellspring UCC, Box 508, Centreville VA 20122. To make a donation online through paypal visit: (be sure to write “Colombia relief” on the message subject line).



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

Click here to take action online:\

To learn about recent Urgent Action successes and updates, go to

For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):



Short Video About Al-Awda's Work

The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's

work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown

on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l

Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected

over the past nine years.


Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, depends on your financial

support to carry out its work.

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to

and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!











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











On Gun Control, Martin Luther King, the Deacons of Defense and the history of Black Liberation


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 avimecca

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













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