Monday, December 02, 2013




PVT Chelsea Manning tells TIME Magazine what she's thankful for this year

For their special Thanksgiving edition, TIME Magazine asked WikiLeaks whistleblower PVT Chelsea Manning what she's thankful for this year.  Her answer was published alongside those from Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, and 14 other well-known public figures.  Her response, while demonstrating wisdom beyond her years, is one that many people who work for the betterment of society will appreciate:

"I’m usually hesitant to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. After all, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony systematically terrorized and slaughtered the very same Pequot tribe that assisted the first English refugees to arrive at Plymouth Rock. So, perhaps ironically, I’m thankful that I know that, and I’m also thankful that there are people who seek out, and usually find, such truths.  I’m thankful for people who, even surrounded by millions of Americans eating turkey during regularly scheduled commercial breaks in the Green Bay and Detroit football game; who, despite having been taught, often as early as five and six years old, that the “helpful natives” selflessly assisted the “poor helpless Pilgrims” and lived happily ever after, dare to ask probing, even dangerous, questions.
Such people are often nameless and humble, yet no less courageous. Whether carpenters of welders; retail clerks or bank managers; artists or lawyers, they dare to ask tough questions, and seek out the truth, even when the answers they find might not be easy to live with.

I’m also grateful for having social and human justice pioneers who lead through action, and by example, as opposed to directing or commanding other people to take action. Often, the achievements of such people transcend political, cultural, and generational boundaries. Unfortunately, such remarkable people often risk their reputations, their livelihood, and, all too often, even their lives.

Malcolm X began to openly embrace the idea, after an awakening during his travels to the Middle East and Africa, of an international and unifying effort to achieve equality, and was murdered after a tough, yearlong defection from the Nation of Islam. Martin Luther King Jr., after choosing to embrace the struggles of striking sanitation workers in Memphis over lobbying in Washington, D.C., was murdered by an escaped convict seeking fame and respect from white Southerners. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician in the U.S., was murdered by a jealous former colleague. These are only examples; I wouldn’t dare to make a claim that they represent an exhaustive list of remarkable pioneers of social justice and equality—certainly many if not the vast majority are unsung and, sadly, forgotten.

So, this year, and every year, I’m thankful for such people, and I’m thankful that one day—perhaps not tomorrow—because of the accomplishments of such truth-seekers and human rights pioneers, we can live together on this tiny “pale blue dot” of a planet and stop looking inward, at each other, but rather outward, into the space beyond this planet and the future of all of humanity.

For those who don't already know, PVT Chelsea Manning grew up in a conservative community in the Midwest.  She suffered a dysfunctional home life, and she was bullied at school for being gay.  She was even homeless for a period, working two part-time jobs to get by.  She dreamed of one day going to college, and for this reason joined the Army at the age of 19.  A few years later she realized she was not gay, but transgender; since she was in the Army, her only option was to hide her identity while working 14 hour days in a war zone. Through all these obstacles, she has remained committed to educating herself, asking the hard questions, and taking risks in the name of helping other people.

This year, we give thanks for PVT Manning's humanist idealism, her bravery, and her unyielding belief that through the work of dedicated individuals our society can and will be made more just.  It is not only her actions, but also her unique individualism, that has inspired thousands of people around the world to action.  We hope you'll join us in showing thanks for Chelsea by making a gift to ensure her legal appeals process is fully funded.  35 years is far too harsh a punishment for showing the public the truth.

Donate to Support the Legal Appeals

So far we've raised just over $16,000 of the $40,000 needed.  Please help us meet our goal by Chelsea's birthday on December 17th.

Pvt. Chelsea Manning's fourth birthday in prison

“When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.”-Pvt. Manning
On December 17, Private Chelsea Manning will turn 26. It will be the fourth birthday this young Army whistle-blower has spent in prison.
Thanks to this brave soldier’s heroic actions, the public learned the following startling truths:
  • Donald Rumsfeld and General Petraeus helped support torture in Iraq.
  • Deliberate civilian killings by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan went unpunished.
  • Thousands of civilian casualties were never acknowledged publicly.
  • Most Guantanamo detainees were innocent.
“When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.”-Pvt. Manning

See even more of What WikiLeaks revealed

While some of these documents may demonstrate how much work lies ahead in terms of securing international peace and justice, their release changed the world for the better. Private Manning’s actions showed people everywhere how citizens can use the Internet to hold their governments accountable.
In Chelsea’s request for pardon from President Obama, she wrote:
“As the late Howard Zinn once said, ‘There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.’
Private Manning’s brave actions have set an example for us all.

Here are three important ways you can support Chelsea on her birthday:

1. Make a gift to the Private Manning Defense Fund. We are currently in the middle of a fund drive to raise $40,000 for her legal appeals and personal needs, including visits from family.
2. Send her a birthday message at:
PVT Bradley E Manning
1300 N Warehouse Rd
Ft Leavenworth KS 66027-2304

Please note that regular letter paper must be used, as cardstock will be turned away. However, you can easily print out your own card by searching for “free birthday templates” online.
3. Hold a party with friends and neighbors to raise money for Chelsea’s legal defense. Whether a dinner party, cocktail party or concert, bringing people together for an evening of education and socializing is a great way to kindle some social consciousness and holiday spirit. On each person's way out the door, you can ask them to add a personal message on a joint birthday letter to Chelsea. If you want your party to be public, send information about your event to

Help us continue to cover 100%
of Pvt. Manning's legal fees! Donate today.

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:













(Unless otherwise noted)













1) Party Claims It Identified Top C.I.A. Spy in Pakistan
November 27, 2013 

2) Recasting France’s Role in Africa
November 28, 2013

3) Mystery of Missing Mushrooms Leaves French Blaming Roma
November 27, 2013 

4) Slow Cleanup of Bomb Waste Pits South Carolina Against Washington
November 28, 2013 

5) No Charges for Officers Who Killed Harlem Man
November 27, 2013 

6) Inspector Who Pepper-Sprayed Protesters Is Ordered to Appear Before Panel
November 27, 2013 

7) No Gold Bars but Higher Salaries for London Bankers With Bonus Cap
November 28, 2013

8) For Long-Term Jobless, a Stubborn Trend
" a normal year the number of workers leaving jobs — whether voluntarily or involuntarily — amounts to more than 40 percent of the total number of jobs....during the recession, the number of people leaving voluntarily plunged, and for the first time since the data was collected, the number of people losing their jobs because they were fired in 2009 exceeded the number who left voluntarily"
November 29, 2013

9) For 22 Years, Caught in a Murder Case’s Tangled Web
December 1, 2013 

10) Born of Grief, ‘Three Strikes’ Laws Are Being Rethought
December 2, 2013 

11) Wage Strikes Planned at Fast-Food Outlets
December 1, 2013 

12) Scanning the Economic Landscape, and Still Seeing Little on the Horizon
December 1, 2013 

13) Gloomy Numbers for Holiday Shopping’s Big Weekend
December 1, 2013










1) Party Claims It Identified Top C.I.A. Spy in Pakistan
November 27, 2013

The political party of the former cricket star Imran Khan on Wednesday identified a man it described as the C.I.A.’s top spy in Pakistan, in an escalation of Mr. Khan’s campaign to end American drone strikes in the country.

In a letter to the Pakistani police, Mr. Khan’s information secretary, Shireen Mazari, accused the C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, along with a man identified as the agency’s Islamabad station chief, of “committing murder and waging war against Pakistan.”

In Washington, a C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment on the case.

Ms. Mazari demanded that the authorities prevent the station chief, whose identity has not yet been confirmed, from leaving the country so that he could face prosecution in a Pakistani court.

That seems unlikely, but the move is expected to infuriate American officials, who had to recall a previous C.I.A. station chief in 2010 after he was identified in the local news media, also in relation to a legal suit brought by anti-drone campaigners.

But while blame for that outing was placed on smoldering tensions between the C.I.A. and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, this time it appears to be driven more by Mr. Khan’s increasingly confrontational stance against drone strikes.

In an appearance on a television talk show on Wednesday evening, Mr. Khan said he had named the station chief essentially to punish the C.I.A. for a deadly drone strike this month in the province his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party controls, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Now, he said, it was up to the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take the next step against the American spy agency.

He has vowed to block NATO supply lines into Afghanistan in retaliation for the Nov. 1 drone strike that killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud. On Saturday, his supporters moved to deliver on that promise by searching trucks and roughing up drivers as they passed through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on the way to Afghanistan.

In her letter on Wednesday, Ms. Mazari claimed that the station chief did not enjoy diplomatic immunity, and suggested that if interrogated by the police he might divulge the names of the pilots who fly the drones.

The high-profile attempt to obstruct C.I.A. operations in Pakistan was said to be a response to the Nov. 21 drone strike that struck a seminary linked to the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated militant group at the center of American security concerns in Afghanistan. The strike, which killed the Haqqanis’ spiritual leader and five others, occurred in the Hangu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, in a rare drone strike outside Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Mr. Khan has been a leading advocate of ceasing military action against the Pakistani Taliban, even though Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has been the region hardest hit by Islamist violence this year, with hundreds killed in attacks. The Taliban also broke out many prisoners in an embarrassing and well-organized jailbreak in July.

Mr. Khan has used the drone issue to leverage his popularity against Mr. Sharif, who is his main electoral competitor in Punjab Province, and indeed has largely succeeded in framing the political debate on drones in recent years.

Some Sharif supporters criticized Mr. Khan for trying to score political points by outing the station chief. “This a thoughtless move,” said Siddiqul Farooq, a central leader of the governing Pakistan Muslim League party. “It is selfish and compromises the national interest.”

Since the escalation of the C.I.A.’s drone war in Pakistan in 2008, the Islamabad station has grown to become one of the spy agency’s largest outposts in the world. The agency’s expansion in Pakistan has been an irritant to America’s relations with Pakistan.

The influence of the C.I.A.’s Islamabad station chief has sometimes eclipsed even that of the American ambassador in Pakistan. A previous station chief clashed repeatedly in 2011 with Cameron Munter, the ambassador at the time, over the intensity of the drone campaign. The Obama administration ended up siding with the C.I.A., and Mr. Munter’s tenure was cut short.

Salman Masood contributed reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Mark Mazzetti from Washington.




2) Recasting France’s Role in Africa
November 28, 2013

LONDON — The imagery is likely to be the same as it has been for decades — foreign troops in battle fatigues lugging backpacks and assault rifles, confronting mayhem.

But when French soldiers reinforce their small existing garrison in the Central African Republic in coming weeks, their presence will probably be depicted as a departure from a long tradition of military muscle as the prime instrument of postcolonial power.

The Central African Republic — its territory larger than metropolitan France, with only a small fraction of its population — has occupied an anomalous place since independence from Paris in 1960, ruled by a procession of despots and even an emperor — Bokassa I — who was accused not just of profligacy but of cannibalism, too.

But in more recent weeks, it has become the newest focus of an effort by President François Hollande to recast and revive his nation’s influence on a continent where its erstwhile clout has been challenged by the growing ascendancy of China and others eyeing Africa’s natural resources from oil to diamonds.

Far from unilateral action, the new approach draws on the twin notions of international approval, preferably with the imprimatur of the United Nations, and the rapid embrace of African forces to take over, or augment, the kind of rapid French deployment seen earlier this year in Mali, another former colony.

“The challenge of this intervention,” wrote Pierre Haski, a co-founder of the Rue89 news website, “lies in the ‘return’ of France to the dark continent after decades of interference followed by a period of relative indifference or misstatements.”

“If France succeeds in its Central African mission, it will have recovered a good part of its influence,” he said, “positioning itself as an indispensable partner in those places where it risked becoming a vague memory.”

A year ago, as yet another government in the Central African Republic teetered toward collapse, Mr. Hollande refused entreaties from Bangui, the capital, for decisive military support, sending only a token force of around 400 to protect the small French community and the international airport — a potential escape route.

But this week, France has led efforts at the United Nations to establish a more potent force, supported and initially led by French reinforcements that will bring the number of its troops there to over 1,000 tasked with stemming what rights groups and others describe as a descent into chaos.

The shift, said Paul Melly, a researcher at the Chatham House policy institute in London, came after the French authorities “have seen in Mali that their intervention is welcome in a way it was not in the past.”

For one thing, he said in an interview, French interventionism was no longer designed to “prop up, install or depose” protégés as it was in the immediate postcolonial era. In the 21st century, he said, France had tended toward a more consultative approach, particularly since Mr. Hollande came to power. “The nature of the operations has changed,” he said, as has “the way Hollande has handled the diplomacy.” So, too, have the challenges.

The Mali campaign at the beginning of the year drew France into a struggle against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, as well-financed and ideologically committed Islamist insurgents from the north pressed on the capital, Bamako, meeting no challenge from ineffective government forces.

In the Central African Republic, by contrast, the overthrow in March of the previous government by rebel militias, many composed of Muslim fighters from Chad and Sudan, has precipitated growing lawlessness among rival warlords, raising the prospect of sectarian war spilling beyond its borders.

It is, of course, easier to deploy than to withdraw, as France discovered in Mali, where it still has 3,000 troops.

And in the newest campaign, “the French gamble is hazardous,” Mr. Haski wrote, based on the principle “that the appearance of these European soldiers will calm a situation that seems more like acts of violence by out-of-control rogue soldiers than a real war. That remains to be seen.”




3) Mystery of Missing Mushrooms Leaves French Blaming Roma
November 27, 2013

PARIS — Guy Sant is distressed about the sorry state of his mushroom business this year. Usually in the autumn, when the weather turns brisk and the leaves begin to fall, his pickers gather 60 tons of wild fungi to satisfy European consumers, he said. This fall, they found only 16 tons. “I lost so much this year, I may have to close,” he said bleakly.

Mr. Sant, who runs Cevennes-Truffes, a mushroom company based in St. Anastasie in southern France, says he knows who to blame: outsiders, mostly from Eastern Europe, who at the behest of sellers in Spain have come across the border and hauled away wild mushrooms by the truckload. Even the way the outsiders picked the mushrooms made it unlikely they would grow again next season, he said.

While experts dispute that last claim, it is revealing both of one of the more idiosyncratic corners of the French psyche, in which wild mushrooms are viewed as a national patrimony, and also of the frustrations of some French as a borderless Europe opens once exclusively French domains to new economic competitors.

That competition has brought with it darker undercurrents of discrimination and hostility toward the European Union’s newest — and poorest — citizens from Bulgaria and Romania, and especially the Roma, who are a minority of 20,000 in France. In recent months, France’s interior minister called for the Roma to be expelled and a 15-year-old Roma girl was taken off a school bus in front of classmates and deported with her family.

The Roma are easily blamed for a range of ills, but while a number of the mushroom pickers are Roma, not all of them are, according to Roma advocates. And while some of the mushrooms are being picked illegally, many are not. How the mushroom is picked matters little, experts say. The real distinction is who gets the money and the volumes involved.

While frustrated, Mr. Sant is also sympathetic. Newly arrived Eastern European migrants, including Roma, work under poor conditions for a pittance, he said, but in the process, they are depriving French like him who have made gathering wild mushrooms a thriving business. The quantity of mushrooms being trucked to Spain has become so large that French mushroom companies are suffering.

“From the mushrooms’ perspective, I don’t think they care if they are picked by a native or by someone who is not French and takes them to another country,” said Thomas Kuyper, a professor of fungal ecology and diversity at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

The claim that mushrooms were being picked incorrectly, he said, was more about xenophobia and anger about losing business, noting that there were similar attitudes in the Netherlands toward pickers from Germany and Poland. “Are people worried for the mushrooms or about the foreigners?” he asked.

For the French, gathering mushrooms is no joking matter. Like jealous lovers, many keep secret the prize patches of woodland they forage from year to year, and even refuse to tell relatives where they pick. So, when people who are not French take the mushrooms, it seems to upset what some see as the natural order of things.

Jean Carle, president of Champi-Fruits des Bois, an association of landowners whose properties produce wild mushrooms, says “invaders” are stealing the precious cepes (porcini mushrooms) and “organized gangs” are ravaging the locally beloved lactaria deliciosa, known as milk caps. The extent to which the outsiders are breaking the law is unclear.

Picking mushrooms on private land constitutes trespassing; on public land, there are varying rules. In some areas, local government entities charge a fee if a person picks more than four pounds a day, but in other areas, there are no charges.

Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, who are allowed to come to France as members of the European Union, are required to have residency permits to work. Those doing the clandestine picking come into France from Spain, though they are Bulgarian or Romanian citizens, French officials said. “Everyone is allowed to take a walk in the woods, but they are gathering astronomical quantities,” Mr. Carle said.

Jean Louis Traversier of the French forest service estimates that more than 80 percent of this year’s harvest of 50 tons of mushrooms in just the southeastern Drôme and Ardèche regions were taken by Romanian and Bulgarian citizens to Spain. Locals tend to describe them all as Roma, but officials, including Mr. Traversier, say it is not possible to conclude that from their passports.

The Bulgarians and Romanians, including Roma, first came to pick for a Spanish company in 2004-5 to harvest milk cap mushrooms, which are prized in Spain for making tapas and flavoring oil, Mr. Traversier said. The influx of outsiders, he said, was an understandable result of Spain’s faltering economy, adding that he felt badly for the Roma laborers whom he believes are “picking to survive.”

Mr. Traversier said that while the Spanish company paid the regional government’s fee, the foreign pickers began to come back on their own to pick without paying, and their numbers multiplied. “This phenomenon has been developing since they opened up European borders,” he said.

This year, he said, about a thousand workers from Romania and Bulgaria came into the region by night in minivans or small trucks stacked high with empty boxes. He said they parked on narrow local roads and slipped into the forests or hiked to the high plateaus and camped for as long as three weeks, building makeshift campsites and rising in the damp, chilly mornings to hunt for wild mushrooms. They hid their haul in the woods, and trucks came by each evening to pick them up, he said.

Marie-Thérèse Bonnet said her sister, who owns property in the Haute-Loire region, was troubled by foreign mushroom pickers last year. She minced few words in describing her views.

“To be frank, they are Roma, and they camp in the forest and cut our trees to make shelters for themselves, trees that were two decades old,” Ms. Bonnet said. “They built seven huts — it takes four or five trees per hut. Afterwards we found old shoes, old pants, old cans.”

Some greenmarket purveyors refuse to sell “Roma mushrooms,” said Carine Bar, who sells 10 varieties of wild mushrooms at the expensive farmers’ market on Avenue du Président Wilson in Paris. She said she avoided buying from unknown purveyors she believed were Roma, even though they offered their mushrooms at a fraction of the regular price. Her fear is that if one of her customers fell ill, she would not be able to trace the mushroom’s provenance because the seller would have moved on, she said.

Advocates for the Roma say they are being unfairly singled out, noting that not all Romanian and Bulgarian citizens are Roma and that not all Roma are necessarily trespassers, transients or thieves. “They are wrongfully accusing the Roma community,” said Francine Jacob, vice president of the French Union of Gypsy Associations. “Delinquency exists — that we cannot deny — but it’s not systematic.”



4) Slow Cleanup of Bomb Waste Pits South Carolina Against Washington
November 28, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. — The Energy Department began cleaning up an environmental nightmare at the old Savannah River Site nuclear weapons plant here in 1996 and promised a bright future: Within a quarter-century, officials said, they would turn liquid radioactive bomb waste into a solid that could not spill or dissolve.

But 17 years later, the department has slowed the work to a pace that makes completion of the cleanup by the projected date of 2023 highly unlikely. Energy officials now say the work will not be done until well into the 2040s, when the aging underground tanks that hold the bomb waste in the South Carolina lowlands will be 90 years old.

“I don’t know what the tanks’ design life was intended to be, but it’s not for infinity,” the state’s chief environmental official, Catherine B. Templeton, said in an interview.

The slowdown has set off a fierce battle between the Energy Department and South Carolina, where officials say they have been double-crossed in what they view as the state’s biggest environmental threat. In an unusual display of resistance from a state that was host to a major part of the Cold War effort to make nuclear weapons — and is now home to most of the resulting radioactive waste — South Carolina is threatening to impose $154 million in fines on the federal government for failing to meet its promised schedule.

Energy Department officials counter that the slowdown is a temporary effect of budget stringency in Washington and that Congress has tied their hands. A combination of the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration and a 2011 cap on military spending — of which the environmental cleanup is technically part — do not leave them with enough money to meet their commitments, they say.

“There’s only so much to go around,” said Terrel J. Spears, the Energy Department’s assistant manager for waste disposition here. “We can’t increase the budgets. Now we have to balance the budgets.”

Energy officials acknowledge, however, that for each additional year the waste stays in the tanks, they will have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on maintenance and security.

In South Carolina’s reckoning, some of the money that should be spent on Savannah is going to a factory that the Energy Department is trying to finish at its Hanford nuclear reservation, near Richland, Wash., to process similar wastes there. But those wastes are more complex, and contractors have faced even tougher technical problems, and that schedule has slipped repeatedly.

Giving more money to Hanford, Ms. Templeton insisted, was “rewarding bad behavior” by site managers there.

South Carolina and the Energy Department do agree on one thing: The current slowdown comes on top of past technical problems that pushed back the start of work by more than seven years and that more than doubled the cost.

Ms. Templeton said the tanks, which are near the Savannah River, already have leaks, and are buried in soil below the water table, meaning that underground water flows around them.

“We have to get that waste out of the tanks so it’s not Fukushima, so you don’t have the groundwater interacting with the waste and running off,” she said, referring to the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, in Japan, where natural flows of subterranean water pick up contamination from the reactors and flow into the sea.

At the Washington State Department of Ecology, Suzanne Dahl, the tank waste treatment manager, said, “I feel their pain. We think the same things out here.” All the deadlines there, in an agreement approved by a Federal District Court, will be missed. Ms. Dahl said that in the 1990s, her state had approved a request by the Energy Department to delay work on solidifying wastes at Hanford while the technology was tried out first at Savannah River; hence Savannah River has a 17-year head start, she said.

At Savannah, the Energy Department did succeed in building the world’s largest factory for stabilizing the liquid bomb waste, done by mixing it with molten glass and pouring it into stainless steel canisters, 10 feet high by two feet across. The stabilized waste should then last for millenniums.

The department has also perfected a technique for separating nearly all of the troublesome radioactive materials from salts in the underground tanks to reduce the volume that must be mixed with the molten glass. The rest of the radioactive material is mixed with cement that will bind it up for centuries. Last year the factory began the business of making the canisters and produced 325 of them — a respectable fraction of the 7,824 department officials say will be needed.

Over the years, production at the factory has become smoother as machines run more hours of the year and parts that were expected to last for only four or five years have been used successfully for ten. Such longevity is an important factor at a place where the radiation fields are so intense that all the work has to be done by remote control.

But because of the budget constraints, the factory intends to produce only another 125 canisters for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Employment at the waste site, which once ensured stronger political support for the Energy Department in this conservative state, has dropped to 1,800 workers who manage the tanks and processed the liquid wastes from 2,200. Another vast construction project here — a factory to turn weapons plutonium into reactor fuel — is faltering because of technical issues and budget problems, which may be another reason that state officials feel free to threaten the Department of Energy.

The tanks, which hold from 750,000 gallons to 1.3 million gallons each, sit under artificial hills, and above them is a forest of industrial equipment, some a half-century old. The equipment is used to carry off the heat the waste generates from radioactive decay. The equipment also vents and scrubs the explosive gases the waste produces. Steam is used to heat air, which is then pumped around the tanks to keep the tanks dry and inhibit rust.

In part of the stop-and-go cleanup here, the plant that makes the steam once ran on coal and created air pollution, but now the plant burns wood and scrap tires and is clean. But like a lot of the infrastructure at Savannah, the plant could be retired if the tanks were emptied of their waste.

Another example of marching in place is an effort to refurbish the pumps that move the waste through a two-mile underground pipeline. This is similar to replacing the roof on a house that is going to be torn down — although at the current rate of cleanup, the pipeline will be needed for decades.

In the meantime, the glass logs are only the penultimate stage of nuclear waste cleanup because eventually they must be buried somewhere themselves.

But with the cancellation of the proposed Yucca Mountain national nuclear waste repository in Nevada, the Energy Department is for now erecting more buildings to house the canisters.




5) No Charges for Officers Who Killed Harlem Man
November 27, 2013

A grand jury has decided not to bring charges against police officers involved in the fatal 2012 shooting of Mohamed Bah, a 27-year-old Guinean immigrant who apparently had a mental breakdown and lunged at officers with a knife, the Manhattan district attorney said on Wednesday.

Lawyers for Mr. Bah’s family said the officers failed to follow protocol governing how the police handle what the department refers to as emotionally disturbed persons. The family sent a letter on Wednesday to the Justice Department seeking a federal inquiry into the shooting.

“To call this a justified shooting is to legitimize the killing of persons in emotional distress,” said Randolph M. McLaughlin, a lawyer with the firm Newman Ferrara, which is representing the family.

The Police Department, following standard practice, will now conduct its own investigation into the shooting, said John J. McCarthy, the department’s chief spokesman.

By law, grand jury proceedings are secret, and prosecutors cannot disclose the evidence they present. But in a letter sent to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and released on Wednesday, the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said more than 25 witnesses testified over four weeks, culminating in the grand jury’s decision on Tuesday that the officers acted lawfully.

A summary of the evidence gathered by Mr. Vance’s office and outlined in the letter to Mr. Kelly depicts a standoff in which six members of the Police Department’s elite Emergency Services Unit, including three who opened fire, tried to subdue Mr. Bah through negotiations and nonlethal force before drawing their guns.

Mr. Vance said the standoff, on Sept. 25, 2012, turned deadly when Mr. Bah charged at the officers with a large knife, stabbing two of them in their bulletproof vests, even after he had been shot with Tasers and rubber bullets. Then the three officers opened fire, hitting Mr. Bah eight times as he stood in the doorway of his apartment in Harlem.

Because of the vests, none of the officers were injured, Mr. Vance said.

The police had gone to the apartment after Mr. Bah’s mother called 911 to request an ambulance for her son, who she and others said had been behaving strangely for months. The family has also filed a civil complaint against the city and the police officers involved. “The Bah family has a hard time accepting that a call for help from a concerned mother ends up with her son dead, and no one is held accountable,” Mr. McLaughlin said in a statement.



6) Inspector Who Pepper-Sprayed Protesters Is Ordered to Appear Before Panel
November 27, 2013

The police commander whose pepper spraying of several women sparked sharp criticism of the New York Police Department’s response to the Occupy Wall Street protests has been ordered to appear before investigators and account for his actions, a state judge has ruled.

The effect of the ruling is to reopen the disciplinary case against Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna more than two years after the pepper-spraying episode. The matter had appeared closed after the district attorney’s office in Manhattan decided against criminal charges and the Police Department concluded its internal inquiry by docking Inspector Bologna 10 vacation days.

But in a decision issued Friday, Justice Joan B. Lobis of State Supreme Court ordered that Inspector Bologna submit to an interview by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent city agency that investigates police misconduct.

Inspector Bologna appeared before the review board in August but declined to answer any questions. Police officers are typically required to submit to interviews by the civilian complaint board. But Inspector Bologna’s position was that an 18-month time limit for initiating disciplinary proceedings against civil servants had already passed.

Justice Lobis rejected that argument, and the decision represents a significant victory for the review board’s investigative powers. Justice Lobis ruled that the case falls under an exception for investigations involving possible crimes.

The delay in the review board’s case was partly because of its decision to put off its investigation while the district attorney’s office conducted its inquiry.

At issue are Inspector Bologna’s actions on Sept. 24, 2011, when he sprayed several women who were penned in. The episode was captured on video and spread widely on the Internet and became a critical moment in the protests.

The review board’s power to discipline officers is limited. It can prosecute officers in the Police Department’s internal administrative courtrooms, but any punishments imposed there can be changed by the police commissioner.

“Inspector Bologna acted that day consistent with his training and with no malice,” Deputy Inspector Roy Richter, the head of the union that represents senior uniformed officers, said. “He put himself on the line to do his job and his job was maintaining order in the City of New York.”

Inspector Richter said that for the civilian complaint board to wait so long “evokes an inherent feeling of unfairness in the process.”

“At what point do you say that this case has already been looked at,” Inspector Richter said, noting that Inspector Bologna had been sued numerous times over the pepper-spray episode. Daniel Chu, the review board’s chairman, said the board would be scheduling Inspector Bologna for an interview “as soon as possible.”



7) No Gold Bars but Higher Salaries for London Bankers With Bonus Cap
November 28, 2013

LONDON — In the 1990s, London-based investment banks rewarded top employees with gold bars, fine wine and oriental carpets to dent the impact of higher payroll taxes.

Now, with public anger at banking excess near all time highs, they are looking at less flashy ways to cope with curbs on bonuses, including a new monthly allowance.

European rules due to take force in January say bankers' bonuses cannot exceed annual salary, or twice that if shareholders approve, to curb the sort of excessive risk-taking blamed for the 2008-09 financial crisis.

Salaries have not dropped in line with banks' revenues since the crisis, consultancy McKinskey said this month, despite a series of huge, taxpayer-funded bank bailouts.

At least 10,000 bankers, most of them in London, take home more than half a million euros (415,335 pounds), according to industry sources, more than 10 times the average wage in wealthier European states.

With much of pay currently in bonuses, the biggest banks in London, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays and JP Morgan, look certain to bump up salaries.

Britain and the banks in what is Europe's financial capital argue the new rules play into the hands of competing financial centres such as New York, Hong Kong and Singapore.

They also say it provides less scope to claw back pay if it turns out an individual had taken too much risk, and limits the ability to pay bonuses in shares awarded in the future.

The cap affects all "risk taking" staff for EU banks and the European staff of those outside the trading bloc, so all major investment banks are affected, including U.S. lenders such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

"There's absolutely no question that fixed pay is going to rise," said Jon Terry, partner at PwC. "But the standard response may not be by increases in salary, by far the most common response will be the introduction of allowances.

"They are a bit more flexible, but it will fundamentally involve a shift of a proportion of variable pay into fixed pay."

Britain's Barclays last week said it will increase fixed pay using such a structure. It plans to give bankers in specific risk-taking roles an additional monthly payment, set at the start of the year and to run for 12 months.

The top-up will not be included in pension calculations and could rise or fall depending on demand for a particular role.

Other banks, such as JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and HSBC, are expected to consider similar plans, and could vary the structure with longer payment terms or by paying it quarterly.


While raising fixed pay is likely to be the most obvious response to the bonus cap, generous housing allowances and loyalty payments could also be considered.

HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said he would "take whatever steps necessary to protect the competitiveness" of his bank, noting that three-quarters of staff affected by the rules work outside the European economic area.

PwC's Terry said more than 80 percent of 40 banks surveyed by his firm last month said they planned to use allowances as their primary response to the bonus cap.

The British government has launched a legal challenge to the legislation arguing that it will force up fixed salaries, making the banks riskier rather than safer.

"Firms' remuneration strategies may become less flexible which could make adjustment during periods of stress more difficult, undermining financial stability," the UK's Prudential Regulation Authority said.

But other countries do not think the EU is going far enough. The Dutch government on Tuesday said it will cap bonuses at banks at no more than 20 percent of total salary from 2015, although overseas staff could get higher amounts.


The European Banking Authority, the watchdog overseeing the rule, said any staff earning more than 500,000 euros a year are likely to be affected.

It could also include any employee whose bonus is at least 75,000 euros and 75 percent of their fixed pay, or anyone paid more than the lowest member of senior management. The rules will be finalised early next year.

Some 3,175 bankers earned 1 million euros or more in the EU in 2011, indicating at least 10,000 people would be caught by a rule covering any employee earning half that amount, according to published salary scales.

The British Bankers' Association has said more than 35,000 people could be affected at 10 major banks it surveyed, representing 5.5 percent of their global workforce.

More than three-quarters of the top EU bank earners were based in London, fuelling the city's property prices, swanky restaurants and upmarket shops.

In 2011, the bonuses of London's top bankers were 3.5 times fixed pay, EBA data showed, meaning their employers would need to switch almost 400 million euros to fixed pay from bonuses to meet the new rules in aggregate.

The rules come into effect in January, but will not apply to bonuses for 2013, which are typically paid in February and March.

Barclays said it discussed its plan with regulators and shareholders.

Investors are keen for banks to rein in pay, and George Dallas, director of corporate governance at F&C Investments, said banks need to follow the spirit of the law as well as the letter to avoid "further regulatory scrutiny and public disapproval".

"How banks respond to this (bonus cap) regulation will be one of the key issues in 2014," Dallas said.

Bonuses for 2013 at most investment banks are expected to be flat or slightly lower than the year before, following a drop in revenues.

(Removes repeat of pay figure, paragraph 5) (Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Philippa Fletcher)



8) For Long-Term Jobless, a Stubborn Trend
" a normal year the number of workers leaving jobs — whether voluntarily or involuntarily — amounts to more than 40 percent of the total number of jobs....during the recession, the number of people leaving voluntarily plunged, and for the first time since the data was collected, the number of people losing their jobs because they were fired in 2009 exceeded the number who left voluntarily"
November 29, 2013

IN 2006, with the American economy booming, the proportion of workers who were laid off or discharged over a 12-month period fell to 15.5 percent. That was the lowest rate since the government began collecting the data at the end of 2000 — and a sign that the job market was exceedingly strong.

But the rate of firings soared during the credit crisis and Great Recession, hitting a peak of 20.4 percent in late 2009.

Now it has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded — 14.8 percent.

In other words, a worker’s chance of being fired is now less than it was when the job market was booming, and much less than it was when the economy was in trouble four years ago.

And yet, the job situation now is not a good one. While fewer people are being fired, the rate of hiring has barely picked up. And as can be seen in the accompanying charts, the long-term unemployment rate — the proportion of the labor force that has been out of work for more than 15 weeks — remains higher than the short-term rate. In October, the long-term rate was 3.8 percent, while the short-term rate was just 3.5 percent.

From 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began to publish monthly unemployment rates based on a survey of households, until mid-2009, the long-term rate was never as high as the short-term rate. Since then, it has consistently been higher, although the gap has narrowed.

What seems to have happened in the United States is that job mobility — historically an important feature of the nation’s labor market — fell rapidly during the recession and has yet to recover much.

The data on hirings and firings is compiled by the government in its monthly Jolts — Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey — report. The charts on hirings and firings, as well as on voluntary departures, are based on actual numbers over 12-month periods, not on the seasonally adjusted figures.

By adding the monthly figures, the charts may overstate job mobility to some extent. In some cases, the same worker may have been hired several times during a year, and have left just as many jobs during the same period. That is particularly true in industries like construction, where many jobs are for relatively brief periods.

But even taking that into account, the fact remains that in a normal year the number of workers leaving jobs — whether voluntarily or involuntarily — amounts to more than 40 percent of the total number of jobs. The number of new hires is, of course, at a slightly higher rate if employment is rising.

In good times, most of that job mobility represents the choice of workers, as more people leave their jobs by choice than because they were laid off or fired. Some of those retired, but most quit, either because they had found a better job or because they expected to find one. But during the recession, the number of people leaving voluntarily plunged, and for the first time since the data was collected, the number of people losing their jobs because they were fired in 2009 exceeded the number who left voluntarily.

One measure of the health of the job market is the number of unemployed people for each unfilled job vacancy. At the end of 2000, when the data was first collected, that figure was just over one — an indication of the boom that ended with the 2001 recession. It soared to nearly seven to one during the recession.

The latest figures show the ratio has fallen back to 2.9. By that measure, the job market is finally a little better than it was at the low point early in the last decade.

But it appears that many of the people who have been unemployed the longest simply lack the skills to get the available jobs. The short-term unemployment rate is back to the levels that prevailed for most of the period before the recession. But the long-term rate, while it is falling, remains higher than it was at any time before the recession.

Floyd Norris comments on finance and the economy at



9) For 22 Years, Caught in a Murder Case’s Tangled Web
December 1, 2013

The streetlights were bright at the Kingsborough Houses, so even though it was about 4 a.m., one of the two off-duty correction officers sitting in the parked Volvo said he got a good look at the two men who rode up on bicycles.

It was the summer of 1991 in Crown Heights, and the officers, Robert E. Crosson and Rolando Neischer, friends since their teens, were chatting in the predawn solitude.

The men on bicycles were armed. They ordered Mr. Crosson and Mr. Neischer out. But Mr. Neischer grabbed his own weapon, and a wild firefight ensued. The police believed at least one of the carjackers was wounded, records show. Mr. Neischer was shot five times — in the chest, back, abdomen, thigh and ankle — and died four days later. Mr. Crosson was shot through his hand.

Two teenagers were arrested. They were quickly convicted.

It was an open-and-shut case.

But it was fraught with problems.

The suspects were arrested by Detective Louis Scarcella and his partner, Stephen W. Chmil. The case is now among 46 that Detective Scarcella handled that are under review by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office. Mr. Scarcella, one of the most successful and aggressive detectives in New York City history, came under scrutiny after accusations that he once framed an innocent man. He has been accused of roughing up suspects; inventing confessions; relying on the testimony of the same crack addict in multiple cases; and even pulling jailhouse informers, often dangerous criminals, out of prison to smoke crack and visit prostitutes or girlfriends.

But the involvement of Mr. Scarcella, who is retired, and Mr. Chmil was only the start of trouble for the two teenagers arrested in the case. Public records, court transcripts and interviews with both convicted men and their lawyers, as well as other law enforcement officials, reveal that if the detectives took shortcuts, they were the first in a series of missteps, errors and questionable decisions made by players at every level of the criminal justice system who touched this case, from the police to defense lawyers to prosecutors to the judge who heard it.

The teenagers’ experience demonstrates how poor work by detectives at the initial stages can start a sequence of events that snowballs through the system, seemingly unstoppably, until two possibly innocent men have spent decades in prison.

Among the many troubling aspects of the case:

■ Mr. Crosson described light-skinned black men in their early 20s — and a bloodstain suggested at least one was wounded — but the detectives arrested dark-skinned juvenile delinquents with no injuries, one of whom was just 14. By the detectives’ telling, Mr. Crosson identified one of the suspects’ photos after a detective casually reached into a drawer stuffed with hundreds of mug shots and pulled out a random handful. “The perfect patsies,” a defense lawyer, Robert Massi, said at the time.

■ There is no evidence that the police lab ever tested blood samples found at the crime scene. Neither the detectives nor the prosecutor in the case made any effort to push for the results, which could have been crucial for the defense.

■ Fingerprints at the crime scene did not match those of either defendant. Yet prosecutors forged ahead, even relying on only one eyewitness, Mr. Crosson, a practice experts say is the leading cause of wrongful convictions.

■ In court, a detective submitted photographs of a lineup from the wrong case. The judge allowed the mistake and simply let the case move forward; the right pictures were never submitted.

■ Forensic evidence — including the blood samples — that could have been vital to exonerating the convicted men vanished years later, destroying hopes of an appeal. No one can explain why.

Mr. Scarcella has said he never framed anyone and is proud of his work for the city. He referred questions about this case to a lawyer, Alan Abramson, who declined to comment.

The district attorney’s review has invigorated a quest lasting years by several lawyers. They were appalled at the lack of evidence that led to the conviction of the two teenagers — Rosean S. Hargrave and John Dwayne Bunn.

“I don’t want to get my hopes up; that just stresses me out,” Mr. Hargrave said in an interview at Southport Correctional Facility in western New York, where he meets visitors behind a thick pane of glass that leaves just enough room at the bottom for an inmate to hold a loved one’s hands. “I’m mad every single day. It’s been 22 years.”

Young Men on Bicycles

Mr. Neischer, 31, and Mr. Crosson, who was 30, were both correction officers assigned to Rikers Island. Mr. Crosson said they were out late the night of Aug. 12, 1991, because Mr. Neischer’s son had been hurt at a playground and wound up in the emergency room. After the boy was treated for a broken arm and taken home, the two men sat chatting in the car into the early morning of the 13th. Mr. Neischer wore a bright peach-colored shirt. They were parked in front of a fire hydrant at the public housing development where they both lived.

That was when two young men on bicycles neared the Volvo with guns pointed downward. They stood on opposite sides and ordered the two men out, Mr. Crosson testified. “My first feeling was, I don’t believe this is happening,” Mr. Crosson said, according to a transcript of the trial. “Rolando looked at me and said, ‘Hold on, my man.’ He opens up the door of the car.”

Mr. Crosson said the man on the passenger side pointed a blue steel gun at him and ordered him out, too.

“I put my hands up to my face, because the gun was pointed right at my face,” Mr. Crosson testified. “The gun went off.”

Shot in the hand and with blood running down his face, Mr. Crosson got out of the car, crouched on the ground, and then sprinted as fast as he could, he said. He heard lots of shots, he added. The carjackers dumped the bikes, hopped in the Volvo and roared off.

Mr. Crosson covered about 50 feet, he later testified, before realizing that he had left his friend behind. He turned back, but he said the Volvo and Mr. Neischer were gone.

The police arrived moments later. Mr. Neischer was discovered 192 feet away. He had fired six rounds at the carjackers and was reloading his Smith & Wesson revolver. Mr. Neischer told his friend, “I’m going to make it.”

Detectives from the 77th Precinct started a manhunt. Blood was spattered on one of the bicycles, so detectives, assuming the suspect was wounded, checked hospitals in all five boroughs. Mr. Crosson described the gunmen as light-skinned black men in their late teens or early 20s, who were about 5 feet 9 or 10 inches tall. He remembered one of them wearing a black leisure suit and a baseball cap. At the same time, he said he was mostly concentrating on that gun on his face.

Records show the detectives initially suspected four people: Mr. Hargrave, Mr. Bunn and two others, including a member of a notorious family of criminal brothers in Crown Heights.

Mr. Neischer underwent surgery the next day at Kings County Hospital. Mr. Crosson, that same day, told the police he was too traumatized to offer a more detailed description of the gunmen. He said he would rest and then go to the police station and look at mug shots.

The case was assigned to John Barba, a detective at the 77th Precinct, and to Mr. Scarcella, a Brooklyn North detective who served as a roving investigator for Crown Heights and several other neighborhoods. A handsome cigar-smoker with a keen street sense and a gift for conversation, Detective Scarcella was best known for getting suspects to admit crimes. With him came his regular partner, Detective Chmil.

Mr. Crosson met them the day after the shooting at the 77th Precinct station house. Detective Chmil testified that he and Detective Scarcella reached into a drawer with roughly 600 mug shot photos and pulled out six at random to show the wounded survivor. Mr. Crosson said he recognized Mr. Hargrave in one of the pictures, saying he was “90 percent sure” that that was the man who shot him, but that he would need to see him in person.

Detectives reported that an anonymous call the day after the shooting led to the Volvo, which was found a few miles away with a bullet in the left front tire and dried blood on the driver’s door sill.

‘On a Collision Course’

Rosean (pronounced ro-SHAWN) Hargrave was a 17-year-old 10th-grade dropout known as Cotti, who lived in the Kingsborough complex with his mother, grandmother and sisters. He liked stealing cars for joy rides while his mother, then a janitor at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, struggled with single parenthood.

Court records show that Mr. Hargrave had been repeatedly arrested over the previous year, with each arrest growing increasingly violent. A probation report described him as a young man “on a collision course.”

At the time of the shooting, he had just come home from a stint at Rikers, where he was held for a series of armed robberies. He soon got a surprise.

“My mother said, ‘The police came looking for you,’ ” Mr. Hargrave said in a recent interview. “I said, ‘For what?’ ”

Detective Scarcella found Mr. Hargrave outside his sister’s apartment. The detective said he did not need an arrest warrant: He said he “got lucky” because Mr. Hargrave was in the hallway, not inside. The 17-year-old was interrogated at the station and put in a lineup with five “fillers,” extras hired to stand in as suspects.

“They put me in a lineup with a bunch of dudes that looked like they smoked crack,” Mr. Hargrave recalled. “They were out of place, like they should have been in a shelter.”

Mr. Crosson came in and looked at the lineup. He selected Mr. Hargrave. He told the detectives: “He had the gun. He shot me, and that man is a criminal. That’s him.”

The detectives’ reports do not indicate how they came to identify Mr. Bunn as the second suspect. Mr. Bunn, who was released on parole in 2006, said in a recent interview that he figured his name came up during the interviews with Mr. Hargrave. “He must have been like, ‘I was with Dwayne,’ ” Mr. Bunn said.

Mr. Bunn was 14 and 5-foot-6 when arrested. He was a car thief who used screwdrivers to steal parked vehicles. He had been arrested once before in a jewelry snatching.

Like Mr. Hargrave, Mr. Bunn was being raised by a single mother; both women had drinking problems. And like Mr. Hargrave, Mr. Bunn swears he was home in bed the night of the shooting. But still, a few hours after Mr. Hargrave’s lineup, Mr. Bunn’s basketball coach in the Police Athletic League, an officer at the 77th Precinct, got him out of his house. “They put me in a lineup with grown men,” he said. “It was a joke.”

Mr. Crosson pointed at Mr. Bunn and said he was the killer.

Both defendants said investigators — it was unclear who — approached them in custody a few days after their arrests to take pictures of them naked. The detectives were looking for bullet wounds, and seemed alarmed not to find any.

“He was saying: ‘Turn around. Lift your arms,’ ” Mr. Hargrave recalled. “He’s like: ‘Wait a second. These guys didn’t get shot.’ ”

Both teenagers were charged, one day after the killing, with attempted murder and robbery. Then on Aug. 17, four days after the shootout, Mr. Neischer died. With his death, the charges were upgraded to murder and the investigation was officially closed.

Wrong Lineup Photos

The case was assigned to Edward Boyar, a veteran prosecutor whom District Attorney Charles J. Hynes had chosen four years earlier to be the lead trial lawyer in the Howard Beach racial killing case. In his 1990 memoir about that case, Mr. Hynes called Mr. Boyar an eternal optimist, one of the “best prosecuting trial attorneys in the city,” and a “rock-ribbed conservative” whose political theories were to “the right of a Russian czar.”

Mr. Boyar was known in Brooklyn legal circles as a gifted trial lawyer. But he had troubles, too. He was once suspended for three months after drunkenly shouting racial slurs in a Brooklyn bar, according to The Daily News.

Early missteps by the prosecution were allowed to stand. At a hearing before trial, the defense learned there were problems when a detective presented the court with photos of the “fillers” — the men who lined up with Mr. Hargrave. Three of the people in the photos did not match the men shown in the lineup, transcripts show. The detective had accidentally turned in close-ups from a different case, and the prosecutor apparently did not notice. The correct ones had been misplaced.

The judge, Justice Gloria Goldstein, allowed the photo evidence and witness ID anyway.

The trial began in November 1992 at the old State Supreme Court building on Adams Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Both defendants wore new clothes their mothers had bought in the hopes of making a good impression on the judge and jury.

The families were surprised at how quickly it was all over. Both sides presented their cases in a single day. Neither defense lawyer made an opening statement, and the prosecution had little evidence beyond Mr. Crosson’s word. Only four people testified: the first police officer at the scene, the medical examiner, Mr. Crosson and Mr. Barba, the precinct detective.

The medical examiner said the autopsy showed that Mr. Neischer had been shot with two different guns. One gun was fired by someone who shot from the left front of the victim and another gun from behind, the medical examiner said.

Yet even with so few witnesses, there were contradictions.

Detective Barba took the stand and revealed that the fingerprints found on the bicycles and the Volvo did not match either suspect. And nobody in the Police Department ever asked Mr. Crosson for his prints, the precinct detective testified.

Nobody ever mentioned that, in addition to Mr. Hargrave and Mr. Bunn, the police initially had known of two other suspects, one of them a member of a criminal family, who were noted in the detectives’ paperwork.

When his turn came, Mr. Massi, Mr. Hargrave’s defense lawyer, tried to show that the blood in the car and on the bicycles belonged to the carjackers and not Mr. Neischer, who was outside the car when he was shot. And if the carjackers were shot, he argued, then the two teenagers must be innocent, because neither was wounded.

But the blood-test results were never received, a detective testified. There was even confusion as to whether the testing had ever been done.

“Did you request a serology comparison as to those blood samples?” Mr. Massi asked Detective Barba.

“I didn’t,” the detective replied. “But a request was submitted, as I see here.”

The result?

“I haven’t received that as of yet,” Detective Barba testified.

Mr. Boyar said the test was not important because the blood in the car was probably Mr. Neischer’s.

Ballistics testing was also requested, but the records do not show that that was done either. The bullet from Mr. Crosson’s hand had been tossed out at the hospital.

Mr. Massi tried a new tack in his closing argument, one with the potential to upend the case. He suggested that Mr. Crosson was trying to cover something up, that he had been deliberately targeted and that this was no random carjacking. He said it made no sense that Mr. Crosson initially could not find his wounded friend — after all, he was wearing a peach-colored shirt and was lying beneath a bright streetlight. How, Mr. Massi asked, did the victim manage to make it so far up the block with bullets in his ankle and leg? Why was there no trail of blood leading to his body? How did the bicycles wind up so many feet away from the crime scene?

Mr. Massi tried to portray Mr. Crosson as a crooked officer by citing an account that he had peddled stolen clothing in the past, the court transcript shows. But Mr. Massi was armed only with hearsay and rumors, and Justice Goldstein did not let him ask Mr. Crosson any questions about stolen clothing.

The judge also refused a request by Mr. Massi that she instruct the jury that they could presume that if the blood had been tested, the results would have been favorable to the defense.

Mr. Bunn’s court-appointed lawyer, Harold Venokur, hardly spoke at all. Mr. Bunn said in an interview this year that although both he and Mr. Hargrave had alibi witnesses, the defense lawyers told the two that the witnesses contradicted each other, so they decided not to put them on the stand. Mr. Venokur, who has since died, was 79 years old and had a poor reputation. One former prosecutor recalled the often-retold legend of the time he got up to give a closing argument but gave details for the wrong case.

At least one person in the courtroom, however, said that the young men did not help themselves with their demeanors. Mr. Neischer’s daughter, Nakeea, who was 12 at the time of the trial, remembered of Mr. Bunn: “When they brought up the charges, he was laughing. I don’t know if he thought it was a joke, but as they read the charges and said ‘murder’ it went from giggles to not giggles. I remember thinking, ‘If you didn’t do it, why would you be laughing?’ ”

Mr. Hargrave, she said, acted arrogantly. She said one of the defendants’ mothers arrived intoxicated.

The closing arguments, jury deliberation and verdict all took place the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

At 11:05 p.m. the day after the trial began, the jury voted to convict.

Mr. Hargrave was sentenced to 30 years to life. Justice Goldstein sentenced Mr. Bunn to 20 years to life, but was later forced to change the penalty to nine years to life when lawyers proved she had illegally sentenced him as an adult. “When they said, ‘Life,’ they had to rush me to the hospital,” said Mr. Bunn’s mother, Maureen Bunn, who still lives in the same apartment on St. Marks Place in Crown Heights, decorated with plants and pictures of her children taped to the walls.

Both defendants filed appeals, saying Justice Goldstein deprived them of their constitutional rights when she denied requests to cross-examine Mr. Crosson about his past and would not instruct the jury about what it could presume from the missing blood exams.

The appeals were denied.

Mr. Barba has since died. Mr. Boyar, the prosecutor, is now retired and lives upstate. He suggested he did everything right. “Those kids were guilty,” Mr. Boyar said in a telephone interview, his thick Brooklyn accent still audible. “I see that as a clean case.”

Mr. Boyar insisted that Mr. Crosson’s law enforcement training made him a strong witness. Unable to recall every detail of a decades-old case on the spur of the moment, he said he must have complemented that testimony with ballistics, forensic evidence or perhaps a weapon.

Reminded that he had not, and that the trial lasted a day and a half, Mr. Boyar paused. “I had a homicide trial that lasted a day and a half?” he said. “If there is something amiss here, it should be set right, and that’s it.”

He later read the transcript, however, and said the lack of forensic evidence like matching fingerprints or a blood trail were common anomalies.

Evidence Destroyed

Ten years later, lawyers working together to file a new appeal for the men were dumbstruck when they encountered an apparently insurmountable, and unexplainable, roadblock.

Crucial evidence had been destroyed.

“We wanted the bicycles. We wanted the blood,” said William E. Hellerstein, who had been involved in the new appeal. But the evidence was gone. “There was some kind of order in the D.A.’s file to release the evidence.”

“Release” meant dispose of. Records shed no light on the reasons. A handwritten notation in the Legal Aid Society file said that a high-ranking representative of the Police Department told lawyers that someone had issued an order to destroy the evidence in 1993. It is unclear who made the order before the case was even appealed. The order itself has not been found.

“We were convinced this was a fishy case,” said Daniel S. Medwed, a Northeastern University professor who was also involved. “We just didn’t have a legal hook.”

Mr. Bunn was turned down for parole three times and was released in 2006. However, he failed to report in properly, violating his parole, and was sent back upstate for a year. He was released a second time in 2009.

He is bald with sad eyes now, and a small frame. He drove a reporter around his neighborhood in a borrowed Jaguar and stopped at the crime scene. He pointed out the nearby Granville T. Woods Elementary School in Crown Heights, which he and Mr. Hargrave had attended, though three years apart. He described how Mr. Hargrave would protect his smaller friend from bullies but gave him the occasional wedgie, too.

Mr. Bunn is still angry with his lawyers. He struggles with anxiety and finds he actually misses the structure of life behind bars. It was there that he learned to read. He works as an assistant to a rap group, and when the group he works for went on tour to Japan this summer, his parole prevented him from going.

“They pulled the rug out from under us by destroying the DNA that would have proved we were innocent,” he said, making no effort to stop the tears running down his cheeks as he sat at an Applebee’s in Downtown Brooklyn. “Then everybody gave up on us.”

The Exoneration Initiative, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan that has been investigating the case for two years, now represents Mr. Bunn. “This smacks of a cover-up, and it’s really troubling,” said Mr. Bunn’s lawyer, Glenn A. Garber.

One Man’s Word

Mr. Hargrave recently hired Pierre Sussman, a civil rights lawyer in the Bronx. Mr. Sussman represents several murder defendants who were investigated by Mr. Scarcella; one of them was released from prison this year, largely because of flaws in Mr. Scarcella’s work. The lawyer is deeply skeptical of the retired investigator.

“There are too many questionable evidentiary pieces to this conviction that rely on Scarcella and Chmil’s work,” Mr. Sussman said after an interview at his Bronx storefront law office across the street from the courthouse.

Mr. Sussman said he was chasing a tip that Mr. Crosson had been the victim of a previous shooting. If proved, it would suggest that he was the intended target of the men on bicycles back in 1991 — and had reasons to cover up their identities.

The lawyers are still waiting to find out whether the palm prints from the bicycles have yet been checked against those of the two other suspects in addition to Mr. Hargrave and Mr. Bunn who were mentioned in detectives’ records, one of whom is in prison. The police reports do not explain why those two men were suspects, or what investigative steps were taken to exclude them.

Peter J. Tartaglia, a former 77th Precinct lieutenant who supervised the investigation, and who has been a steady supporter of Mr. Scarcella, defended the work done on the case. He said that many questionable details, like the absence of defendants’ prints at the crime scene, could easily be explained: “If I went into your car, I might not find your prints in your car. Maybe we’d find your mechanic’s prints.”

On that, Mr. Tartaglia was right: Mr. Neischer’s prints were not found in his own car, either.

Through his wife, a New York City police officer, Mr. Crosson declined repeated requests to comment for this article. When a team of lawyers representing Mr. Hargrave went to his home in a Suffolk County cul-de-sac during the summer, the lights went out and no one came to the door. Bankruptcy court records show Mr. Crosson left the city’s Department of Correction in 2010 and was employed last year as a bus driver.

Mr. Neischer’s family said that although they never had a reason to doubt the convictions, if the men were to be exonerated or a judge ordered a new trial, they would not object.

Citing the open investigation, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office also declined to comment. Justice Goldstein, who now works for an arbitration company, did not respond to phone and email messages left at her company.

Mr. Massi, the trial lawyer, who left Legal Aid in 1995, is now retired and living upstate. He is still haunted: “I was genuinely moved by that case.”

Mr. Scarcella and his lawyer would not comment on this case. Mr. Scarcella’s partner, Mr. Chmil, vaguely recalled the investigation, although he forgot that Mr. Neischer had died.

“There are so many things that come together in a case — witnesses, forensics, the grand jury — when things go wrong, who are they pointing the finger at? The detective,” Mr. Chmil said by phone from Virginia, where he became a police officer again and later retired. “I didn’t have a good career; I had an exemplary one. And so did Scarcella. Now we look like the two worst guys in the world.”

Mr. Hargrave remains at Southport, a maximum-security prison reserved for inmates with severe behavior problems. His discipline record stretches for more than five pages, and his face bears a scar from a fight with another inmate. “It’s like being in a jungle with a bunch of lions,” he explained. “If I got a spear, I got to protect myself.” He is not eligible for parole for eight years.



10) Born of Grief, ‘Three Strikes’ Laws Are Being Rethought
December 2, 2013

This week’s Retro Report video is a story of how personal tragedy led to what has been called one of the harshest criminal laws in the country, California’s “three strikes” law. Intended to lock up the most violent repeat offenders for 25 years to life, the law was almost immediately embroiled in controversy. For an examination of the effects of California’s three strikes law, watch the video above. Below, a former Bay Area bureau chief for The Times recalls the case that galvanized the proposition drive for the law.

To most of the world – back in 1992 and even now — Mike Reynolds’s effort to keep repeat violent offenders locked up for life after the murder of his 18-year-old daughter, Kimber, in Fresno, Calif., was a non-event, not the opening salvo of what would become a barrage of state laws and referendums eventually known as the “Three Strikes and You’re Out” movement.

Mr. Reynolds, a wedding photographer in California’s Central Valley, far from the media centers of the Bay Area and Los Angeles, was just a grieving father (could there be a less empathetic phrase?), whose youngest child, on a weekend visit home from college, had been shot in the head at point-blank range outside the Daily Planet restaurant by a man with a long criminal record.

Mr. Reynolds’s howl of helplessness took the form of a ballot initiative, Proposition 184, which called for sentences of 25 years to life for anyone previously convicted of two serious felonies. Mr. Reynolds began a lonely campaign to gain the necessary 385,000 signatures to put it before voters in a state with a long and often misguided history of governing by popular outrage rather than carefully created legislation. But Mr. Reynolds had only a shoestring budget, a small band of neighborhood volunteers who met in his living room, no nationwide attention and little hope of success until another dreadful crime galvanized the state, nation and world a year later.

That was the abduction at knifepoint and eventual murder of a dimpled 12-year-old, Polly Klaas, 4 feet 10 inches tall and 80 pounds, during a slumber party right down the hall from her sleeping mother’s bedroom. It occurred in the quaint Sonoma County hamlet of Petaluma, scene of President Ronald Reagan’s “Mornings in America” television commercials.

Two months would pass between Polly’s kidnapping on Oct. 1, 1993 — her two schoolmates were tied up, pillow cases put over their heads, and told to count to 1,000 during the crime — and the discovery on Dec. 4 of her decomposed body in a shallow grave near an abandoned lumber mill 30 miles north of Petaluma. In that time, her divorced father became a media celebrity on “20/20,” “America’s Most Wanted” and the like, begging for the return of “America’s Child.” (Marc Klaas remains a well-known child advocate, interviewed on television whenever a youngster goes missing.)

Back then, in the Polly Klaas Center, across from the police station in Petaluma, 4,000 volunteers stuffed envelopes and faxed eight million posters coast to coast, with photos of the child and a composite drawing of the 39-year-old bearded, thuggish suspect. A meticulous manhunt included 250 search-and-rescue workers, 40 law enforcement officers, motorcyclists, horseback riders, helicopters and divers to check nearby reservoirs. The actress Winona Ryder, who grew up in Petaluma, offered a $200,000 reward for the capture of yet another career criminal, Richard Allen Davis, and later dedicated the movie “Little Woman” to Polly, whose favorite color was purple.

Outside the center, strangers built an impromptu mound of flowers, teddy bears, notes on composition paper and children’s books, including one called “If You’re Afraid of the Dark.” That mound would eventually become a shrine, like one years before for John Lennon and years after for Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy Jr.

What I remember best, as The New York Times’s correspondent in San Francisco that long-ago autumn, were the billboards of a snub-nosed child along highways throughout Northern California, the nightly televised home videos of Polly in a sparkly costume, the bouquets of lavender rosebuds. Not until I reread my own articles did I remember that it was after Polly’s death that Mr. Reynolds’s sluggish signature-gathering effort took off. That first weekend, at the urging of a local radio station, so many people called the modest Fresno headquarters of Three Strikes and You’re Out that the voice-mail system crashed. Within weeks, the petition had been signed by the required number of people, eventually by 800,000, and would pass by a wide margin. A few noted criminologists predicted at the time that “three strikes” laws, which would sweep the nation, were unlikely to have much effect on crime, would fill the nation’s prisons to bursting and would satisfy frustrated voters at the expense of bad public policy. They were largely ignored. As this Retro Report points out, California voters eventually concluded that its three strikes law was excessive in its zeal and financial burden, and last year they amended the law that Mr. Reynolds had put before them two decades earlier.



11) Wage Strikes Planned at Fast-Food Outlets
December 1, 2013

Seeking to increase pressure on McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast-food restaurants, organizers of a movement demanding a $15-an-hour wage for fast-food workers say they will sponsor one-day strikes in 100 cities on Thursday and protest activities in 100 additional cities.

As the movement struggles to find pressure points in its quest for substantially higher wages for workers, organizers said strikes were planned for the first time in cities like Charleston, S.C.; Providence, R.I.; and Pittsburgh.

The protests have expanded greatly since November 2012, when 200 fast-food workers engaged in a one-day strike at more than 20 restaurants in New York City, the first such walkout in the history of the nation’s fast-food industry.

“There’s been pretty huge growth in one year,” said Kendall Fells, one of the movement’s main organizers. “People understand that a one-day strike is not going to get them there. They understand that this needs to continue to grow.”

The movement, which includes the groups Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15, is part of a growing union-backed effort by low-paid workers — including many Walmart workers and workers for federal contractors — that seeks to focus attention on what the groups say are inadequate wages.

The fast-food effort is backed by the Service Employees International Union and is also demanding that restaurants allow workers to unionize without the threat of retaliation.

Officials with the National Restaurant Association have said the one-day strikes are publicity stunts. They warn that increasing pay to $15 an hour when the federal minimum wage is $7.25 would cause restaurants to rely more on automation and hire fewer workers.

Industry officials say that only a small percentage of fast-food jobs pay the minimum wage and that those are largely entry-level jobs for workers under 25.

Backers of the movement for higher pay point to studies saying that the average age of fast-food workers is 29 and that more than one-fourth are parents raising children.

Simon Rojas, who earns $8.07 an hour working at a McDonald’s in South Central Los Angeles, said he would join Thursday’s one-day strike.

“It’s very difficult to live off $8.07 an hour,” said Mr. Rojas, 23, noting that he is often assigned just 20 or 25 hours of work a week. “I have to live with my parents. I would like to be able to afford a car and an apartment.”

Mr. Rojas said he had studied for a pharmacy technician’s certificate, but he had been unable to save the $100 needed to apply for a license.

On Aug. 29, fast-food strikes took place in more than 50 cities. This week’s expanded protests will be joined by numerous community, faith and student groups, including USAction and United Students against Sweatshops.




12) Scanning the Economic Landscape, and Still Seeing Little on the Horizon
December 1, 2013

From the outside, the financial fissures in Marianne Scarino’s life are easy to overlook. She still steps out the door most weekday mornings in her tailored trousers and kitten heels.

She walks with the confidence of the successful professional she once was, the corporate manager with the office overlooking Times Square, the six-figure salary and those late-night glides back to Staten Island in that sleek company car.

Look closer, though, and you’ll notice the peeling paint on her front porch, the crumbling chimney, the dilapidated garage, the telltale signs of a downsized life.

Ms. Scarino has been laid off twice, “discarded,” as she puts it. Her husband, a project manager at an architectural firm, lost his job, too. His only alternative paid 20 percent less.

“That world, that security we had, is gone,” said Ms. Scarino, 62, who says she and her husband burned through their savings to stay afloat.

This is life in New York City, four years after the Great Recession officially ended. Ms. Scarino, who lost her job at a law firm in 2009, spent two years hunting for work before another law firm hired her in 2011. In March, she was laid off again.

The hard truth, as she has learned it: No one is eager to hire someone of her age — not Lowe’s, not the local nursing home, not the accounting and law firms where she once thrived.

This spring, a friend told her about a temporary position as an elementary school aide in Brooklyn. It paid about $21,000 a year, with no benefits. Ms. Scarino, who once earned $160,000 a year, didn’t think twice.

Some might marvel at her shifting circumstances. Ms. Scarino, whose dreams of retirement have collapsed along with her savings account, is just grateful for the work.

This economic recovery is a nonrecovery for her and for all too many New Yorkers. The old rules, she says, no longer apply.

Look around you. The stock market is booming. The tech sector is thriving. New York is generating tens of thousands of new jobs, more than most big cities, labor statistics show.

Yet the bulk of the new jobs are low-wage jobs in sectors like retail, restaurants and home health care, many without benefits or opportunities for advancement, a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a research organization, shows. The pathways that once carried people into the middle class and beyond — and the strategies that sustained them there — seem increasingly unreliable and uncertain.

Median family income in New York City has stalled, according to census data analyzed by Susan Weber-Stoger of Queens College. About 46 percent of New Yorkers are poor or near poor, city officials say. Middle-class families are also feeling the strain.

Bill de Blasio rode this wave of economic anxiety right into City Hall. Here on Staten Island, he won 44 percent of the vote — a feat in this Republican stronghold — snaring voters like Ms. Scarino, who had not voted for a Democrat in more than a decade.

His election puts struggling New Yorkers on center stage. In the coming year, there will be battles and debates over retroactive pay for unions and the living wage. There will be strategizing about new ways to help the poor and talk of new niches and opportunities.

I was born in this city — I grew up on Staten Island, not far from Ms. Scarino’s home — and I will be chronicling this unsettled economic landscape, writing about work, the workplace and the economy.

There will be stories of success, of reinvention and of people just getting by. But there will also be stories of options narrowing, hopes dimming.

Nationally, middle-class incomes are lower than they were 15 years ago, faring worse than over any such period since the 1940s. On Ms. Scarino’s block, the economic tremors are still rumbling, unsettling one family after another.

She ticks off the casualties: The couple with the baby who lost jobs at architectural firms; the laid-off banker; the film editor whose career foundered on the shores of the digital age; and her next-door neighbor, Jeffrey Marks, 58, a father of four, who lost his job as a manager at an auto dealership in January.

His new position, supervising mechanics who work for the city, pays a fraction of what he once earned. “You’re starting everything over,” he said. “That’s the scary part.”

Some experts say our city offers one of the best vantage points for watching this evolving economy. Will the recovery finally gain momentum or is this the new normal? Will Mr. de Blasio revitalize the prospects of the less fortunate or be confounded by economic forces beyond his control? We are, in many ways, a first-class laboratory for observing some of the biggest economic shifts of our time.

But for the people who live here, for the Scarinos, the Markses and the others, this is no lab. This is life.

Rachel Swarns would like to hear about your experiences in New York’s work world. Please leave yours in the comments, or contact her directly by filling out this brief form. She may follow up with you directly for an interview.


Twitter: @rachelswarns



13) Gloomy Numbers for Holiday Shopping’s Big Weekend
December 1, 2013

It was a cold, clear day in Leesburg, Va., and a security guard at an outlet mall there said the midmorning crowd was similar to that of a typical busy Saturday.

But an ordinary day it was not. It was Black Friday, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year.

With the economy bumping along at a lackluster pace, and this year’s shorter-than-usual window between Thanksgiving and Christmas, sales and promotions began weeks before Thanksgiving Day, making this holiday shopping season more diffuse than ever. That left Black Friday weekend itself, the season’s customary kickoff, looking a bit gloomy.

Over the course of the weekend, consumers spent about $1.7 billion less on holiday shopping than they did the year before, according to the National Retail Federation, a retail trade organization.

“There are some economic challenges that many Americans still face,” said Matthew Shay, the chief executive of the retail federation. “So in general terms, many are intending to be a little bit more conservative with their budgets.”

More than 141 million people shopped online or in stores between Thursday and Sunday, according to a survey released Sunday afternoon by the retail federation, an increase of about 1 percent over last year. And the average amount each consumer spent, or planned to spend by the end of Sunday, went down, dropping to $407.02 from $423.55. Total spending for the weekend this year was expected to be $57.4 billion, a decrease of nearly 3 percent from last year’s $59.1 billion.

The holiday season generally accounts for 20 to 40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales, according to the federation, and Thanksgiving weekend alone typically represents about 10 to 15 percent of those holiday sales.

This year, in the scramble to get to shoppers early, retailers tempted buyers with pre-Thanksgiving deals, both in stores and online. On, for example, the holiday season started Nov. 1. And according to the retail federation, 53.8 percent of shoppers surveyed in the first week of November said they had already started their holiday shopping.

John D. Morris, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said that aggressive promotions the day before Thanksgiving may also have taken some sales from the Black Friday weekend.

“There were a lot of advertised sales that were bleeding into Wednesday this year,” Mr. Morris said. “Sales were being pulled forward.”

On Sunday, the retail federation pointed to the season’s early start, with holiday sales going as far back as October, and said it still expected that sales this holiday season would grow 3.9 percent over last year, despite the year-over-year decline of Black Friday weekend. They also said that altercations involving shoppers in stores on Black Friday seemed to decline this year, despite a number of videos of physical confrontations that attracted widespread attention online and in various news media reports.

Many retailers have been warning of a muted holiday shopping season. Walmart and Target both trimmed their yearly forecasts recently, citing economic factors like slow wage growth, unemployment and sliding consumer confidence. Executives at Best Buy cautioned that intense price competition on some items during the holidays was likely to affect their bottom line, despite its healthier performance recently.

Data from the research firm ShopperTrak, which collects data from more than 700 retailers, painted a more optimistic picture of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. (The data, released Saturday, did not include shopping online or any shopping done over the weekend.)

ShopperTrak found that sales were off 13.2 percent on Black Friday. But more stores were open on Thanksgiving this year, and for longer hours, and the combined sales on Thursday and Friday were actually up 2.3 percent over the same two days last year.

“The Thursday store openings did well,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak’s founder. “But a lot of it was at the expense of Black Friday.”

And while sales increased for the two-day period, he continued, there are additional costs associated with being open on Thanksgiving, like holiday pay for employees.

“Thursday is going to be a tough day to make any profit,” Mr. Martin said.

The retail federation’s survey found that Black Friday shopping grew a bit, rising to more than 92 million people this year from nearly 89 million people last year, including online and physical stores.

Online sales grew substantially on both Thanksgiving and Friday this year, up nearly 20 percent Thursday and almost 19 percent on Friday, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, which tracks about 800 retail websites in the United States. Mobile traffic was also up substantially, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all online activity on Friday, said Jay Henderson, the strategy director for IBM Smarter Commerce, which put out the online retail data. “That’s pretty staggering,” he said. “You hear a lot about the year of mobile, and this is probably the fifth annual year of mobile. But 40 percent of all traffic feels like a tipping point.”

Mobile sales accounted for about 26 percent of total online sales on Thursday and nearly 22 percent on Friday. On both days, IBM saw a late surge in online shopping, presumably as people finished spending time with their families and snuggled up on the couch with their credit cards.

Smartphones accounted for about 25 percent of traffic on Friday, in contrast to over 14 percent from tablets. But actual purchasing came predominantly from elsewhere. Tablets made up about 14 percent of online sales, compared with about 7 percent for smartphones.

“You tend to see that a lot of smartphone traffic is predominantly during the day,” Mr. Henderson said. “People are out and about in stores, comparing prices and looking for ratings and reviews. Tablets start to take hold late in the afternoon and in the evening.”

Despite all this growth, online purchases remain a very small portion of retail sales. Mr. Martin of ShopperTrak said that more than 90 percent of all United States retail commerce still takes place in physical stores.

While many people proved perfectly willing to head to the mall on Thanksgiving Day, for some, two days in a row of Black Friday-style shopping was just a bit too much.

Melvina Bolston, 48, ventured to a Walmart on Thanksgiving, waited 85 minutes in a checkout line, and was back in the fray on Friday at her sister’s behest, at an open-air shopping center in Norcross, Ga.

“You can pretty much put it in the books: I will never do it again,” Ms. Bolston said. “This is like torturing yourself on purpose.”

Perhaps next year, she will just shop online instead.

Alan Blinder and Ken Maguire contributed reporting.




























































U.S. Court of Appeals Rules Against Lorenzo Johnson’s
New Legal Challenge to His Frame-up Conviction!
Demand the PA Attorney General Dismiss the Charges!
Free Lorenzo Johnson, Now!

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied Lorenzo Johnson’s motion to file a Second Habeas Corpus Petition. The order contained the outrageous declaration that Johnson hadn’t made a “prima facie case” that he had new evidence of his innocence. This not only puts a legal obstacle in Johnson’s path as his fight for freedom makes its way (again) through the state and federal courts—but it undermines the newly filed Pennsylvania state appeal that is pending in the Court of Common Pleas.

Stripped of  “legalese,” the court’s October 15, 2013 order says Johnson’s new evidence was not brought into court soon enough—although it was the prosecution and police who withheld evidence and coerced witnesses into lying or not coming forward with the truth! This, despite over fifteen years and rounds of legal battles to uncover the evidence of government misconduct. This is a set-back for Lorenzo Johnson’s renewed fight for his freedom, but Johnson is even more determined as his PA state court appeal continues.

Increased public support and protest is needed. The fight for Lorenzo Johnson’s freedom is not only a fight for this courageous man and family. The fight for Lorenzo Johnson is also a fight for all the innocent others who have been framed and are sitting in the slow death of prison. The PA Attorney General is directly pursuing the charges against Lorenzo, despite the evidence of his innocence and the corruption of the police. Free Lorenzo Johnson, Now!

—Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq.
   October 25, 2013

For more on the federal court and PA state court legal filings.
Hear Mumia’s latest commentary, “Cat Cries”
Go to: for more information, to sign the petition, and how to help.





Call and write Ft Leavenworth today and tell them to honor Manning's wishes around her name and gender:
Chelsea's supporters were awarded the title “absolutely fabulous overall contingent” at the San Francisco Pride Parade

Call: (913) 758-3600

Write to:
Col. Sioban Ledwith, Commander
U.S. Detention Barracks
1301 N Warehouse Rd
Ft. Leavenworth KS 66027

Private Manning has been an icon both for the government transparency movement and LGBTQ activists because of her fearlessness and acts of conscience. Now, as she begins serving her sentence, Chelsea has asked for help with legal appeals, family visits, education, and support for undergoing gender transition. The latter is a decision she’s made following years of experiencing gender dysphoria and examining her options. At a difficult time in her life, she joined the military out of hope–the hope that she could use her service to save lives, and also the hope that it would help to suppress her feelings of gender dysphoria. But after serving time in Iraq, Private Manning realized what mattered to her most was the truth, personal as well as political, even when it proved challenging.

Now she wants the Fort Leavenworth military prison to allow her access to hormone replacement therapy which she has offered to pay for herself, as she pursues the process to have her name legally changed to ‘Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.’

To encourage the prison to honor her transgender identity, we’re calling on progressive supporters and allies to contact Fort Leavenworth officials demanding they acknowledge her requested name change immediately. Currently, prison officials are not required to respect Chelsea’s identity, and can even refuse to deliver mail addressed to the name ‘Chelsea Manning.’ However, it’s within prison administrators’ power to begin using the name ‘Chelsea Manning’ now, in advance of the legal name change which will most likely be approved sometime next year. It’s also up to these officials to approve Private Manning’s request for hormone therapy.

Call: (913) 758-3600

Write to:
Col. Sioban Ledwith, Commander
U.S. Detention Barracks
1301 N Warehouse Rd
Ft. Leavenworth KS 66027

Tell them: “Transgender rights are human rights! Respect Private Manning’s identity by acknowledging the name ‘Chelsea Manning’ whenever possible, including in mail addressed to her, and by allowing her access to appropriate medical treatment for gender dysphoria, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT).”

While openly transgender individuals are allowed to serve in many other militaries around the world, the US military continues to deny their existence. Now, by speaking up for Chelsea’s right to treatment, you can support one brave whistleblower in her personal struggle, and help set an important benchmark for the rights of transgender individuals everywhere. (Remember that letters written with focus and a respectful tone are more likely to be effective.) Feel free to copy this sample letter.

Earlier this year, the Private Manning Support Network won the title of most “absolutely fabulous overall contingent” at the San Francisco Pride Parade, the largest celebration of its kind for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning) people nationwide. Over one thousand people marched for Private Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning in that parade, to show LGBTQ community pride for the Iraq War’s most well-known whistleblower.

Help us continue to cover 100%
of Pvt. Manning's legal fees! Donate today.

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610




Please sign the NEW petition for Lynne Stewart.

Your signature will send a letter to Bureau of Prisons Director Samuels and to Attorney General Holder requesting that they expedite Lynne Stewart’s current application for compassionate release. The NEW petition is at

Free Lynne Stewart: Support Compassionate Release

Free Lynne Stewart: Support Compassionate Release

By Ralph Poynter, Brooklyn, NY
Renowned defense attorney Lynne Stewart, unjustly charged and convicted for the “crime” of providing her client with a fearless defense, is dying of cancer while imprisoned in the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, Texas.

Your action now can lead to her freedom so that she may live out her remaining days with the comfort and joy of her family and those closest to her, including her devoted husband Ralph Poynter, many children, grandchildren, a great grandchild and lifelong friends.

The conservative medical prognosis by the oncologist contracted by the prison is that Lynne Stewart has but 16-months to live. Breast cancer, in remission prior to her imprisonment, reached Stage Four more than a year ago, emerging in her lymph nodes, shoulder, bones and lungs.

Despite repeated courses of chemotherapy, cancer advances in her lungs, resistant to treatment. Compounding her dire condition, Lynne Stewart’s white blood cell count dropped so low that she has been isolated in a prison hospital room since April 2013 to reduce risk of generalized infection.

Under the 1984 Sentencing Act, upon a prisoner’s request, the Bureau of Prisons can file a motion with the Court to reduce sentences “for extraordinary and compelling reasons,” life threatening illness foremost among these.

Lynne Stewart’s recent re-application for compassionate release meets all the criteria specified in guidelines issued by the Bureau of Prisons in August 2013.

These “new guidelines” followed a searing report and testimony before Congress by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz. His findings corroborated a definitive report by Human Rights Watch. Inspector General Horowitz excoriated the Federal Bureau of Prisons for the restrictive crippling of the compassionate release program. In a 20-year period, the Bureau had released a scant 492 persons – an average of 24 a year out of a population that exceeds 220,000.

Over 30,000 people of conscience from all walks of life in the United States and internationally took action to free Lynne Stewart following her first application for compassionate release in April of this year.

Among those who raised their voices are former Attorney General Ramsey Clark – who was co-counsel in the case that led to Lynne Stewart’s imprisonment, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President of the United Nations General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Ed Asner, Daniel Berrigan, Liz McAllister Berrigan, Richard Falk, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Cornell West, Dick Gregory, Alice Walker and Bianca Jagger.

They along with thousands of individuals and organizations, such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild and Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, directed letters, phone calls and public declarations to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr. and to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Dick Gregory has refused all solid food since April 4 and his remarkable moral witness will not end until Lynne Stewart is released.

We call upon all to amplify this outpouring of support. We ask all within our reach to convey to Bureau of Prisons Director Samuels his obligation to approve Lynne Stewart’s application and instruct the federal attorney to file the requisite motion for Lynne Stewart’s compassionate release.

Please sign this new petition and reach out to others to sign. The letter below will be sent on your behalf via email to Charles E. Samuels, Jr., Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. Telephone calls also can be made to the Bureau of Prisons:
(202) 307-3250/3262.
Write to Lynne Stewart at:
Lynne Stewart #53504-054Unit 2N
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX  76127

or via:

What you can do:
Demand Compassionate Release for Lynne Now!

Write and call:

President Obama
The White House
Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
(202) 456-1111

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
(202) 353-1555

Charles E. Samuels, Jr.
Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
(202) 307-3250/3262

Write to Lynne Stewart:
Lynne Stewart #53504-054
Unit 2N, Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX  76127

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


Kimberly Rivera

Imprisoned pregnant resister seeks early release for birth

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495 supporters from around the world write letters in support of clemency application
By James Branum and Courage to Resist. November 4, 2013
Fort Carson, Colorado – Imprisoned war resister PFC Kimberly Rivera has submitted a clemency application seeking a reduction by 45 days in the 10 month prison sentence she received for seeking asylum in Canada rather return to her unit in Iraq.

The request for clemency was based on humanitarian reasons due to pregnancy. Unless clemency is granted, Private First Class Kimberly Rivera will be forced to give birth in prison and then immediately relinquish custody of her son while she continues to serve the remainder of her sentence.

Unfortunately military regulations provide no provisions for her to be able to breastfeed her infant son while she is in prison.
Fort Carson Senior Commander Brigadier General Michael A. Bills will be making a decision on PFC Rivera’s clemency request in the coming weeks.
PFC Rivera’s case made international news when she was the first female US soldier in the current era to flee to Canada for reasons of conscience. After a protracted struggle through the Canadian legal system, she was deported back to the United States in September 2012. She was then immediately arrested and sent back to the Army to stand trial.
In an interview with Courage to Resist  on the eve of her court-martial, Rivera said, “When I saw the little girl [in Iraq] shaking in fear, in fear of me, because of my uniform, I couldn’t fathom what she had been through and all I saw was my little girl and I just wanted to hold her and comfort her. But I knew I couldn’t. It broke my heart. I am against hurting anyone… I would harm myself first. I felt this also made me a liability to my unit and I could not let me be a reason for anyone to be harmed—so I left... Even though I did not fill out the official application to obtain conscientious objector status, I consider myself a conscientious objector to all war.”
On April 29, 2013, PFC Rivera pled to charges of desertion. She was sentenced by the military judge to fourteen months in prison, loss of rank and pay, and a dishonorable discharge; thanks to a pre-trial agreement her sentence was reduced to an actual sentence to ten months of confinement and a bad-conduct discharge.
Kimberly Rivera has been recognized by Amnesty International as a “prisoner of conscience.” She is the mother of four children, ages 11, 9, 4 and 2.
Kimberly Rivera’s request for clemency was accompanied by 495 letters of support, written by family members, friends, as well as members of Amnesty International from 19 countries.
“We have many organizations to thank for the outpouring of support for Kimberly Rivera, including Amnesty International, Courage to Resist, the War Resisters Support Campaign of Canada, Veterans for Peace and Coffee Strong,” said James M. Branum, civilian defense attorney for PFC Rivera. “We also want to recognize the tireless efforts of local supporters in Colorado Springs and San Diego who have taken the time to visit Kim in prison as well as to provide important support to Kim’s family in her absence.”
While the official clemency request is now complete, supporters of PFC Rivera are still encouraged to continue to speak out on her behalf. Letters in support of PFC Rivera’s clemency request can be sent directly to:
Brigadier General Michael A. Bills
c/o Fort Carson Public Affairs Office
1626 Ellis Street
Suite 200, Building 1118
Fort Carson, CO 80913
(fax: 1-719-526-1021)
Supporters are also encouraged to sign an online petition posted at:

Photos: Top-Kimberly with husband Mario during her court martial. Middle-Kimberly in Canada prior to being deported. Bottom-Courage to Resist rallies outside Canadian Consulate, San Francisco CA, prior to Kimberly's forced return.
Initial press release by The Center for Conscience in Action, an Oklahoma City-based organization dedicated to the intersection of peace, conscience and direct action. CCA’s Legal Support Project provides low and no cost legal representation to military service members seeking discharge on the grounds of conscience.
For more information or to schedule an interview about this subject, please contact James M. Branum, lead defense counsel for PFC Rivera, at 405-494-0562 or girightslawyer(at)gmail(dot)com. Consolidated Brig Miramar generally forbids inmates from doing interviews with the press, but you are welcome to see if an exception can be made by contacting the Brig Public Affairs office at 858-577-7071.
Additional case updates will be posted at and




Two campaigns that need funds – Please donate!

Cartoon by Anthonty Mata for CCSF Guardsman

We are working to ensure that the ACCJC’s authority is not renewed by the Department of Education this December when they are up for their 5-year renewal. Our campaign made it possible for over 50 Third Party Comments to be sent to the DOE re: the ACCJC. Our next step in this campaign is to send a delegation from CCSF to Washington, D.C. to give oral comments at the hearing on December 12th. We expect to have an array of forces aligned on the other side who have much more money and resources than we do.
So please support this effort to get ACCJC authority revoked!

Save CCSF members have been meeting with Attorney Dan Siegel since last May to explore legal avenues to fight the ACCJC. After much consideration, and consultation with AFT 2121’s attorney as well as the SF City Attorney’s office, Dan has come up with a legal strategy that is complimentary to what is already being pursued. In fact, AFT 2121’s attorney is encouraging us to go forward.
The total costs of pursuing this (depositions, etc.) will be substantially more than $15,000. However, Dan is willing to do it for a fixed fee of $15,000. He will not expect a retainer, i.e. payment in advance, but we should start payments ASAP. If we win the ACCJC will have to pay our costs.

Checks can be made out to Save CCSF Coalition with “legal” in the memo line and sent to:
Save CCSF Coalition
2132 Prince St.
Berkeley, CA 94705
Or you may donate online:



16 Years in Solitary Confinement Is Like a "Living Tomb"
American Civil Liberties Union petition to end long-term solitary confinement:
California Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard: We stand with the prisoners on hunger strike. We urge you to comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 recommendations regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement.
Sign the petition:
In California, hundreds of prisoners have been held in solitary for more than a decade – some for infractions as trivial as reading Machiavelli's "The Prince."

Gabriel Reyes describes the pain of being isolated for at least 22 hours a day for the last 16 years:

“Unless you have lived it, you cannot imagine what it feels like to be by yourself, between four cold walls, with little concept of time…. It is a living tomb …’ I have not been allowed physical contact with any of my loved ones since 1995…I feel helpless and hopeless. In short, I am being psychologically tortured.”

That’s why over 30,000 prisoners in California began a hunger strike – the biggest the state has ever seen. They’re refusing food to protest prisoners being held for decades in solitary and to push for other changes to improve their basic conditions.

California Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard has tried to dismiss the strikers and refuses to negotiate, but the media pressure is building through the strike. If tens of thousands of us take action, we can help keep this issue in the spotlight so that Secretary Beard can’t ignore the inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Sign the petition urging Corrections Secretary Beard to end the use of long-term solitary confinement.

Solitary is such an extreme form of punishment that a United Nations torture rapporteur called for an international ban on the practice except in rare occasions. Here’s why:

The majority of the 80,000 people held in solitary in this country are severely mentally ill or because of a minor infraction (it’s a myth that it’s only for violent prisoners)
Even for people with stable mental health, solitary causes severe psychological reactions, often leading people to attempt suicide
It jeopardizes public safety because prisoners held in solitary have a harder time reintegrating into society.

And to add insult to injury, the hunger strikers are now facing retaliation – their lawyers are being restricted from visiting and the strikers are being punished. But the media continues to write about the hunger strike and we can help keep the pressure on Secretary Beard by signing this petition.

Sign the petition urging Corrections Secretary Beard to end the use of long-term solitary confinement.

Our criminal justice system should keep communities safe and treat people fairly. The use of solitary confinement undermines both of these goals – but little by little, we can help put a stop to such cruelty.

Thank you,
Anthony for the ACLU Action team
P.S. The hunger strikers have developed five core demands to address their basic conditions, the main one being an end to long-term solitary confinement. They are:

-End group punishment – prisoners say that officials often punish groups to address individual rule violations

-Abolish the debriefing policy, which is often demanded in return for better food or release from solitary

-End long-term solitary confinement

-Provide adequate and nutritious food

-Expand or provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates

“Solitary - and anger - in California's prisons.” Los Angeles Times July 13, 2013
“Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Gabriel Reyes.” TruthOut July 9, 2013
“Solitary confinement should be banned in most cases, UN expert says.” UN News October 18, 2011
"Stop Solitary - Two Pager"

What you Didn't know about NYPD's Stop and Frisk program !


Egypt: The Next President -- a little Egyptian boy speaks his remarkable mind!


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



Call for a Compassionate Release for Lynne Stewart:
Attorney General Eric Holder: 202-514-2001
White House President Obama: 202-456-1414
Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels: 202-307-3198 ext 3

Urgent: Please sign the petition for compassionate release for Lynne Stewart

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



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





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






"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




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]








Exceptional art from the streets of Oakland:

Oakland Street Dancing




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


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:



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 and 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


The Battle of Oakland

by brandon jourdan plus


Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces


February 1, 2012, 10:56 am\



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,




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


Release Bradley Manning

Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)

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


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks


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?


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


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


Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale



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