Saturday, December 14, 2013

BAUAW NEWSLETTER: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2013


Santa Should Be the Only One with Unlimited Spying Powers



We now know that this holiday season, our private communications aren't as private as we thought. While we're calling, texting, emailing, and visiting our friends and loved ones, the NSA is tuning in and collecting massive amounts of data on millions of Americans.

Thanks to the revelations from Edward Snowden, each week we get new proof that the NSA has vastly overstepped its authority.

The good news is that the tide is turning in the fight to rein in all this runaway surveillance. Right now, there is legislation pending in the House and Senate that would go a long way to stopping the worst of the NSA's excesses. So we need to turn up the pressure on Congress, which blindly gave the NSA too much spying power in the first place.

If we're going to get past this last hurdle, we need to stand together and send our representatives in Washington a crystal clear message: Americans stand opposed to this blatant abuse of power.

Sign the petition and let's push Congress to get in gear to end the secret surveillance state now.

 https://www.aclu.org/secure/stopnsa?sid=1804544

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Urgent Update on Lynne Stewart

“HELP BRING ME HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS” a life and death Appeal from renowned people’s attorney Lynne Stewart.
“I need to ask once again for your assistance in forcing the Bureau of Prisons to grant my Compassionate Release. They have been stonewalling since August and my life expectancy, as per my cancer doctor, is down to 12 months. They know that I am fully qualified and that over 40,000 people have signed-on to force them to do the right thing, which is to let me go home to my family and to receive advanced care in New York City.

“Yet they refuse to act. While this is entirely within the range of their politics and their cruelty to hold political prisoners until we have days to live before releasing us – witness Herman Wallace of Angola and Marilyn Buck – we are fighting not to permit this and call for a BIG push.”

Lynne Stewart, FMC Carswell

Take Action between now and the New Year. Telephone and send emails or other messages to Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr. and Attorney General Eric Holder.

CHARLES E. SAMUELS, Jr., Director Federal Bureau of Prisons
(202) 307-3250 or 3062; info@bop.gov

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER, U.S. Department of Justice
(202) 353-1555; AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

Contact U.S. Embassies and Consulates in nations throughout the world

LET US CREATE A TIDAL WAVE OF EFFORT INTERNATIONALLY. Together, we can prevent the bureaucratic murder of Lynne Stewart.

Notes:

In a new 237-page report entitled “A Living Death,” the American Civil Liberties Union documents unconstitutional practices permeating federal and state prisons in the United States.

Focused on life imprisonment without parole for minor offenses, the ACLU details conditions of 3,278 individual prisoners whose denial of release is deemed “a flagrant violation of the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment” occurring on an increasing scale.

The ACLU labels the deliberate stonewalling as “willful,” a touchstone of Federal Bureau of Prisons and Department of Justice arrogance.

These conclusions corroborate the findings of Human Rights Watch in 2012: “The Answer is ‘No’: Too Little Compassionate Release in U.S. Prisons.”
The Report is definitive in exposing arbitrary and illegal conduct that infuses every facet of the treatment accorded Lynne Stewart:

“…the Bureau has usurped the role of the courts. In fact, it is fair to say the jailers are acting as judges. Congress intended the sentencing judge, not the BOP to determine whether a prisoner should receive a sentence reduction.”

Lynne Stewart’s medical findings show less than twelve months to live as stipulated by her oncologist at FMC Carswell.

The Federal Bureau Prisons has failed to file the legally required motion, declaring instead that the matter lies “with the Department of Justice.”
 
Write to Lynne Stewart at:
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 

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Make a donation today:
   
https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-2168838

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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
89289
1300 N Warehouse Rd
Ft Leavenworth KS 66027-2304
USA

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 owen@bradleymanning.org

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

https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38591



COURAGE TO RESIST
http://couragetoresist.org
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610
510-488-3559

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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter


Table of Contents:
A. ARTICLES IN FULL
B. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS
D. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.

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A. ARTICLES IN FULL

(Unless otherwise noted)


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December 11, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/books/prison-memoir-of-a-black-man-in-the-1850s.html?ref=nyregion




3) Tobacco Firms’ Strategy Limits Poorer Nations’ Smoking Laws
By
December 13, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/health/tobacco-industry-tactics-limit-poorer-nations-smoking-laws.html?hp 




4) With Affordable Care Act, Canceled Policies for New York Professionals
By
December 13, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/nyregion/with-affordable-care-act-canceled-policies-for-new-york-professionals.html?hp 



December 12, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/us/post-katrina-police-prosecutions-in-new-orleans-face-setbacks.html?hp 




7) Experts Eye Oil and Gas Industry as Quakes Shake Oklahoma
By
December 12, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/science/earth/as-quakes-shake-oklahoma-scientists-eye-oil-and-gas-industry.html?ref=us 




8) Fifteen Dollar Hourly Minimum Wage in Northwest City Faces Court Challenge
By
December 12, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/us/15-hourly-minimum-wage-in-northwest-city-faces-court-challenge.html?ref=business 
December 12, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/us/politics/jobless-fear-looming-cutoff-of-benefits.html?ref=business 
December 13, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/business/media/trayvon-martins-parents-are-planning-a-book.html?src=busln




11) Teenager’s Sentence in Fatal Drunken-Driving Case Stirs ‘Affluenza’ Debate
By and
December 13, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/us/teenagers-sentence-in-fatal-drunken-driving-case-stirs-affluenza-debate.html?ref=us















 

 

 

 





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1) New Film, ‘Out of the Furnace,’ Accused of Stereotyping Ramapough Indians
By
December 11, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/nyregion/new-film-out-of-the-furnace-accused-of-stereotyping-ramapough-indians.html?ref=nyregion

MAHWAH, N.J. — The past week has been unsettling for the Ramapough Mountain Indians, who live on this northern stretch of the Appalachian Mountains that overlooks the Manhattan skyline and wealthy parts of Bergen County. The new movie “Out of the Furnace,” featuring a star-studded cast that includes Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson, also features numerous negative references to the Ramapoughs. They include a fight-ring subplot.

Keith Van Dunk, 27, a member of the tribe, took a break from feeding the chickens at his father’s house up on Stag Hill here on Sunday morning and gestured at the surrounding woods.

“You see any fight ring up here?” he said. “Absolutely not.”

Tribal leaders and local elected officials held a news conference last week, speaking out against a film that they claim portrays them as trashy backwoods bumpkins involved in drugs and violence. One Ramapough henchman in the movie even bears Mr. Van Dunk’s last name.

The references constitute a “hate crime” that has “stained the community and stirred up animus” by increasing marginalization and stigmatization, said the Ramapoughs’ chief, Dwaine C. Perry, 66, in an interview.

In the past few days, he said, there had been several instances of Ramapough students in local high schools being picked on by classmates who had seen the film, including one case in which a teacher had to intervene.

At a showing of the movie last weekend, someone hurled slurs at a Ramapough woman in the theater, he said. There was also a fight at a local mall that tribal members said was stirred up by the film.

“The film contains ugly stereotypes that stain you for life,” Chief Perry said. “The undertones are racist and personal. It’s a hate crime when you look at the psychological impact on the kids.”

Contacted for comment, the film’s production company, Relativity Media, released a statement saying that the film is “entirely fictional” and not “based upon any particular person or group of people.”

“As is the case with most films, the filmmakers conducted research and drew upon their own personal life experiences in creating an original screenplay, and the story and the characters are entirely fictional,” the statement read.

Scott Cooper, who directed the film and co-wrote the script, was unavailable for comment Wednesday night. But a Relativity Media spokesman said that John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, Pa. — the other main setting in the film — had nothing but praise for the way the movie portrayed Braddock. Mr. Fetterman called it a respectful depiction that was “eloquent, forceful and honest,” in a guest column he wrote for Variety magazine.

Several characters in the film have last names that are prevalent Ramapough names, including De Groat and Mann. The film was not shot in the area, but the Bergen County Police Department is portrayed as the local authority.

Mr. Van Dunk said he refused to buy a ticket to the film, but he consulted the IMDB website and saw that several cast members were listed as “Jackson White.”

The term “Jackson White” is a slur used by outsiders to deride the Ramapoughs, Mr. Van Dunk said, referencing the tribe’s descent from Native Americans, whites and runaway slaves who settled in the mountains in the late 18th century. The term dredges up decades of a long, ugly history of discrimination and marginalization.

“To me, it’s like calling a black person the N-word, and my father is black,” said Mr. Van Dunk, who works for a moving company in Hackensack. “In high school, kids would call me a Jackson White in the hallway, and if I stuck up for myself, they’d say I’m living up to the stereotype.”

Before the opening of the film, which was the third-grossing film in the country last weekend, The New York Post published an article saying that it depicts the Ramapoughs as “New Jersey hillbillies.” The article characterized tribe members as unsophisticated, intermarrying types who are ridiculed, who hunt and eat squirrels, and who drive all-terrain vehicles on dirt roads.

“After reading in The Post about the Ramapoughs being a bunch of hillbillies eating squirrels, I drove into Manhattan the first night it opened to see the film for myself,” said Mahwah Mayor William C. Laforet. He added that a mine depicted in the film appears to be modeled on the local Abex foundry, now shuttered.

“There are numerous connections, factual and implied, and now the producers are backpedaling and saying it’s fictional,” Mr. Laforet said. “It’s unfair to the folks on the mountain to resurrect those stereotypes. It’s a disgraceful depiction of that community.”

The mayor also said he feared the fight-club element would lead teenagers to test Ramapough children. Local school officials have been “keenly sensitive” to watching for discrimination against students from Ramapough families in the wake of the film, he said, stepping up what has already been a “zero tolerance policy” in recent years regarding discrimination against Ramapough children.

The mayor said he feared the film could add to the longstanding problem of young people driving to Mahwah to take joy rides on the roads of Stag Mountain.

“It’s going to bring outsiders to the mountain looking for some Wild West,” he said. “This isn’t the backwoods of Kentucky — it’s within eyeshot of New York City.”

The Ramapough people trace their roots back thousands of years to the Lenape tribe. Now there are perhaps 5,000 members living in mountainous areas around the border with New York.

For a group long known as “mountain people,” the film is another in a long line of indignities, which include a lack of federal recognition as a tribe, despite gaining official recognition decades ago from New York and New Jersey.

There was the humiliation a few years back of becoming the butt of late-night jokes, after the Ramapoughs’ practice of hunting and eating squirrels drew governmental warnings regarding lead levels in squirrels at a local Superfund site. Then there was the unusually high level of health problems that tribal members connected to toxin dumping by the Ford Motor Company. When the tribe wanted to apply for a casino permit, even Donald Trump joined the fight against it.

Regarding the influx of joy riders, Elmore Wilson, a tribal member who lives on Stag Hill, said they had been on the increase.

“One of them just busted my windshield,” said Mr. Wilson, 54, as he stood on his front lawn on Sunday with his son, Michael Wilson, 24, near the tribal headquarters. Elmore Wilson, a security guard at Ramapo College, said he sat Michael down years ago and gave him the Ramapough facts of life.

“I told him, ‘This is what you’re going to be facing because of where we live,’ ” he recounted. “You’re going to hear we’re a bunch of inbreds, all kinds of stuff. You just got to let it roll off your back.”

Nicole Ginsburg, 21, who works the counter at Jersey Boys pizza parlor at the foot of Stag Hill, said some local residents made fun of the Ramapough members as banjo-playing hillbillies.

“Some of the Mahwah kids call them inbred,” she said. “One kid said, ‘Oh, you don’t want to bump into a Jackson White up there.’ ”

As for Mr. Van Dunk, before returning to his chickens, he said he was rethinking his future. “Right now, my pride keeps me here, but I guess I’ll have to move as my kids get older,” he said. “I don’t want them growing up with people looking at them funny.”


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2) Prison Memoir of a Black Man in the 1850s
By
December 11, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/books/prison-memoir-of-a-black-man-in-the-1850s.html?ref=nyregion

Years ago, a rare-books dealer browsing at an estate sale in Rochester came across an unusual manuscript, dated 1858. The family selling it said little about where it had been for the last 150 years. It appeared never to have left upstate New York.

Scholars now believe that the mystery manuscript is the first recovered memoir written in prison by an African-American, a discovery that Yale University says it made after authenticating the document and acquiring it for its Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

The 304-page memoir, titled “The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict, or the Inmate of a Gloomy Prison,” describes the experiences of the author, Austin Reed, from the 1830s to the 1850s in a prison in upstate New York.

Caleb Smith, a professor of English at Yale who has written extensively about imprisonment, said he believed the manuscript to be authentic. Reed’s account was corroborated through newspaper articles, court records and prison files, with help from Christine McKay, an archivist and researcher who also works for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Manhattan.

“It’s still a very unusual thing for us to find any previously unknown document from this period by an African-American writer,” Mr. Smith said. “From a literary point of view, I think there’s no other voice in American literature like the voice of this penitentiary narrative, which has a very lyrical quality. And from a historical perspective, what makes this so fascinating at this moment is the deep connection between the history of slavery and the history of incarceration.”

Nancy Kuhl, a curator at the Beineke library, said the manuscript “significantly enriches the canon of 19th-century African-American literature and deepens our understanding of all 19th-century America.”

Reed is believed to have been born a free man near Rochester. As a young man, according to Yale’s research, he was sent to the New York House of Refuge, a juvenile reform school in Manhattan, where he learned to read and write. By the 1830s, a string of thefts resulted in his incarceration in a state prison in Auburn, now known as the Auburn Correctional Facility, which was built in 1816.

The manuscript, written with the dramatic flair of a natural storyteller but in unpolished English, with grammatical and spelling errors, traces his life from childhood to his years at Auburn. It is written under the name Rob Reed, although it is unclear why he used that name, according to Yale.

In the early pages, Reed describes a childhood incident when, encouraged by his sister, he disguised himself as a girl and attempted to kill a man to avenge an earlier whipping.

“I cocked the pistol and with an uplifted hand of revenge I let fire and missd my shot,” he wrote. “It was a dark night. I could hardly see my hands before my face. The old man hollowd murder, murder, but before any aid could get to him I drew the knife a cross his shoulders wich left a deep wound for months afterward.”

Later, Reed describes torturous punishments at Auburn that were typical at the time, including frequent whippings and a device known as the shower-bath, a kind of precursor to waterboarding that was occasionally fatal.

“Stripping off my shirt the tyrantical curse bounded my hands fast in front of me and orderd me to stand around,” Reed wrote. “Turning my back towards him he threw Sixty seven lashes on me according to the orders of Esq. Cook. I was then to stand over the dreain while one of the inmates wash my back in a pail of salt brine.”

Eileen McHugh, the executive director of the Cayuga Museum of History and Art, near Auburn, said that Reed would have been writing under arduous conditions. At the time, prison cells were unlit and had no windows. Men at Auburn were forced to work 10 hours a day in total silence. (In 1890, Auburn would become the site of the first execution by electric chair.)

“I don’t know that it would be forbidden,” Ms. McHugh said of a prisoner’s ability to write, “but nothing would have made it easy.”

Reed probably had extremely limited access to reading material — perhaps little more than the Bible — but the manuscript makes mention of “Robinson Crusoe,” the 1719 novel by Daniel Defoe, and a 1788 poem by William Cowper, “The Morning Dream.”

Prisoners were not allowed to speak and were required to move in lock step, so that they were never face to face with one another. They had no leisure time.

“This was, in the beginning, considered progressive, because they thought it was a way of rehabilitating these criminals,” Ms. McHugh said. “In reality, it was completely contrary to human nature.”

There is reason to believe that Reed hoped that the book would eventually find an audience. Its subtitle is “With the Mysteries and Miseries of the New York House of Reffuge and Auburn Prison Unmasked.”

He frequently addresses the reader directly and appears to have shared the manuscript with someone, though that person’s name is illegible in a note inside it. Mr. Smith, the Yale professor, said he is preparing the manuscript for publication. “We know that this was never printed, but certainly Reed wanted it to be,” he said. “He’s not writing for intimates, he’s not writing for himself. He’s writing it for the public.”

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3) Tobacco Firms’ Strategy Limits Poorer Nations’ Smoking Laws
By
December 13, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/health/tobacco-industry-tactics-limit-poorer-nations-smoking-laws.html?hp

Tobacco companies are pushing back against a worldwide rise in antismoking laws, using a little-noticed legal strategy to delay or block regulation. The industry is warning countries that their tobacco laws violate an expanding web of trade and investment treaties, raising the prospect of costly, prolonged legal battles, health advocates and officials said.

The strategy has gained momentum in recent years as smoking rates in rich countries have fallen and tobacco companies have sought to maintain access to fast-growing markets in developing countries. Industry officials say that there are only a few cases of active litigation, and that giving a legal opinion to governments is routine for major players whose interests will be affected.

But tobacco opponents say the strategy is intimidating low- and middle-income countries from tackling one of the gravest health threats facing them: smoking. They also say the legal tactics are undermining the world’s largest global public health treaty, the W.H.O. Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which aims to reduce smoking by encouraging limits on advertising, packaging and sale of tobacco products. More than 170 countries have signed it since it took effect in 2005.

More than five million people die annually of smoking-related causes, more than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, according to the World Health Organization.

Alarmed about rising smoking rates among young women, Namibia, in southern Africa, passed a tobacco control law in 2010 but quickly found itself bombarded with stern warnings from the tobacco industry that the new statute violated the country’s obligations under trade treaties.

“We have bundles and bundles of letters from them,” said Namibia’s health minister, Dr. Richard Kamwi.

Three years later, the government, fearful of a punishingly expensive legal battle, has yet to carry out a single major provision of the law, like limiting advertising or placing large health warnings on cigarette packaging.

The issue is particularly urgent now as the United States completes talks on a major new trade treaty with 11 Pacific Rim countries that aims to be a model for the rules of international commerce. Administration officials say they want the new treaty to raise standards for public health. They single out tobacco as a health concern, wording that upset the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, which said that the inclusion would leave the door open for other products, like soda or sugar, to be heavily regulated in other countries.

“Our goal in this agreement is to protect the legitimate health regulations that treaty countries want to pursue from efforts by tobacco companies to undermine them,” said Michael Froman, the United States trade representative, in a telephone interview. The language is not yet final, he said.

But public health advocates say the current wording would not stop countries from being sued when they adopt strong tobacco control measures, though some trade experts said it might make the companies less likely to win. This fall, more than 50 members of the House and about a dozen members of the Senate sent letters to the administration expressing concern.

Tobacco consumption more than doubled in the developing world from 1970 to 2000, according to the United Nations. Much of the increase was in China, but there has also been substantial growth in Africa, where smoking rates have traditionally been low. More than three-quarters of the world’s smokers now live in the developing world.

Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the W.H.O., said in a speech last year that legal actions against Uruguay, Norway and Australia were “deliberately designed to instill fear” in countries trying to reduce smoking.

“The wolf is no longer in sheep’s clothing, and its teeth are bared,” she said.

Tobacco companies are objecting to laws in both developed and developing nations. Industry officials say they respect countries’ efforts to protect public health, but face difficulties promoting their brands as more countries ban cigarette ads. Often, the only space left is the packaging, and even that is shrinking, with some countries requiring that packages be plastered with shocking pictures of people with cancer; in Australia, brand names are reduced to uniform block letters on drab olive backgrounds.

“Removing our trademarks removes our assurance to customers of the origin and quality of our lawfully available products, meaning they and their characteristics become indistinguishable from those of our competitors,” said Gareth Cooper, group head of regulation at British American Tobacco.

In the early 1990s, the American government used to pressure countries to open their markets to American tobacco companies. As smoking rates in some of these countries rose, outrage grew, and President Bill Clinton issued an executive order in 2001 that banned the United States government from lobbying on the industry’s behalf.

But other types of trade agreements have emerged that give companies rights.

Such treaties are intended to promote prosperity by reducing trade barriers and protecting investors from expropriation by foreign governments. They allow companies to sue directly, instead of having to persuade a state to take up their case. They have proliferated since the 1990s, and number around 3,000, up from a few hundred in the late 1980s, according to Robert Stumberg, a law professor at the Harrison Institute for Public Law at Georgetown University, whose clients include antismoking groups.

In Africa, at least four countries — Namibia, Gabon, Togo and Uganda — have received warnings from the tobacco industry that their laws run afoul of international treaties, said Patricia Lambert, director of the international legal consortium at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

“They’re trying to intimidate everybody,” said Jonathan Liberman, director of the McCabe Center for Law and Cancer in Australia, which gives legal support to countries that have been challenged by tobacco companies. In Namibia, the tobacco industry has said that requiring large warning labels on cigarette packages violates its intellectual property rights and could fuel counterfeiting.

Mr. Cooper, of British American Tobacco, whose local affiliate sent the government a legal opinion, said in an email that countries should “consider the broader context of implementing regulations that can impact trade.”

Thomas Bollyky, a trade lawyer and a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said many developing countries are at a disadvantage in investment cases because they do not have the specialized legal expertise or resources to fight.

Uruguay has acknowledged that it would have had to drop its tobacco control law and settle with Philip Morris International if the foundation of the departing mayor of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, had not paid to defend the law. (The company’s net revenue last year was $77 billion, substantially more than Uruguay’s gross domestic product.) Even developed countries like Canada and New Zealand have backed away from planned tobacco laws in the face of investment treaty claims, Mr. Bollyky said.

The most closely watched legal battle is playing out in Australia, where the tobacco industry lost a case in domestic courts last year. Philip Morris International has filed suit under an investment treaty between Australia and Hong Kong, where the firm has a branch. The proceedings, which are not public, will be held in Singapore and decided by outside arbitrators, not judges.

Philip Morris International has dozens of subsidiaries, allowing the company “to play the treaty game much more adroitly,” Professor Stumberg said.

Companies are even paying for countries to make the industry’s case against other nations in the World Trade Organization. Ukraine filed a complaint with the organization against Australia’s packaging rule, even though the two countries barely trade. Mr. Cooper acknowledged that his company was helping Ukraine pay the legal bills, but said that was standard practice in W.T.O. disputes.

Bashupi Maloboka, a Health Ministry official who steered the tobacco control law to passage in Namibia, said the industry’s approach had slowed what was already a plodding process.

“The fear is that they have the money and they have the resources, so they can pay for anything,” said Mr. Maloboka, who retired last year.

But Dr. Kamwi, the health minister, said he hoped the regulations to put the 2010 law into practice would be finished next year. “We have decided to put our foot down,” he said. “If they want to go to court, we will see them there.”

 


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4) With Affordable Care Act, Canceled Policies for New York Professionals
By
December 13, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/nyregion/with-affordable-care-act-canceled-policies-for-new-york-professionals.html?hp

Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.

They are part of an unusual informal health insurance system that has developed in New York in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country.

But under the Affordable Care Act, they will be treated as individuals, responsible for their own insurance policies. For many of them, that is likely to mean they will no longer have access to a wide network of doctors and a range of plans tailored to their needs. And many of them are finding that if they want to keep their premiums from rising, they will have to accept higher deductible and co-pay costs or inferior coverage.

“I couldn’t sleep because of it,” said Barbara Meinwald, a solo practitioner lawyer in Manhattan.

Ms. Meinwald, 61, has been paying $10,000 a year for her insurance through the New York City Bar. A broker told her that a new temporary plan with fewer doctors would cost $5,000 more, after factoring in the cost of her medications.

Ms. Meinwald also looked on the state’s health insurance exchange. But she said she found that those plans did not have a good choice of doctors, and that it was hard to even find out who the doctors were, and which hospitals were covered. “It’s like you’re blindfolded and you’re told that you have to buy something,” she said.

The people affected include not just writers, artists, doctors and the like, they said, but also independent tradespeople, like home builders or carpenters, who work on their own.

Some have received notices already; others, whose plans have not yet expired, will soon receive letters in the mail. It is unclear exactly how many New Yorkers are affected; according to state health officials, as many as 400,000 independent practitioners get health insurance through job-related group plans, but that number also includes people who receive coverage through their spouses’ employers.

The predicament is similar to that of millions of Americans who discovered this fall that their existing policies were being canceled because of the Affordable Care Act. The crescendo of outrage led to Mr. Obama’s offer to restore their policies, though some states that have their own exchanges, like California and New York, have said they will not do so.

But while those policies, by and large, had been canceled because they did not meet the law’s requirements for minimum coverage, many of the New York policies being canceled meet and often exceed the standards, brokers say. The rationale for disqualifying those policies, said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, was to prevent associations from selling insurance to healthy members who are needed to keep the new health exchanges financially viable.

Siphoning those people, Mr. Levitt said, would leave the pool of health exchange customers “smaller and disproportionately sicker,” and would drive up rates.

Alicia Hartinger, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said independent practitioners “will generally have an equal level of protection in the individual market as they would have if they were buying in the small-group market.” She said the president’s offer to temporarily restore canceled polices applied to association coverage, if states and insurers agreed. New York has no plans to do so.

Donna Frescatore, executive director of New York State of Health, the state insurance exchange, said that on a positive note, about half of those affected would qualify for subsidized insurance under the new health exchange because they had incomes under 400 percent of the poverty level, about $46,000 for an individual.

But many professionals make too much money to qualify for the subsidies, and even if they are able to find comparably priced insurance, the new policies do not have the coverage they are accustomed to.

David Rubin, vice president of Teiget, the Entertainment Industry Group Insurance Trust, which had served as a broker for about 1,000 members of creative guilds, said a big complaint was that in New York City and much of the state, the new individual plans both on and off the exchange did not allow patients to go to doctors out of network. “All these people had these customized plans which are better than most of the things out there, and most of them are saving only a small amount of money,” he said.

Roy Lyons, managing director of Marsh U.S. Consumer, an insurance brokerage, said he had heard complaints from physicians, lawyers, pharmacists and optometrists. “At first they think it’s the bar association making the decision or the insurance company doing it,” he said. “We have to explain that this is the Affordable Care Act; that’s what was put into law. Once they understand, they’re less emotional, but they’re not happy with it.”

Among those affected are members of the Authors Guild; the Advertising Photographers of America; the Suzuki Association of the Americas, a music teachers organization; the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators; the New York City Bar Association; and the New York County Medical Society. (One group, the Freelancers Union, negotiated a one-year exemption with the state. )

“One of the reasons to join a society is to get health insurance,” said Dr. Paul N. Orloff, president of the New York County Medical Society. Even doctors pay a lot for coverage, he said, because the days of trading medical care with colleagues are long gone. “In the old days, professional courtesy was the norm,” he said.

The medical society has not yet formally notified its solo practitioners, because their insurance plans do not expire until April. But those letters will be going out soon, officials said.

It is not lost on many of the professionals that they are exactly the sort of people – liberal, concerned with social justice – who supported the Obama health plan in the first place. Ms. Meinwald, the lawyer, said she was a lifelong Democrat who still supported better health care for all, but had she known what was in store for her, she would have voted for Mitt Romney.

It is an uncomfortable position for many members of the creative classes to be in. “We are the Obama people,” said Camille Sweeney, a New York writer and member of the Authors Guild. Her insurance is being canceled, and she is dismayed that neither her pediatrician nor her general practitioner appears to be on the exchange plans. What to do has become a hot topic on Facebook and at dinner parties frequented by her fellow writers and artists. “I’m for it,” she said. “But what is the reality of it?”

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5) Post-Katrina Police Prosecutions in New Orleans Face Setbacks
By
December 12, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/us/post-katrina-police-prosecutions-in-new-orleans-face-setbacks.html?hp

NEW ORLEANS — Even before the arrests started in 2010, it was becoming clear that this was going to be one of the most wide-ranging federal campaigns against police wrongdoing in the country.

In addition to a deep yearlong investigation into the culture and practices of this city’s Police Department, the Justice Department that year charged 18 current and former officers with crimes relating to the deaths of residents in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Between plea agreements and convictions over the ensuing months, officers were collectively facing over 250 years in prison. But recently that campaign has faced a series of stunning reversals, most recently on Wednesday night when a federal jury acquitted David Warren, a former police officer who was on trial, for the second time, on charges of shooting and killing an unarmed man. This acquittal came three months after a federal judge threw out the convictions and ordered new trials for five other officers in connection with the shooting of six unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge.

As a result, rather than the clear-cut strike at criminal behavior by law officers envisioned three years ago, the post-Katrina prosecutions have proved to be a far more difficult and problematic undertaking.

Wednesday’s verdict in particular seemed to line up with what many of the officers on trial have argued: that these were unique events under extreme circumstances rather than, as the Justice Department and even some city officials have insisted, symptoms of a much deeper and broader dysfunction within the police force.

It remains to be seen what effect, if any, these problems will have on the efforts to transform the culture of the department, now well underway as part of a judicially enforced consent decree. Federal officials say the reform efforts are proceeding as planned.

“The department found systemwide criminal justice problems, and the people of New Orleans have a right to have them addressed,” Jocelyn Samuels, the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights for the Justice Department, said in a statement.

The criminal cases that attracted the attention of federal officials had either been known about publicly, as in the Danziger case, or known about within certain police circles. But state-level prosecutions were either botched or not brought at all before the Justice Department became involved.

The most recognized case nationally was the police shooting on the Danziger Bridge, which left two unarmed people dead and four wounded. An article in The Nation first revealed the details behind the death of Henry Glover — whose killing brought about the charges against Mr. Warren — and the cover-up that followed, involving the torching by officers of Mr. Glover’s body in car they abandoned.

In another case, a 45-year-old man was shot by the police outside the convention center one night when it was still crowded with those stranded by the floods. Multiple arrests were made in all three cases. But four of the officers were tried and acquitted, a tally that now includes Mr. Warren, who had been granted a retrial by a federal appeals court after initially being convicted of manslaughter.

Six officers have had their convictions vacated by federal judges and are waiting for new trials. This group includes five defendants in the Danziger case, whose convictions were thrown out by a judge after it was revealed that members of the United States attorney’s office were posting anonymous and acerbic comments online before and during the trial.

One of the officers involved in the Glover case had part of his conviction thrown out and is waiting to be resentenced. A judge declared a mistrial in the case of a detective charged with taking part in the cover-up of the Danziger shooting; his new trial date has not been set.

Of those charged in the Katrina-related cases, there is one who was convicted and sentenced, and who exhausted his appeals. That former police officer, Ronald Mitchell, was found guilty of lying in a deposition in the case of the man shot at the convention center. He is already out of prison.

Legal experts say that successful prosecutions of police officers are always difficult. But the drumbeat of failures and setbacks has left even some of the most vocal proponents of police reform disillusioned.

“What indicator do we have that the government is going to be here to protect the citizens of this community?” asked Norris Henderson, an advocate for ex-prisoners. “Who’s responsible for enforcing it?” he asked of the consent decree. “The feds. And they just failed us yesterday.”

Those who view the verdicts as correct are similarly skeptical, though for opposite reasons.

Peter Scharf, a criminology professor at Tulane University who worked as a defense consultant for one of the accused officers, said that the problematic federal prosecutions had begun to undermine the foundations of the consent decree, even while conceding that reform is needed.

“You can’t solve what you don’t understand,” he said, arguing that the consent decree was spurred by events that juries had found somewhat ambiguous on closer scrutiny. “In the heat of passion, to address these evils they skipped steps.”

To Justice Department officials and many New Orleans residents, the troubling events just after Katrina — as well as other violent episodes that took place in more normal times — exposed a fragmented department, a deeply flawed leadership and a severe and potentially dangerous lack of discipline among some members of the force. So in 2010, while federal officials pursued criminal investigations, they set up a separate investigative track into more systemic problems, which led to the consent decree.

Like the criminal prosecutions, this also ran into unexpected obstacles. The mayor of New Orleans balked last year after the Orleans Parish sheriff and the Justice Department announced a similar consent decree governing the troubled city jail. The mayor legally challenged the police agreement he had once hailed, but the challenge was rebuffed in the courts and the consent decree remains in place.

Rafael Goyeneche, the president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a watchdog group here, said there is no reason to believe the setbacks in the criminal trials would affect the consent decree. Although some of these cases prompted the initial federal attention, the consent decree that resulted is now wholly independent of the criminal prosecutions.“There is no turning back,” he said. “Even if every one of these cases resulted in an acquittal, it would have no impact on the consent decree.”

For now that appears to be true. Last month, the court-appointed consent decree monitor released his first quarterly report. It was at turns critical and encouraging about the department’s moves toward reform.

“Even considering the notable strides the city has made in recent years,” the report reads, “solving the agency’s problems will take time, discipline and patience.”

 


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6) Drone Strike in Yemen Hits Wedding Convoy, Killing 11
By
December 12, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/world/middleeast/drone-strike-in-yemen-hits-wedding-convoy-killing-11.html?ref=world

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Drone-fired missiles struck a convoy of cars returning from a wedding on Thursday afternoon in a remote area of Yemen, witnesses said, killing at least 11 people in what appeared to be the second American drone strike in the past week.

Most of the dead appeared to be people suspected of being militants linked to Al Qaeda, according to tribal leaders in the area, but there were also reports that several civilians had been killed.

The drone strikes followed a deadly multistage assault last week on Yemen’s Defense Ministry that left 52 people dead, and for which Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate claimed responsibility. The attack stunned Yemen’s political and military leadership, still struggling to regroup in the wake of popular uprisings in 2011 that toppled the country’s leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The violence also sharpens a dilemma for President Obama, who said in May that he had approved new, stricter guidelines for drone strikes, and promised to make the drone campaign more transparent. After the president’s speech, the frequency of drone strikes in Yemen briefly dipped.

But a series of militant attacks in recent months have highlighted the threat posed by the Yemen-based branch of Al Qaeda, which has tried to blow up United States-bound airliners since 2009. And after American intelligence officials intercepted a phone call between two high-level Qaeda leaders during the summer, they authorized a two-week burst of drone strikes to forestall terrorist plots, officials said. At least nine strikes took place, though it is not clear whether any of the people suspected of being militants who were killed were significant figures or involved in plots.

The recent insurgent attacks have laid bare the Yemeni government’s inability to counter the militants, despite increased American aid for counterterrorism operations. Scores of soldiers and police officers have been killed since the summer, and there are new signs that Al Qaeda has infiltrated the Yemeni military and security services.

Moreover, there are concerns that the drone strikes themselves may aggravate the problem. In the wake of last week’s attack on the Defense Ministry’s fortified headquarters in Yemen’s capital, Sana, some Qaeda-linked websites said the militants were seeking revenge for drone strikes, repeating a theme often heard in villages where drones are audible overhead.

Thursday’s drone strike took place in Yakla, an area southeast of the capital known as a stronghold of Al Qaeda. Residents said that drones had been audible overhead since the day before, and that the victims were returning from a wedding in a nearby town in a large convoy.

A local website, Bayda Press, gave the names of 11 dead men, all from the Tays and Bin Amr tribes, which are said to be closely associated with Al Qaeda in the area. For months, the area near Yakla, in Bayda Province, has been largely controlled by the militants, who appeared to be trying to set up a Taliban-style community, according to residents of nearby towns.

On Monday, a drone strike in the eastern Yemeni province of Hadramawt killed three men who local news reports said were suspected of being Qaeda militants. It is not clear whether the two strikes this week were connected to the assault on the Defense Ministry. At least two drone strikes were reported in November as well, though details remained murky.


Nasser Arrabyee contributed reporting from Sana, Yemen.

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7) Experts Eye Oil and Gas Industry as Quakes Shake Oklahoma
By
December 12, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/science/earth/as-quakes-shake-oklahoma-scientists-eye-oil-and-gas-industry.html?ref=us

OKLAHOMA CITY — Mary Catherine Sexton has been rattled enough.

This fall her neighborhood in the northeastern part of this city has been shaken by dozens of minor earthquakes. “We would just have little trembles all the time,” she said.

Even before a magnitude 4.5 quake on Saturday knocked objects off her walls and a stone from above her neighbor’s bay window, Ms. Sexton was on edge.

“People are fed up with the earthquakes,” she said. “Our kids are scared. We’re scared.”

Oklahoma has never been known as earthquake country, with a yearly average of about 50 tremors, almost all of them minor. But in the past three years, the state has had thousands of quakes. This year has been the most active, with more than 2,600 so far, including 87 last week.

While most have been too slight to be felt, some, like the quake on Saturday and a smaller one in November that cracked a bathroom wall in Ms. Sexton’s house, have been sensed over a wide area and caused damage. In 2011, a magnitude 5.6 quake — the biggest ever recorded in the state — injured two people and severely damaged more than a dozen homes, some beyond repair.

State officials say they are concerned, and residents accustomed to tornadoes and hail are now talking about buying earthquake insurance.

“I’m scared there’s going to be a bigger one,” Ms. Sexton said.

Just as unsettling in a state where more than 340,000 jobs are tied to the oil and gas industry is what scientists say may be causing many of the quakes: the widespread industry practice of disposing of billions of gallons of wastewater that is produced along with oil and gas, by injecting it under pressure into wells that reach permeable rock formations.

“Disposal wells pose the biggest risk,” said Austin Holland, a seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, who is studying the various clusters of quakes around the state.

Oklahoma has more than 4,000 disposal wells for waste from tens of thousands of oil and gas wells. “Could we be looking at some cumulative tipping point? Yes, that’s absolutely possible,” Dr. Holland said. But there could be other explanations for the increase in earthquakes, he added.

Scientists have known for years that injection wells and other human activities can induce earthquakes by changing pressures underground. That can have the effect of “unclamping” old stressed faults so the rocks can slip past each other and cause the ground to shake.

The weight of water behind a new dam in China, for example, is thought to have induced a 2008 quake in Sichuan Province that killed 80,000 people. In Australia, a 1989 quake that killed 13 people was attributed in part to the opposite effect — the removal of millions of tons of coal during more than two centuries of mining.

In other places, including California and Switzerland, enhanced geothermal projects, in which water is pumped into hot rocks deep underground to produce energy, have caused quakes.

In Texas, some earthquakes have been connected to the industry practice of “water flooding,” increasing the yield of older oil wells by pumping water into nearby wells to force the oil out, said Cliff Frohlich, a University of Texas scientist. In other cases, Dr. Frohlich said, just the extraction of oil and gas from a long-producing field has been seen to induce quakes.

The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — injecting liquid at high pressures into shale rock — causes very small tremors as the rocks break, releasing trapped oil or gas. The technique has also been linked to a few minor earthquakes — in Oklahoma about a year ago, and in England and British Columbia. Yet unlike the continuing clusters of quakes elsewhere, the fracking-related earthquakes occurred only over short time periods, scientists say.

Of greater potential concern, scientists say, is wastewater disposal — from fracked or more conventional wells. Disposal wells linked to quakes have been shut down in a few states, including Arkansas and Ohio.

Along with oil and gas, water comes out of wells, often in enormous amounts, and must be disposed of continuously. Because transporting water, usually by truck, is costly, disposal wells are commonly located near producing wells.

The oil and gas industry points out that many of Oklahoma’s disposal wells are in areas with no earthquake activity, and that the practice of injecting wastewater has been going on for years.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time and it hasn’t been an issue before,” said Chad Warmington, president of the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association.

But Dr. Frohlich said that what had changed was where the disposal was occurring. With the boom in production of oil and gas from shale formations, he said, “People are disposing of fluids in places they haven’t before.”

Still, it is difficult to show a definitive link between a group of quakes and nearby disposal wells, and Dr. Holland thinks there may be other explanations for some of the recent quakes, including the largest one, which occurred on a known fault line about 50 miles east of Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma does have natural seismic activity, he noted, and has had a few powerful quakes in the past, including one with a magnitude of 5.5 in 1952 and one estimated at about a magnitude of 7 that the geological record shows occurred 1,300 years ago. He also thinks changes in the water level of a large nearby lake may be responsible for some of the quakes around Oklahoma City, although he says this is not the most likely explanation.

The swarm of quakes has state regulators concerned, but cautious.

“We have to look at what data and scientific evidence supports some connection,” before deciding on steps to manage the risk, said Dana L. Murphy, a commissioner with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Theoretically, at least, the commission could order some wells to be shut.

Already the commission has reached an agreement with a disposal well operator in Love County, about 100 miles south of Oklahoma City, to reduce the amount of wastewater injected into his well. The facility had been operating for only two weeks, injecting up to 400,000 gallons of water a day from nearby fracking operations, when earthquakes started occurring in September, including one that toppled a chimney and caused other damage.

All the shaking in the state has people talking about what to do if a bigger one were to hit. “I’ve been through a lot of tornadoes — you can go hide from them,” said Bill Hediger, whose home in Edmond, just north of Oklahoma City, shows cracks in the walls from the magnitude 5.6 quake. “But you can’t hide from an earthquake.”

Dr. Holland said that given the geological record, he could not rule out the possibility that a larger quake may occur in the state.

Ms. Sexton said she was not against the oil and gas industry, but added that if the quakes in her area were definitively linked to disposal wells, they should be shut down. “It would hurt oil and gas,” she said. “But it’s oil and gas hurting homeowners and making people fearful.”

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8) Fifteen Dollar Hourly Minimum Wage in Northwest City Faces Court Challenge
By
December 12, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/us/15-hourly-minimum-wage-in-northwest-city-faces-court-challenge.html?ref=business

SEATTLE — The highest municipal minimum wage in the nation, approved by voters last month in the small city of SeaTac, Wash., at $15 an hour, survived a narrow election and a recount. Now, just weeks before its scheduled Jan. 1 start date – raising the pay of thousands of SeaTac residents and workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is within the city limits — opponents are sending in the lawyers.

At a hearing scheduled for Friday in King County Superior Court in Seattle, Judge Andrea Darvas is expected to rule on whether to affirm the statute, strike it down or perhaps hold it in abeyance. Supporters of the measure said they were braced for a loss, and were preparing an emergency appeal to the state’s highest court.

The statute, which is being closely watched around the nation by labor and business groups as a barometer of the nation’s working wage debate, specifically exempts airlines and small businesses, including restaurants with fewer than 10 employees, but could raise pay for about 6,500 workers on and off airport property and give paid sick days to many of those workers for the first time.

Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association are leading the legal challenge, contending that the measure, known as Proposition 1, was too broadly and vaguely written, and that the city has no authority to regulate economic activity at the airport, which is operated by the Port of Seattle.

Although Alaska Airlines employees would not be covered by the law, the company said that higher costs borne by its contractors would be passed on to the airlines and travelers.

The director of government affairs for the Restaurant Association, Bruce Beckett, said he thought that no matter what happens on Friday, the statute could have a long legal road ahead because of the complexity of the issues raised. “I don’t know how this can all be resolved by Jan. 1,” he said.

Labor leaders, in pushing the wage measure before the election, said that higher wages for airport workers would benefit the entire region, since most of those workers live outside the city of SeaTac.

In responding to the legal challenge, Heather Weiner, a spokeswoman for a group that worked for Proposition 1’s passage, derided the lawsuit as containing “everything but the legal kitchen sink.”

Washington already has the highest state minimum in the nation, at $9.19, but stands to be surpassed by California, which recently approved a $10 minimum, phased in over two years. The federal minimum is $7.25. The SeaTac statute passed by just 77 votes out of about 6,000 cast – a number affirmed in the recount results that were announced this week.

Friday’s hearing will not be the first time Proposition 1 has come before Judge Darvas. In August, she threw the measure off the ballot, agreeing with opponents that the signature process had been flawed. Her order was later reversed by an appeals court in time for the election.

But she also stressed in her ruling at the time that she was taking no position on the underlying question about minimum wage levels — only on the technical aspects of the law.

“The court wishes to emphasize that its decision in this matter has nothing whatsoever to do with the substance of the initiative itself,” she wrote.


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9) Jobless Fear Looming Cutoff of Benefits
By
December 12, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/us/politics/jobless-fear-looming-cutoff-of-benefits.html?ref=business

WASHINGTON — Mary Helen Gillespie of Londonderry, N.H., is about to lose her last government lifeline. Since being laid off from a large banking firm in April, Ms. Gillespie, 57, has been living on little more than her unemployment insurance payments of $384 a week. She has burned through her savings and moved back in with her parents.

“There are times where I’ll go two, three, four days where I only have five dollars in my wallet and no money in my checking account,” said Ms. Gillespie, who worked as a corporate compliance officer at her previous employer,choking up as she described the difficulty of finding a job, any job, after her second extended period of joblessness since 2007. “I’ve been making decisions such as: Do I buy groceries or do I buy prescriptions?”

Ms. Gillespie’s 26 weeks of state benefits ran out this month, but she remained eligible for the emergency federal unemployment-insurance program, which has provided as many as 73 additional weeks of checks in states with high jobless rates.

Until now. Unless Congress acts — suddenly and unexpectedly — that recession-era initiative will expire at the end of the month. About 1.3 million current beneficiaries will lose aid. Also affected are an estimated 1.9 million more who would have been eligible for the program in the first half of 2014 after their state benefits ran out.

Democrats in Congress are pushing for an extension, which would cost the government an estimated $25 billion through 2014, while providing a modest lift, according to the Congressional Budget Office, to overall economic activity.

“If Congress refuses to act, it won’t just hurt families already struggling,” President Obama said last week. “It will actually harm our economy. Unemployment insurance is one of the most effective ways there is to boost our economy.”

But the bipartisan budget deal introduced by Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, and Representative Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, does not include the extension.

Republicans contend that they would be willing to negotiate one, if its cost were offset with spending cutbacks elsewhere. But congressional aides described that as unlikely to happen — and certainly not before the end of the year.

“We’ve worked all year to get our economy going again and to help produce better jobs and more wages,” John A. Boehner of Ohio, the speaker of the House, told reporters this week. “When the White House finally called me last Friday about extending unemployment benefits, I said that we would clearly consider it as long as it’s paid for and as long as there are other efforts that’ll help get our economy moving once again. I have not seen a plan from the White House that meets those standards.”

Many Republicans are more adamantly opposed to an extension, on the grounds that unemployment insurance payments tend to lengthen the time a jobless worker remains without work and thus raise the unemployment rate. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, for instance, has argued that another extension of the program would be a “disservice” to the jobless.

Economists generally agree that long-term unemployment payments can act as a disincentive for some people by encouraging them to hold out longer for a better job. But most say that the reason the vast majority of the nation’s unemployed cannot find work is because of the weak economy.

Today, the official unemployment rate stands at 7 percent, with about 11 million Americans looking for work, including four million who have been looking for more than six months. Many millions more have dropped out of the labor force altogether or been forced to take part-time jobs when they want full-time work.

Barry Iverson, a 34-year-old online content manager from Washington State, has a college degree and a solid work history. Since getting laid off from a failing start-up in June, he has applied to scores of jobs. “I can’t even get a job mopping floors,” he said.

Mr. Iverson’s income dropped by nearly two-thirds when he lost his job and started accepting about $490 a week in unemployment insurance payments. He said that his family had pared back spending to the essentials: things like groceries, gas and utilities. Even then, he said, they have maxed out their credit cards. He carefully watches their bank account to make sure their checks do not bounce.

He and his wife, who have two small children, are not sure what they will do if his unemployment insurance payments run out before he can find another job. “It’s really tough to think about,” he said.

“Christmas is just a hurdle to get through,” he said. “I don’t want to call it a stressor, but it’s just one of those things where you have to put on your best smile and get through it and try to focus on the positive.”

For job seekers like Ms. Gillespie and Mr. Iverson, the labor market remains punishing even though the economy has been on a modest upswing for more than four years. The hiring rate has scarcely increased, and competition for positions remains fierce. The unemployment rate has come down mostly because workers are dropping out of the labor force, and businesses are no longer letting large numbers of workers go.

Many employers refuse to even look at the résumés of the long-term unemployed, leaving them unable to secure jobs even if they are qualified and willing to work for less.

“I’ve tried for minimum-wage jobs, just to bring some income in,” Ms. Gillespie said. “I’ve been told I’m overqualified, and that I wouldn’t last because if I got a real job, I’d leave. That means it’s just another cycle of hearing no and no and no over and over again.”

The end of the jobless payments, by removing a modest source of consumer spending, will actually cost the economy jobs. Economists estimate that losing the emergency benefits will reduce economic growth by about 0.4 percentage points in the first quarter of next year below what it otherwise might be.

For now, hundreds of thousands of workers are bracing for the imminent loss of the payments. “I was terrified when I found out the payments were ending,” Ms. Gillespie said. “It is just another kick in the head.”


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10) Trayvon Martin’s Parents Are Planning a Book
By
December 13, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/business/media/trayvon-martins-parents-are-planning-a-book.html?src=busln

The parents of Trayvon Martin met with publishers this week to shop a book about their son, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed in Florida in 2012.

According to two publishing executives who participated in meetings, Mr. Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, said they intended to write a book that gives the full picture of their son while tracing their own experience of shock and sorrow.

The meetings were described as somber and moving by publishers who were present. Ms. Fulton and Mr. Martin were accompanied by Jan Miller, their Dallas-based literary agent.

One publishing executive said Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton spoke eloquently on social issues of race and religion, suggesting that faith could be a central element of the book.

They told publishers that they have never fully spoken out about what happened, including their experience at the trial of George Zimmerman, who shot their son. Mr. Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense, was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in July.

The book has the potential to attract major media attention, especially on cable television, which exhaustively covered the fatal shooting and subsequent trial. Ms. Miller did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

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11) Teenager’s Sentence in Fatal Drunken-Driving Case Stirs ‘Affluenza’ Debate
By and
December 13, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/us/teenagers-sentence-in-fatal-drunken-driving-case-stirs-affluenza-debate.html?ref=us

HOUSTON — Wealth has never had a stigma in the affluent suburbs of Fort Worth, where the town of Westlake landed, to no one’s surprise, on Forbes’ list of America’s most affluent neighborhoods last year with a median income of $250,000.

But in recent days, the implications of being rich have set off an emotional, angry debate that has stretched far beyond the North Texas suburbs, after a juvenile court judge sentenced a 16-year-old from a well-off family to 10 years’ probation for killing four people in a drunken-driving crash.

The judge, Jean Boyd, on Tuesday declined to give the teenager, Ethan Couch, the punishment sought by Tarrant County prosecutors — 20 years in prison — and instead ordered him to be placed in a long-term treatment facility while on probation. Judge Boyd did not discuss her reasoning for her order, but it came after a psychologist called by the defense argued that Mr. Couch should not be sent to prison because he suffered from “affluenza” — a term that dates at least to the 1980s to describe the psychological problems that can afflict children of privilege.

Prosecutors said they had never heard of a case where the defense tried to blame a young man’s conduct on the parents’ wealth. And the use of the term and the judge’s sentence have outraged the families of those Mr. Couch killed and injured, as well as victim rights advocates who questioned whether a teenager from a low-income family would have received as lenient a penalty.

“We are disappointed by the punishment assessed, but have no power under the law to change or overturn it,” one of the prosecutors, Richard Alpert, said in a statement.

But despite the national attention the case has received — “Being rich is now a get-out-of-jail-free card,” read a headline at TheWeek.com — the role that the wealth of Mr. Couch’s family played in his sentence, and whether the judge had in any way been influenced by the psychologist’s testimony, remained unclear.

Criminal defense lawyers said it was not uncommon for minors involved in serious drunken-driving cases and other crimes to receive probation instead of prison time, even in a tough-on-crime region such as North Texas. Other experts said it was part of a growing trend of giving a young person a second chance through rehabilitation instead of trying him as an adult.

Liz Ryan, the president and chief executive of the Campaign for Youth Justice, a group in Washington that advocates for juvenile rehabilitation, said that in a series of recent cases before the Supreme Court and state courts, advances in neuroscience have been applied to questions of crime and punishment for young people.

“They make mistakes, they’re prone to impulsive behavior,” Ms. Ryan said. “And at the same time, they are capable of change.”

But a prominent advocate for victims’ rights reacted to the sentence with scorn. “Just when you think our excuse-making culture has sunk as low as it can go, somebody goes yet lower,” said Kent Scheidegger, the legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Sacramento.

Scott Brown, Mr. Couch’s lawyer, said that while the word affluenza may have become an object of fascination, it was never at the heart of the case. His client had already pleaded guilty, and the word came up in hearings on punishment. “I never used the word affluenza, and never would have used such a cute word in such a serious, tragic case,” Mr. Brown said. “That’s just been blown completely out of proportion.”

Mr. Couch’s parents, Fred and Tonya Couch, own homes in Fort Worth and the nearby suburb of Burleson, where the crash occurred. Fred Couch runs a sheet-metal company. On the night of June 15, Ethan Couch and several friends stole beer from a Walmart and went to his parents’ Burleson home to have a party. Later, he and seven others crowded into the pickup truck owned by his father’s company to go to a store.

Prosecutors said Mr. Couch swerved off Burleson-Retta Road, killing four pedestrians: Breanna Mitchell; Hollie Boyles and her daughter Shelby, 21; and Brian Jennings. Tests showed that Mr. Couch had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24, three times the legal limit for drivers.

Hollie and Shelby Boyles had left their house that night to assist Ms. Mitchell, a stranger whose car had broken down. “I’m sure the judge is doing what she thinks is probably right for Ethan’s rehabilitation,” said Eric Boyles, Shelby’s father and Hollie’s husband. “But from the victims’ standpoint, she underestimated the impact. Words can’t describe how disappointed I am in terms of how the judicial system works.”

Two teenagers riding in the bed of the pickup were thrown from the vehicle. One of them, Sergio Molina, 15, suffered a severe brain injury and remains in a minimally responsive state. His family filed a suit against Mr. Couch, his parents and his father’s company.

Bill Berenson, a lawyer for Mr. Molina’s parents, said his clients were stunned by the sentence. “Their son is paralyzed, four people are dead and the perpetrator gets his wrists slapped,” he said. “How could they not feel that his affluence kept him from serving time?”


Manny Fernandez reported from Houston, and John Schwartz from New York.

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B. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND

ONGOING CAMPAIGNS



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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: www.FreeLorenzoJohnson.org for more information, to sign the petition, and how to help.

 

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PUSH CHELSEA'S JAILERS TO RESPECT HER IDENTITY

Call and write Ft Leavenworth today and tell them to honor Manning's wishes around her name and gender:
SF PRIDE
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.

https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38591


COURAGE TO RESIST
http://couragetoresist.org
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610
510-488-3559
 

 

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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 https://www.change.org/petitions/new-petition-to-free-lynne-stewart-support-compassionate-release

Free Lynne Stewart: Support Compassionate Release

Free Lynne Stewart: Support Compassionate Release

By Ralph Poynter, Brooklyn, NY  
http://www.change.org/petitions/free-lynne-stewart-support-compassionate-release
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.

http://www.change.org/petitions/free-lynne-stewart-support-compassionate-release
Write to Lynne Stewart at:
Lynne Stewart #53504-054Unit 2N
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX  76127

or via:
www.lynnestewart.org


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
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Kimberly Rivera

Imprisoned pregnant resister seeks early release for birth

  • Print
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:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/752/756/678/free-a-pregnant-war-resister/

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 couragetoresist.org and freekimberlyrivera.org.


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 SAVE CCSF!




























Two campaigns that need funds – Please donate!

AnthontyMataforCCSFGuardsman
Cartoon by Anthonty Mata for CCSF Guardsman

DOE CAMPAIGN
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!

LEGAL CAMPAIGN
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.

PLEASE HELP BOTH OF THESE IMPORTANT EFFORTS!
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:  http://www.gofundme.com/4841ns

http://www.saveccsf.org/

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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:
https://www.aclu.org/secure/ca-hunger-strike?emsrc=Nat_Appeal_AutologinEnabled&emissue=criminal_justice&emtype=petition&ms=eml_130719_acluaction_cahungerstrike&af=k%2FxKX1cIRdoonPVmvnAfAit8jzOCulLOnCX4AAFljff%2B%2BVOdOHNe6CKwl7glWQSjSakzXt53zF%2FodPf00T3rRHlglO3tjEA6DcMSLJRlTbfVBHAizX6uOxoSy5%2FbP93EBFj5xi6Lwm3RWHjmDOZDARHLBSl1rqTr07kLhONZrnU1UIIgPs0P%2FXQ%2BJL3reyE8%2BoiI1nlfPZPBVhbfYxUzMQ%3D%3D&etname=130719+CA+prisoners+hunger+strike&etjid=946739
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

Sources
“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" ACLU.org




What you Didn't know about NYPD's Stop and Frisk program !
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rfJHx0Gj6ys#at=990

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Egypt: The Next President -- a little Egyptian boy speaks his remarkable mind!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeDm2PrNV1I

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Wealth Inequality in America

[This is a must see to believe video...bw]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QPKKQnijnsM

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

March 1, 2013

Alternet

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 Salon.com.

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/bradley-mannings-surprising-statement-court-details-why-he-made-his-historic?akid=10129.229473.UZvQfK&rd=1&src=newsletter802922&t=7

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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
http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-free-lynne-stewart-save-her-life-release-her-now-2

For more information, go to http://www.lynnestewart.org

Write to Lynne Stewart at:

Lynne Stewart #53504-054
??Federal Medical Center, Carswell
PO Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127



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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.

Disclaimer

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

888-NLG-ECOL

(888-654-3265)

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Free Mumia NOW!

Prisonradio.org

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

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL ILLEGALLY SENTENCED TO

LIFE IMPRISONMENT WITHOUT PAROLE!

FREE MUMIA NOW!

www.FreeMumia.com

http://blacktalkradionetwork.com/profiles/blogs/mumia-is-formally-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-w-out-hearing-he-s



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

Censorship" book

https://www.mecaforpeace.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=25

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Justice for Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace: Decades of isolation in Louisiana

state prisons must end

Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/justice-for-albert-woodfox-and-herm\

an-wallace

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WITNESS GAZA

http://www.witnessgaza.com/

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Write to Bradley

http://bradleymanning.org/donate

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

I am Bradley Manning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-P3OXML00s

Courage to Resist

484 Lake Park Ave. #41

Oakland, CA 94610

510-488-3559

couragetoresist.org

"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."

http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/update-42811

This is also a Facebook event

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=207100509321891#!/event.php?eid=2071005093\

21891

Courage to Resist needs your support

Please donate today:

https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38590

"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.

https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38590

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.

http://ymlp.com/forward.php?id=lS3tR&e=bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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The Battle Is Still On To

FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL!

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610

www.laboractionmumia.org

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KEVIN COOPER IS INNOCENT! FREE KEVIN COOPER!

Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper

Chronicle Editorial

Monday, December 13, 2010

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/13/EDG81GP0I7.DTL

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

death row!

http://www.savekevincooper.org/

http://www.savekevincooper.org/pages/essays_content.html?ID=255

URGENT ACTION APPEAL

- From Amnesty International USA

17 December 2010

Click here to take action online:

http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&\

b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=15084

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

http://www.amnestyusa.org/iar/success

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

http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa25910.pdf

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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.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTiAkbB5uC0&eurl

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

http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html

and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!

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D. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.:

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

http://bauaw.blogspot.com/ or bauaw.org ...bw]

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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Exceptional art from the streets of Oakland:

Oakland Street Dancing



*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

NYC RESTAURANT WORKERS DANCE & SING FOR A WAGE HIKE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_s8e1R6rG8&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzYKisvBN1o&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Fukushima Never Again

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU-Z4VLDGxU

"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

www.laborvideo.org

lvpsf@laborvideo.org

For information on obtaining the video go to:

www.fukushimaneveragain.com

(415)282-1908


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1000 year of war through the world

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiG8neU4_bs&feature=share

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Anatomy of a Massacre - Afganistan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6BnRc11aug&feature=player_embedded

Afghans accuse multiple soldiers of pre-meditated murder

To see more go to http://www.youtube.com/user/journeymanpictures

Follow us on Facebook (http://goo.gl/YRw42) or Twitter

(http://www.twitter.com/journeymanvod)

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.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/04/02/us/the-events-leading-to-the-sooti\

ng-of-trayvon-martin.html?hp

SPD Security Cams.wmv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WWDNbQUgm4&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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

Terror Drills

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFia_w8adWQ

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Private prisons,

a recession resistant investment opportunity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIGLDOxx9Vg

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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

"Thought Crimes"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wafMaML17w

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Common forms of misconduct by Law Enforcement Officials and Prosecutors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViSpM4K276w&feature=related

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Organizing and Instigating: OCCUPY - Ronnie Goodman

http://arthazelwood.com/instigator/occupy/occupy-birth-video.html

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Rep News 12: Yes We Kony

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68GbzIkYdc8

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

The New Black by The Mavrix - Official Music Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4rLfja8488

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Japan One Year Later

http://www.onlineschools.org/japan-one-year-later/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

The CIA's Heart Attack Gun

http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/assassination-studies/the-cias-heart-attack-g\

un-.html

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The Invisible American Workforce

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/5/new_expos_tracks_alec_private_prison

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbQxnb4so3U

For more detailed information, send us a request at mail@laborbeat.org.


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The Battle of Oakland

by brandon jourdan plus

http://vimeo.com/36256273

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Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces

By ANDY NEWMAN

February 1, 2012, 10:56 am

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/officers-pulled-off-street-after-ta\

pe-of-beating-surfaces/?ref=nyregion

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This is excellent! Michelle Alexander pulls no punches!

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

strategy

behind the War on Drugs and its connection to the mass incarceration of Black

and Brown people in the United States.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P75cbEdNo2U&feature=player_embedded

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

voters.

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

2012.

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FREE BRADLEY MANNING

http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/national-call-in-for-bradley

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 WhiteHouse.gov.

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

Bradley:

BRADLEY MANNING "BROKE THE LAW" SAYS OBAMA!

"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

action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfmtUpd4id0&feature=youtu.be

Release Bradley Manning

Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAYG7yJpBbQ&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVGqE726OAo&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


School police increasingly arresting American students?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl-efNBvjUU&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

FYI:

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9lquok4Pdk&feature=share&mid=5408

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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?

OccupyWallSt.org

Occupytogether.org

wearethe99percentuk.tumblr.com

http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

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We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools

YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFAOJsBxAxY

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8x1_q9wg58

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

http://links.org.au/node/2681

--Inspiring

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HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws0WSNRpy3g

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ONE OF THE GREATEST POSTS ON YOUTUBE SO FAR!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8C-qIgbP9o&feature=share&mid=552

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JUpBpZYwms

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

http://www.facebook.com/groups/256313837734192/

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz3fE-Vhrw8&feature=youtu.be

Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org

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UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

19 November 11

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/275-42/8485-uc-davis-police-violence-add\

s-fuel-to-fire

UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AdDLhPwpp4&feature=player_embedded

Police PEPPER SPRAY UC Davis STUDENT PROTESTERS!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuWEx6Cfn-I&feature=player_embedded

Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmJmmnMkuEM&feature=player_embedded

*---------*

UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CZ0t9ez_EGI#!

Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTIyE_JlJzw&feature=related

*---------*

THE BEST VIDEO ON "OCCUPY THE WORLD"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S880UldxB1o

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Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0pX9LeE-g8&feature=player_embedded

*---------*

Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrvMzqopHH0

*---------*

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tu_D8SFYck&feature=player_embedded

*----*

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoiisMMCFT0&feature=player_embedded

*----*

Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAfzUOx53Rg&feature=player_embedded

G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrJ7aU-n1L8&feature=player_embedded

*----*

WHAT HAPPENED IN OAKLAND TUESDAY NIGHT, OCTOBER 25:

Occupy Oakland Protest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlPs-REyl-0&feature=player_embedded

Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R27kD2_7PwU&feature=player_embedded

Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpO-lJr2BQY&feature=player_embedded

Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqNOPZLw03Q&feature=player_embedded

KTVU TV Video of Police violence

http://www.ktvu.com/video/29587714/index.html

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

Oakland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMUgPTCgwcQ&feature=player_embedded

Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU4Y0pwJtWE&feature=player_embedded

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YStWz6jbeZA&feature=player_embedded

*---------*

Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY8isD33f-I

*---------*

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA48gmfGB6U&feature=youtu.be

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjKZpOk7TyM&feature=related

*---------*

#Occupy Wall Street In Washington Square: Mohammed Ezzeldin, former occupier of

Egypt's Tahrir Square Speaks at Washington Square!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziodsFWEb5Y&feature=player_embedded

*---------*

#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street

By adele pham

http://vimeo.com/30146870

*---------*

Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yULSI-31Pto&feature=player_embedded

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FREE THE CUBAN FIVE!

http://www.thecuban5.org/wordpress/index.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmS4kHC_OlY&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

One World One Revolution -- MUST SEE VIDEO -- Powerful and beautiful...bw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE3R1BQrYCw&feature=player_embedded

"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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVuGwc9dlhQ&feature=player_embedded


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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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSNUSIGZCMQ

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E7h-DNvwx4&feature=player_embedded

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To unsubscribe go to: bauaw2003-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

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