Thursday, December 19, 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.



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;

(202) 353-1555;

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.


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 



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donate to Support the Legal Appeals

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

Pvt. Chelsea Manning's fourth birthday in prison

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

See even more of What WikiLeaks revealed

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

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

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

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

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

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:













(Unless otherwise noted)













1) Teenager’s Sentence in Fatal Drunken-Driving Case Stirs ‘Affluenza’ Debate
By and
December 13, 2013

2) Officials Say U.S. May Never Know Extent of Snowden’s Leaks
By and
December 14, 2013 

3) The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder
December 14, 2013 

4) Scientists Turn Their Gaze Toward Tiny Threats to Great Lakes
December 14, 2013 

5) Victims of Misclassification
December 15, 2013

6) Scholars’ Group Endorses an Academic Boycott of Israel
December 16, 2013

7) Revelations That Ikea Spied on Its Employees Stir Outrage in France
December 15, 2013

8) Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records
December 16, 2013 

9) Secret Bids Guide Hopi Indians’ Spirits Home
December 16, 2013 

10) Big Bonuses, but a Shift in Who Gets the Biggest
December 16, 2013, 8:52 pm 

11) Why Other Countries Teach Better
December 17, 2013 

12) Snowden Offers Help to Brazil in Spy Case
December 17, 2013 

13) As Pressure Builds, Egypt’s Police Experience a New Feeling: Fear
December 17, 2013 

14) African Refugees Protest Detainment in Israel
December 17, 2013

15)  Suspect in 9/11 Case Is Ejected From a Guantánamo Court After Outbursts
December 17, 2013 

16) Judge Orders Freedom or Retrial for Connecticut Man Jailed Since ’95
December 17, 2013 

17) After Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Bleak Struggle for Survivors
"Other companies have so far refused to participate in a long-term compensation package, including all of the American brands..."
December 18, 2013 

18) Turn Off the Data Vacuum
December 18, 2013 

19) In Death Penalty’s Steady Decline, Some Experts See a Societal Shift
December 19, 2013 

20) State Dept. Warns of New Terrorist Group Posing Threat to U.S. Interests in Africa
December 18, 2013










1) Teenager’s Sentence in Fatal Drunken-Driving Case Stirs ‘Affluenza’ Debate
By and
December 13, 2013

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 — 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.



2) Officials Say U.S. May Never Know Extent of Snowden’s Leaks
By and
December 14, 2013

WASHINGTON — American intelligence and law enforcement investigators have concluded that they may never know the entirety of what the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden extracted from classified government computers before leaving the United States, according to senior government officials.

Investigators remain in the dark about the extent of the data breach partly because the N.S.A. facility in Hawaii where Mr. Snowden worked — unlike other N.S.A. facilities — was not equipped with up-to-date software that allows the spy agency to monitor which corners of its vast computer landscape its employees are navigating at any given time.

Six months since the investigation began, officials said Mr. Snowden had further covered his tracks by logging into classified systems using the passwords of other security agency employees, as well as by hacking firewalls installed to limit access to certain parts of the system.

“They’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of man-hours trying to reconstruct everything he has gotten, and they still don’t know all of what he took,” a senior administration official said. “I know that seems crazy, but everything with this is crazy.”

That Mr. Snowden was so expertly able to exploit blind spots in the systems of America’s most secretive spy agency illustrates how far computer security still lagged years after President Obama ordered standards tightened after the WikiLeaks revelations of 2010.

Mr. Snowden’s disclosures set off a national debate about the expansion of the N.S.A.’s powers to spy both at home and abroad, and have left the Obama administration trying frantically to mend relations with allies after his revelations about American eavesdropping on foreign leaders.

A presidential advisory committee that has been examining the security agency’s operations submitted its report to Mr. Obama on Friday. The White House said the report would not be made public until next month, when Mr. Obama announces which of the recommendations he has embraced and which he has rejected.

Mr. Snowden gave his cache of documents to a small group of journalists, and some from that group have shared documents with several news organizations — leading to a flurry of exposures about spying on friendly governments. In an interview with The New York Times in October, Mr. Snowden said he had given all of the documents he downloaded to journalists and kept no additional copies.

In recent days, a senior N.S.A. official has told reporters that he believed Mr. Snowden still had access to documents not yet disclosed. The official, Rick Ledgett, who is heading the security agency’s task force examining Mr. Snowden’s leak, said he would consider recommending amnesty for Mr. Snowden in exchange for those documents.

“So, my personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about,” Mr. Ledgett told CBS News. “I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high. It would be more than just an assertion on his part.”

Mr. Snowden is living and working in Russia under a one-year asylum. The Russian government has refused to extradite Mr. Snowden, who was indicted by the Justice Department in June on charges of espionage and stealing government property, to the United States.

Mr. Snowden has said he would return to the United States if he was offered amnesty, but it is unclear whether Mr. Obama — who would most likely have to make such a decision — would make such an offer, given the damage the administration has claimed Mr. Snowden’s leaks have done to national security.

Because the N.S.A. is still uncertain about exactly what Mr. Snowden took, government officials sometimes first learn about specific documents from reporters preparing their articles for publication — leaving the State Department with little time to notify foreign leaders about coming disclosures.

With the security agency trying to revamp its computer network in the aftermath of what could turn out to be the largest breach of classified information in American history, the Justice Department has continued its investigation of Mr. Snowden.

According to senior government officials, F.B.I. agents from the bureau’s Washington field office, who are leading the investigation, believe that Mr. Snowden methodically downloaded the files over several months while working as a government contractor at the Hawaii facility. They also believe that he worked alone, the officials said.

But for all of Mr. Snowden’s technical expertise, some American officials also place blame on the security agency for being slow to install software that can detect unusual computer activity carried out by the agency’s work force — which, at approximately 35,000 employees, is the largest of any intelligence agency.

An N.S.A. spokeswoman declined to comment.

After a similar episode in 2010 — when an Army private, Chelsea Manning, gave hundreds of thousands of military chat logs and diplomatic cables to the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks — the Obama administration took steps intended to prevent another government employee from downloading and disseminating large volumes of classified material.

In October 2011, Mr. Obama signed an executive order establishing a task force charged with “deterring, detecting and mitigating insider threats, including the safeguarding of classified information from exploitation, compromise, or other unauthorized disclosure.” The task force, led by the attorney general and the director of national intelligence, has the responsibility of developing policies and new technologies to protect classified information.

But one of the changes, updating computer systems to track the digital meanderings of the employees of intelligence agencies, occurred slowly.

“We weren’t able to flip a switch and have all of those changes made instantly,” said one American intelligence official.

Lonny Anderson, the N.S.A.’s chief technology officer, said in a recent interview that much of what Mr. Snowden took came from parts of the computer system open to anyone with a high-level clearance. And part of his job was to move large amounts of data between different parts of the system.

But, Mr. Anderson said, Mr. Snowden’s activities were not closely monitored and did not set off warning signals.

“So the lesson learned for us is that you’ve got to remove anonymity” for those with access to classified systems, Mr. Anderson said during the interview with the Lawfare blog, part of a podcast series the website plans to run this week.

Officials said Mr. Snowden, who had an intimate understanding of the N.S.A.’s computer architecture, would have known that the Hawaii facility was behind other agency outposts in installing monitoring software.

According to a former government official who spoke recently with Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the N.S.A. director, the general said that at the time Mr. Snowden was downloading the documents, the spy agency was several months away from having systems in place to catch the activity.

As investigations by the F.B.I. and the N.S.A. grind on, the State Department and the White House have absorbed the impact of Mr. Snowden’s disclosures on America’s diplomatic relations with other countries. “There are ongoing and continuing efforts by the State Department still to reach out to countries and to tell them things about what he took,” said one senior administration official. The official said the State Department often described the spying to foreign leaders as “business as usual” between nations.



3) The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder
December 14, 2013

The Number of Diagnoses Soared Amid a 20-Year Drug Marketing Campaign

After more than 50 years leading the fight to legitimize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Keith Conners could be celebrating.

Severely hyperactive and impulsive children, once shunned as bad seeds, are now recognized as having a real neurological problem. Doctors and parents have largely accepted drugs like Adderall and Concerta to temper the traits of classic A.D.H.D., helping youngsters succeed in school and beyond.

But Dr. Conners did not feel triumphant this fall as he addressed a group of fellow A.D.H.D. specialists in Washington. He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990. He questioned the rising rates of diagnosis and called them “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.”

“The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.”

The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable.

Few dispute that classic A.D.H.D., historically estimated to affect 5 percent of children, is a legitimate disability that impedes success at school, work and personal life. Medication often assuages the severe impulsiveness and inability to concentrate, allowing a person’s underlying drive and intelligence to emerge.

But even some of the field’s longtime advocates say the zeal to find and treat every A.D.H.D. child has led to too many people with scant symptoms receiving the diagnosis and medication. The disorder is now the second most frequent long-term diagnosis made in children, narrowly trailing asthma, according to a New York Times analysis of C.D.C. data.

Behind that growth has been drug company marketing that has stretched the image of classic A.D.H.D. to include relatively normal behavior like carelessness and impatience, and has often overstated the pills’ benefits. Advertising on television and in popular magazines like People and Good Housekeeping has cast common childhood forgetfulness and poor grades as grounds for medication that, among other benefits, can result in “schoolwork that matches his intelligence” and ease family tension.

A 2002 ad for Adderall showed a mother playing with her son and saying, “Thanks for taking out the garbage.”

The Food and Drug Administration has cited every major A.D.H.D. drug — stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, Focalin and Vyvanse, and nonstimulants like Intuniv and Strattera — for false and misleading advertising since 2000, some multiple times.

Sources of information that would seem neutral also delivered messages from the pharmaceutical industry. Doctors paid by drug companies have published research and delivered presentations that encourage physicians to make diagnoses more often that discredit growing concerns about overdiagnosis.

Many doctors have portrayed the medications as benign — “safer than aspirin,” some say — even though they can have significant side effects and are regulated in the same class as morphine and oxycodone because of their potential for abuse and addiction. Patient advocacy groups tried to get the government to loosen regulation of stimulants while having sizable portions of their operating budgets covered by pharmaceutical interests.

Companies even try to speak to youngsters directly. Shire — the longtime market leader, with several A.D.H.D. medications including Adderall — recently subsidized 50,000 copies of a comic book that tries to demystify the disorder and uses superheroes to tell children, “Medicines may make it easier to pay attention and control your behavior!”

Profits for the A.D.H.D. drug industry have soared. Sales of stimulant medication in 2012 were nearly $9 billion, more than five times the $1.7 billion a decade before, according to the data company IMS Health.

Even Roger Griggs, the pharmaceutical executive who introduced Adderall in 1994, said he strongly opposes marketing stimulants to the general public because of their dangers. He calls them “nuclear bombs,” warranted only under extreme circumstances and when carefully overseen by a physician.

Psychiatric breakdown and suicidal thoughts are the most rare and extreme results of stimulant addiction, but those horror stories are far outnumbered by people who, seeking to study or work longer hours, cannot sleep for days, lose their appetite or hallucinate. More can simply become habituated to the pills and feel they cannot cope without them.

Tom Casola, the Shire vice president who oversees the A.D.H.D. division, said in an interview that the company aims to provide effective treatment for those with the disorder, and that ultimately doctors were responsible for proper evaluations and prescriptions. He added that he understood some of the concerns voiced by the Food and Drug Administration and others about aggressive ads, and said that materials that run afoul of guidelines are replaced.

“Shire — and I think the vast majority of pharmaceutical companies — intend to market in a way that’s responsible and in a way that is compliant with the regulations,” Mr. Casola said. “Again, I like to think we come at it from a higher order. We are dealing with patients’ health.”

A spokesman for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which makes Concerta, said in an email, “Over the years, we worked with clinicians, parents and advocacy groups to help educate health care practitioners and caregivers about diagnosis and treatment of A.D.H.D., including safe and effective use of medication.”

Now targeting adults, Shire and two patient advocacy groups have recruited celebrities like the Maroon 5 musician Adam Levine for their marketing campaign, “It’s Your A.D.H.D. – Own It.” Online quizzes sponsored by drug companies are designed to encourage people to pursue treatment. A medical education video sponsored by Shire portrays a physician making a diagnosis of the disorder in an adult in a six-minute conversation, after which the doctor recommends medication.

Like most psychiatric conditions, A.D.H.D. has no definitive test, and most experts in the field agree that its symptoms are open to interpretation by patients, parents and doctors. The American Psychiatric Association, which receives significant financing from drug companies, has gradually loosened the official criteria for the disorder to include common childhood behavior like “makes careless mistakes” or “often has difficulty waiting his or her turn.”

The idea that a pill might ease troubles and tension has proved seductive to worried parents, rushed doctors and others.

“Pharma pushed as far as they could, but you can’t just blame the virus,” said Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif. “You have to have a susceptible host for the epidemic to take hold. There’s something they know about us that they utilize and exploit.”

Selling to Doctors

Modern marketing of stimulants began with the name Adderall itself. Mr. Griggs bought a small pharmaceutical company that produced a weight-loss pill named Obetrol. Suspecting that it might treat a relatively unappreciated condition then called attention deficit disorder, and found in about 3 to 5 percent of children, he took “A.D.D.” and fiddled with snappy suffixes. He cast a word with the widest net.


For A.D.D.

A.D.D. for All.


“It was meant to be kind of an inclusive thing,” Mr. Griggs recalled.

Adderall quickly established itself as a competitor of the field’s most popular drug, Ritalin. Shire, realizing the drug’s potential, bought Mr. Griggs’s company for $186 million and spent millions more to market the pill to doctors. After all, patients can buy only what their physicians buy into.

As is typical among pharmaceutical companies, Shire gathered hundreds of doctors at meetings at which a physician paid by the company explained a new drug’s value.

Such a meeting was held for Shire’s long-acting version of Adderall, Adderall XR, in April 2002, and included a presentation that to many critics, exemplifies how questionable A.D.H.D. messages are delivered.

Dr. William W. Dodson, a psychiatrist from Denver, stood before 70 doctors at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Spa in Pasadena, Calif., and clicked through slides that encouraged them to “educate the patient on the lifelong nature of the disorder and the benefits of lifelong treatment.” But that assertion was not supported by science, as studies then and now have shown that perhaps half of A.D.H.D. children are not impaired as adults, and that little is known about the risks or efficacy of long-term medication use.

The PowerPoint document, obtained by The Times, asserted that stimulants were not “drugs of abuse” because people who overdose “feel nothing” or “feel bad.” Yet these drugs are classified by the government among the most abusable substances in medicine, largely because of their effects on concentration and mood. Overdosing can cause severe heart problems and psychotic behavior.

Slides described side effects of Adderall XR as “generally mild,” despite clinical trials showing notable rates of insomnia, significant appetite suppression and mood swings, as well as rare instances of hallucinations. Those side effects increase significantly among patients who take more pills than prescribed.

Another slide warned that later in life, children with A.D.H.D. faced “job failure or underemployment,” “fatal car wrecks,” “criminal involvement,” “unwanted pregnancy” and venereal diseases, but did not mention that studies had not assessed whether stimulants decreased those risks.

Dr. Conners of Duke, in the audience that day, said the message was typical for such gatherings sponsored by pharmaceutical companies: Their drugs were harmless, and any traces of A.D.H.D. symptoms (which can be caused by a number of issues, including lack of sleep and family discord) should be treated with stimulant medication.

In an interview last month, Dr. Dodson said he makes a new diagnosis in about 300 patients a year and, because he disagrees with studies showing that many A.D.H.D. children are not impaired as adults, always recommends their taking stimulants for the rest of their lives.

He said that concern about abuse and side effects is “incredibly overblown,” and that his longtime work for drug companies does not influence his opinions. He said he received about $2,000 for the 2002 talk for Shire. He earned $45,500 in speaking fees from pharmaceutical companies in 2010 to 2011, according to ProPublica, which tracks such payments.

“If people want help, my job is to make sure they get it,” Dr. Dodson said. Regarding people concerned about prescribing physicians being paid by drug companies, he added: “They like a good conspiracy theory. I don’t let it slow me down.”

Many of the scientific studies cited by drug company speakers involved Dr. Joseph Biederman, a prominent child psychiatrist at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2008, a Senate investigation revealed that Dr. Biederman’s research on many psychiatric conditions had been substantially financed by drug companies, including Shire. Those companies also paid him $1.6 million in speaking and consulting fees. He has denied that the payments influenced his research.

Dr. Conners called Dr. Biederman “unequivocally the most published psychopharmacology maven for A.D.H.D.,” one who is well known for embracing stimulants and dismissing detractors. Findings from Dr. Biederman’s dozens of studies on the disorder and specific brands of stimulants have filled the posters and pamphlets of pharmaceutical companies that financed the work.

Those findings typically delivered three messages: The disorder was underdiagnosed; stimulants were effective and safe; and unmedicated A.D.H.D. led to significant risks for academic failure, drug dependence, car accidents and brushes with the law.

Dr. Biederman was frequently quoted about the benefits of stimulants in interviews and company news releases. In 2006, for example, he told Reuters Health, “If a child is brilliant but is doing just O.K. in school, that child may need treatment, which would result in their performing brilliantly at school.”

This year, Dr. Biederman told the medical newsletter Medscape regarding medication for those with A.D.H.D., “Don’t leave home without it.”

Dr. Biederman did not respond to requests for an interview.

Most of Dr. Biederman’s critics said that they believed his primary motivation was always to help children with legitimate A.D.H.D. and that risks of untreated A.D.H.D. can be significant. What concerned them was how Dr. Biederman’s high-profile and unwavering promotion of stimulants armed drug companies with the published science needed to create powerful advertisements — many of which cast medications as benign solutions to childhood behavior falling far short of legitimate A.D.H.D.

“He gave them credibility,” said Richard M. Scheffler, a professor of health economics and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, who has written extensively on stimulants. “He didn’t have a balance. He became totally convinced that it’s a good thing and can be more widely used.”

Building a Message

Drug companies used the research of Dr. Biederman and others to create compelling messages for doctors. “Adderall XR Improves Academic Performance,” an ad in a psychiatry journal declared in 2003, leveraging two Biederman studies financed by Shire. A Concerta ad barely mentioned A.D.H.D., but said the medication would “allow your patients to experience life’s successes every day.”

Some studies had shown that stimulant medication helped some elementary school children with carefully evaluated A.D.H.D. to improve scores in reading and math tests, primarily by helping them concentrate. The concern, some doctors said, is that long-term, wider academic benefits have not been proved — and that ads suggesting they have can tempt doctors, perhaps subconsciously, to prescribe drugs with risks to healthy children merely to improve their grades or self-esteem.

“There are decades of research into how advertising influences doctors’ prescribing practices,” said Dr. Aaron Kesselheim of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who specializes in pharmaceutical ethics. “Even though they’ll tell you that they’re giving patients unbiased, evidence-based information, in fact they’re more likely to tell you what the drug company told them, whether it’s the benefits of the drugs or the risks of those drugs.”

Drug company advertising also meant good business for medical journals – the same journals that published papers supporting the use of the drugs. The most prominent publication in the field, The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, went from no ads for A.D.H.D. medications from 1990 to 1993 to about 100 pages per year a decade later. Almost every full-page color ad was for an A.D.H.D. drug.

As is legal and common in pharmaceutical marketing, stimulants’ possible side effects like insomnia, irritability and psychotic episodes were printed in small type and dominated by other messages. One Adderall XR brochure included the recording of a man’s voice reassuring doctors: “Amphetamines have been used medically for nearly 70 years. That’s a legacy of safety you can count on.” He did not mention any side effects.

Drug companies used sales representatives to promote the drugs in person. Brian Lutz, a Shire salesman for Adderall XR from 2004 to 2009, said he met with 75 psychiatrists in his Oakland, Calif., territory at least every two weeks — about 30 to 40 times apiece annually — to show them posters and pamphlets that highlighted the medicine’s benefits for grades and behavior.

If a psychiatrist asked about issues like side effects or abuse, Mr. Lutz said, they were played down. He said he was told to acknowledge risks matter-of-factly for legal reasons, but to refer only to the small print in the package insert or offer Shire’s phone number for more information.

“It was never like, ‘This is a serious side effect, you need to watch out for it,’ ” Mr. Lutz recalled. “You wanted to give them more information because we’re talking about kids here, you know? But it was all very positive.”

A Shire spokeswoman said the company would not comment on any specific employee and added, “Shire sales representatives are trained to deliver fair and balanced presentations that include information regarding the safety of our products.”

Mr. Lutz, now pursuing a master’s degree and hoping to work in mental health, recalled his Shire work with ambivalence. He never lied or was told to lie, he said. He said he still would recommend Adderall XR and similar stimulants for A.D.H.D. children and adults.

What he regrets, he said, “is how we sold these pills like they were cars, when we knew they weren’t just cars.”

Selling to Parents

In September 2005, over a cover that heralded Kirstie Alley’s waistline and Matt Damon’s engagement, subscribers to People magazine saw a wraparound advertisement for Adderall XR. A mother hugged her smiling child holding a sheet of paper with a “B+” written on it.

“Finally!” she said. “Schoolwork that matches his intelligence.”

When federal guidelines were loosened in the late 1990s to allow the marketing of controlled substances like stimulants directly to the public, pharmaceutical companies began targeting perhaps the most impressionable consumers of all: parents, specifically mothers.

A magazine ad for Concerta had a grateful mother saying, “Better test scores at school, more chores done at home, an independence I try to encourage, a smile I can always count on.” A 2009 ad for Intuniv, Shire’s nonstimulant treatment for A.D.H.D., showed a child in a monster suit taking off his hairy mask to reveal his adorable smiling self. “There’s a great kid in there,” the text read.

“There’s no way in God’s green earth we would ever promote” a controlled substance like Adderall directly to consumers, Mr. Griggs said as he was shown several advertisements. “You’re talking about a product that’s having a major impact on brain chemistry. Parents are very susceptible to this type of stuff.”

The Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly instructed drug companies to withdraw such ads for being false and misleading, or exaggerating the effects of the medication. Many studies, often sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, have determined that untreated A.D.H.D. was associated with later-life problems. But no science determined that stimulant treatment has the overarching benefits suggested in those ads, the F.D.A. has pointed out in numerous warning letters to manufacturers since 2000.

Shire agreed last February to pay $57.5 million in fines to resolve allegations of improper sales and advertising of several drugs, including Vyvanse, Adderall XR and Daytrana, a patch that delivers stimulant medication through the skin. Mr. Casola of Shire declined to comment on the settlement because it was not fully resolved.

He added that the company’s current promotional materials emphasize how its medications provide “symptom control” rather than turn monsters into children who take out the garbage. He pointed to a Shire brochure and web page that more candidly than ever discuss side effects and the dangers of sharing medication with others.

However, many critics said that the most questionable advertising helped build a market that is now virtually self-sustaining. Drug companies also communicated with parents through sources who appeared independent, from support groups to teachers.

The primary A.D.H.D. patient advocacy group, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or Chadd, was founded in 1987 to gain greater respect for the condition and its treatment with Ritalin, the primary drug available at the time. Start-up funding was provided by Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals, Ritalin’s primary manufacturer. Further drug company support helped create public service announcements and pamphlets, some of which tried to dispel concerns about Ritalin; one Chadd “fact sheet” conflicted with 60 years of science in claiming, “Psychostimulant drugs are not addictive.”

A 1995 documentary on PBS detailed how Chadd did not disclose its relationship with drug companies to either the Drug Enforcement Administration, which it was then lobbying to ease government regulation of stimulants, or the Department of Education, with which it collaborated on an A.D.H.D. educational video.

Chadd subsequently became more open in disclosing its backers. The program for its 2000 annual convention, for example, thanked by name its 11 primary sponsors, all drug companies. According to Chadd records, Shire paid the group a total of $3 million from 2006 to 2009 to have Chadd’s bimonthly magazine, Attention, distributed to doctors’ offices nationwide.

Chadd records show that the group has historically received about $1 million a year, one-third of its annual revenue, from pharmaceutical company grants and advertising. Regarding his company’s support, Mr. Casola said, “I think it is fair to call it a marketing expense, but it’s an arm’s-length relationship.”

“We don’t control what they do,” he said. “We do support them. We do support broadly what they are trying to do in the marketplace — in society maybe is a better way to say it.”

Advocates Answer

The chief executive of Chadd, Ruth Hughes, said in an interview that most disease-awareness groups receive similar pharmaceutical support. She said drug companies did not influence the group’s positions and activities, and noted that Chadd receives about $800,000 a year from the C.D.C. as well.

“One pharma company wanted to get Chadd volunteers to work at their booth to sort of get peer counseling, and we said no, won’t do that, not going there,” Dr. Hughes said, adding, “It would be seen as an endorsement.”

A.D.H.D. patient advocates often say that many parents resist having their child evaluated because of the stigma of mental illness and the perceived risks of medication. To combat this, groups have published lists of “Famous People With A.D.H.D.” to reassure parents of the good company their children could join with a diagnosis. One, in circulation since the mid-1990s and now posted on the information portal beside two ads for Strattera, includes Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Galileo and Socrates.

The idea of unleashing children’s potential is attractive to teachers and school administrators, who can be lured by A.D.H.D. drugs’ ability to subdue some of their most rambunctious and underachieving students. Some have provided parents with pamphlets to explain the disorder and the promise of stimulants.

Susan Parry, who raised three boys in a top public school system on Mercer Island, outside Seattle, in the 1990s, said teachers pushed her into having her feisty son Andy evaluated for A.D.H.D. She said one teacher told her that her own twins were thriving on Ritalin.

Mrs. Parry still has the pamphlet given to her by the school psychologist, which states: “Parents should be aware that these medicines do not ‘drug’ or ‘alter’ the brain of the child. They make the child ‘normal.’ ” She and her husband, Michael, put Andy on Ritalin. The Parrys later noticed that on the back of the pamphlet, in small type, was the logo of Ciba-Geigy. A school official told them in a letter, which they provided to The Times, that the materials had been given to the district by a Ciba representative.

“They couldn’t advertise to the general public yet,” said Michael Parry, adding that his son never had A.D.H.D. and after three years was taken off Ritalin because of sleep problems and heart palpitations. “But somebody came up with this idea, which was genius. I definitely felt seduced and enticed. I’d say baited.”

Although proper A.D.H.D. diagnoses and medication have helped millions of children lead more productive lives, concerns remain that questionable diagnoses carry unappreciated costs.

“They were telling me, ‘Honey, there’s something wrong with your brain and this little pill’s going to fix everything,’ ” said Micaela Kimball, who received the diagnosis in 1997 as a high school freshman in Ithaca, N.Y., and is now a freelance writer in Boston. “It changed my whole self-image, and it took me years to get out from under that.”

Today, 1 in 7 children receives a diagnosis of the disorder by the age of 18. As these teenagers graduate into adulthood, drug companies are looking to keep their business.

The New Frontier: Adults

The studio audience roared with excitement two years ago as Ty Pennington, host of “The Revolution” on ABC, demonstrated how having adult A.D.H.D. felt to him. He staged two people struggling to play Ping-Pong with several balls at once while reciting the alphabet backward, as a crowd clapped and laughed. Then things got serious.

A psychiatrist on the program said that “the prison population is full of people with undiagnosed A.D.H.D.” He told viewers, “Go get this diagnosis” so “you can skyrocket.” He said that stimulant medication was effective and “safer than aspirin.”

No one mentioned that Mr. Pennington had been a paid spokesman for Shire from 2006 to 2008. His Adderall XR video testimonials – the medication “literally changed my life” and “gave me confidence,” he said in a 2008 ad — had drawn an F.D.A. reprimand for overstating Adderall’s effects while omitting all risks.

Mr. Pennington said through a spokeswoman: “I am not a medical expert. I am a television host.”

Many experts agree that the disorder was dismissed for too long as affecting only children. Estimates of the prevalence of adult A.D.H.D. in the United States -- derived through research often backed by pharmaceutical companies -- have typically ranged from 3 to 5 percent. Given that adults far outnumber children, this suggests that the adult market could be twice as large.

Because many doctors and potential patients did not think adults could have A.D.H.D., drug companies sold the concept of the disorder as much as their medications for it.

“The fastest-growing segment of the market now is the new adults who were never diagnosed,” Angus Russell told Bloomberg TV in 2011 when he was Shire’s chief executive. Nearly 16 million prescriptions for A.D.H.D. medications were written for people ages 20 to 39 in 2012, close to triple the 5.6 million just five years before, according to IMS Health. No data show how many patients those prescriptions represent, but some experts have estimated two million.

Foreseeing the market back in 2004, Shire sponsored a booklet that according to its cover would “help clinicians recognize and diagnose adults with A.D.H.D.” Its author was Dr. Dodson, who had delivered the presentation at the Adderall XR launch two years before. Rather than citing the widely accepted estimate of 3 to 5 percent, the booklet offered a much higher figure.

“About 10 percent of adults have A.D.H.D., which means you’re probably already treating patients with A.D.H.D. even though you don’t know it,” the first paragraph ended. But the two studies cited for that 10 percent figure, from 1995 and 1996, involved only children; no credible national study before or since has estimated an adult prevalence as high as 10 percent.

Dr. Dodson said he used the 10 percent figure because, despite several studies estimating adult rates as far lower, “once a child has A.D.H.D., he does for life. It doesn’t go away with age.”

The booklet later quotes a patient of his named Scarlett reassuring doctors: “If you give me a drink or a drug, I’ll abuse it, but not this medication. I don’t consider it a drug. Drugs get abused. Medication helps people have satisfying lives.”

Shire’s 2008 print campaign for adult A.D.H.D. portrayed a gloomy future to prospective patients. One ad showed a happy couple’s wedding photo with the bride airbrushed out and “DIVORCED” stamped on it. “The consequences may be serious,” the ad said, citing a study by Dr. Biederman supported in part by Shire. Although Dr. Biederman’s study showed a higher rate of divorce among adults with the disorder, it did not assess whether stimulant treatment significantly deterred such consequences.

Questionable Quizzes

Adults searching for information on A.D.H.D. encounter websites with short quizzes that can encourage normal people to think they might have it. Many such tests are sponsored by drug companies in ways hidden or easily missed.

“Could you have A.D.H.D.?” beckons one quiz, sponsored by Shire, on the website Six questions ask how often someone has trouble in matters like “getting things in order,” “remembering appointments” or “getting started” on projects.

A user who splits answers evenly between “rarely” and “sometimes” receives the result “A.D.H.D. Possible.” Five answers of “sometimes” and one “often” tell the user, “A.D.H.D. May Be Likely.”

In a nationwide telephone poll conducted by The Times in early December, 1,106 adults took the quiz. Almost half scored in the range that would have told them A.D.H.D. may be possible or likely.

About 570,000 people took the EverydayHealth test after a 2011 advertisement starring Mr. Levine of Maroon 5 sponsored by Shire, Chadd and another advocacy group, according to the website Medical Marketing & Media. A similar test on the website for Concerta prompted, which assesses pharmaceutical marketing, to award the campaign its top rating, “Genius.”

John Grohol, a Boston-area psychologist who licensed the test to EverydayHealth, said such screening tools do not make a diagnosis; they merely “give you a little push into looking into” whether you have A.D.H.D. Other doctors countered that, given many studies showing that doctors are strongly influenced by their patients’ image of what ails them, such tests invite too many patients and doctors to see the disorder where it is not.

“I think it is misleading,” said Dr. Tyrone Williams, a psychiatrist in Cambridge, Mass. “I do think that there are some people out there who are really suffering and find out that maybe it’s treatable. But these symptoms can be a bazillion things. Sometimes the answers are so simple and they don’t require prescriptions – like ‘How about eight hours of sleep, Mom, because four hours doesn’t cut it?’ And then all their A.D.H.D. symptoms magically disappear.”

Because studies have shown that A.D.H.D. can run in families, drug companies use the children’s market to grow the adult one. A pamphlet published in 2008 by Janssen, Concerta’s manufacturer — headlined “Like Parent, Like Child?” — claimed that “A.D.H.D. is a highly heritable disorder” despite studies showing that the vast majority of parents of A.D.H.D. children do not qualify for a diagnosis themselves.

A current Shire manual for therapists illustrates the genetic issue with a family tree: three grandparents with the disorder, all six of their children with it, and seven of eight grandchildren, too.

Insurance plans, increasingly reluctant to pay for specialists like psychiatrists, are leaving many A.D.H.D. evaluations to primary-care physicians with little to no training in the disorder. If those doctors choose to learn about the diagnostic process, they can turn to web-based continuing-education courses, programs often subsidized by drug companies.

A recent course titled “Unmasking A.D.H.D. in Adults,” on the website Medscape and sponsored by Shire, featured an instructional video of a primary-care physician listening to a college professor detail his work-related sleep problems. After three minutes he described some attention issues he had as a child, then revealed that his son was recently found to have the disorder and was thriving in college on medication.

Six minutes into their encounter, the doctor said: “If you have A.D.H.D., which I believe you do, family members often respond well to similar medications. Would you consider giving that a try?”

The psychiatrist who oversaw the course, Dr. David Goodman of Johns Hopkins and the Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Center of Maryland, said that he was paid several thousand dollars to oversee the course by Medscape, not Shire directly, and that such income did not influence his decisions with patients. But as he reviewed the video in September, Dr. Goodman reconsidered its message to untrained doctors about how quickly the disorder can be assessed and said, “That was not an acceptable way to evaluate and conclude that the patient has A.D.H.D.”

A Shire spokeswoman declined to comment on the video and the company’s sponsorship of it.

Mr. Casola said Shire remains committed to raising awareness of A.D.H.D. Shire spent $1 million in the first three quarters of 2013, according to company documents, to support A.D.H.D. conferences to educate doctors. One this autumn found J. Russell Ramsay, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school, who also serves as a consultant and speaker for Shire, reading aloud one of his slides to the audience: “A.D.H.D. – It’s Everywhere You Want to Be.”

“We are a commercial organization trying to bring health care treatments to patients,” Mr. Casola said. “I think, on balance, we are helping people.”



4) Scientists Turn Their Gaze Toward Tiny Threats to Great Lakes
December 14, 2013

NORTH EAST, Pa. — The newest environmental threat to the Great Lakes is very, very small.

Tiny plastic beads used in hundreds of toiletries like facial scrubs and toothpastes are slipping through water treatment plants and turning up by the tens of millions in the Great Lakes. There, fish and other aquatic life eat them along with the pollutants they carry — which scientists fear could be working their way back up the food chain to humans.

Scientists have worried about plastic debris in the oceans for decades, but focused on enormous accumulations of floating junk. More recently, the question of smaller bits has gained attention, because plastics degrade so slowly and become coated with poisons in the water like the cancer-causing chemicals known as PCBs.

“Unfortunately, they look like fish food,” said Marcus Eriksen, executive director of the 5 Gyres organization, speaking of the beads found in the oceans and, now, the lakes. His group works to eliminate plastic pollution.

Studies published in recent months have drawn attention to the Great Lakes, where there may be even greater concentrations of plastic particles than are found in oceans. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has also been looking at the impact of microplastics on marine life.

In recent months, major cosmetics companies including Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble have pledged to phase out the use of the beads in favor of natural alternatives, though they say the shift could take two years or more. The Johnson & Johnson statement says, in part, “Our goal is to give consumers peace of mind that our products are gentle on people and gentle on the environment.”

Johnson & Johnson, along with others, has questioned whether the spheres are actually getting through wastewater treatment plants. So Sherri A. Mason, an environmental chemist at the State University of New York in Fredonia, has spent the past two summers trolling the Great Lakes with a fine-mesh net that has a broad mouth for skimming surface waters.

Working with students aboard the historic brig Niagara, Dr. Mason has collected more than 100 samples, which her students examine minutely for beads and other debris. They sort out the plastics from bits of fly ash and other products from power plant smokestacks and, using electron microscopes to compare the spheres with those from commercial products, have found them to be similar in shape, size and composition. (Sandblasting uses small beads as well, but they tend to be more dense than the beads in consumer products, and sink.)

In a recent paper, Dr. Mason and colleagues took samples that suggested concentrations of as much as 1.1 million bits of microplastics per square mile in some parts of the lakes’ surfaces, with beads making up more than 60 percent of the samples. She has found beads in all five of the lakes, with the greatest concentrations in Lakes Erie and Ontario, which take the water flows from the other lakes and which are ringed with cities and towns.

While many of the beads appear to enter the environment when storms cause many wastewater treatment plants to release raw sewage, it is increasingly clear that the beads slip through the processing plants as well, Dr. Mason said at a sewage treatment plant in North East, a town near Erie.

She visited the plant to see if she could find beads in the clean water flowing from the plant at the end of the treatment process, after the removal of the organic solids that sat ripely in large containers bound for a landfill.

Mike McCumber, a supervisor at the plant, challenged her: “You ain’t going to find nothing!” But he helped her set up a pump to flush the water through fine screens, and after less than a minute, she had scraped a pearlescent sphere off the mesh.

“Hey, Mike! I think I got a bead,” she told him.

“Oh, boy,” he responded in defeat.

She was quick to point out that the sewage treatment plant is not designed to capture the tiny beads, which vary in size but are about as big as a period on a newspaper page. “It’s not a design problem with the system,” she said. “It’s a design problem with the product.”

Scientists are still working through the links of the chain leading back to humans; about 65 million pounds of fish are caught in the Great Lakes each year. Worldwide, the beads have been found in some marine organisms and not in others, and the transfer of poisons from the beads into the bodies of the creatures that eat them is still being established.

It has been shown to happen in lugworms, which live in the North Atlantic, and Dr. Mason said, “If it happens in lugworms, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s happening in other species.”

Lorena Rios Mendoza, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, said that the bits of plastic have a great capacity to attract persistent pollutants to their surface, and that the Environmental Protection Agency has classified some of those compounds as priority pollutants that can interfere with human physiology.

“Plastics are not just acting as mimic food, but they can also cause physical damage to the organism,” she said. She has examined fish guts and found plastic fibers — possibly from the breakdown of synthetic fabrics through clothes washing — that are laden with the chemicals, and said she expected to find beads as well.

Some producers of natural facial products have found alternatives to the inexpensive plastics — some of which can sound less like a cleanser than a variety of Whole Foods granola. St. Ives, a Unilever brand, uses natural exfoliants like ground walnut shells. A spokeswoman for Burt’s Bees said the company had never used the plastic; its acne scrubs use jojoba beads, and its citrus facial scrub is made with “oat kernel flour, almond meal and pecan shell powder.”

Dr. Mason applauded the use of alternatives, because there is no getting rid of the beads that are already in the water. Any attempt to skim the waters of the lakes to try to filter them out would scoop up plankton and other essential parts of the food chain, Dr. Mason said: “You’d be killing all the living necessary aspects of the ecosystem at the same time you’re trying to extract the plastic.”

So the answer to the problem of the tiny beads is to limit their use, she said. “We need to stop putting it out there.”



5) Victims of Misclassification
December 15, 2013

WASHINGTON — LAST month, a Michigan construction worker named Matt Anderson testified in a Senate hearing about being a victim of employee misclassification. Mr. Anderson said that his employer forced him, after six years as an employee, to switch to “independent contractor” status. Though the move stripped Mr. Anderson of basic employee rights and protections, he went along with the change, he said, because “my fellow workers and I had families to support and we saw how bad the economy was.”

Today, millions of American workers in a wide variety of sectors, from construction and trucking to I.T. and professional services, are victims of misclassification, a tactic employers use to avoid paying taxes and providing benefits that are guaranteed to employees, such as workers’ compensation, overtime pay, minimum wage and unemployment insurance.

In 2000, a United States Department of Labor study estimated that up to 30 percent of employers misclassify workers. This year, the Treasury Department’s inspector general concluded that the problem had worsened. Fifteen states have now teamed up with the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service to reduce misclassification through information sharing and joint investigations.

By federal law, employee status is determined by the degree of an employer’s control over the manner and means of work, not any written agreement. As Mr. Anderson testified, though his employer changed his status from employee to independent contractor, the conditions of his work stayed the same.

The costs of misclassification are considerable. The Department of Labor estimates that the lost revenue for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation is in the billions of dollars. States are also bearing the burden. A 2007 Cornell University study estimated that New York State’s unemployment insurance fund lost $176 million annually to misclassification. Workers suffer financial losses as well. This past May, the Department of Labor recovered more than $1 million in back wages and damages for misclassified employees of a Kentucky-based cable company.

What is to be done? To start, Congress should pass the Payroll Fraud Prevention Act of 2013, introduced by Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., Democrat of Pennsylvania, which would make employee misclassification a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The bill would impose stiff penalties on offending employers.

But combating this abuse will require more than Senator Casey’s bill. Being denied their status as employees strips workers not only of basic employment protections but also of the collective bargaining rights that enabled workers to secure these protections in the first place. The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, which established modern employment law, resulted from decades of labor organizing. Without the right to unionize, workers will lose hard-won protections. The right to bargain collectively should thus be guaranteed by adding it to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

As the widespread practice of misclassification suggests, employers today are engaged in organized tactics to disempower workers. Workers must therefore be empowered under the law to fight back.

Marjorie Elizabeth Wood is a historian and labor rights advocate.



6) Scholars’ Group Endorses an Academic Boycott of Israel
December 16, 2013

An association of American professors with almost 5,000 members has voted to endorse an academic boycott of Israeli colleges and universities, the group announced Monday, making it the largest academic group in the United States to back a growing movement to isolate Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

The group, the American Studies Association, said that its members approved the boycott resolution by a 2-to-1 margin in online balloting that concluded Sunday night, with about a quarter of the members voting.

The vote came despite a new statement last week by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, that his government’s stance is to boycott Israeli businesses and other activities in the occupied territories, but not in Israel itself.

The national council of the American Studies Association voted unanimously on Dec. 4 in favor of a boycott resolution, and the group’s stance has pitted scholars and organizations against one another in a heated debate about the ethics of academic boycotts, the motives behind the campaign and whether Israel is being singled out unfairly.

The movement to cut off relations with Israeli academic and cultural institutions dates back a decade, but organizers say it was not until April that an American academic group of any size, the Association for Asian American Studies, endorsed a boycott. The Modern Language Association’s annual meeting next month will include a discussion session on academic boycotts, and it will consider a motion critical of Israel for restricting professors’ freedom to visit Palestinian universities.

Boycott supporters concede that resolutions by professors’ groups are primarily symbolic, as long as no American college or university supports such an action. The boycott called on American schools and academic groups to ban collaboration with Israeli institutions, but individual Israeli scholars would still be able to attend conferences, lecture at American universities or do research with American colleagues, as long as they did not officially represent Israeli universities or the government.

The American Studies Association has never before called for an academic boycott of any nation’s universities, said Curtis Marez, the group’s president and an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego. He did not dispute that many nations, including many of Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human rights records that are worse than Israel’s, or comparable, but he said, “one has to start somewhere.”

The singular focus on Israel has become the most pointed part of the boycott debate, with opponents seeing signs of anti-Semitism — which supporters vehemently deny — and arguing that the real aim of Palestinian boycott backers is not to change Israel’s behavior, but to eliminate the state.

On the Charlie Rose show on PBS last week, Lawrence H. Summers, the former Harvard University president and former Treasury secretary, disparaged “the idea that of all the countries in the world that might be thought to have human rights abuses, that might be thought to have inappropriate foreign policies, that might be thought to be doing things wrong, the idea that there’s only one that is worthy of boycott, and that is Israel.”

He called for a kind of reverse boycott, saying that universities should reconsider paying for faculty members to belong to the American Studies Association or to participate in its events.

The American Association of University Professors, with 48,000 members, has reiterated its stance against academic boycotts, which it said “strike directly at the free exchange of ideas,” and not at those responsible for oppression, stifling precisely the kind of interaction that would aid human rights. The association has noted that during the apartheid era, it backed economic boycotts of South Africa, but not academic ones.

The push for an academic boycott is an outgrowth of a broader campaign against Israel called the B.D.S. movement, which calls for boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions, much like those against South Africa in the 1980s.

The academic boycott movement has drawn far more attention in Britain, beginning in 2002, when two academic journals fired Israeli professors from their boards because of their nationality. There have been several strong attempts in Britain’s largest higher-education labor group, the University and College Union, to put its weight behind a boycott.

In May, the physicist Stephen W. Hawking withdrew from a conference in Israel, in support of the boycott.




7) Revelations That Ikea Spied on Its Employees Stir Outrage in France
December 15, 2013

PARIS — Virginie Paulin’s voice still trembles when she recounts how she was fired from what she considered her dream job at Ikea in France.

“I felt total incomprehension, I was stunned,” she said. As a 12-year employee of the Swedish home furnishings group, Ms. Paulin had risen to become deputy director of communications and merchandising for Ikea’s two dozen stores across France.

But then she was forced out after a year’s medical absence — and after what was subsequently revealed to be an investigation of her by Ikea’s French headquarters, which suspected she was not as sick as she had said. The company was said to have provided a private detective with her Social Security number, personal cellphone number, bank account details and other personal data.

A regional court in Versailles, near Paris, is now examining whether Ikea executives in France broke the law by ordering personal investigations — not only of Ms. Paulin but of hundreds of other people over the course of a decade.

A review of the court records by The New York Times indicates that Ikea’s investigations were conducted for various reasons, including the vetting of job applicants, efforts to build cases against employees accused of wrongdoing, and even attempts to undermine the arguments of consumers bringing complaints against the company. The going rate charged by the private investigators was 80 to 180 euros, or $110 to $247, per inquiry, court documents show. Between 2002 and 2012, the finance department of Ikea France approved more than €475,000 in invoices from investigators.

The case has caused public outrage in France, not only because of the company’s large consumer following in this country — Ikea’s third-largest market after Germany and the United States — but because the spying cases occurred in a country that, in the digital age, has elevated privacy to a level nearly equal to the national trinity of Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité.

So far, there have been no accusations that such surveillance occurred in any of the other 42 countries in which Ikea operates, and it remains unclear why the French Ikea unit is purported to have engaged in it so extensively. Very little of the surveillance yielded information Ikea was able to use against the targets of the data sweeps. But court documents indicate that investigators suspect that Ikea may have occasionally used knowledge of personal information to quell workplace grievances or to prompt a resignation.

“It is hard to conceive that this kind of thing happens in a democratic society like France,” said Sofiane Hakiki, a lawyer representing Ms. Paulin and several unions that have filed civil complaints against Ikea in the affair. “This is not Soviet Russia.”

The company, which the court required to post a bond of €500,000 euros last month, conducted its own review of the matter last year, after a series of internal emails detailing spying were leaked to the French news media. That internal inquiry resulted in the firing of several executives, including the former chief executive, Jean-Louis Baillot. But Ikea has otherwise declined to comment publicly on specifics of the claims.

Last month, the company’s current chief, Stefan Vanoverbeke, and financial director, Dariusz Rychert, were questioned along with Mr. Baillot for 48 hours by the judicial police before being placed under formal investigation. That set in motion a process in which the next step, if it comes, would be the filing of criminal charges.

The three executives, along with nine others, are suspected of breaking the law by either knowing of or actively participating in the systematic collection of individuals’ personal information, including criminal histories, automobile registrations and property records, officials say.

Lawyers representing the three executives declined to comment, citing the continuing investigation, which could still take months to conclude.

But the Versailles court has already interviewed dozens of witnesses. And its agents have searched the offices and homes of several former Ikea employees, private investigators and even police officers suspected of having provided privileged information from government databases.

In Ms. Paulin’s case, when she received her termination letter in February 2009, the official reason was Ikea’s urgent need to fill her post with a permanent replacement. She had been unable to work for more than a year after she learned she had hepatitis C in early 2008.

In a recent telephone interview from her home in western France, Ms. Paulin, now 53, said she was unaware during her absence that her bosses had doubted the severity of her illness, for which she still receives treatment.

In accordance with French rules, Ms. Paulin had submitted a series of medical certificates to Ikea’s human resources department. She had also met regularly with her local Social Security office, which had approved the extension of her leave and even granted her permission to travel, on more than one occasion, to an apartment she owned in Morocco.

Moreover, she had maintained contact with a number of colleagues and told them of her intention to resume her duties as soon as her doctor would allow it.

“I had made a large investment in my professional life at Ikea,” Ms. Paulin said. “Perhaps it was too large. But my job was a big part of my identity, and I was proud of it.”

So when she learned that the company intended to let her go, Ms. Paulin hired a lawyer.

In April 2009, Ms. Paulin was invited to meet with Claire Héry, Ikea’s head of human resources for France. When she arrived at that meeting, she was surprised to find that the French unit’s chief executive at the time, Mr. Baillot, was also present.

The two executives, Ms. Paulin said, accused her of fraudulently exaggerating her illness — although she said they offered no evidence to support their claims.

She said she left the encounter confused and distraught, feeling “robbed of my self and my reputation.” A few days later, Ms. Paulin said, she attempted suicide.

Ikea, through its lawyer, Emmanuel Daoud, declined to comment on Ms. Paulin’s account of the meeting.

Ms. Héry, the human resources chief, was among the executives dismissed in 2012, although she is not a target of the court’s investigation. Her lawyer, Olivier Baratelli, did not respond to emailed questions seeking comment.

Gérard Vergne, a lawyer for Mr. Baillot, declined to comment. Mr. Baillot left Ikea France in December 2009 for a job within the parent company’s management team before being dismissed last year in the wake of the spying claims.

Even after the meeting, Ms. Paulin pressed her case, and in 2010 a judge ruled that her firing was “devoid of real and serious justification.”

She did not seek reinstatement, but was awarded nearly €60,000 in compensation. Still, she said, the reason her bosses had leveled their accusations at her remained a mystery.

The matter might have ended there, were it not for a cache of company emails that were leaked to the French news media in early 2012.

The emails, now part of the court record, seemed to indicate extensive personal surveillance by Ikea in France dating back as far back as 2002.

The trove of messages, many apparently written by Jean-François Paris, the French unit’s head of risk management, exposed details of Ikea’s investigations of Ms. Paulin and dozens of others. Mr. Paris was dismissed after the company’s internal review and is named in the judge’s investigation.

Mr. Paris has acknowledged his role to French investigators, said his lawyer, Étienne Bataille. But Mr. Paris insists that his activities were approved by top managers of Ikea France — and that on several occasions they were conducted at management’s direction. “There is no question it was a widespread practice,” Mr. Bataille said of the spying.

One of the emails from Mr. Paris, dated Dec. 11, 2008, was addressed to a private detective, Jean-Pierre Fourès. He was asked to confirm whether Ms. Paulin had traveled to Morocco over the preceding several months and if she owned property there.

Mr. Fourès’s reply confirmed both to be true and included a startling attachment: scanned images from Ms. Paulin’s passport, showing her Moroccan entry and exit stamps. To obtain those, the court documents show, Mr. Fourès had arranged for someone posing as an employee of Royal Air Maroc to persuade Ms. Paulin to fax copies of her passport in order to claim a free ticket offer.

Didier Leroux, a lawyer for Mr. Fourès, did not respond to requests for comment.

Under the subject line “dirty scam,” Mr. Paris described Ms. Paulin as “a person who has been on medical leave for several months” and provided the dates, “obtained through outside sources,” of her easyJet flights. He also asserted that Ms. Paulin had made the trips without informing her Social Security office.

Citing Ms. Paulin’s stature as a senior manager, Mr. Paris wrote, “We cannot tolerate this situation.” Subsequent messages to the detective also disclosed details of Ms. Paulin’s personal bank account.

“Until I saw those emails, I had not understood the depths of their suspicion, the paranoia,” Ms. Paulin said. “They really believed I was playacting.”

In transcripts of police interviews, Mr. Paris and his colleagues in the risk management department acknowledged receiving frequent requests from Ikea store managers across France for criminal background checks, driving records and vehicle registrations — though only a fraction of those inquiries uncovered a notable offense. Usually the requests were limited to one or two people after a theft or a complaint of harassment among employees.

But sometimes lists containing dozens of names of employees or job applicants were submitted for vetting, and then forwarded to one of a handful of trusted private investigators for processing.

The company has publicly expressed regret that certain managers took actions that were “contrary to our values and ethics standards” and says it has included respect of individual privacy in a new code of conduct.

Beyond that, however, Ikea has remained largely silent. “No one has ever called or come personally to apologize for what was done to me,” Ms. Paulin said. “That’s the gesture I would have expected — not some big investigation. But I’ve never gotten that.”



8) Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records
December 16, 2013

WASHINGTON — A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as “almost Orwellian” and suggesting that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way.

The judge, Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, ordered the government to stop collecting data on the personal calls of the two plaintiffs in the case and to destroy the records of their calling history. But Judge Leon, appointed to the bench in 2002 by President George W. Bush, stayed his injunction “in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues,” allowing the government time to appeal it, which he said could take at least six months.

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary’ invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” Judge Leon wrote in a 68-page ruling. “Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment,” which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

Andrew Ames, a Justice Department spokesman, said government lawyers were studying the decision, but he added: “We believe the program is constitutional as previous judges have found.”

The case is the first in which a federal judge who is not on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorized the once-secret program, has examined the bulk data collection on behalf of someone who is not a criminal defendant. The Justice Department has said that 15 separate judges on the surveillance court have held on 35 occasions that the calling data program is legal.

It also marks the first successful legal challenge brought against the program since it was revealed in June after leaks by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden.

In a statement from Moscow, where he has obtained temporary asylum, Mr. Snowden praised the ruling.

“I acted on my belief that the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts,” Mr. Snowden said in his statement. It was distributed by Glenn Greenwald, a journalist who received leaked documents from Mr. Snowden and wrote the first article about the bulk data collection. “Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights,” the statement said. “It is the first of many.”

The case was brought by several plaintiffs led by Larry Klayman, a conservative legal activist. Mr. Klayman, who represented himself and the other plaintiffs, said in an interview on Monday that he was seeking to turn the case into a class action on behalf of all Americans. “I’m extremely gratified that Judge Leon had the courage to make this ruling,” he said. “He is an American hero.”

Mr. Klayman argued that he had legal standing to challenge the program in part because, he contended, the government had sent inexplicable text messages to his clients on his behalf; at a hearing, he told the judge, “I think they are messing with me.”

The judge portrayed that claim as “unusual” but looked past it, saying Mr. Klayman and his co-plaintiff instead had standing because it was highly likely, based on the government’s own description of the program as a “comprehensive metadata database,” that the N.S.A. collected data about their phone calls along with everyone else’s.

Similar legal challenges to the N.S.A. program, including by the American Civil Liberties Union and the advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, are at earlier stages in the courts. Last month, the Supreme Court declined to hear an unusual challenge to the program by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which had sought to bypass lower courts.

The ruling on Monday comes as several government panels are developing recommendations on whether to keep, restructure or scrap the bulk data collection program, and as Congress debates competing bills over the program’s future.

Though long and detailed, Judge Leon’s ruling is not a final judgment on the program, but rather a preliminary injunction to stop the collection of data about the plaintiffs while they pursued their case.

He also wrote that he had “serious doubts about the efficacy” of the program, saying that the government had failed to cite “a single instance in which analysis of the N.S.A.’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive.”

Judge Leon rejected the Obama administration’s argument that a 1979 case, Smith v. Maryland, had established there are no Fourth Amendment protections for call metadata — information like the numbers dialed and the date, time and duration of calls, but not their content. The 1979 case, which involved collecting information about a criminal defendant’s calls, helped establish the principle that people do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy for information they have exposed to a third party, like the phone company, which knows about their calls.

The surveillance court, which issues secret rulings after hearing arguments from only the Justice Department and without opposing lawyers, has maintained that the 1979 decision is a controlling precedent that shields the N.S.A. call data program from Fourth Amendment review. But Judge Leon, citing the scope of the program and the evolving role of phones and technology, distinguished the bulk collection from the 34-year-old case.

Last month, a federal judge declined to grant a new trial to several San Diego men convicted of sending money to a terrorist group in Somalia. Government officials have since acknowledged that investigators became interested in them because of the call records program. Citing Smith v. Maryland, the judge said the defendants had “no legitimate expectation of privacy” over their call data.

David Rivkin, a White House lawyer in the administration of the elder President George Bush, criticized Judge Leon’s reasoning.

“Smith v. Maryland is the law of the land,” Mr. Rivkin said. “It is not for a District Court judge to question the continuing validity of a Supreme Court precedent that is exactly on point.”

Judge Leon also pointed to a landmark privacy case decided by the Supreme Court in 2012 that held it was unconstitutional for the police to use a GPS tracking device to monitor a suspect’s public movements without a warrant.

Although the court decided the case on narrow grounds, five of the nine justices separately questioned whether the 1979 precedent was still valid in an era of modern technology, which enables long-term, automated collection of information.



9) Secret Bids Guide Hopi Indians’ Spirits Home
December 16, 2013

The auction in Paris was set to move briskly, at about two items a minute; the room was hot and crowded, buzzing with reporters.

More than 100 American Indian artifacts were about to go on sale at the Drouot auction house, including 24 pieces, resembling masks, that are held sacred by the Hopi of Arizona. The tribe, United States officials and others had tried unsuccessfully to block the sale in a French court, arguing that the items were religious objects that had been stolen many years ago.

Now the Annenberg Foundation decided to get involved from its offices in Los Angeles. It hoped to buy all of the Hopi artifacts, plus three more sought by the San Carlos Apaches, at the Dec. 9 sale and return them to the tribes. To prevent prices from rising, the foundation kept its plan a secret, even from the Hopis, in part to protect the tribe from potential disappointment. Given the nine-hour time difference, the foundation put together a team that could work well into the night, bidding by phone in the auction in France.

The foundation had never done something like this before — a repatriation effort — and the logistics were tricky, to say the least.

Two staff members in Los Angeles, one a French speaker, were assigned to the job. The foundation also quietly arranged for a Paris lawyer, Pierre Servan-Schreiber, who had represented the Hopi pro bono in the court proceeding, to serve as lookout in the auction room.

He stood in the back, on the phone to the foundation. Whispering updates to him was Philip J. Breeden, a cultural attaché from the United States Embassy.

“It was intense, like a movie,” Mr. Servan-Schreiber said.

But camouflaging the role of the foundation was crucial.

“I knew nothing good would come out of it if the house knew there were people out to get the whole thing,” he said. “I was sure that would jack up the prices.”

The sale had been assembled by the auction house EVE with pieces from a variety of American tribes that were held by a number of French collectors, all of whom said they had owned the items for many years and had good title to them. Several collectors said they had been impressed by prices realized at an April auction of 70 Hopi artifacts.

The tribe had been angered by the earlier sale as well, which like this auction featured vibrantly decorated Hopi headdresses, known as Katsinam. The tribe, which had gone to court to block both sales, believes the items are not simply religious, but living entities with divine spirits.

Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, vice president and director of the foundation who lives in Paris, had followed the legal battle in the French news media. After the Hopi lost in court on Dec. 6, he went to the auction house to preview the artifacts, all of which are more than a century old.

“These are not trophies to have on one’s mantel,” Mr. Weingarten would say later. “They are truly sacred works for the Native Americans. They do not belong in auction houses or private collections.”

Mr. Weingarten had his California staff tally the presale estimates from the auction catalog and confirm that the objects were authentic. The staff members also became familiar with the Hopi belief system and built a database that would allow them to follow online the bidding on the objects they wanted. Mr. Weingarten approved a budget of $500,000 to $1 million to buy all 27 disputed Native American lots — the 24 masklike Hopi artifacts and three items of divine significance to the San Carlos Apache, also in Arizona. To do so he tapped into a discretionary fund set aside for individual projects.

“It was a leap-of-faith kind of moment for us,” said Leonard J. Aube, executive director of the foundation, which was founded by Walter H. Annenberg, the publisher, philanthropist and diplomat. “Not a lot of foundations are geared up for this kind of clandestine, late-night activity.”

At one point, the owner of the EVE auction house, Alain Leroy, said he had noticed that one phone bidder was grabbing up the disputed Hopi objects and told an employee to check into it. Reassured that the buyer had wired money ahead of time and was legitimate, he says he nonetheless grew frustrated and even muttered aloud that he hoped the secret bidder would “leave some for the others.”

Members of the Hopi tribe were also watching the sale online from Arizona. Unaware of the forces at work on their behalf, they said they became dispirited as item after item sold. Sam Tenakhongva, a cultural director for the Hopi, said when he turned off his lights at 2 a.m., he felt he was saying goodbye to the spirits embodied in the headdresses.

The foundation, however, had enjoyed marked success in the bidding. By the end of the auction, it had spent $530,695 and bought all but three of the 24 Hopi objects and the three other Apache artifacts that the foundation had sought.

And one of the three, a Hopi headdress featuring antelope antlers, had been bought by Mr. Servan-Schreiber on behalf of a couple, Marshall W. Parke, of the private equity firm Lexington Partners, and his wife, Véronique, who had instructed him to obtain what he could as a gift to the Hopis.

Mr. Servan-Schreiber said when it was his turn to bid, he took care to inform the foundation people, “so we wouldn’t start bidding against each other.”

The foundation lost out on only two items, both times, participants said, because of miscommunication. But they secured the auction’s priciest lot, a Hopi Crow Mother headdress that sold for $130,000. The event, which was over in a quick hour, generated $1.6 million in sales.

“It’s a good outcome for the Hopi but not the collectors, I suppose,” Mr. Leroy, the auction house owner, said of the foundation’s tally. The Hopi did not learn of their tribe’s good fortune until several hours later when the foundation sent an email alerting them to its clandestine purchases. Mr. Aube said the Annenberg Foundation, which focuses on civic and community projects, is consulting with the Hopi on how best to return the Katsinam.

The objects, surreal faces made from wood, leather, horsehair and feathers and painted in vivid reds, blues, yellows and oranges, cannot be encased in Bubble Wrap, for example, because it would be seen as suffocating the divine spirits. The Hopi have not identified their plans for these artifacts on their return, but they are not viewed as art objects or housed in museums. Typically, Katsinam are still used in spiritual ceremonies or are retired and left to disintegrate naturally.

For Mr. Tenakhongva, the fact that the Katsinam had to be bought and paid for, even by benefactors, was a bittersweet nod to the reality that some American Indian artifacts have become highly sought, expensive commodities.

“No one should have to buy back their sacred property,” he said. “But now at least they will be at home with us and they will go to rest.”




10) Big Bonuses, but a Shift in Who Gets the Biggest
December 16, 2013, 8:52 pm

Wall Street’s senior executives have been holed up in conference rooms across Manhattan the last couple of weeks, locked in tense all-day sessions. The special project: dividing up this year’s spoils as bonus season approaches.

Over the last month or two, headlines have speculated that 2013 will turn out to be an excellent one on Wall Street. By some estimates, bonuses should rise as much as 10 percent across the board, if not more. A survey of bankers in London released over the weekend suggested they expected to receive bonus increases of as much as 44 percent.

By the sound of it, you would think that being a banker on Wall Street once again meant you were a 1980s-style Master of the Universe.

But you would be wrong. Don’t get out your violins, but the truth is that this year isn’t going to be nearly as profitable for many of the once prominent bankers who were paid seven and eight figures to advise the world’s top chief executives, according to interviews with more than a dozen top Wall Street executives. And if you were a suspender-wearing bond trader, bonuses are going to be minuscule, a product of a nearly impossible bond market this year.

While compensation on Wall Street may be up over all, the total number may hide an uncomfortable reality about the transformation of the finance industry: the old-school advisers to Fortune 500 clients on strategic mergers and acquisitions — made famous by the likes of Felix Rohatyn and the late Bruce Wasserstein — are unlikely to be the big rainmakers anymore.

They have been eclipsed by hedge funds, asset managers and anyone who has anything to do with initial public offerings. With the stock market up and more money pouring in every day, bonuses will be showered generously on employees connected to that world.

“It’s hard for some of my guys to accept, but the money is going to different people this year,” a senior executive of a large bank told me about the shift in dollars from strategic adviser to asset managers.

That’s not to say that some bankers won’t be making eye-popping amounts of money. Indeed, many will — especially those who were at firms in 2008, 2009 and 2010 who were paid in stock. Shares of firms like JPMorgan Chase, despite its well-publicized recent problems, and Goldman Sachs have risen immensely, creating seven- and eight-figure payouts for some executives who are still at the companies.

But the amount of money being handed out this year, much of it in stock and subject to clawbacks, will be lower for many finance professionals. Goldman, for example, shaved the amount of money it reserved for compensation by about 5 percent for the first nine months of the year. On average, a Goldman employee would receive $319,775. Similarly, JPMorgan scaled back compensation at its investment bank by 4.8 percent. The average employee — which includes secretaries and support staff in that calculation — gets $165,744.

According to Johnson Associates, a compensation consulting firm, big banks set aside $91.44 billion for 2013 bonuses in the first nine months, down from $92.49 billion in the period a year earlier.

An investment banking managing director might make $850,000, down from at least $1 million a couple of years ago and $2 million to $3 million before that. A vice president is likely to receive about $400,000, compared with $750,000 a couple of years ago.

The average income for a financial professional in New York City last year, according to Thomas P. DiNapoli, the New York State comptroller, was $360,700. It was $401,500 at its high in 2007.

This year may mark the biggest shift in who gets what. After the financial crisis, many top corporate advisers on Wall Street continued to be paid handsomely, even though they weren’t bringing in the same kind of revenue that they once did, given the drought in mega-mergers and private equity buyouts. Over the last three years, most of those bankers have kept busy advising corporate clients dealing with shareholder activists, patiently waiting for a return to what’s known in the merger business as “elephant hunting season.”

But unlike advising on a big merger, in which a multimillion-dollar fee is a rounding error for a corporation in the middle of a billion-dollar transaction, fees for advising on activist situations can be tiny, and in some cases are done gratis as a relationship-builder in hopes of scoring an even bigger fee later.

With the once highflying merger business in decline, at least for now, banks are trying to figure out what to do with a staff that often looks bigger than it should be relative to the revenue they bring in. In some cases, banks have shrunk adviser departments, while most appear more likely to keep employees but pay them less.

“There’s an awakening that’s happening,” said another senior banker, who was not authorized to speak publicly. “Many of us went into this business in the late 1980s or early 1990s when it was the coolest job in the world. Now being a hedge fund manager or out in Silicon Valley is where the real money is being made.”

That awareness is reflected in the graduating class of Harvard Business School. Last year, 27 percent of the graduating class entered the finance industry, down from 35 percent the previous year. In 2008, 40 percent of the graduating class went into finance. That may be a good trend line given the overemphasis of Wall Street in the overall economy and the resulting brain drain in so many other industries.

Where are they going?

For the most part, the biggest swing has been into technology. Eighteen percent went into high technology last year, compared with only 12 percent the previous year.

It seems like Harvard Business School’s graduating class knows how to follow the money.



11) Why Other Countries Teach Better
December 17, 2013

Millions of laid-off American factory workers were the first to realize that they were competing against job seekers around the globe with comparable skills but far smaller paychecks. But a similar fate also awaits workers who aspire to high-skilled, high-paying jobs in engineering and technical fields unless this country learns to prepare them to compete for the challenging work that the new global economy requires.

The American work force has some of weakest mathematical and problem-solving skills in the developed world. In a recent survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a global policy organization, adults in the United States scored far below average and better than only two of 12 other developed comparison countries, Italy and Spain. Worse still, the United States is losing ground in worker training to countries in Europe and Asia whose schools are not just superior to ours but getting steadily better.

The lessons from those high-performing countries can no longer be ignored by the United States if it hopes to remain competitive.

Finland: Teacher Training

Though it dropped several rankings in last year’s tests, Finland has for years been in the highest global ranks in literacy and mathematical skills. The reason dates to the postwar period, when Finns first began to consider creating comprehensive schools that would provide a quality, high-level education for poor and wealthy alike. These schools stand out in several ways, providing daily hot meals; health and dental services; psychological counseling; and an array of services for families and children in need. None of the services are means tested. Moreover, all high school students must take one of the most rigorous required curriculums in the world, including physics, chemistry, biology, philosophy, music and at least two foreign languages.

But the most important effort has been in the training of teachers, where the country leads most of the world, including the United States, thanks to a national decision made in 1979. The country decided to move preparation out of teachers’ colleges and into the universities, where it became more rigorous. By professionalizing the teacher corps and raising its value in society, the Finns have made teaching the country’s most popular occupation for the young. These programs recruit from the top quarter of the graduating high school class, demonstrating that such training has a prestige lacking in the United States. In 2010, for example, 6,600 applicants competed for 660 available primary school preparation slots in the eight Finnish universities that educate teachers.

The teacher training system in this country is abysmal by comparison. A recent report by the National Council on Teacher Quality called teacher preparation programs “an industry of mediocrity,” rating only 10 percent of more than 1,200 of them as high quality. Most have low or no academic standards for entry. Admission requirements for teaching programs at the State University of New York were raised in September, but only a handful of other states have taken similar steps.

Finnish teachers are not drawn to the profession by money; they earn only slightly more than the national average salary. But their salaries go up by about a third in the first 15 years, several percentage points higher than those of their American counterparts. Finland also requires stronger academic credentials for its junior high and high school teachers and rewards them with higher salaries.

Canada: School funding

Canada also has a more rigorous and selective teacher preparation system than the United States, but the most striking difference between the countries is how they pay for their schools.

American school districts rely far too heavily on property taxes, which means districts in wealthy areas bring in more money than those in poor ones. State tax money to make up the gap usually falls far short of the need in districts where poverty and other challenges are greatest.

Americans tend to see such inequalities as the natural order of things. Canadians do not. In recent decades, for example, three of Canada’s largest and best-performing provinces — Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario — have each addressed the inequity issue by moving to province-level funding formulas. As a recent report by the Center for American Progress notes, these formulas allow the provinces to determine how much money each district will receive, based on each district’s size and needs. The systems even out the tax base and help ensure that resources are distributed equitably, not clustered in wealthy districts.

These were not boutique experiments. The Ontario system has more than two million public school students — more than in 45 American states and the District of Columbia. But the contrast to the American system could not be more clear. Ontario, for example, strives to eliminate or at least minimize the funding inequality that would otherwise exist between poor and wealthy districts. In most American states, however, the wealthiest, highest-spending districts spend about twice as much per pupil as the lowest-spending districts, according to a federal advisory commission report. In some states, including California, the ratio is more than three to one.

This has left 40 percent of American public school students in districts of “concentrated student poverty,” the commission’s report said.

Shanghai: Fighting Elitism

China’s educational system was largely destroyed during Mao Zedong’s “cultural revolution,” which devalued intellectual pursuits and demonized academics. Since shortly after Mao’s death in 1976, the country has been rebuilding its education system at lightning speed, led by Shanghai, the nation’s largest and most internationalized city. Shanghai, of course, has powerful tools at its disposal, including the might of the authoritarian state and the nation’s centuries-old reverence for scholarship and education. It has had little difficulty advancing a potent succession of reforms that allowed it to achieve universal enrollment rapidly. The real proof is that its students were first in the world in math, science and literacy on last year’s international exams.

One of its strengths is that the city has mainly moved away from an elitist system in which greater resources and elite instructors were given to favored schools, and toward a more egalitarian, neighborhood attendance system in which students of diverse backgrounds and abilities are educated under the same roof. The city has focused on bringing the once-shunned children of migrant workers into the school system. In the words of the O.E.C.D, Shanghai has embraced the notion that migrant children are also “our children” — meaning that city’s future depends in part on them and that they, too, should be included in the educational process. Shanghai has taken several approaches to repairing the disparity between strong schools and weak ones, as measured by infrastructure and educational quality. Some poor schools were closed, reorganized, or merged with higher-level schools. Money was transferred to poor, rural schools to construct new buildings or update old ones. Teachers were transferred from cities to rural areas and vice versa. Stronger urban schools were paired with rural schools with the aim of improving teaching methods. And under a more recent strategy, strong schools took over the administration of weak ones. The Chinese are betting that the ethos, management style and teaching used in the strong schools will be transferable.

America’s stature as an economic power is being threatened by societies above us and below us on the achievement scale. Wealthy nations with high-performing schools are consolidating their advantages and working hard to improve. At the same time, less-wealthy countries like Chile, Brazil, Indonesia and Peru, have made what the O.E.C.D. describes as “impressive gains catching up from very low levels of performance.” In other words, if things remain as they are, countries that lag behind us will one day overtake us.

The United States can either learn from its competitors abroad — and finally summon the will to make necessary policy changes — or fall further and further behind. The good news is that this country has an impressive history of school improvement, as reflected in the early-20th-century compulsory school movement and the postwar expansion, which broadened access to college. Similar levels of focus and effort will be needed to move forward again.



12) Snowden Offers Help to Brazil in Spy Case
December 17, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO — Edward J. Snowden, the former contractor for the National Security Agency now living temporarily in Russia, said in comments published on Tuesday that he was prepared to assist Brazilian investigations into American spying in Brazil. But he said he could not speak freely until a country granted him permanent political asylum, which he requested from Brazil months ago.

Mr. Snowden, whose disclosures of N.S.A. surveillance practices have shaken Washington’s relations with an array of countries, made his comments in an “open letter” published in the Brazilian newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, in which he described the agency’s activities as potentially “the greatest human rights challenge of our time.”

Brazil, a leading target of the N.S.A.’s activities, has already reacted angrily over the spying, which included surveillance of President Dilma Rousseff, her inner circle of senior advisers and Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company. Ms. Rousseff called off a state visit to Washington in October over the revelations of the N.S.A.’s operations in Brazil.

Since then, Brazilian legislators have pressed ahead with inquiries into spying by the United States, relying to a large degree on news reports and testimony by Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist to whom Mr. Snowden leaked N.S.A. documents. David Miranda, the domestic partner of Mr. Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, has helped lead an effort to obtain asylum in Brazil for Mr. Snowden, who is now in Russia on a one-year visa.

“He deserves thanks for what he’s done, not a life in prison,” Mr. Miranda said, referring to the legal challenges Mr. Snowden faces in the United States. Mr. Miranda has been working with Avaaz, a global human rights group, to get signatures in support of Mr. Snowden’s asylum request in Brazil.

In his letter, Mr. Snowden referred to the spying on Ms. Rousseff, who as president personally decides on granting asylum to foreigners, and to N.S.A. surveillance of ordinary Brazilians who may be having extramarital affairs or viewing pornography, activities that could then be used to hurt their reputations.

“American senators tell us that Brazil should not worry, because this is not ‘surveillance,’ it’s ‘data collection,’ ” Mr. Snowden wrote. “They say it is done to keep you safe. They’re wrong.”

Mr. Snowden continued: “These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.”

A spokeswoman for Ms. Rousseff declined to comment on Mr. Snowden’s letter and his request for asylum in Brazil, which he had sought in July, when he also requested asylum in other countries. The authorities in Brazil did not accept his request at the time.

One spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said that it was monitoring the reaction to Mr. Snowden’s letter but that it was “not suitable for the Brazilian government nor the Foreign Ministry to respond.” Another spokesman said that Mr. Snowden had not yet made an official asylum request, as his original request was made in a faxed letter without a signature.

Venezuela and Bolivia have offered asylum to Mr. Snowden, but it is unclear whether their offers meet his conditions. In his letter, he referred to the refusal in July by several European nations to allow the plane of Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, into their airspace amid suspicions that Mr. Snowden was on board.

In Brazil, a Senate committee investigating the N.S.A.’s activities convened on Tuesday, with prominent senators expressing support for giving asylum to Mr. Snowden. In July, the Brazilian Senate’s committee on foreign relations and defense unanimously recommended granting asylum to Mr. Snowden.

Mr. Greenwald said he supported such a move. “Millions of people in nations around the world have understandably expressed gratitude for Edward Snowden’s courageous whistle-blowing,” he said. “Each of those countries’ governments has the legal and moral obligation to protect him from the persecution to which the U.S. government is now trying to subject him.”

Taylor Barnes contributed reporting.



13) As Pressure Builds, Egypt’s Police Experience a New Feeling: Fear
December 17, 2013

CAIRO — For six hours, heavily armed officers fired fusillades of buckshot and tear gas at students who were the latest front of anger toward Egypt’s military-backed rulers.

But as night fell and the students scattered last week, it was the police who seemed defeated, certain that the end of one protest simply marked a pause before the next. As two of the officers clad in black riot gear trudged away from the gates of Cairo University, one described the students as “bullies.”

“I’m not going back,” he told a friend.

Since the military ouster more than five months ago of President Mohamed Morsi, the interim leaders have leaned heavily on the police, sending them to stamp out dissent and stabilize the streets in a strategy that so far has come up empty.

Over the last three years of revolt, protesters have refused to be silenced, even when the authorities use deadly force.

And Egypt has also become far more dangerous for the authorities, with more than 150 police officers killed since mid-August alone. The attacks have affected police morale, officers said, and raised troubling questions about the government’s ability to secure the country in the face of increasingly frequent attacks by militants.

“Before, it was dramatic to lose an officer,” said one senior police official who serves in southern Egypt. Now, he said, “the likelihood has become normal.”

Between the attacks, including by armed jihadists, and the nonstop protests, the police, already poorly trained and equipped, have been stretched thin. On Thursday, at least one officer was killed and 20 were injured when a bomb detonated at a police camp in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, in the kind of attack that has become commonplace.

Officers have been pulled from their regular details to watch over demonstrations or secure suddenly vulnerable public buildings. They have also been called on to ensure compliance with a new law that criminalizes unauthorized gatherings — a law that the senior officer called “unenforceable.”

In a sign of the growing anger, hundreds of officers held a rare protest this month, the first by officers since the military takeover, demanding higher wages.

The new pressures on the police have served to highlight their abysmal reputation, which has long been haunted by allegations of corruption and torture. Complaints about police abuses helped fuel the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak, but since then, none of Egypt’s leaders have made any serious effort to overhaul the department.

After the military takeover, the police boasted of a new era in their relationship with the public. The department’s failings persisted — and even grew worse — but the police won support from Egyptians weary from years of instability and crime.

There was little uproar, for instance, during the deadly crackdown on Mr. Morsi’s supporters, Islamists cast by officials as enemies of the state. But as other demonstrations flared, including by non-Islamist activists, police officials dismissed them as the work of conspirators, and spoke confidently about their ability to contain the unrest.

The students, though, have been harder to dismiss, and the forcible response to the protests has drawn more criticism of the police.

The protests intensified after the police were accused of killing a Cairo University student, Mohamed Reda, with birdshot last month. The Interior Ministry has reacted defensively to the charge that its officers are using excessive force.

As Egypt’s leaders struggle to quell the protests, two senior officers spoke about the growing toll on the force.

Friends and relatives on the force have been killed and their police stations have come under attack, they said. They complained that the public did not seem to notice their sacrifices, but they also faulted the military-backed government for relying so heavily on them to resolve its own political confrontations.

Many officers’ families have been torn by the same arguments that divide the rest of society. And relatives have grown increasingly worried for the officers’ safety, after a campaign of attacks by jihadist groups singling out the police and the army.

Those lethal strikes began soon after the security services violently dispersed two Islamist sit-in demonstrations in August, gunning down hundreds of people.

Two weeks later, witnesses said they saw gunmen wearing balaclavas open fire on a small police post on the outskirts of Cairo, killing an officer, as well as a furniture deliveryman who was nearby.

The senior officer stationed in southern Egypt, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media, said men besieged the encampment where he was stationed on the morning the Cairo sit-ins were stormed.

The Interior Ministry had given him no warning about possible retaliation, he said. As he and the 20 officers he commanded were overwhelmed, he called the ministry for help and received none, he said.

“May God be with you,” he quoted an official as saying.

He and his colleagues hid on top of a water tower for a time, and then he took shelter in a home near the base. Since then, he has sent his family back to their hometown, worried for their safety.

“People think we’re robots,” he said. “We have families.”

Another officer, Maj. Haitham Abbas, complained that the entire force had been tarnished by the response to the unrest, giving the example of a colleague who works in a unit that guards tourists:

“They told his son at school: ‘Your father is a murderer. He kills people in the streets,’ ” the officer said. “He probably never even pulled his gun out.”

Major Abbas said his normal duties included securing the Nile, but these days he is frequently asked to respond to protests — “so much that I don’t have time to do my original job, though it’s important.”

“The government must find a legitimate mechanism to change instead of having people march in the streets every time they have a complaint,” he said.




14) African Refugees Protest Detainment in Israel
December 17, 2013

JERUSALEM — Some arrived here on Tuesday in sturdy walking boots donated by local aid organizations; others came less equipped for the leftover snow on the ground, wearing sandals and house slippers.

They held placards bearing slogans like “Refugees but not criminals” and a verse invoking a biblical injunction against oppressing the stranger because “you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

The roughly 200 asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea came to protest their treatment by the Israeli authorities, finishing a two-day journey. On Sunday they left a new “open” detention facility where they were being held in the Negev desert and walked for about six hours to Beersheba, the nearest city. They spent the night in the bus station there and another night at a kibbutz that had agreed to host them. They made the final leg of the journey by bus.

Once in Jerusalem, they gathered outside the Israeli prime minister’s office and marched to the Parliament building.

It was the latest round in the long-running political, legal and emotional struggle of the African migrants and their Israeli supporters against a government that is committed to clamping down on “infiltrators,” the term it uses for those who enter the country surreptitiously.

The protest came after Parliament last week approved an amendment to Israel’s Prevention of Infiltration Law. It allows for the detention of migrants who enter the country illegally for up to a year without trial and allows the state to hold those already in Israel indefinitely in the open detention facility. The amendment replaced previous legislation that allowed for detention without trial for up to three years. Israel’s Supreme Court overturned that law in September, ruling that it violated principles of human dignity and freedom. Local human rights groups have already petitioned the Supreme Court against the new measures.

Named Holot, Hebrew for sands, the remote new facility is open by day and locked at night. But detainees have to be present for roll call three times a day, a provision meant to prevent them from working outside.

A spokeswoman for the Israel Prison Service said 484 detainees were transferred from Saharonim, a detention center in the Negev that is locked day and night, to Holot on Thursday and Friday, but by Monday only 139 remained. Residents who leave the facility for 48 hours or more can be arrested and sent back to Saharonim prison.

One of the demonstrators, Yasir Abdullah Mashin, 26, from western Sudan, said he had spent 16 months in Saharonim and another detention facility before being transferred to Holot on Friday.

“There’s no difference,” he said. “It’s all the same prison. We are refugees; otherwise, we wouldn’t have left Sudan. But how can a refugee be in prison for two years? We thought it was better to do something than nothing.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his government’s policies on Tuesday, saying, “Just as we are determined to protect our borders, we’re determined to enforce the law.”

He added, “The infiltrators who were transferred to the special detainment facility can either stay there or go back to their home countries.”

About 60,000 Africans have entered Israel since 2005, most of them Sudanese or Eritreans who cannot be sent back to their home countries because of the risks, in line with international conventions.

Israel acknowledges that some of the migrants may be genuine refugees from war-torn countries but says most of those who have crossed the border from the Egyptian Sinai are economic migrants seeking work. A mechanism to register legitimate refugees was set up in 2009, but few applications have been processed and approved. Israel recently constructed a fence along the border with Egypt, almost completely halting the influx.

The migrants have formed concentrations in rundown areas like south Tel Aviv, leading to friction with the local population. About four hours after the protesters arrived in Jerusalem, officers from the immigration police put them back on buses, some by force. A spokesman for the immigration department of the Interior Ministry said they were being taken to Saharonim, where they would be reincarcerated.



15)  Suspect in 9/11 Case Is Ejected From a Guantánamo Court After Outbursts
December 17, 2013

FORT MEADE, Md. — A military judge on Tuesday twice expelled Ramzi bin al-Shibh — one of five Guantánamo Bay detainees facing a death penalty trial — from a courtroom at the military base there in Cuba after he disrupted proceedings by shouting about his treatment.

Col. James L. Pohl, the judge presiding over the pretrial military commission hearing, clashed with Mr. bin al-Shibh at the start of both the morning and afternoon sessions. Each time, Mr. bin al-Shibh began loudly complaining about torture instead of answering a question from the judge about whether he understood his rights. He is charged with aiding the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

As guards took him away the second time to watch the hearing on a monitor in a nearby holding cell, Mr. bin al-Shibh’s voice faded from the closed-circuit feed that reporters — some at a media facility on the base, some here at Fort Meade — are allowed to watch. He appeared to be shouting something like “I am not a war criminal; you are a war criminal.”

The outbursts contrasted with the fairly technical arguments debated the rest of the day. Since the five detainees were arraigned in May 2012, after the collapse of the Obama administration’s plan to prosecute them in a federal civilian court, their pretrial hearings have been bogged down in numerous challenges by defense lawyers about the fairness of the tribunal process. Any actual trial remains a distant prospect.

Among other matters, defense lawyers have challenged the decision by the military official who oversees the tribunals to classify the case as a potential death penalty matter. They argue that various obstacles had prevented them from having a meaningful opportunity to persuade him to take the possibility of execution off the table because, they say, the Central Intelligence Agency tortured their clients.

The official, Bruce MacDonald, a retired admiral who has since ended his tenure as the tribunals’ “convening authority,” testified about his decision-making process in February. On Tuesday, defense lawyers argued that two former MacDonald aides should also be required to testify about what they did or did not tell him about C.I.A. torture — and why. But Colonel Pohl, who had already ruled that their testimony was unnecessary, declined to change his mind.

In addition, Walter Ruiz, a reservist Navy commander who represents another of the five defendants, Mustafa al Hawsawi, made a lengthy presentation about problems he had experienced in obtaining a translator and death penalty mitigation specialist with security clearances before Mr. MacDonald made his decision.

But the most vivid events of the day involved Mr. bin al-Shibh, 41, a Yemeni accused of passing money and messages from Al Qaeda to the Sept. 11 hijackers.

At the start of the day, Mr. bin al-Shibh’s lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Bogucki of the Navy, complained that guards had kept his client awake the night before with bangs and clanking sounds. As a result, he argued, his client was groggy and not able to be “meaningfully” present to aid his defense.

Colonel Pohl noted that the government disputed such complaints, and that Commander Bogucki had not made any motion seeking a remedy. After that exchange, Mr. bin al-Shibh declined to address a question from the judge about whether he understood his rights to be present or absent on subsequent days.

While each of the other four defendants, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, answered yes in turn, Mr. bin al-Shibh said, “I totally refuse to answer this question as long as the judge is taking position against me and against my allegations.”

He then started in on a monologue. It was difficult to make out what he was saying on the audio feed, but it included something about “torture” and “a secret C.I.A. prison.”

“Nobody knows about it. Nobody enters it. Nobody sees it,” he said.

When Mr. bin al-Shibh refused requests to quiet down, the judge ordered guards to remove him until the hearing resumed after lunch. A similar scene ensued after the break.

When the detainee was removed the second time, Colonel Pohl told Commander Bogucki that he would not allow Mr. bin al-Shibh to provide other than “yes” or “no” answers because he might divulge classified information.

That explanation called into question Colonel Pohl’s order this week adjusting rules for the protection of classified information. The order has not yet been made public.

But in a statement on Monday, another defense lawyer, James Connell, said the judge had lifted a rule that deemed as classified the “observations and experiences” of the defendants about their time in custody. Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a military spokesman, instead portrayed the order as merely removing a rule that the judge deemed “superfluous,” and warned that “interested observers are well advised to read it prior to opining on what it says and means, the opinions of defense counsel notwithstanding.”


16) Judge Orders Freedom or Retrial for Connecticut Man Jailed Since ’95
December 17, 2013

After spending nearly two decades in prison, a man convicted of a double homicide in New Haven in 1990 was ordered freed by a federal judge, who ruled this week that the prosecution had withheld evidence of his innocence.

The judge, Charles S. Haight Jr., said in his decision on Monday that the man, Scott T. Lewis, was “entitled to federal habeas relief because the state suppressed exculpatory and impeachment evidence.”

Mr. Lewis must be released from the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in South Suffield, Conn., within 60 days unless the state decides to retry him. A spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office said it was reviewing the ruling.

“We’re elated and thankful to God,” said Marlo Lewis, his sister. “We have been dreaming of this day.”

Judge Haight found that Mr. Lewis should have been allowed to present evidence at his trial that the key witness against him was coached by a police detective, Vincent Raucci, who retired in 1996.

The testimony of the witness, Ovil Ruiz, was at the heart of the case against Mr. Lewis and another man, Stefon Morant, who, in a separate trial, was also found guilty of taking part in the murders.

Judge Haight’s ruling dealt only with the Lewis case. But because the convictions of Mr. Lewis and Mr. Morant rested on much the same evidence, it is quite likely that Mr. Morant, too, will challenge his conviction.

In addition to the questions about the veracity of Mr. Ruiz’s testimony, Judge Haight found that the state was wrong to withhold information about a police informer who said that another man had confessed to the crime. The state, Judge Haight wrote, did not even tell the defense that the informer had died before the trial, which might have allowed the defense to introduce an exculpatory police report into evidence.

The case has a long and tangled legal history. Judge Haight’s ruling was based solely on information from previous court proceedings, which include seven separate state court opinions and orders.

Judge Haight did not address whether Mr. Lewis was guilty, only whether he received a fair trial. He did not discuss related information that had emerged outside the courtroom.

Mr. Lewis, along with Mr. Morant, claimed that Mr. Raucci framed them because of their failure to repay a loan, and that he was involved with local drug dealers.

Their charges prompted an inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that started in 1995 and lasted 22 months. The report by the bureau cast doubt on Mr. Raucci’s investigation.

The Justice Department declined to press charges against Mr. Raucci, citing the unsavory nature of many of those who accused him of wrongdoing. But at least one of the cases he investigated as a detective was overturned because of questions about his behavior.

A 1995 conviction of a man for rape was overturned after a judge ruled that the jury should have been told of allegations that Mr. Raucci had “wild sex” with the victim on the same night of the attack. The information, the judge ruled, may have bolstered the defendant’s contention that the sex was consensual.

Two years after Mr. Raucci retired, he was charged with having fraudulently claimed tens of thousands of dollars of overtime pay and was also accused of beating his ex-wife.

He jumped bail, fled to New Mexico and engaged in a four-hour standoff with the police before he was arrested. He pleaded no contest to larceny and domestic abuse and received a suspended sentence.

Judge Haight made no mention of Mr. Raucci’s record. But he wrote that there was enough evidence from previous court proceedings to raise doubts about his investigation.

For 14 years, Mr. Lewis represented himself, focusing on the idea that he was framed. In 2009, a professor at Yale Law School, Brett Dignam, took up his case. Professor Dignam, who is now at Columbia Law School, was assisted by students from both schools. A team of eight students joined her in presenting evidence and questioning witnesses during a June hearing before Judge Haight.

The case began in the early morning hours of Oct. 11, 1990, when a former New Haven alderman turned drug dealer, Ricardo Turner, and a man with him, Lamont Fields, were shot and killed. Three months later, in January, Mr. Ruiz made his first statements to the police implicating Mr. Lewis and Mr. Morant. Mr. Raucci led the interrogation.

Mr. Lewis was arrested in 1991 but did not go to trial until 1995. He was sentenced to 120 years in prison. But the defense was not told that another police officer, Detective Michael Sweeney, was present during part of the questioning and cast doubt on the credibility of Mr. Ruiz.

“During the course of these interactions, as described by Sweeney in his testimony, Sweeney heard Ruiz deny three times, in the manner of St. Peter in a different context, any knowledge of the Turner-Field murders,” Judge Haight wrote, “only to emerge after being closeted with Raucci as the state’s key fact witness against Lewis and Morant.”

Professor Dignam said that over the years, as Mr. Lewis led his own defense, he learned how powerful the law could be. Until Monday, that power had mostly worked against him. At one point, he asked her about the works of Kafka.

“Has he had times when he has been dispirited?” she said. “Of course.” But, she added: “He had a very strong view of how he wanted to proceed. He wanted out.”

Jack Begg contributed research.



17) After Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Bleak Struggle for Survivors
"Other companies have so far refused to participate in a long-term compensation package, including all of the American brands..."
December 18, 2013

SAVAR, Bangladesh — Inside the single room he shares with his wife and young child, Hasan Mahmud Forkan does not sleep easily. Some nights he hears the screams of the garment workers he tried to rescue from the wreckage of the Rana Plaza factory building. Or he dreams the bed itself is collapsing, sucking him down into a bottomless void.

A few miles away, at a rehabilitation center for the disabled, Rehana Khatun is learning to walk again. She lost both legs in the Rana Plaza collapse and worries that she is not improving because her prosthetic replacements are bulky and uncomfortable. She is only 20 and once hoped to save money so she could return to her village and pay for her own wedding.

“No, I don’t have that dream anymore,” she said, with a cold pragmatism more than self-pity. “How can I take care of a family?”

Eight months ago, the collapse of Rana Plaza became the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry, and many of the survivors still face an uncertain future. The shoddily constructed building pancaked down onto workers stitching clothes for global brands like Children’s Place, Benetton, C & A, Primark and many others. Workers earning as little as $38 a month were crushed under tons of falling concrete and steel. More than 1,100 people died and many others were injured or maimed.

But while the Rana Plaza disaster stirred an international outcry — and shamed many international clothing companies into pledging to help finance safety improvements in other Bangladeshi factories — the people most directly affected are still living without any guarantees of help or financial compensation.

Families who lost the wages of a son or daughter, husband or wife, are struggling.

Those who lost limbs, like Ms. Khatun, are uncertain if they will ever walk or hold things again. And many volunteer rescuers like Mr. Forkan and survivors are struggling to deal with debilitating emotional scars.

Today, Rana Plaza no longer exists. It is a gaping hole in a busy commercial street, mostly cleared of rubble, where rainwater has pooled into a small black lake. But the vacant space still exerts the potency of memory and loss. Banners demanding justice face the street. Sit-ins or small protests are sometimes held. Leftist parties have built a crude statue of a hammer and sickle.

There are also people, often hovering near the periphery, clutching official documents, proof of their loss, evidence of their claims for compensation. In a poor country like Bangladesh, a job in a garment factory, despite the low wages, is a financial toehold for many families. A daughter is sent to work to support her parents, or to pay to school her siblings.

Now it is the parents or siblings who come to the Rana Plaza site, trying to get attention and, they hope, financial assistance.

“We are a poor family,” said Monju Ara, 40, whose daughter Smriti, 17, died while working on the third floor of Rana Plaza. “That is why my daughter had to start work. Her wages helped us educate our younger children. Now we had to stop educating them.”

Ms. Monju Ara stood in a dirt alleyway beside the Rana Plaza site on a recent afternoon, as others soon appeared. One girl, Rahima, 9, was still carrying a “missing” poster for her brother. Another child, Smriti Mahmuda, 7, had lost her father, and her 15-year-old brother had taken a job in an embroidery factory to support the family. A rickshaw driver with the single name of Alauddin, 43, is now struggling to support his young daughter after his wife died in Rana Plaza.

“They always say I will get compensation,” he said, “but they don’t say when.”

Compensation remains a complicated and contested issue. Bangladesh’s government has made some modest short-term compensation payments to some victims. Families were given a one-time payment of $257 when they collected the body of a relative in the days after the collapse, and the government has established annuities for survivors who lost limbs — Ms. Khatun gets about $206 a month in interest, more than most others.

But much of the money donated to the government for the survivors and the families of the dead has not been released. Many of these claimants have been told that full compensation packages will be provided after the process of identifying all the dead is completed. A special committee appointed by the Bangladesh High Court has suggested individual compensation packages of roughly $25,000; lobbyists for factory owners are proposing a far lower figure. The final decision is expected to rest with the high court.

For now, most of the short-term compensation has come from the British chain Primark, which has been paying salaries for survivors and families of those who died. More recently, Loblaw, a Canadian retailer, announced that it, too, would step in to help with compensation.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the powerful industry trade group, has also provided compensation, according to some survivors who received a few months’ salary.

But the long-term picture remains muddled. Other companies have so far refused to participate in a long-term compensation package, including all of the American brands, but for many Rana Plaza survivors, the short-term compensation is already running out. Shukrani, who survived the collapse but lost a daughter, who was working on a different floor, is almost out of money.

“My other daughter had appendicitis,” she said. “I had to spend part of my money for her operation. Now I don’t know how I’ll survive.”

Down the road from Rana Plaza, at the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed, Ms. Khatun and others spend their mornings trying to learn how to walk or hold a pen with prosthetics. The nonprofit organization has a long history of helping the disabled and is now helping several Rana Plaza survivors learn how to use the prosthetics provided by another donor.

But the prosthetics are a problem: One man, Saddam Hossain, 27, who was a salesman in a building adjacent to Rana Plaza, lost his right arm. He had been studying for a graduate degree in economics and, after his amputation, still took the test in June, with someone else writing his answers for him. Now he is trying to adjust to his mechanical prosthetic arm, which is clumsier than Western models.

“I’m an educated man,” he said. “I want to do a job.”

Ms. Khatun is grateful for her prosthetic legs but is also struggling with them. She has practiced for two months but finds them painful. Her legs were amputated above the knee, making it more difficult. She will need walking sticks, and she has decided to leave the chaos of the city and return to her village. There, though, the roads are muddy and difficult to traverse.

She had left the village after her mother tried to arrange her marriage. The cost of a wedding would have bankrupted her family, so she came to Savar and found work in Rana Plaza. She thought she could save up to pay for her own wedding and also educate her younger brothers.

“I dreamed that I could see my mother smiling,” she said. “Now it is meaningless to talk about what my dreams are. I cannot lead a life like normal people. I will have an unusual, different life.”

Before the Rana Plaza disaster, many of the workers were already living on the margins. Few had much education and most struggled to get by on the low wages. They were not qualified to do much else but work in a sewing factory. But now, for many, merely stepping back into a factory incites anxiety.

Mohammad Ujjal Hossain, 30, spent three days trapped under a wall of fallen concrete. When rescuers found him, he handed them his cellphone and told them to call his mother to tell her he was alive.

“Now, I’m not doing anything,” he said.

“I went to a factory to work as a line chief. I worked for a day, but I was filled with fear when I was inside the building. I worried that this building would also collapse. I quit after that day.”

And of all those whose lives are now entwined with Rana Plaza, it is the volunteer rescuers, ordinary people who rushed forward in a crisis, who have received no financial help at all. Mr. Forkan, 37, spent three weeks helping firefighters and soldiers pull bodies out of the rubble. He crawled into the wreckage and freed one woman by cutting an iron rod that pierced deep into her leg.

But when it was over, Mr. Forkan found it difficult to return to his ordinary life.

He is an electrician and regularly works in dangerous situations. But he finds it difficult to concentrate. He deliberately avoids the Rana Plaza site, detouring around it, and his wife often has to wake him when he shouts in his sleep.

“We need proper treatment to return to a normal life,” he said, expressing concern about what would happen to his family if he could no longer work. “This is my only way to earn money.”

Julfikar Ali Manik contributed reporting.



18) Turn Off the Data Vacuum
December 18, 2013

In the days after one of the biggest national security leaks in United States history revealed the existence of vast, largely unchecked government surveillance programs, President Obama said he would “welcome” a robust national debate over the appropriate balance between protecting national security and respecting individual privacy and civil liberties.

The answer has now landed squarely on Mr. Obama’s desk, with the release late Wednesday afternoon of a remarkably thorough and well-reasoned report calling on the government to end its bulk phone-data collection program and to increase both the transparency and accountability of surveillance programs going forward.

The 300-plus-page report was written by a five-member advisory panel of intelligence and legal experts that was commissioned by the president himself and made 46 recommendations for reform. The recommendations demonstrate how far afield the National Security Agency has wandered in its zeal to vacuum up the phone and Internet data of virtually every American, not to mention world leaders and other non-American citizens.

They also show the lack of regard for the Constitution that has led those efforts, and the virtual absence of supervision and restraint by Mr. Obama and his predecessor, President George W. Bush.

The most far-reaching recommendations are also the most common sense. For example, the report calls for legislation requiring the government to meet a higher standard before it can order a company to turn over private customer records. As it stands, the law puts “extremely broad discretion in the hands of government officials,” the report said.

It also calls for an end to the government’s mass storage of those records, recommending that they be kept by the companies themselves or a private third party in order to prevent government abuse. Otherwise, the report warns, “high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking.”

“Americans must never make the mistake of wholly ‘trusting’ our public officials,” the authors write.

Among its many other important recommendations, the report singles out the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose judges hear arguments in secret from the government alone, with no opposition, and issue classified rulings on significant constitutional issues. The panel said Congress should establish an advocate to argue in those hearings for the privacy and civil liberties interests of the public. And the selection of the court’s judges, which now resides solely in the hands of the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts Jr., should be divided among all the justices of the Supreme Court.

Perhaps most damning of all, the report calls into doubt the central justification for the surveillance dragnet: preventing terrorism. Echoing the finding of a federal judge who ruled on Monday that the phone-data collection program was probably unconstitutional, the report said the data sweep “was not essential to preventing attacks.”

The surveillance programs began before Mr. Obama’s presidency, but he allowed them to continue and grow in unprecedented ways. Lately, he has expressed an openness to reforming the programs themselves and the operations of the intelligence court. One important step would be to support legislation in Congress that would achieve many of the panel’s goals, and codify them to restrain future presidents. But Mr. Obama need not wait for Congress to act to implement the reforms he said he wants. He can quickly adopt his panel’s recommendation and end the ineffective and constitutionally dangerous dragnet surveillance.



19) In Death Penalty’s Steady Decline, Some Experts See a Societal Shift
December 19, 2013

The death penalty in the United States continued its pattern of broad decline in 2013, with experts attributing the low numbers to a critical shortage of drugs used for lethal injection, increasing public concern over judicial mistakes and the expense of capital cases, and a growing preference for life without parole.

Eighty death sentences were imposed by American courts this year, compared with a peak of 315 in 1994, and 39 executions took place, compared with 98 in 1999, according to an annual accounting released on Thursday by the Death Penalty Information Center, a private group in Washington.

“A societal shift is underway,” said Richard Dieter, the executive director of the information center, which opposes capital punishment.

In May, Maryland became the sixth state in the last six years to abolish the death penalty, leaving 32 states with capital punishment on the books. But for the second straight year, only nine states put prisoners to death.

Douglas A. Berman, an expert on criminal sentencing at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, said a significant retrenchment in the use of the death penalty was taking place, but also noted that “a majority of states and people still favor using it for the most serious crimes.”

Texas, long the nation’s leader in executions, provides strong evidence of a dwindling role for capital punishment. The state carried out 16 executions this year — still the most of any state, but far below the record 40 that it carried out in 2000.

Texas courts sentenced nine defendants to die this year, fewer than the number it executed. It was the sixth year in a row in which fewer than 10 new death sentences were handed down.

Legislatures in Texas and other states have adopted life without parole for severe offenders, which Mr. Berman called “the single most important factor in the decline in the death penalty in the last 15 years.”

Prosecutors, judges and victims are less likely to demand execution when they know that violent criminals will die in prison, especially in the face of the expense and delays involved in capital cases, Mr. Berman said. But he added that civil rights groups now argue that life sentences are imposed too readily on nonviolent offenders as well.

Tangled legal battles over acceptable methods of lethal injection have blocked executions in Arkansas, California and North Carolina for more than seven years. Throughout the country, the issue has been further complicated by shortages of some drugs after European and American manufacturers stopped providing them for executions.

Some states like Ohio and Texas have turned to lightly regulated “compounding pharmacies” to obtain needed drugs. Others, including Florida, propose using new combinations or single-drug protocols, but these plans are in many cases under court scrutiny.

In terms of the future of capital punishment, California may be the biggest unknown. Tied up with legal challenges and the litigation on injection protocols, the state now has 731 prisoners on death row, including some who have been there for three decades.

In 2012, California voters rejected by 52 percent to 48 percent a proposal to end the death penalty and give life without parole to those on death row. But they have also elected a governor, Jerry Brown, who opposes capital punishment. Sorting out the lethal injection protocol may still take years, some experts say. But California courts are still meting out death sentences — 24 this year, more than any other state.



20) State Dept. Warns of New Terrorist Group Posing Threat to U.S. Interests in Africa
December 18, 2013

WASHINGTON — The State Department warned Wednesday that a new terrorist group linked to an Algerian militant has emerged as “the greatest near-term threat to U.S. and Western interests” in the Sahel region of Africa. The State Department’s move underscored the resilience of the militant factions and their ability to forge new terrorist alliances, even in the face of Western pressure.

“We are seeing a dangerous mutation of the threat,” said Bruce Hoffman, an expert on terrorism at Georgetown University. “Splinters can become even more consequential than their parent organization.”

The source of much of the concern is Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an Algerian militant who has long been a notorious figure in the Sahel region — a vast area on the southern flank of the Sahara that stretches from Senegal to Chad — and who appears to have become more dangerous even as his ties to Al Qaeda seem to have become more tenuous. Known as Laaouar, or the one-eyed, after losing an eye to shrapnel, Mr. Belmokhtar fought against a Soviet-installed government in Afghanistan.

After returning to Algeria in the 1990s, he joined a militant Algerian group and took refuge in Mali, where he was involved in smuggling and kidnapping for ransom, including the abduction of a Canadian diplomat in 2008.

Mr. Belmokhtar became a leading figure in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or A.Q.I.M., the Qaeda affiliate in North Africa.

But in 2012, he split with the group to lead the Al Mulathameen Battalion, which was officially designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department on Wednesday.

“The finding reflects the fact that the terrorist groups in the region are in flux, although certain individuals remain constant,” said Michael R. Shurkin, a former C.I.A. analyst who is now at the RAND Corporation.

Since breaking with the Qaeda affiliate, Mr. Belmokhtar has shown a penchant for carrying out headline-grabbing attacks against Western interests.

“He is a more adventurous, perhaps even more reckless operator than the A.Q.I.M. leadership has shown itself to be,” said Daniel Benjamin, the former senior counterterrorism official at the State Department who is now a scholar at Dartmouth College. “And that translates into a threat.”

In January, Mr. Belmokhtar led the attack on a gas plant in Algeria that resulted in the death of 38 civilians, including three Americans. Four months later, his group joined with a Western African terrorist faction — the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa — to carry out attacks in Niger that killed at least 20 people, the State Department said.

In August, Mr. Belmokhtar’s faction and the West African extremists announced that they were joining to establish yet another group: Al Murabitoun.

The new terrorist group, a State Department official said, “concerns us more than any in the region.”

Even before joining with Mr. Belmokhtar’s organization, the West African group was a concern in its own right: It participated in the push toward Bamako, Mali’s capital, which led to the French intervention in January.

Designating Mr. Belmokhtar’s faction as a foreign terrorist group allows the United States to take legal action against it, such as arresting individuals in the United States who provide “material support” and seizing assets in American-based banks. It does not authorize military action, but it is a useful form of diplomatic pressure on other nations to take steps to crack down on the group and its supporters.

The Obama administration has not always seemed to be of one mind on how aggressively to pursue Mr. Belmokhtar, especially when it comes to considering military action or providing intelligence to Algeria or other nations that would enable them to take such action.

Mr. Belmokhtar’s precise whereabouts is not known, though he and his group are believed to operate in Libya, southern Algeria and northern Mali.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from New York.




























































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

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

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

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

—Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq.
   October 25, 2013

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





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

Call: (913) 758-3600

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

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

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

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

Call: (913) 758-3600

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

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

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

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

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

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610




Please sign the NEW petition for Lynne Stewart.

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

Free Lynne Stewart: Support Compassionate Release

Free Lynne Stewart: Support Compassionate Release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

or via:

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

Write and call:

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

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

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

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

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


Kimberly Rivera

Imprisoned pregnant resister seeks early release for birth

  • 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:

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




Two campaigns that need funds – Please donate!

Cartoon by Anthonty Mata for CCSF Guardsman

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-End long-term solitary confinement

-Provide adequate and nutritious food

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

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

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


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


Wealth Inequality in America

[This is a must see to believe]



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

March 1, 2013


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



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

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

For more information, go to

Write to Lynne Stewart at:

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



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

Posted 1 day ago on July 27, 2012, 10:28 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Occupy Wall Street is a nonviolent movement for social and economic justice, but in recent days disturbing reports have emerged of Occupy-affiliated activists being targeted by US law enforcement, including agents from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. To help ensure Occupiers and allied activists know their rights when encountering law enforcement, we are publishing in full the National Lawyers Guild's booklet: You Have the Right to Remain Silent. The NLG provides invaluable support to the Occupy movement and other activists – please click here to support the NLG.

We strongly encourage all Occupiers to read and share the information provided below. We also recommend you enter the NLG's national hotline number (888-654-3265) into your cellphone (if you have one) and keep a copy handy. This information is not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact the NLG or a criminal defense attorney immediately if you have been visited by the FBI or other law enforcement officials. You should also alert your relatives, friends, co-workers and others so that they will be prepared if they are contacted as well.

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

What Rights Do I Have?

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

Standing Up For Free Speech

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

What if FBI Agents or Police Contact Me?

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

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

Do I have to answer questions?

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

Do I have to give my name?

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

Do I need a lawyer?

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

If I refuse to answer questions or say I want a lawyer, won't it seem like I have something to hide?

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

Can agents search my home or office?

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

What if agents have a search warrant?

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

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

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

What if I speak to government agents anyway?

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

What if the police stop me on the street?

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

What if police or agents stop me in my car?

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

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

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

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

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

What if I receive a grand jury subpoena?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can I call my consulate if I am arrested?

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

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

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

What should I do if I want to contact DHS?

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

What Are My Rights at Airports?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What If I Am Under 18?

Do I have to answer questions?

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

What if I am detained?

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

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

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

Can my backpack or locker be searched?

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


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

NLG National Hotline for Activists Contacted by the FBI





Free Mumia NOW!

Write to Mumia:

Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335

SCI Mahanoy

301 Morea Road

Frackville, PA 17932

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rachel Wolkenstein

August 21, 2011 (917) 689-4009






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

Censorship" book



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

state prisons must end

Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:\







Write to Bradley

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

I am Bradley Manning

Courage to Resist

484 Lake Park Ave. #41

Oakland, CA 94610


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

Bradley Manning 89289

830 Sabalu Road

Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

The receptionist at the military barracks confirmed that if someone sends

Bradley Manning a letter to that address, it will be delivered to him."

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


Courage to Resist needs your support

Please donate today:

"Soldiers sworn oath is to defend and support the Constitution. Bradley Manning

has been defending and supporting our Constitution." --Dan Ellsberg, Pentagon

Papers whistle-blower

Jeff Paterson

Project Director, Courage to Resist

First US military service member to refuse to fight in Iraq

Please donate today.

P.S. I'm asking that you consider a contribution of $50 or more, or possibly

becoming a sustainer at $15 a month. Of course, now is also a perfect time to

make a end of year tax-deductible donation. Thanks again for your support!

Please click here to forward this to a friend who might also be interested in

supporting GI resisters.



The Battle Is Still On To


The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610




Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper

Chronicle Editorial

Monday, December 13, 2010

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

death row!


- From Amnesty International USA

17 December 2010

Click here to take action online:\


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

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



Short Video About Al-Awda's Work

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

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

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

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

over the past nine years.


Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

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

support to carry out its work.

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

and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!











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








Exceptional art from the streets of Oakland:

Oakland Street Dancing




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


Fukushima Never Again

"Fukushima, Never Again" tells the story of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns in north east Japan in March of 2011 and exposes the cover-up by Tepco and the Japanese government.

This is the first film that interviews the Mothers Of Fukushima, nuclear power experts and trade unionists who are fighting for justice and the protection of the children and the people of Japan and the world. The residents and citizens were forced to buy their own geiger counters and radiation dosimeters in order to test their communities to find out if they were in danger.

The government said contaminated soil in children's school grounds was safe and then

when the people found out it was contaminated and removed the top soil, the government and TEPCO refused to remove it from the school grounds.

It also relays how the nuclear energy program for "peaceful atoms" was brought to Japan under the auspices of the US military occupation and also the criminal cover-up of the safety dangers of the plant by TEPCO and GE management which built the plant in Fukushima. It also interviews Kei Sugaoka, the GE nulcear plant inspector from the bay area who exposed cover-ups in the safety at the Fukushima plant and was retaliated against by GE. This documentary allows the voices of the people and workers to speak out about the reality of the disaster and what this means not only for the people of Japan but the people of the world as the US government and nuclear industry continue to push for more new plants and government subsidies. This film breaks

the information blockade story line of the corporate media in Japan, the US and around the world that Fukushima is over.

Production Of Labor Video Project

P.O. Box 720027

San Francisco, CA 94172

For information on obtaining the video go to:



1000 year of war through the world


Anatomy of a Massacre - Afganistan

Afghans accuse multiple soldiers of pre-meditated murder

To see more go to

Follow us on Facebook ( or Twitter


The recent massacre of 17 civilians by a rogue US soldier has been shrouded in

mystery. But through unprecedented access to those involved, this report

confronts the accusations that Bales didn't act alone.

"They came into my room and they killed my family". Stories like this are common

amongst the survivors in Aklozai and Najiban. As are the shocking accusations

that Sergeant Bales was not acting alone. Even President Karzai has announced

"one man can not do that". Chief investigator, General Karimi, is suspicious

that despite being fully armed, Bales freely left his base without raising

alarm. "How come he leaves at night and nobody is aware? Every time we have

weapon accountability and personal accountability." These are just a few of the

questions the American army and government are yet to answer. One thing however

is very clear, the massacre has unleashed a wave of grief and outrage which

means relations in Kandahar will be tense for years to come: "If I could lay my

hands on those infidels, I would rip them apart with my bare hands."

A Film By SBS

Distributed By Journeyman Pictures

April 2012


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


SPD Security Cams.wmv


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

Terror Drills


Private prisons,

a recession resistant investment opportunity


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

"Thought Crimes"


Common forms of misconduct by Law Enforcement Officials and Prosecutors


Organizing and Instigating: OCCUPY - Ronnie Goodman


Rep News 12: Yes We Kony


The New Black by The Mavrix - Official Music Video


Japan One Year Later


The CIA's Heart Attack Gun\



The Invisible American Workforce


Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment

For more detailed information, send us a request at


The Battle of Oakland

by brandon jourdan plus


Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces


February 1, 2012, 10:56 am\



This is excellent! Michelle Alexander pulls no punches!

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


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

and Brown people in the United States.

If you think Bill Clinton was "the first black President" you need to watch this

video and see how much damage his administration caused for the black community

as a result of his get tough attitude on crime that appealed to white swing


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




I received the following reply from the White House November 18, 2011 regarding

the Bradley Manning petition I signed:

"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning

"Thank you for signing the petition 'Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused

WikiLeaks whistleblower.' We appreciate your participation in the We the People

platform on

The We the People Terms of Participation explain that 'the White House may

decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or

similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or

agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.' The military justice

system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of

Military Justice. Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the

specific case raised in this petition...

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



"He broke the law!" says Obama about Bradley Manning who has yet to even be

charged, let alone, gone to trial and found guilty. How horrendous is it for the

President to declare someone guilty before going to trial or being charged with

a crime! Justice in the U.S.A.!

Obama on FREE BRADLEY MANNING protest... San Francisco, CA. April 21, 2011-

Presidential remarks on interrupt/interaction/performance art happening at

fundraiser. Logan Price queries Barack after org. FRESH JUICE PARTY political


Release Bradley Manning

Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)

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


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks


School police increasingly arresting American students?



Nuclear Detonation Timeline "1945-1998"

The 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are

plotted visually and audibly on a world map.


We Are the 99 Percent

We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to

choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are

suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay

and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1

percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

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


We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools



In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the 44-Day Flint Michigan sit-down strike at

GM that began December 30, 1936:

According to Michael Moore, (Although he has done some good things, this clip

isn't one of them) in this clip from his film, "Capitalism a Love Story," it was

Roosevelt who saved the day!):

"After a bloody battle one evening, the Governor of Michigan, with the support

of the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, sent in the National

Guard. But the guns and the soldiers weren't used on the workers; they were

pointed at the police and the hired goons warning them to leave these workers

alone. For Mr. Roosevelt believed that the men inside had a right to a redress

of their grievances." -Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story'

- Flint Sit-Down Strike

But those cannons were not aimed at the goons and cops! They were aimed straight

at the factory filled with strikers! Watch what REALLY happened and how the

strike was really won!

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



HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov




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

Uploaded by laborvideo on Dec 13, 2011

ILWU Local 10 longshore workers speak out during a blockade of the Port of

Oakland called for by Occupy Oakland. Anthony Levieges and Clarence Thomas rank

and file members of the union. The action took place on December 12, 2011 and

the interview took place at Pier 30 on the Oakland docks.

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

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

Production of Labor Video Project


UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

19 November 11\


UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed


Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis


UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car!

Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed




Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland


Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs


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


Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest

were actually undercover Quebec police officers:

POLICE STATE Criminal Cops EXPOSED As Agent Provocateurs @ SPP Protest


Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail



Occupy Oakland Protest

Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland

Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police

Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES

KTVU TV Video of Police violence

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


Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland

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


Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share


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

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


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

Egypt's Tahrir Square Speaks at Washington Square!


#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street

By adele pham


Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change




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

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


Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)

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


Labor Beat: Labor Stands with Subpoenaed Activists Against FBI Raids and Grand

Jury Investigation of antiwar and social justice activists.

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

"Investigate the Billionaires...Full investigation into Wall Street..." Jesse

Sharkey, Vice

President, Chicago Teachers Union


Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale



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