Wednesday, December 11, 2013


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 



Make a donation today:



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) Wanted: More Unemployment
"The number of people that the government counted as unemployed fell by 348,000, driving the unemployment rate from 7.2 percent to 7.0 percent. But the number of people with jobs only increased by 83,000. In other words, for every person who found a job between September and November, three other people stopped looking."
December 6, 2013 
3) Pushed Out of a Job Early
December 6, 2013 
December 6, 2013

6) Alaska’s Thin Line Between Camping and Homelessness
December 7, 2013 

7) In Cuba’s Press, Streets and Living Rooms, Glimmers of Openness to Criticism
December 7, 2013 

8) Delbert Tibbs, Who Left Death Row and Fought Against It, Dies at 74
December 7, 2013

9) Spies’ Dragnet Reaches a Playing Field of Elves and Trolls
December 9, 2013

10) With Rental Demand Soaring, Poor Are Feeling Squeezed
"The problem is national, and particularly acute among the working poor. The number of renters with very low incomes — less than 30 percent of the local median income, or about $19,000 nationally — surged by 3 million to 11.8 million between 2001 and 2011, according to a report released Monday by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. But the number of affordable rentals available to those households held steady at about 7 million. And by 2011, about 2.6 million of those rentals were occupied by higher-income households. As a result, the share of renters paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing jumped to 50 percent in 2010 from 38 percent in 2000. For renters with incomes of less than $15,000 a year, 83 percent pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent"
December 9, 2013 

11) New York City Subpoenas Secret Tapes by Police Officer
December 9, 2013

12) Exercise as Potent Medicine
December 10, 2013 
December 10, 2013 
December 11, 2013

16) Study Finds Federal Contracts Given to Flagrant Violators of Labor Laws
December 10, 2013 
17) Worker Deaths Raise Questions at an Apple Contractor in China
"Apple’s supplier responsibility statement bars employees of supplier companies in China from working more than 60 hours a week; so does Chinese law. But Mr. Shi worked 79 hours in his first week, 77 in his second and 75 in his third, according to documents provided by his family"
December 11, 2013 










1) Wanted: More Unemployment
"The number of people that the government counted as unemployed fell by 348,000, driving the unemployment rate from 7.2 percent to 7.0 percent. But the number of people with jobs only increased by 83,000. In other words, for every person who found a job between September and November, three other people stopped looking."

It is bad news for the American economy that the unemployment rate fell in November. Yes, you read that correctly: We need higher unemployment.

As I’ve noted repeatedly in recent months, the unemployment rate is an odd measuring stick for the health of the labor market. It basically tells us how many people are looking for work. It falls when people get jobs, which is good. But it also falls when people stop looking for work, which of course is not so good.

In recent years a lot of people have given up on looking for work. As a result, the unemployment rate has gradually declined from 10 percent to 7 percent even as the share of American adults who are working has remained basically steady.

It’s easier to see the trends if you skip over the government’s wacky data for the month of October, and compare November with September. The number of people that the government counted as unemployed fell by 348,000, driving the unemployment rate from 7.2 percent to 7.0 percent. But the number of people with jobs only increased by 83,000. In other words, for every person who found a job between September and November, three other people stopped looking.

Explanations for this problem fall into two categories, both depressing.

The first school holds that the economy is broken: We have entered an era of “secular stagnation.” We must resign ourselves to a smaller work force.

The second school holds that the government is broken. There are steps we could take to grow faster but, for the most part, we are doing the opposite.

This sounds more promising, but some subscribers to the second school add an important caveat. They warn that as time passes, problems that could have been fixed calcify into enduring realities. People who might have returned to the work force fall back on disability benefits, or simply begin to lose necessary skills.

One of the most striking examples of this phenomenon is a 2008 Swedish study that found unemployed people experienced a gradual deterioration in literacy.

So these explanations may, in time, converge. The economy will have suffered permanent damage. But there will at least be the comfort of knowing the unemployment rate, once again, is an accurate measure of what’s possible.



2) Displaced by Hurricane Sandy and Living in Limbo, Instead of at Home
By and
December 6, 2013

LONG BEACH, N.Y. — For Kathryn Fitzgerald and her young daughter, Megan, home was a modest three-bedroom house here, on a tightly packed segment of Delaware Avenue two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. That was the only home that Megan had ever known, until Hurricane Sandy hit and a rank mixture of floodwater and untreated sewage rose to chest-high in the lower level of the house.

Since then, they have lived in rental apartments and Megan, now 9, attended an unfamiliar school in another town for a while as her mother appealed for enough aid to rebuild the life they had.

When inspectors arrived at Ms. Fitzgerald’s house in November 2012, they pronounced her house “substantially damaged,” meaning that more than half of its value had been destroyed overnight. But her homeowner’s insurance policy did not cover flood damage.

She had a federally subsidized flood insurance policy, but the company that wrote it offered her just $71,000. She appealed, arguing that her three-bedroom house had been worth more than double that, but her appeal was denied. She appealed again, and was again denied.

Lacking the wherewithal to start overhauling her house and believing that it was too vulnerable to another big storm, Ms. Fitzgerald paid $11,500 to have it torn down. Now she owns a sandlot surrounded by a fence bearing a sign that warns against trespassing.

“This has been a horrendously hard year for me,” she said. “If I don’t think of this in a way that is going to relieve the anger and upset, then I’ll just go back to crying every day.”

More than a year after one of the country’s largest-ever disaster recovery efforts began, Ms. Fitzgerald is among the more than 30,000 residents of New York and New Jersey who remain displaced by the storm, mired in a bureaucratic and financial limbo.

Imposing on relatives and draining their savings while pleading for assistance from a dizzying array of government agencies, they say they fear they will never get home.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it had provided $1.4 billion in direct aid to victims of the storm and $7.9 billion in flood insurance payouts, and that the Small Business Administration had made $2.4 billion in low-interest loans to homeowners and businesses. What it did not announce was that less than half of the people who sought emergency money received any, as an analysis by The New York Times of FEMA data shows, or that in many cases flood insurance covered only a fraction of the losses.

According to the analysis by The Times, in the areas in and around New York City that were hit hardest by the storm, almost half of the people who received assistance from FEMA got less than $5,000. Most of that money was intended to cover housing and other emergency costs immediately after the storm.

Hurricane Sandy was a storm like no other in the history of New York. It left more than 100 people dead and caused enormous structural damage that will take years to repair.

FEMA has received claims for nearly 16 million square feet of drywall, 56,000 furnaces and water heaters and enough paint to cover 43 million square feet.

But the most the agency gave in “individual assistance” to any single homeowner was about $36,000. The agency’s representatives instructed homeowners to file claims on their flood insurance policies, if they had one, and to apply for loans from the Small Business Administration, if they qualified. But as those first, small installments ran out, the frustration of negotiating with insurers added to the stress of being displaced.

“I think flood insurance underpayments is the single biggest reason for why the rebuilding hasn’t really taken off,” said Benjamin R. Rajotte, director of the Disaster Relief Clinic at the Touro Law Center in Central Islip, N.Y. “Frequently, people are coming in saying they received half or less of what it would take to rebuild their house, not even to raise them up but just to rebuild.”

Officials at FEMA, which oversees the national flood insurance program, said that adjusters had incentive to cover all eligible losses, but that some policyholders might be disappointed at receiving money for what things were worth, rather than what it would cost to replace them. Those with complaints may appeal the decisions.

Many residents of the region were also surprised to have claims denied for damage to the foundations of their houses because the damage was deemed to have resulted from “earth movement,” not storm flooding.

Some of those displaced, like Rochelle Grubb of Far Rockaway, Queens, had no insurance at all against a flood.

Ms. Grubb, 41, a special-needs teacher at Public School 256 in Queens, had allowed her flood insurance to lapse before her house on Beach 101st Street was inundated by the fast-rising water.

In early December, she said she had been tutoring and her husband, Timothy, had been working overtime to come up with the $270,000 they estimated it would cost them to rebuild.

They said they expected it would be more than a year before they could return to their house, but they do have flood insurance now. Ms. Grubb said she had to buy it to qualify for a $135,000 loan she received from the Small Business Administration.

“It’s 101 Street but we all called it One Hundred and Fun Street,” she said, referring to her close-knit neighbors. “Now when we see each other, we’d just hug and cry. And we’re like, when, when, when?”

‘Too Much Red Tape’

FEMA officials say that their primary goal is to provide emergency aid in the days and weeks after a disaster strikes — the first splash of what is known in Washington as the cascade of federal assistance.

The process of obtaining full compensation for losses is designed to involve several steps and to frustrate efforts to take unfair advantage, as some were accused of doing after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, government officials say.

Standing beside Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in Manhattan in late October, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that more care was being taken to minimize fraud. “We’re not just sending checks willy-nilly,” he said.

The biggest chunks of federal aid for residents come not from FEMA but from HUD, which received $16 billion from Congress to dole out in grants to state and local agencies. That money was part of a total federal allocation of about $60 billion in recovery money.

So far, New York City and the States of New York and New Jersey have received more than $10.2 billion of that money. But they have handed out only a small fraction of it.

By the anniversary of the storm on Oct. 29, New Jersey had spent about $230 million of its grants, but New York City and New York State had made very few payments through their rebuilding programs, known as Build it Back in the city and New York Rising on Long Island.

Robert Smith, 64, a retired New York Police Department detective, said he had nearly given up hope on receiving enough money to rebuild the cottage he shared with his wife in the Broad Channel section of Queens. “FEMA has been totally insensitive to what I consider our basic needs,” said Mr. Smith, who has been living with his wife in their cabin upstate.

As for the Build It Back program, he said he had talked to dozens of homeowners in Broad Channel and none had received any money from that program. “It’s close to 15 months later and the only thing we’re getting is a bureaucracy and promises,” Mr. Smith said. “I want nothing more than to go back to live in Queens, or buy me out.”

Caswell F. Holloway IV, the deputy mayor overseeing Build It Back, said city officials waited until HUD had made its second allocation to the program before telling applicants how much they might receive.

The state’s New York Rising program kicked into high gear this October, sending out 4,200 letters that promised $450 million to homeowners and families on Long Island. A second mass-mailing, in November, promised payments to an additional 350 recipients.

In late October, the announcement of the latest portion of federal money spurred Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York to declare that “the aid spigot is now open, money will be flowing.” He conceded that “in Year 1, we all agree, the aid flowed too slowly” and said that there was “too much red tape.”

Only a few of those payments have been made so far, but state officials said on Friday that they had asked HUD to allow them to send more than $650 million directly to 6,666 homeowners before the end of the year.

Garrett J. Kaiser, a heavy equipment operator who lives with his wife and two children in Patchogue on Long Island, became one of the first beneficiaries of the state’s program this week.

Mr. Kaiser, 37, and his family lived for months in a camping trailer in their next-door neighbors’ driveway after the nearby bay rose up and filled their single-level house with two feet of water.

After the storm, he set about tearing out the soaked Sheetrock almost immediately, then had the structure raised seven feet. He personally rebuilt much of it, dipping into his family’s savings before he started receiving installments of insurance proceeds that totaled $115,000. In late October, he was one of the first applicants to the New York Rising program to sign the final paperwork to close a deal.

The promised payment of $38,000 would cover all of the expenses that FEMA and flood insurance did not, he said last month. He added that he had heard of people receiving promises of as much as $250,000 from New York Rising and that everyone he knew who had applied to the program was satisfied.

“Now I feel blessed that the storm hit because I have a wonderful new home,” said Mr. Kaiser, who has gone into business elevating other homes in flood-prone areas. “I’m staying forever.”

On Wednesday evening, Mr. Kaiser had not yet received any money from New York Rising. But after an inquiry from a reporter about the delay, Mr. Kaiser said the full $38,000 was deposited in his account on Thursday.

An Uneven Recovery

Conni Freestone and her boyfriend, David Fagan, have been sleeping on air mattresses in a rented bungalow they have shared with Ms. Freestone’s ailing, 63-year-old mother in Toms River, N.J.

They had been living in her mother’s home in nearby Point Pleasant when the hurricane drove water from a creek into the garage and main floor of the two-story house. The flood ruined most of the instruments used by Mr. Fagan’s band and the equipment Ms. Freestone used as a freelance photographer. But the flood insurance on the house did not cover those contents.

Ms. Freestone had been frustrated by the slow response of FEMA to their many appeals for help and found out only after pestering Gov. Chris Christie in public that the agency had estimated the damage to the house at less than $7,000. (An aide to Mr. Christie investigated and discovered the low estimate.)

That sum amounted to a fraction of the $83,000 a local contractor said the repairs would cost. The family had been paying for his work out of equity withdrawn from the house, which was their main asset.

Much of that work, including electrical wiring, proved shoddy, Ms. Freestone said, and the family was afraid to move back in. With mold climbing the new drywall, they decided to sue the first contractor and find another. But they had received just $55,000 from their insurance policies, so they kept asking for more help as the anniversary of the storm came and went.

“I felt like I was begging,” Ms. Freestone said of her frequent appeals to FEMA and state agencies. “When I did suck it up and begged, I got shot down. I’m used to being the volunteer, not the one asking for help.”

The disparities in recovery from Hurricane Sandy are on stark display in Long Beach, N.Y., on the block of modest homes where Ms. Fitzgerald and Megan lived next door to a couple, Anne Walsh and Penny Ryan. Their two-story houses, which stood side by side on lots of just 1,800 square feet, suffered similar damage when the floodwaters rose above their floorboards.

But Long Beach officials did not declare Ms. Walsh and Ms. Ryan’s house to be “substantially damaged.” And that determination has made all the difference.

Unlike Ms. Fitzgerald, they were cleared to fix up their home without having to elevate it off the ground. So now Ms. Walsh and Ms. Ryan return from work in New York City to a pin-neat living room with a gleaming floor made of Brazilian teak.

Within weeks after the waters receded, Ms. Walsh, a nurse, and Ms. Ryan, a public school principal, had dipped into their savings to pay a contractor to start tearing out and replace the ruined floors and walls. All told, they said, they had spent about $200,000 to restore their home — considerably more than they recouped through FEMA, flood insurance and a $26,000 grant from New York Rising.

“We went from having a comfortable lifestyle to being totally in debt,” said Ms. Ryan, 50.

Ms. Walsh said she thought it would take five years for the neighborhood they cherished to come fully back to life. Some houses still sit dark and boarded up, others are being raised several feet to avoid another flooding.

Ms. Fitzgerald had held out hope that the New York Rising program would come through with a grant big enough to bridge the wide gap between what she received from her insurance companies and what it would cost to build a house from scratch so close to New York City.

When she finally got her answer from New York Rising, Ms. Fitzgerald said she was “wrecked” by “bitter disappointment.”

The state had calculated that her house could be rebuilt for $160,000, so they subtracted the $84,000 they say she had received from other sources since the storm and awarded her $76,000. She said that she thought it would cost closer to $250,000 to rebuild.

And she has already spent some of her insurance proceeds to pay for demolition and plans and permits for a new house, leaving her with far less than what she needs to rebuild.

“I’m not looking for anything fabulous,” Ms. Fitzgerald said, choking back the frustration of not knowing if she and her daughter would ever get back to Delaware Avenue. “I love that block,” she said. “I want to build back.”

Julie Turkewitz contributed reporting.



3) Pushed Out of a Job Early
December 6, 2013

If there is one thing older workers fear in this economy, it’s losing their jobs as they approach retirement. But that is exactly what happened in March to Richard L. White, who was the director of career services at Rutgers University for 22 years.

Mr. White, 63, had received positive annual reviews from 1990 to 2011. In 2009, the supervising administrator wrote that his work was “conducted at the highest possible level!”

He was considered a leader in the field, winning a Fulbright grant in 2005, the first year it was offered for career services directors. Rutgers, the biggest public university in New Jersey, was ranked 21st nationally in 2010 by The Wall Street Journal for placing undergraduates; in 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the business school 33rd in the nation for M.B.A. pay.

But none of this information was included when Gregory S. Jackson, now the university president’s chief of staff, wrote Mr. White’s performance appraisal for the first time in April 2012. Mr. Jackson, who had recently taken oversight of career services, wrote that Mr. White had failed to meet standards in every category.

Soon after, Mr. White was removed as director; within a year, he was fired.

In January, shortly before leaving, Mr. White filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Rutgers. Three other longtime administrators who were also terminated joined the lawsuit, bringing into the open an increasingly contentious workplace issue.

Age discrimination claims are on the rise as members of the post-World War II baby boom enter their 60s. Last year, 22,857 people filed age-related complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, compared with 16,548 in 2006.

Mr. White, as well as two other career services administrators fired from Rutgers — Dorothy Kerr, 60, and Chrystal McArthur, 64 — had received positive job reviews until Mr. Jackson became involved in 2012. (The fourth who sued, Ms. Kerr’s husband, Mark, 58, did not receive formal appraisals because he was not a supervisor.)

According to Ms. Kerr, who had spent more than 40 years at Rutgers, Mr. Jackson “kept asking us when we were going to retire.”

In the view of the fired administrators, Mr. Jackson wanted to bring in his own people, most of whom were younger, and instead of offering them other positions, dismissed them without cause.

In an email, Peter J. McDonough Jr., a Rutgers spokesman, said that university officials believed the lawsuit was “without merit” and that they would “vigorously defend our practices.” He noted that the new career services director, Richard Hearin, 64, is older than Mr. White. University officials also said that an investigation by Rutgers’s Office of Employment Equity found no policy violation.

A lawyer for Rutgers, John Bennett, said he was unable to go into further detail because of an Oct. 10 court order restricting the release of personnel documents.

(Before that order, however, both the university and the fired administrators provided The New York Times with copies of job assessments that indicated they met all standards in 2011, but none in 2012.)

Once older workers lose their jobs, many never regain their former standard of living. On average, those who do find work make 20 percent less than they had in their previous positions, the biggest income loss for any age group, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While Mr. White has found part-time employment at another university, the position does not include benefits and he is spending $2,400 a month for his family’s health coverage. None of his former colleagues have found full-time work either.

Winning an age discrimination case in a federal court has become particularly difficult since a 2009 Supreme Court ruling requiring an employee to prove that age was the determining factor for a layoff. In a few states, however, including New Jersey, the standard of proof is lower, requiring only that workers show that age was one factor.

The lawsuit against Rutgers and Mr. Jackson represents a third instance of high-ranking officials facing public claims of abusive or discriminatory behavior since Robert L. Barchi became president last year. It has received much less publicity than the others, which revolve around the athletic department and the firing of Mike Rice, the men’s basketball coach, after a video surfaced that showed him shouting homophobic slurs and throwing balls at players.

The career services case unfolded in 2012, when Rutgers officials arranged an external review by three national experts, who concluded that the department needed to be reorganized. Among their criticisms of Mr. White: He had failed to coordinate his office’s services with the university, made questionable professional judgments in managers he selected and demonstrated a weakness in leadership because of an aversion to conflict.

But the review also said Mr. White provided “a broad and commendable variety of direct services,” was “extremely well liked by the overwhelming majority of his staff” and had created a program that was “generally well regarded.”

Other experts in career services interviewed for this article said several aspects of the external review raised concerns. One of the three reviewers hired by the university — who were paid $1,000 each — was Mr. Hearin, then director of career services at the University of Maryland. Shortly after recommending that Mr. White be removed from his position, Mr. Hearin was hired to take his place.

John Fracchia, an administrator at Ithaca College who is co-chairman of the committee that oversees external reviews for the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers, and Scott Brown, a dean at Colgate who has conducted more than a dozen such reviews, said Mr. Hearin’s involvement could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

“In terms of ethics, serving on an external review is not supposed to be a backdoor way to get employment,” Mr. Fracchia said.

Mr. White said he believed that Mr. Jackson had made up his mind to remove his colleagues and him long before the review.

On Friday, April 27, at 5 p.m., the review team finished its two-day visit and on Monday, April 30, Mr. Jackson gave Mr. White, Ms. Kerr and Ms. McArthur their annual appraisals, which quoted extensively from the review team’s negative conclusions.

Typically a review report takes two to six weeks to complete, Mr. Fracchia and Mr. Brown said. The reviewers transcribe their notes, which are then collected by a member they have designated to write the report. Normally, that person finishes a first draft, to which the other two contribute edits for a final version. Neither Mr. Fracchia nor Mr. Brown had heard of an external review being concluded so rapidly.

Mr. White said he asked several times for a copy of the review but was turned down. This June, however, the university provided a copy — stamped “confidential” — to The Times.

The reviewers recommended that Mr. White be removed from his job, but “retained” and “reassigned.”

Rutgers said that neither Mr. Hearin nor Mr. Jackson would discuss the report or the decision to remove Mr. White and name Mr. Hearin as his replacement.

Unmentioned in Mr. Jackson’s appraisal was the external review team’s conclusion that the biggest problem with career services was not leadership. It was lack of resources.

“Even among the academic administrative partners who tend to be the most critical of career services,” they wrote, “the criticism was measured and centered more on resource constraints than service delivery.”

Additional resources were eventually appropriated — after Mr. White was removed.

In a news release about Mr. Hearin’s appointment, Mr. Jackson said the department would add three directors, expand the counseling staff and be moved to a centrally located office.

One other expenditure was not mentioned in the release. After 22 years as director, Mr. White made $118,000 a year; Mr. Hearin’s starting salary was $155,000.

Once Mr. White was removed from office, he was named the associate director for graduate student services. Though he felt humiliated, Mr. White said, he planned to stay until he reached 65, and then retire.

But six months later, a new review by Mr. Jackson said Mr. White was guilty of “neglect of duty.” The primary criticism was that Mr. White had taught a university course without supervisory approval, for which he was “remunerated above and beyond his salary.”

“More problematic,” the appraisal said, the course met during the day, when Mr. White should have been doing student services work.

Mr. White was one of 20 midlevel administrators who taught a section for an honors colloquium that met for an hour a week. There were no papers or exams to be graded.

He said his only preparation was reading one novel, which was discussed throughout the semester. He did not ask permission, he said, because in the four years he had been doing it, no one had ever said there was a problem. He was paid $750.

“It wasn’t the money,” he said. “I did it because I have a doctorate in English and love the opportunity to discuss a novel with such bright Rutgers students.”

March 12 was Mr. White’s last day at Rutgers. Two days later, he and the three others sent a “farewell” letter to the university president. “This is not how long-serving, dedicated Rutgers employees should be treated,” they wrote, with no “recognition, celebration and expression of gratitude or a simple goodbye.”



4) F.D.A. Approves Pill to Treat Hepatitis C
December 6, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a pill that is expected to make the treatment of hepatitis C less onerous, shorter in duration and more effective.

The drug, Sovaldi, from Gilead Sciences, will allow at least some patients infected with the liver-destroying virus to be treated with pills only, doing away with weekly injections of a drug that can have debilitating side effects.

“Today’s approval represents a significant shift in the treatment paradigm for some patients with chronic hepatitis C,” said Dr. Edward Cox, director of the office of antimicrobial products at the F.D.A.

But the greater convenience and effectiveness comes at a price.

Gilead said the wholesale cost of Sovaldi, which is known generically as sofosbuvir, would be $28,000 for four weeks — or $1,000 per daily pill. That translates to $84,000 for the 12 weeks of treatment recommended for most patients, and $168,000 for the 24 weeks needed for a hard-to-treat strain of the virus.

“This is unbearable to the health care system and it is completely unjustified,” said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which runs treatment clinics in the United States and abroad and has previously clashed with Gilead on the price of its drugs for H.I.V.

The Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge, a legal group based in New York, recently filed a motion to try to block patenting of the drug in India. If it succeeds, generic manufacturers in India will be able to manufacture cheap copies of the drug for distribution there and in some other developing countries.

Gilead said the price was fair given the drug’s higher cure rate and that the total cost for the 12-week regimen was “consistent with, and in some cases lower than” the cost of some other regimens for hepatitis C. It said it would offer financial assistance to some patients.

Some three million to four million Americans, many of them in middle age, are believed to have a chronic hepatitis C infection, though many do not know it. The virus slowly damages the liver, leading to cirrhosis and in some cases to liver cancer. But it often takes decades before any damage is noticeable, and many people never experience a problem.

Globally, at least 150 million people have hepatitis C.

Sovaldi was obtained by Gilead in an $11 billion acquisition of a smaller company, Pharmasset. The high purchase price raised eyebrows when the deal was announced in 2011, but it has vaulted Gilead to the lead in a heated race to develop all-oral treatments for hepatitis C.

AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Johnson & Johnson and others are also developing all-oral regimens for hepatitis C that could reach the market in the next one to three years.

Some analysts expect Sovaldi to become one of the best-selling drugs in the world. Matthew Roden, an analyst at UBS, said in a note on Friday that annual sales could surpass the record of around $13 billion achieved by Lipitor, from Pfizer, in its peak year.

Sales are expected to be strong from the start, because many patients, on the advice of their doctors, have been putting off starting treatment until Sovaldi became available.

One person waiting is Tom Espinosa, a building inspector in Oakland, Calif. He has tried the existing drugs and some experimental ones, without success, so this drug might be his last chance. His liver is already deteriorating badly, but he is hoping the new drug will stop the progression.

Other companies are trying to get at least a little piece of Gilead’s bounty. Merck, Roche and Idenix Pharmaceuticals are separately claiming that Sovaldi infringes on patents they hold. Should any of those companies prevail, it is expected they will receive royalties, not keep the drug off the market.

Until two years ago, the treatment for hepatitis C consisted of 24 to 48 weeks of weekly injections of interferon alfa combined with daily tablets of ribavirin. Neither drug was developed specifically to treat hepatitis C. The combination cured about half of patients, but the side effects, including flulike symptoms, anemia and depression, could be severe.

Sovaldi and newer drugs work by inhibiting enzymes produced by the hepatitis C virus. This is the same approach that was used to make drugs for H.I.V. As in H.I.V., two or more of these drugs for hepatitis C must be used together, to prevent the virus from developing resistance.

Cure rates with Sovaldi, a polymerase inhibitor, are over 80 percent, though success and treatment duration depend in part on which strain, or genotype, of the virus is involved.

For genotypes 2 and 3, which together account for about 20 to 25 percent of cases in the United States, Sovaldi’s label recommends the drug be used with ribavirin. This will constitute the first all-oral, interferon-free treatment for hepatitis C. Genotype 2 will require 12 weeks of treatment and genotype 3 will need 24 weeks.

For genotype 1, which accounts for more than 70 percent of American cases, Sovaldi is supposed to be used with injected interferon and ribavirin. But the treatment is for only 12 weeks instead of 24 or 48, and the cure rate is about 90 percent for newly treated patients.

The label, however, says that genotype 1 patients who are ineligible for interferon can be treated for 24 weeks with Sovaldi and ribavirin. Wall Street analysts had not been expecting an all-oral regimen to be endorsed for genotype 1 patients.

The side effects seem mild, though the clinical trials to date have not been able to distinguish the effects of Sovaldi from the drugs it was taken with.

Ribavirin requires several pills taken more than once a day. Gilead hopes to combine Sovaldi with another drug it is developing into a single pill that can be taken once a day and cure most cases of genotype 1.

Results of clinical trials testing how that combination pill works are expected in the coming weeks. If all goes well, that drug could get to market by the end of next year.



5) California: Cold Is Blamed in Four Deaths in Bay Area
[They didn't die of the cold, they died of  homelessness--cold-hearted homelessness]
December 6, 2013

Four people have died of hypothermia in the San Francisco Bay Area while the region is gripped by freezing temperatures. Rosie Dominguez, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County coroner’s office, confirmed the deaths and their cause on Friday, but provided no further information. The San Jose Mercury News reported that three of the victims died in homeless encampments while a fourth person died in a garage in the county on the south end of San Francisco Bay. Temperatures had dropped as low as 30 degrees at San Jose International Airport early Friday.



6) Alaska’s Thin Line Between Camping and Homelessness
December 7, 2013

SOLDOTNA, Alaska — People come to Kenai Peninsula for the natural beauty or for an Alaskan escape from the routines that shape life in fussier places.

There are good oil industry jobs, and a Russian patina hangs over the landscape in the names of the small towns and a few orthodox churches that keep the flame alive. When the salmon are running on the Kenai River, you can pull them in until your arms are sore, people here are fond of saying.

But those bounties of nature, which have drawn settlers and fortune seekers since the days of Captain Cook, also mask a hard reality. When someone’s life goes awry, through a misstep or a spousal betrayal, a job loss or an eviction, or just a stretch of bad luck, there is not much of a safety net here.

“This is a great area to raise families; it has wonderful, positive things,” said Cathy Giessel, a state senator who represents part of the peninsula. “But folks can be shut out of jobs pretty easily by making bad choices.”

The towns of the peninsula — mostly just dots on a map of a few thousand people in a dense landscape of woods and rivers — make up a sort of middle path in Alaskan life, with an ebb and flow of seasonal service jobs at fishermen’s motels and strip malls. There are upward opportunities and working-wage jobs for people with skills. But the downward pull of drugs, alcohol and poverty is always there, too, residents say.

Amanda Guillemette knows how thin the ice can be. She is back on her feet now, with a job at the Soldotna Dairy Queen since March and a warm rented house. But the day that began her odyssey into homelessness four years ago still resonates.

She was nine months pregnant with her fifth child when the family she was living with forced her to leave. Ms. Guillemette, 35, credits the public school system, which reached out to her through a homeless liaison program. It saved her and her children, she said, by connecting them with state aid programs and providing emergency assistance when the going was darkest.

“Things happen for a reason,” she said with stoic calm in an interview at the school district’s offices. “I’ve gotten stronger.”

In Alaska’s deeply rural villages, where no roads penetrate and many families are interconnected through blood or culture, homelessness is often dealt with in the old-fashioned way, with relatives or neighbors giving shelter to those in trouble. Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, has the state’s biggest homeless population by far, but also the biggest system of help and outreach.

On the Kenai, a struggling family or a teenager can escape notice against the vast landscape.

“Homelessness is a hidden problem,” said Steve Atwater, the superintendent of the Kenai Peninsula school district, where about one in 90 students are enrolled this year in a program to keep them in school, even if they have no permanent address. That number is down slightly from last year, and district officials suspect that the main reason is an unseasonably warm fall.

From 2011 to 2012, Alaska’s overall homeless rate declined 10 percent, according to a report this year by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a federation of organizations. But the number of chronically homeless people rose almost 21 percent, giving Alaska the ninth-highest increase in the nation.

Couch surfers, crashing with friends, often do not consider themselves homeless. And in a state where camping is both a way of life and part of the heritage, living in a tent in the woods might be by choice, or it might not be.

“We kind of called it camping,” said Tammy Miles, who lived in the woods in a tent for 132 days this summer — a number she repeated twice more with grim, tight-lipped finality — with her two autistic sons, ages 10 and 7, after her boyfriend of 13 years left her stranded and then homeless. She and the boys were in a family shelter — the only one in Kenai Borough, a county bigger than West Virginia — when it closed in June because of financial troubles, sending them into the wild. It was the family’s second eviction in a year.

On a recent afternoon, with the temperature topping out at about 6 degrees, a campsite just outside downtown looked ghostly in the frost. The occupants were gone, presumably indoors. A spatula and a can of pepper sat on a folding table by a small camp stove, ready for use. Were the campers there by choice, or were they homeless? On Kenai Peninsula, it can be hard to tell.

There is a sense that hunger, a more easily measured barometer of stress, is increasing. At the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank in the nearby town of Kenai, the number of people seeking free commodities like canned goods and rice is higher than at any time since 2010, when the recession was at its worst. A trend toward younger people and families coming in hungry has persisted, said Linda Swarner, the food bank’s executive director.

“The safety net, years ago, used to be more personal,” she said as volunteers served stew and cobbler for lunch. “People didn’t rely as much on governments or nonprofits.”

Ms. Miles, 42, got a job this fall as a cashier at a local Walmart and said she felt stable as winter set in, with a house for her and her boys, Kyle and Koby. Her journey through homelessness, as wrenching as it was, also gave her a strange gift: Though she has no family in Alaska, having moved here from Utah with her ex-boyfriend a decade ago, she made friends with the 26 other families at the shelter before it closed. It is a new social network, and they are trying, she said, to stay in touch as best they can.



7) In Cuba’s Press, Streets and Living Rooms, Glimmers of Openness to Criticism
December 7, 2013

MEXICO CITY — It is a rare day in Cuba when the Communist Party’s triumphalist newspaper suggests that the government — just maybe — messed up. Or when the party’s chief ideologist renounces government secrecy. Or a salsa star, performing at an official concert, calls for the freedom to vote and to smoke marijuana.

But such gestures of openness are becoming more common.

Glasnost it is not, say Cuban intellectuals and analysts. But glimpses of candor in the official news media and audacious criticism from people who, publicly at least, support the revolution suggest widening tolerance of a more frank, if circumscribed, discussion of the country’s problems.

“There is more space for debate,” said Armando Chaguaceda, a Cuban political scientist and blogger who lives in Mexico. “People are more outspoken.”

For decades, Cuba’s garrulous citizens discussed politics sotto voce and barely referred to Fidel and Raúl Castro by name, even in their own living rooms.

But in recent years, especially in Havana, Cubans have begun talking more openly about the economy, the political leadership and the restrictions they resent. As they taste new freedoms and, increasingly, discuss their problems online, they are pushing the boundary between what can and cannot be said.

“What people can get away with has changed,” said Ted Henken, a professor at the City University of New York.

Much of this comes down to President Raúl Castro’s style, said Carlos Alberto Pérez, a self-described “revolutionary” blogger. Since Mr. Castro took over from his ailing brother in 2006, he has invited Cubans to give their opinions on the economy and called on the state-run news media to be more incisive.

“People in Cuba want to debate, argue, listen and be listened to,” said Mr. Pérez, whose website covers issues ranging from the difficulty of getting a body cremated to public transport.

Overhauls allowing limited private-sector activity and more freedom to travel have loosened the state’s grip on Cubans’ lives and led them to question more openly a political system that has kept the same people in power for more than five decades.

In September, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference made a bold, if oblique, bid for a more democratic system, calling in a pastoral letter for an “updating” of the political model and saying Cuba should be a “plural” society.

Meanwhile, the Internet — despite being out of reach for most Cubans — has broken the state’s monopoly on information and allowed for a spectrum of opinion, bloggers and analysts say. Bloggers, including many who support the Communist system, have written about economic mismanagement, the timidity of changes, corruption, bureaucracy, the lack of Internet connectivity and the passivity of the state-run news media. Blogs and Facebook posts often spur streams of blunt online comment.

“It’s revealing that people who are supposedly on the inside are making the same criticisms as people on the outside,” Professor Henken said.

There are still limits. While the government preaches frankness, it continues to crush opposition, and those who step over the fickle line between loyal criticism and dissent risk ostracism, loss of employment, harassment or jail.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an independent group that tracks treatment of activists, said there were 761 short-term arrests of dissidents in November, one of the highest figures in the past two years. And in October, five independent journalists were detained for several days, according to Reporters Without Borders.

“It’s ambiguous,” said Mr. Chaguaceda, the political scientist. “It depends who you are, how you say things, where you say them.”

In the middle of a nationally televised concert in September, the jazz singer Robertico Carcassés surprised the nation by calling for the right to elect the president, the legalization of marijuana and freedom of information. Even more shocking was the authorities’ reaction: After barring Mr. Carcassés from performing in state-owned venues, meaning most of them, they backed down after Silvio Rodríguez, a famous revolutionary singer, stuck up for his colleague’s right to speak out.

The state-run media, which comprises virtually all press, television and radio in Cuba, has publicly embraced what it calls the “battle against secretiveness” and made efforts, however tepid, to shake up its coverage. In September, the state-run television news introduced a segment, “Cuba Dice,” or Cuba Says, in which Cubans on the street are interviewed about issues including alcoholism, housing problems and the high price of fruit and vegetables.

In October, Col. Rolando Alfonso Borges, chief of ideology for the Communist Party, told a summit meeting of the Cuban Journalists’ Union that the party rejected secrecy. Last month, Miguel Díaz Canel Bermúdez, first vice president of the Council of State, met with journalists in the provinces to urge them to be more polemical.

In a highly unusual show of flexibility, Granma, the party’s official newspaper, wrote in November that public opinion seemed to be against a recent ban on private 3-D cinemas. Noting the “rich” online debate, the article said Cubans supported regulating and reopening the movie theaters and hinted that the decision might be reversed.

Indeed, blogs have won high-level readers. The reform-minded blog La Joven Cuba was blocked for several months last year after it published several critical articles. These days, however, “we bump into officials, and they tell us, ‘Oh, I was just reading your article,’ ” said Harold Cárdenas Lema, 28, one of the blog’s founders.

The Internet, coupled with greater traffic between the island and the Cuban diaspora, has smudged the divisions that have defined life in Cuba since Fidel Castro’s 1961 dictum, “Within the revolution, everything; against the revolution, nothing.”

“Cuba is a country where for years there was nothing but extremes,” Mr. Cárdenas Lema said. “But we’ve managed to achieve a more nuanced reality.”

Some dismiss the changes as window-dressing or a tactic to co-opt internal dissent.

Arturo López Levy, a former intelligence analyst with the Cuban government who lectures at the University of Denver, says the push for a more critical official news media is partly an attempt to control a debate that is already happening in social media and elsewhere.

“Faced with the challenge of a more open environment, the government would prefer to channel complaints and debates through its own mechanisms,” he said.

Mr. López Levy likened the task of pushing for change from within in Cuba to the punishment of Sisyphus, rolling a stone up a hill only to watch it roll to the bottom. “But sometimes,” he acknowledged, “the stone comes to rest in a different position.”



8) Delbert Tibbs, Who Left Death Row and Fought Against It, Dies at 74
December 7, 2013

It is not easy:

you stand waiting for a train

or a bus that may never come

no friend drives by to catch a ride

cold, tired:

call yourself a poet

but work all day mopping floors and looking out for thieves.

Those lines, describing the experience of an innocent man on death row, are from a poem by Delbert Tibbs, who in 1974 was convicted in Florida of a rape and a murder that he had nothing to do with, it was later found. He spent nearly three years in prison before the State Supreme Court reversed his convictions, vacated his death sentence and freed him.

Mr. Tibbs then campaigned for the abolishment of capital punishment and became one of six people whose stories of wrongful conviction and near execution were told in “The Exonerated,” a play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, who assembled their script from court documents, testimony, depositions and letters.

First presented in 2002 in Los Angeles and New York with celebrity-studded casts, the play went on to help reshape the national debate about the death penalty, reaching audiences in productions across the country and then on television in a filmed adaptation starring Susan Sarandon, Brian Dennehy, Aidan Quinn, Danny Glover and, as Mr. Tibbs, Delroy Lindo.

“People who once argued about the morality of executing the guilty now discuss whether the capital justice system can be trusted to separate those deserving death from the wholly innocent,” Adam Liptak wrote in The New York Times in 2005 in assessing the play’s impact.

Mr. Tibbs, whose poetic bent led Ms. Blank and Mr. Jensen to use his character as a kind of Greek chorus, introducing and closing the play and appearing intermittently throughout as a sagelike figure, died on Nov. 23 at his home in Chicago. He was 74.

His death was confirmed by Andrea Lyon, a law professor at DePaul University who is godmother to Mr. Tibbs’s daughter Mahalia. Professor Lyon said that the cause was uncertain but that Mr. Tibbs had had cancer.

The crimes for which he was arrested occurred in Fort Myers, on Florida’s southwest coast, on Feb. 3, 1974. A teenager, Cynthia Nadeau, was raped, and her boyfriend, Terry Milroy, who was in his 20s, was shot to death. Ms. Nadeau’s story was that while hitchhiking, they were attacked by a black man who had picked them up in a green truck. The couple were both white.

Mr. Tibbs was rootless at the time, though not a drifter so much as a seeker. A former seminary student in Chicago, he had himself been hitchhiking around the country and had made his way to Florida. The case against him had holes. Evidence showed that he was in Daytona Beach on the day of the killing, 250 miles from Fort Myers, and Ms. Nadeau’s initial description of her assailant was at odds with Mr. Tibbs’s appearance. (She identified him from a photograph several days later.)

An all-white jury nevertheless found him guilty on the basis of Ms. Nadeau’s uncorroborated testimony and a cellmate’s claim that Mr. Tibbs had confessed to the killing in jail.

Mr. Tibbs received a life sentence for the rape and the death sentence for the murder.

But in the summer of 1976, citing the weakness of the evidence against him, the Florida Supreme Court reversed the verdict on appeal and ordered a new trial, saying it did not want to “risk the very real possibility that Tibbs had nothing to do with these crimes.”

He was released from prison in January 1977, and after further legal wrangling — Mr. Tibbs’s lawyers argued that a retrial would amount to double jeopardy — the state dropped its charges against him in 1982. (In 2002, state prosecutors nonetheless said they held to their belief in Mr. Tibbs’s guilt. No one else has been charged with the crimes.)

“I’m a Southern boy,” Mr. Tibbs said in an interview with the oral historian Studs Terkel for his book “Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith,” published in 2001. “My rationale to them for being in the state was just that I wanted to roam across the country, which is typical of writers and artists and so forth, but it’s not typical of black people. It’s all right for Jack Kerouac, but not for Delbert Tibbs.”

Delbert Lee Tibbs was born in Shelby, Miss., on June 19, 1939. His father, Pete Johnson, was a traveling salesman. He was reared by his mother, Lillie Bryant, and her husband, Frank Tibbs, who were sharecroppers.

He moved to Chicago with family members when he was about 12 and, before he was 20, had married and had a son, Delbert Jr. The marriage ended in divorce. Mr. Tibbs is survived by his son; two daughters, Mahalia Abeo Tibbs and Afrika Rouselle; and three grandchildren.

Mr. Tibbs attended colleges in Chicago, including Chicago Theological Seminary, though he never finished a degree, and worked as an insurance claims adjuster. In the early 1970s, he left school and hit the road for the adventure that landed him on death row.

“I’d dropped out of the seminary and now I don’t know what to do with myself,” he told Mr. Terkel. “There was an agitation within my spirit, so I said, ‘Well, I’ll take off. I’ve never been anyplace except Mississippi, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.’ I thought, you might not live that long anyway, so I took off and I took off walking.”

In recent years, Mr. Tibbs did volunteer work tutoring at-risk young black men. He also worked with anti-death penalty groups like Witness to Innocence, founded by the activist nun Helen Prejean and Ray Krone, a former death row inmate in Arizona who was exonerated in 2002, and the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, which succeeded in its aim when Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill repealing the state’s death penalty law in 2011 and commuted the sentences of 15 death row inmates. (The organization is now known as the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty.)

“Delbert was not only articulate, which many exonorees seem to be, but he had this air of genteel thoughtfulness about him that greatly distinguished him,” Robert Warden, a founder of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at the Northwestern University Law School in Evanston, Ill., said in an interview.

As time passed, Mr. Tibbs grew more philosophical. “When I meet people now,” he said more than 25 years after his release, “if they try to make a big deal about me having been on death row, I sometimes gently remind them that we’re all on death row.”



9) Spies’ Dragnet Reaches a Playing Field of Elves and Trolls
December 9, 2013

Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.

Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.

The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.

Online games might seem innocuous, a top-secret 2008 N.S.A. document warned, but they had the potential to be a “target-rich communication network” allowing intelligence suspects “a way to hide in plain sight.” Virtual games “are an opportunity!” another 2008 N.S.A. document declared.

But for all their enthusiasm — so many C.I.A., F.B.I. and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a “deconfliction” group was needed to avoid collisions — the intelligence agencies may have inflated the threat.

The documents do not cite any counterterrorism successes from the effort, and former American intelligence officials, current and former gaming company employees and outside experts said in interviews that they knew of little evidence that terrorist groups viewed the games as havens to communicate and plot operations.

Games “are built and operated by companies looking to make money, so the players’ identity and activity is tracked,” said Peter W. Singer of the Brookings Institution, an author of “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know.” “For terror groups looking to keep their communications secret, there are far more effective and easier ways to do so than putting on a troll avatar.”

The surveillance, which also included Microsoft’s Xbox Live, could raise privacy concerns. It is not clear exactly how the agencies got access to gamers’ data or communications, how many players may have been monitored or whether Americans’ communications or activities were captured.

One American company, the maker of World of Warcraft, said that neither the N.S.A. nor its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, had gotten permission to gather intelligence in its game. Many players are Americans, who can be targeted for surveillance only with approval from the nation’s secret intelligence court. The spy agencies, though, face far fewer restrictions on collecting certain data or communications overseas.

"We are unaware of any surveillance taking place," said a spokesman for Blizzard Entertainment, based in Irvine, Calif., which makes World of Warcraft. "If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission."

A spokeswoman for Microsoft declined to comment. Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life and a former chief executive officer of Linden Lab, the game’s maker, declined to comment on the spying revelations. Current Linden executives did not respond to requests for comment.

A Government Communications Headquarters spokesman would neither confirm nor deny any involvement by that agency in gaming surveillance, but said that its work is conducted under “a strict legal and policy framework” with rigorous oversight. An N.S.A. spokeswoman declined to comment.

Intelligence and law enforcement officials became interested in games after some became enormously popular, drawing tens of millions of people worldwide, from preteens to retirees. The games rely on lifelike graphics, virtual currencies and the ability to speak to other players in real time. Some gamers merge the virtual and real worlds by spending long hours playing and making close online friends.

In World of Warcraft, players share the same fantasy universe — walking around and killing computer-controlled monsters or the avatars of other players, including elves, animals or creatures known as orcs. In Second Life, players create customized human avatars that can resemble themselves or take on other personas — supermodels and bodybuilders are popular — who can socialize, buy and sell virtual goods, and go places like beaches, cities, art galleries and strip clubs. In Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, subscribers connect online in games that can involve activities like playing soccer or shooting at each other in space.

According to American officials and documents that Mr. Snowden provided to The Guardian, which shared them with The New York Times and ProPublica, spy agencies grew worried that terrorist groups might take to the virtual worlds to establish safe communications channels.

In 2007, as the N.S.A. and other intelligence agencies were beginning to explore virtual games, N.S.A. officials met with the chief technology officer for the manufacturer of Second Life, the San Francisco-based Linden Lab. The executive, Cory Ondrejka, was a former Navy officer who had worked at the N.S.A. with a top-secret security clearance.

He visited the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., in May 2007 to speak to staff members over a brown bag lunch, according to an internal agency announcement. “Second Life has proven that virtual worlds of social networking are a reality: come hear Cory tell you why!” said the announcement. It added that virtual worlds gave the government the opportunity “to understand the motivation, context and consequent behaviors of non-Americans through observation, without leaving U.S. soil.”

Mr. Ondrejka, now the director of mobile engineering at Facebook, said through a representative that the N.S.A. presentation was similar to others he gave in that period, and declined to comment further.

Even with spies already monitoring games, the N.S.A. thought it needed to step up the effort.

“The Sigint Enterprise needs to begin taking action now to plan for collection, processing, presentation and analysis of these communications,” said one April 2008 N.S.A. document, referring to “signals intelligence.” The document added, “With a few exceptions, N.S.A. can’t even recognize the traffic,” meaning that the agency could not distinguish gaming data from other Internet traffic.

By the end of 2008, according to one document, the British spy agency, known as GCHQ, had set up its “first operational deployment into Second Life” and had helped the police in London in cracking down on a crime ring that had moved into virtual worlds to sell stolen credit card information. The British spies running the effort, which was code-named Operation Galician, were aided by an informer using a digital avatar “who helpfully volunteered information on the target group’s latest activities.”

Though the games might appear to be unregulated digital bazaars, the companies running them reserve the right to police the communications of players and store the chat dialogues in servers that can be searched later. The transactions conducted with the virtual money common in the games, used in World of Warcraft to buy weapons and potions to slay monsters, are also monitored by the companies to prevent illicit financial dealings.

In the 2008 N.S.A. document, titled “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments,” the agency said that “terrorist target selectors” — which could be a computer’s Internet Protocol address or an email account — “have been found associated with Xbox Live, Second Life, World of Warcraft” and other games. But that document does not present evidence that terrorists were participating in the games.

Still, the intelligence agencies found other benefits in infiltrating these online worlds. According to the minutes of a January 2009 meeting, GCHQ’s “network gaming exploitation team” had identified engineers, embassy drivers, scientists and other foreign intelligence operatives to be World of Warcraft players — potential targets for recruitment as agents.

At Menwith Hill, a Royal Air Force base in the Yorkshire countryside that the N.S.A. has long used as an outpost to intercept global communications, American and British intelligence operatives started an effort in 2008 to begin collecting data from World of Warcraft.

One N.S.A. document said that the World of Warcraft monitoring “continues to uncover potential Sigint value by identifying accounts, characters and guilds related to Islamic extremist groups, nuclear proliferation and arms dealing.” In other words, targets of interest appeared to be playing the fantasy game, though the document does not indicate that they were doing so for any nefarious purposes. A British document from later that year said that GCHQ had “successfully been able to get the discussions between different game players on Xbox Live.”

By 2009, the collection was extensive. One document says that while GCHQ was testing its ability to spy on Second Life in real time, British intelligence officers vacuumed up three days’ worth of Second Life chat, instant message and financial transaction data, totaling 176,677 lines of data, which included the content of the communications.

For their part, players have openly worried that the N.S.A. might be watching them.

In one World of Warcraft discussion thread, begun just days after the first Snowden revelations appeared in the news media in June, a human death knight with the user name “Crrassus” asked whether the N.S.A. might be reading game chat logs.

“If they ever read these forums,” wrote a goblin priest with the user name “Diaya,” “they would realize they were wasting” their time.

Even before the American government began spying in virtual worlds, the Pentagon had identified the potential intelligence value of video games. The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command in 2006 and 2007 worked with several foreign companies — including an obscure digital media business based in Prague — to build games that could be downloaded to mobile phones, according to people involved in the effort. They said the games, which were not identified as creations of the Pentagon, were then used as vehicles for intelligence agencies to collect information about the users.

Eager to cash in on the government’s growing interest in virtual worlds, several large private contractors have spent years pitching their services to American intelligence agencies. In one 66-page document from 2007, part of the cache released by Mr. Snowden, the contracting giant SAIC promoted its ability to support “intelligence collection in the game space,” and warned that online games could be used by militant groups to recruit followers and could provide “terrorist organizations with a powerful platform to reach core target audiences.”

It is unclear whether SAIC received a contract based on this proposal, but one former SAIC employee said that the company at one point had a lucrative contract with the C.I.A. for work that included monitoring the Internet for militant activity. An SAIC spokeswoman declined to comment.

In spring 2009, academics and defense contractors gathered at the Marriott at Washington Dulles International Airport to present proposals for a government study about how players’ behavior in a game like World of Warcraft might be linked to their real-world identities. “We were told it was highly likely that persons of interest were using virtual spaces to communicate or coordinate,” said Dmitri Williams, a professor at the University of Southern California who received grant money as part of the program.

After the conference, both SAIC and Lockheed Martin won contracts worth several million dollars, administered by an office within the intelligence community that finances research projects.

It is not clear how useful such research might be. A group at the Palo Alto Research Center, for example, produced a government-funded study of World of Warcraft that found “younger players and male players preferring competitive, hack-and-slash activities, and older and female players preferring noncombat activities,” such as exploring the virtual world. A group from the nonprofit SRI International, meanwhile, found that players under age 18 often used all capital letters both in chat messages and in their avatar names.

Those involved in the project were told little by their government patrons. According to Nick Yee, a Palo Alto researcher who worked on the effort, “We were specifically asked not to speculate on the government’s motivations and goals.”

Andrew W. Lehren contributed reporting. Justin Elliot is a reporter for ProPublica.



10) With Rental Demand Soaring, Poor Are Feeling Squeezed
"The problem is national, and particularly acute among the working poor. The number of renters with very low incomes — less than 30 percent of the local median income, or about $19,000 nationally — surged by 3 million to 11.8 million between 2001 and 2011, according to a report released Monday by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. But the number of affordable rentals available to those households held steady at about 7 million. And by 2011, about 2.6 million of those rentals were occupied by higher-income households. As a result, the share of renters paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing jumped to 50 percent in 2010 from 38 percent in 2000. For renters with incomes of less than $15,000 a year, 83 percent pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent"
December 9, 2013

WASHINGTON — Violeta Torres cannot afford her apartment.

Ms. Torres, a 54-year-old nanny, pays $828 a month for a rundown one-bedroom that she keeps spotlessly clean, making the rent only by letting an acquaintance sleep on a mattress in the living room for about $400 a month.

But her one-bedroom happens to be in the booming Columbia Heights area here, where such an apartment, once renovated, would easily command twice the price. Her landlords have been trying to drive the tenants out of the building, she explained in Spanish. The broken fire alarms go off in the middle of the night. The common areas are filthy, and the apartments have been infested by rats, bedbugs and cockroaches.

In March, Ms. Torres said, the landlords tried to raise the rent. Like her neighbors, most of them also immigrants from El Salvador, she has simply ignored the demand for an additional $261 a month. “I don’t have the money,” she said.

Ms. Torres struggles to stay and cannot afford to leave. She makes about $1,000 a month caring for two toddlers. She sends $250 to her mother, who recently emerged from a diabetic coma and needs insulin. And $100 goes to her mother’s caretaker. After rent, that leaves just $200 or $250 for her.

Today, millions of poor Americans are caught in a similar trap, with the collapse of the housing boom helping stoke a severe shortage of affordable apartments. Demand for rental units has surged, with credit standards tight and many families unable to scrape together enough for a down payment for buying a home. At the same time, supply has declined, with homebuilders and landlords often targeting the upper end of the market.

“We are in the midst of the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has known,” Shaun Donovan, the secretary of housing and urban development, said at a conference here on Monday.

And the less income a household has, the harder the sting. “These are the people with the fewest financial resources,” said Sheila Crowley, the president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a research and advocacy group based in Washington. “These are the people in danger of becoming homeless.”

The problem is national, and particularly acute among the working poor. The number of renters with very low incomes — less than 30 percent of the local median income, or about $19,000 nationally — surged by 3 million to 11.8 million between 2001 and 2011, according to a report released Monday by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. But the number of affordable rentals available to those households held steady at about 7 million. And by 2011, about 2.6 million of those rentals were occupied by higher-income households.

As a result, the share of renters paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing jumped to 50 percent in 2010 from 38 percent in 2000. For renters with incomes of less than $15,000 a year, 83 percent pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent.

Many of the worst shortages are in major cities with healthy local economies, like Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Washington. “We’ve seen a huge loss of affordable housing stock,” said Jenny Reed, the policy director at the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. “We have lost 50 percent of our low-cost units over the past 10 years, and at the same time, the number of high-cost apartments, the ones going for more than $1,500 a month, more than tripled.”

The squeeze comes both from supply and demand. Even as the housing market has started to turn around, the number of renting households has continued to climb — by a million in 2011 alone, the biggest annual increase in three decades. Many Americans have lost their mortgaged homes and chosen to rent. Others were unable to obtain financing for a purchase, because of a loss of income or tighter credit standards.

In many markets, investors have rushed to meet the new demand by building new multifamily housing units or by buying up foreclosed homes and renting them out. But that has not translated into a surge of new units available to low-income renters.

“Builders always are aiming at that higher end,” said Jed Kolko, the chief economist at Trulia. “And eventually, as those new units age, they trickle down to lower-income borrowers.”

But not now. With demand surging, inventories are shrinking, vacancy rates are falling and rents are rising at the low end.

The long-term federal budget cuts known as sequestration are only adding to the problem, hitting housing programs especially hard. Many local housing authorities, which rely on federal funds, have stopped rolling over vouchers, leaving even more families on waiting lists, to fend for themselves in rental markets where prices keep rising.

“I can’t emphasize enough how draconian these cuts have been on the backs of the poorest folks in the country,” said Sunia Zaterman of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities.

In some cases, the shortage of affordable rentals for the poor has meant an increased number of homeless people and families. That often means churning through housing options, spending a few days with friends, a few weeks with relatives, a few months in short-term rentals.

More often, housing advocates said, it means workers living in aging and often substandard housing, like Ms. Torres’s crowded apartment. The Latino Economic Development Center, which is helping Ms. Torres and her neighbors fight the rent increase, said it had heard increased complaints about mold, flooding, delayed maintenance repairs and other issues from low-income rentals.

It also means hundreds of thousands of poor Americans are paying far more for housing than they can really afford, squeezing out spending on other priorities. The Harvard study found that many low-income renters cut back most on food and transportation.

“If you’re putting 60, 70, 80 percent of a small income into housing, then obviously you have less to spend on everything else you need,” said Ms. Crowley of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “There’s a squeeze on basic necessities. You end up making very hard choices. Am I going to fill a prescription, or do my kids get a birthday cake? Do I give up my car?”

To help with her housing costs, Ms. Torres has considered taking on a third roommate, and is eagerly searching for a second job.

Washington, like many other cities, has tried to tackle the problems with local government funds and regulations intended to protect low-income renters against eviction or undue rental increases. Recently, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced a new $100 million campaign to increase affordable housing in the city.

Even more ambitiously, Bill de Blasio, the incoming mayor of New York, has put forward a plan to build or preserve about 200,000 affordable units.

But housing advocates described such campaigns as too little, too late, given the powerful economic forces at work and the cutbacks at the federal level.

“Are these cities going to be places that poor people can live?” asked Elizabeth Falcon, the campaign organizer for the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, a local housing advocacy group.

“I think government investment is the only way that significant numbers of people are going to able to stay,” she said. “And right now we are not seeing government at any level commit enough to help a significant number of people.”

Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.



11) New York City Subpoenas Secret Tapes by Police Officer
December 9, 2013

New York City lawyers have subpoenaed documents and tape recordings used by a journalist who wrote a book about a New York City police officer who disclosed the manipulation of crime reports at his Brooklyn precinct.

The broadly worded, five-page subpoena demands that the writer, Graham A. Rayman, turn over hundreds of tape recordings that the officer, Adrian Schoolcraft, made of his superiors at the 81st Precinct, as well as reams of notes, correspondence and emails.

“I have no intention of cooperating,” Mr. Rayman said. “I think it would be malpractice for a journalist to cooperate with a subpoena like this and would have a chilling effect on what all journalists do.”

Officer Schoolcraft has sued the city, claiming his civil rights were violated in October 2009 when his bosses ordered him arrested and taken to a psychiatric ward at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was detained for six days. He says his superiors orchestrated the hospitalization as a punishment for reporting their misconduct.

Mr. Graham wrote about the officer’s ordeal in “The NYPD Tapes,” published by Palgrave Macmillan in August. The book grew out of Mr. Rayman’s article in The Village Voice in May 2010.

Ten months ago, a judge rebuffed a similar effort by city lawyers to obtain outtakes from a documentary movie by Ken Burns about the five men convicted and later exonerated in the 1989 rape of a jogger in Central Park. For years, the Bloomberg administration has been fighting a lawsuit by the five men.

In that case, a federal magistrate ruled that the city had failed to meet the requirements to subpoena nonconfidential material from a journalist: that the material be significant and relevant to the case and that it be unavailable from another source.

But city lawyers contend the Schoolcraft subpoena is different. Mr. Rayman’s book was based largely on hundreds of tape recordings Mr. Schoolcraft secretly made of his superiors, documenting their efforts to discourage victims from reporting crimes to make the precinct look good on paper, among other things. He also recorded what was said when he was detained. Suzanna Publicker Mettham, an assistant corporation counsel, said the city sought the subpoena only after Officer Schoolcraft asserted that he no longer had copies of what he had given to Mr. Rayman. She described the subpoena as a “last resort” that met both requirements for overcoming a reporter’s privilege to protect source materials: They are central to the case and cannot be obtained elsewhere.



12) Exercise as Potent Medicine

Exercise can be as effective as many frequently prescribed drugs in treating some of the leading causes of death, according to a new report. The study raises important questions about whether our health care system focuses too much on medications and too little on activity to combat physical ailments.

For the study, which was published in October in BMJ, researchers compared how well various drugs and exercise succeed in reducing deaths among people who have been diagnosed with several common and serious conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

Comparative effectiveness studies are a staple of science, of course, especially in pharmaceutical research. Scientists often track how well one drug treats a condition compared with the outcome if they use a different drug. But few studies have directly compared drugs with exercise, and even fewer have compared outcomes in terms of mortality or whether the intervention significantly lessens the chance that someone with a disease will die from it, despite treatment.

So Huseyin Naci, a graduate student at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Dr. John Ioannidis, the director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine, decided to create a comprehensive comparison of the effectiveness of drugs and exercise in lessening mortality among people who had been diagnosed with one of four diseases: heart disease, chronic heart failure, stroke or diabetes. They chose these particular conditions because those were the only ones for which they could find studies that had examined whether exercise lessened the risk of death among patients with that disease, Mr. Naci said.

He and Dr. Ioannidis then gathered all of the recent randomized controlled trials, as well as previous reviews and meta-analyses of older experiments relating to mortality among patients with those diseases, whether they had been treated with drugs or exercise.

They ended up with data covering 305 past experiments that, collectively, involved almost 340,000 participants, which is an impressive total. But most of the volunteers had received drugs. Only 57 of the experiments, involving 14,716 volunteers, had examined the impact of exercise as a treatment.

Still, the numbers were large enough that Mr. Naci and Dr. Ioannidis could create an elaborate network of cross-references, comparing the outcomes when people received certain drugs, followed exercise regimens or, occasionally, both. The exercise routines, typically part of rehabilitation programs, usually involved walking or other aerobic routines but sometimes consisted of weight training or other exercises.

The researchers compared mortality risks for people following any of the treatment options.

The results consistently showed that drugs and exercise produced almost exactly the same results. People with heart disease, for instance, who exercised but did not use commonly prescribed medications, including statins, angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors or antiplatelet drugs, had the same risk of dying from — or surviving — heart disease as patients taking those drugs. Similarly, people with diabetes who exercised had the same relative risk of dying from the condition as those taking the most commonly prescribed drugs. Or as the researchers wrote in statistics-speak, “When compared head to head in network meta-analyses, all interventions were not different beyond chance.”

On the other hand, people who once had suffered a stroke had significantly less risk of dying from that condition if they exercised than if they used medications — although the study authors note that stroke patients who can exercise may have been unusually healthy to start with.

Only in chronic heart failure were drugs noticeably more effective than exercise. Diuretics staved off mortality better than did exercise.

Over all, Dr. Ioannidis said, “our results suggest that exercise can be quite potent” in treating heart disease and the other conditions, equaling the lifesaving benefits available from most of the commonly prescribed drugs, including statins. Statins are at the center of a debate about new treatment guidelines that could vastly expand the number of people taking the drugs.

The results also underscore how infrequently exercise is considered or studied as a medical intervention, Dr. Ioannidis said. “Only 5 percent” of the available and relevant experiments in his new analysis involved exercise. “We need far more information” about how exercise compares, head to head, with drugs in the treatment of many conditions, he said, as well as what types and amounts of exercise confer the most benefit and whether there are side effects, such as injuries. Ideally, he said, pharmaceutical companies would set aside a tiny fraction of their profits for such studies.

But he is not optimistic that such funding will materialize, without widespread public pressure.

For now, Mr. Naci said, he hopes that this new study will prompt smaller-scale negotiations. “We are not suggesting that anyone stop taking their medications,” he said. “But maybe people could think long and hard about their lifestyles and talk to their doctors” about whether exercise could and should be incorporated into their care.



13) Two New York City Colleges Draft Rules That Restrict Protests
December 10, 2013

At Cooper Union, it was outrage over a new tuition policy. At City College, it was anger over the closing of a community center. At both Manhattan colleges, student protest shut down buildings, garnered headlines and largely defined campus life over the past year. Now those two very different institutions are considering policies that could restrict how, when and where students can express dissent, while raising the penalties for those who disobey.

Representatives of Cooper Union’s student government were surprised when, a few weeks ago, administrators showed them a draft of a new code of conduct. In addition to addressing matters like fire safety and drug use, the document would forbid “deliberate or knowing disruption of the free flow of pedestrian traffic on Cooper Union premises” and “behavior that disturbs the peace, academic study or sleep of others on or off campus.” A section on bullying and intimidation mentions communication, in any medium, that “disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the Cooper Union.”

Policies like that might be unremarkable at some universities. But they would be a significant departure at Cooper Union, where student protesters occupied President Jamshed Bharucha’s office for months, and continue to produce a torrent of documents, videos, staged readings, holiday carols, Ping-Pong ball drops and other creative stunts.

The City University of New York, of which City College is a part, has floated its own new set of policies on what it terms “expressive activity.”

A draft from June declared free speech and assembly to be subject to the needs for public order. It would restrict gatherings and the distribution of leaflets to approved areas and times and would forbid faculty members from taking part in protests during working hours. Sponsors of planned protests with as few as 25 students would have to give at least 24 hours’ notice of location, date, time and expected turnout, subject to the college’s approval or alteration.

In the case of protests that pose “an immediate threat to persons or property,” officials “may seek the immediate intervention of public safety officers or external law enforcement,” the draft states.

The change in policy could have a significant effect, both at City College, where student resentment about the community center has repeatedly boiled over, and across the entire university system, where faculty resistance to Pathways, a contested academic initiative, is at a high simmer.

In addition to their anger over the proscribed action at Cooper Union, student leaders also took offense at being given a reduced role in the disciplinary process and in the drafting of the document itself. “The whole community at Cooper got really riled up,” said Hadar Cohen, a member of the engineering school’s student council. Along with faculty members, they objected vehemently at a meeting in the university’s Great Hall last week.

Mark Epstein, the board chairman, issued a statement acknowledging that the college’s founder, Peter Cooper, intended for students to learn through self-governance, but added, “We must also recognize the changed legal environment that surrounds our community in the modern era.” Still, he said that some of the procedural complaints that were raised had merit, and would be discussed when the board meets on Wednesday.

At that same meeting, the board will also review a plan proposed by a working group of students, faculty members, trustees and others to balance the college’s budget without collecting tuition.

CUNY’s draft was made public in October, and attracted withering notice from many faculty members and students. A subsequent revision fared little better.

Barbara Bowen, the president of the union that represents CUNY’s faculty and staff, said that “if CUNY is to be an intellectually vibrant university, it must recognize that ‘expressive activity’ is a vital part of campus life, not a danger to be confined to narrow limits.”

(By contrast, Columbia University policies on student demonstrations, in place since 1969, place some limits but emphasize that protest is a valid form of expression.)

Frederick P. Schaffer, CUNY’s senior vice chancellor for legal affairs, has said that it was faculty members who first requested a universitywide policy, to replace the patchwork of local guidelines at each campus. The CUNY trustees have not scheduled a vote on the matter. If Cooper Union’s proposed code of conduct was intended to rein in student protest, it has so far not succeeded. Last week, after a loud but nonviolent protest outside Dr. Bharucha’s home, the police were called. And on Monday students held a “call to action” just outside his office, which has sat empty since the occupation ended in July.



14) $40,000 Crocodile Jacket Is Stolen From Men’s Store in Manhattan
December 10, 2013

At a men’s clothing store called Zilli on East 57th Street, the holiday shopper with exotic tastes and a spare $50,000 will find Astrakhan fur coats and jackets made of python — with interchangeable collars of beaver, ermine or mink. But, while you will find deerskin vests and a black chinchilla bedspread at Zilli this week, missing from the racks is a certain jacket of brown Australian crocodile.

On Dec. 3, the police said, a pair of thieves somehow stole the jacket during working hours without drawing the attention of the store’s staff. The jacket is valued at $40,000.

No one has been arrested, but on Tuesday the police released the photos of two suspects, a man and a woman, both in their mid-20s. From the photos it does not appear that either is wearing the jacket.

The theft occurred at about 5:30 p.m., the police said. The woman took the coat from a display rack and handed it to her partner, who then took it with him into a fitting room and placed it into a duffle bag, the police said. They then walked out.

How they were able to pull off such a brazen early-evening heist has yet to be explained. Thefts of such magnitude are not unheard-of in New York’s shopping enclaves, but rarely do they occur with such apparent finesse.

The police said it did not appear that the pair had any help inside the store. At the store on Tuesday, a manager who would not give his name said that he could not comment on the matter.

“There is much more to tell,” he said. “But unfortunately, I can’t.”

He did point out the fine qualities of two other crocodile-skin jackets in the store, one blue and glossy, the other tan and soft as suede.

Zilli, which is between Park and Madison Avenues next to the Four Seasons Hotel, is nestled among other high-end retailers like Prada and Brioni.

There are normally only a few customers at the store at a time, the manager said. At one point on Tuesday afternoon, there were none. To enter customers must ring a bell and wait for an employee to open the door. Merchandise at the store, which includes belts and bags in addition to coats and jackets, can cost up to $150,000.

Zilli, which has its flagship store in Paris, has three locations in the United States, and is a relative newcomer to the American market, the manager said. The 57th Street location opened in 2009.

By contrast, there are nine locations in China, including in Hong Kong, and 16 stores in Russia, six of those in Moscow.



15) As Bailout Chapter Closes, Hardships Linger for Irish
December 11, 2013

DUBLIN — On the rare days when John Donovan visits downtown Dublin, there is a buzz in the air: Streets bustle with pedestrians. “Sold” signs festoon Georgian brick buildings that had languished on the market for years. At Silicon Docks, a hub where Google, Facebook and other tech companies are clustered, crowds of taxis line up for easy fares.

It certainly looks like Ireland is recovering from near economic collapse. And this weekend Ireland will technically become the first of Europe’s crisis-hit countries to emerge from an international financial rescue program.

But in the suburb of Shankill where Mr. Donovan, 55, lives, the economic hubbub is absent. Many of his neighbors are barely scraping by. He moved into his mother’s small cottage after his hardware supply business buckled during the crisis. With his scant savings eroded, he shoots pigeons for food and grills them outdoors to reduce his gas and grocery bills. “I do that just to live,” he said.

“The Irish people have endured a horrendous time,” Mr. Donovan said. “The government must take their foot off the neck of the nation.”

The Irish government’s severe austerity program was a condition of the 67.5 billion euro, or $92.9 billion, lifeline it received amid a severe banking crisis. But in part because of the sharp cutbacks, Ireland has regained the confidence of investors and will no longer need to rely on the international loans. It can now borrow money in financial markets at low interest rates. But it still must repay most of the loans it has received, which could take decades.

While it has been painful for Ireland’s citizens, it is an achievement European leaders are hailing as a sign that Europe is moving past the worst of a five-year crisis. And with Greece, Portugal and Cyprus still struggling to exit their multibillion-euro bailouts, Ireland is being held up as nothing less than a symbol for recovery.

International investors have been impressed with Ireland’s ability to improve its finances: The interest on its 10-year bond has been reduced to 3.5 percent from 14.5 percent. Newspaper headlines announce hundreds of new jobs weekly, especially in technology. A small revival is even blooming in construction, which imploded when the Celtic Tiger economy went bust.

But the rigor required to get there has been painful. The government cut 30 billion euros in spending, or nearly 20 percent of gross domestic product, one of the largest austerity programs anywhere. New taxes were introduced. Salaries for public employees were cut by around 20 percent, and reductions in unemployment and welfare benefits followed. The bill to bail out Ireland’s banks has amounted to nearly €10,000 per Irish citizen.

“Ireland is the closest thing to a success story that European leaders have,” said Simon Tilford, the chief economist at the Centre for European Reform in London. “But it doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny because there’s been a huge fall in the domestic economy and living standards.”

Martin Brennan earns €9.50 an hour cleaning a hospital near his home in the working-class Dublin suburb of Drimnagh and his wife gets €380 working three days a week in a university administrative job. After buying food and paying bills, there is little money to spare for his family of four. With bailout-linked taxes on property and income, “we have nothing left over,” he said.

Nearly everyone the Brennans know is underwater on their mortgage. Several neighbors were out of work, including a man who was recently fired with 11 others at a family business that collapsed. Martin Brennan shuddered as he talked about how several hospital employees had started going to a soup kitchen for meals. “People are eating cornflakes for dinner,” he said. “Economists say it’s an urban legend. Tell them it’s for real.”

Such hardships may persist well after Ireland exits its bailout. Because financial rigor will still be needed to maintain Ireland’s creditworthiness, Prime Minister Enda Kenny is planning to introduce a further €2.5 billion in spending cuts and new taxes next year.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that Ireland was trying to “grow the economy, create jobs and tackle the unacceptably high unemployment levels.” Growth is expected to rebound to 1.8 percent in 2014. Unemployment is still high at 12.8 percent for the quarter, but is declining after the economy added 58,000 jobs this year.

Still, Ireland must stick to fiscal targets, he said. Debt, at 123 percent of gross domestic product, should fall once Ireland is extracted from the bailout. The deficit, which has shrunk to 7.5 percent of G.D.P. from 30 percent in 2010, should also continue to decline.

As the austerity measures have played out, the number of people in need has jumped. Homelessness is up nearly 20 percent since 2010. A study by Growing Up in Ireland tracking 11,000 families with young children found 67 percent could not afford basic necessities, and were behind on utility bills, rent and the mortgage.

Consumer spending has been flat and two-thirds of homeowners have not paid their mortgage on time for the last two years, according to the central bank. Half of all loans to small- and medium-size business are also in arrears.

More than 200000 of Ireland’s population of 4.6 million have emigrated since 2008. Youth unemployment is 28 percent. Over 60 percent of job seekers have been out of work for a year or more. And 20 percent of children now live in households where neither parent works, the highest rate in the European Union.

Mr. Donovan labored to recover from the bust. He went from owning a five-bedroom home, boats and cars to figuring out a way to survive.

A stout, energetic man, he was determined to turn his life around. After recovering from depression, he entered a government retraining program and obtained masters’ degrees in law and business. But of the 1,583 résumés he sent out, only four interviews materialized.

“There were jobs, but no one wants to hire a 55-year-old,” he said. Eventually, a friend with a construction supply business gave him an internship. At €22,000, or about $30,000 a year, it didn’t pay much more than welfare. “But I want to work,” he said. A chill permeated his home as he kept the heat off to make ends meet; he said he had cut out all extraneous expenses.

Although Shankill appeared affluent — just 10 minutes from where Bono’s mansion overlooks the Irish Sea — Mr. Donovan said about 10 percent of the 17,000 inhabitants were underwater on their mortgages. Neighbors of Mr. Donovan’s who were builders, cleaners and florists all lost their businesses, and the local pub owner closed two of his three pubs.

The austerity was squeezing most people Mr. Donovan knew. “The government, in a moment of madness, has burdened every man, woman and child with a debt we may never escape,” he said. “We are on our backside.”

Mr. Brennan, the hospital worker, thought the same thing. He knew the government was laboring to fix the economy. But he did not expect to see the improvement in his lifetime. “We’ve already tried to live five years on nothing,” Mr. Brennan said. “If they push things much more, it’ll kill us.”



16) Study Finds Federal Contracts Given to Flagrant Violators of Labor Laws
December 10, 2013

A new congressional report criticizes the federal government for awarding tens of billions of dollars in contracts to companies even though they were found to have violated safety and wage laws and paid millions in penalties. Issued on behalf of the Democratic senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, the report cited examples over the past six years.

For instance, Imperial Sugar had $94.8 million in federal contracts last year, even though it paid $6 million in safety penalties over a 2008 factory explosion in Georgia that killed 14 workers. The report also noted that the federal government had awarded $4.2 billion in contracts to Tyson Foods since 2000, even though Tyson has faced more than $500,000 in safety penalties since 2007 and 11 of its workers have died on the job since 1999.

The report urges the government to weigh a company’s safety and wage violations more closely as it awards contracts, which are about $500 billion a year to companies employing 26 million workers, representing 22 percent of the nation’s work force. It stops short of recommending automatic suspension of contracts or debarring contractors that were found to have violated federal laws, partly because government agencies were sometimes at fault, a committee staff member said.

“Taxpayer dollars are routinely being paid to companies that are putting the livelihoods and the lives of workers at risk,” the report said. “Many of the most flagrant violators of federal workplace safety and wage laws are also recipients of large federal contracts.”

According to the report, 18 federal contractors — including Imperial Sugar — were among the recipients of the largest 100 penalties issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from 2007 to 2012. The report found that 32 federal contractors were among the leading companies in the amount of back pay assessed for wage violations between 2007 and 2012.

“Overall, the 49 federal contractors responsible for large violations of federal labor laws were cited for 1,776 separate violations of these laws and paid $196 million in penalties and assessments,” the report said. “In fiscal year 2012, these same companies were awarded $81 billion in taxpayer dollars.”

The report, commissioned by the committee’s chairman, Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, recommended that the Labor Department improve the quality of information it provides about violations, and urged the agency to publish an annual list of federal contractors, showing the penalties they faced and their rate of compliance with wage and safety laws.

In addition, the report called on the president to require contracting officers to consult with the Labor Department to determine whether the contractor meets “responsibility” standards to qualify for federal contracts.

“The administration is committed to ensuring that our government is doing business only with contractors who place a premium on integrity and good business ethics,” said Steve Posner, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget. He added, “We have taken aggressive steps to hold contractors accountable.”

The dollar value of federal contracts for services — whether weapons development, janitorial work or health services — has tripled, to $307 billion in 2012, since 2000, according to the report.

Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson Foods, which provides poultry, meat and other products to the agriculture and defense departments, said, “We don’t want anyone hurt on the job, so we’re continually promoting the importance of safety among the 115,000 people we employ.”

The committee report described five fatal episodes since 1999 in which Tyson workers died, including one in September 2009 in which an employee was cleaning grain buildup when the ladder he was using slipped and fell. The smooth metal floor of the grain bin was covered in grain dust and debris. In December 2010, a Tyson employee died when a full corn silo collapsed, engulfing him in nine million pounds of corn.

Mr. Mickelson said: “We cooperated with government safety officials and took corrective measures. Providing a safe work environment for our team members is one of our company’s core values.”

An employee at Imperial Sugar’s headquarters in Sugar Land, Tex., referred calls to its parent company, the Louis Dreyfus Group. Officials at Louis Dreyfus did not respond to several phone messages.

The Senate committee’s staff noted that the Management and Training Corporation, a Utah-based company that runs private prisons, had $347.8 million in federal contracts last year despite having to pay $21 million in back pay because of wage violations.

Issa Arnita, a spokesman for Management and Training, said that problem arose because the federal agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, had failed to explain to the company that it was required to pay higher wages under federal law at a detention center in Texas.

In 2010, the Obama administration was considering a plan in which it would, when awarding contracts, have given preference to companies that provided their workers with what it deemed good wages and benefits. But that plan was sidelined.

An aide on the committee said that the Obama plan aimed to give “gold stars to high road companies,” while the new report was aimed at ensuring compliance.

The report noted that the oil company BP seemed to face no limitations on its ability to obtain federal contracts after the 2005 fatal explosion that killed 15 workers at a refinery in Texas City, Texas. BP has paid more than $20 million in fines for safety violations there.

But BP was suspended from receiving federal contracts for at least 18 months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010, which killed 11 workers and spread oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The report voiced dismay that a major database on federal contractors contained no allegations of misconduct about BP related to the Deepwater Horizon and Texas City explosions.



17) Worker Deaths Raise Questions at an Apple Contractor in China
"Apple’s supplier responsibility statement bars employees of supplier companies in China from working more than 60 hours a week; so does Chinese law. But Mr. Shi worked 79 hours in his first week, 77 in his second and 75 in his third, according to documents provided by his family"
December 11, 2013 

SHANGHAI — Last September, a young Chinese laborer named Shi Zhaokun began working long hours at a huge manufacturing plant that produces Apple’s new iPhone 5C.

But on Oct. 9, Mr. Shi checked into a hospital, his family says. Soon after, he was pronounced dead of pneumonia. Although his identification papers said he was 20, Mr. Shi was in fact just 15.

In China, he was too young to legally work on a factory floor.

The Pegatron Corporation, the Taiwan manufacturer that employed him, said the workplace environment at the Shanghai plant was not the cause of his illness. But a spokeswoman acknowledged that several other young workers at the factory had also died in the past few months.

Labor rights activists say Pegatron has failed to explain at least five deaths. They say workers interviewed by China Labor Watch, a nonprofit group that monitors working conditions, have complained about long working hours and harsh working conditions at Pegatron, including some of the same pressures that in previous years led to safety problems at Foxconn Technology, Apple’s biggest contract supplier in China.

“Considering the sudden deaths of five people and the similar reason of the deaths, we believe there should be some relations between the tragedy and the working conditions in the factory," said Li Qiang, who runs China Labor Watch.

Apple released a statement Wednesday saying the company was saddened by the deaths and had sent independent medical experts from the United States and China to investigate the deaths.

“While they have found no evidence of any link to working conditions there, we realize that is of little comfort to the families who have lost their loved ones. Apple has a long-standing commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for every worker in our supply chain, and we have a team working with Pegatron at their facility to ensure that conditions meet our high standards," the company said in a statement.

Apple has gone to great lengths over the past few years to improve conditions at the facilities that produce Apple products in China. It has insisted on new safety measures and supported higher wages and tighter restrictions on working hours.

While Pegatron says it strictly forbids its factories from hiring workers younger than 16, the legal working age in China, Mr. Shi was able to work using a falsified identity card. In his only month at Pegatron, he worked nearly 280 hours, often 12 hours a day, six days a week, according to work documents his family kept.

Apple’s supplier responsibility statement bars employees of supplier companies in China from working more than 60 hours a week; so does Chinese law. But Mr. Shi worked 79 hours in his first week, 77 in his second and 75 in his third, according to documents provided by his family.

The company said that the work logs the family kept were records of when the young man clocked in and out, and might not include breaks. The company said his hours did not exceed the legal limit.

In late July, China Labor Watch released a report claiming that Pegatron was violating Chinese laws and Apple’s own social responsibility code of conduct. Among other things, the group said that Pegatron was forcing employees to work unpaid overtime.

Executives at Pegatron, which has 100,000 workers in Shanghai, said they were taking the accusations seriously.

The company spokeswoman said that Pegatron was deeply distraught by the deaths of the workers but that an investigation of the working conditions in the Shanghai factory found nothing unusual.

The company tried to resolve the case of Shi Zhaokun by paying his family compensation of about 90,000 renminbi, or about $15,000, according to Shi Zhaokun’s uncle, Yang Sen.

But on Tuesday, Mr. Yang insisted the matter was still not resolved. He said something must have gone wrong at Pegatron. On Sept. 4, he said, his nephew passed a pre-employment physical and was declared healthy.






















































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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