Saturday, March 16, 2013


Film Extended! - Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary plays in Oakland! 

[Because it's a really good film you don't want to miss!...BW]

Now, you really don't have to miss it:

Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary

a film by Stephen Vittoria

Missed it earlier? 

You can still see this remarkable documentary!

3 more showings:
Saturday the 16th at 2:00 pm,
Wednesday the 20th at 3:30 pm...
and again, Wednesday, at 9:55 pm.

New Parkway Theater  
474 - 24th St Oakland @ Telegraph • 510.658.7900
TICKETS: $10.  Order online!
Click on "Purchase Tickets" next to the film at the day/time you want, at:

Freedom of the Press Foundation Publishes Leaked Audio of Bradley Manning’s Statement
March 11, 2013

Bradley Manning Support Network:

Demand ‘aiding the enemy’ charge is dropped! Call 202-685-2807

Bradley Manning Support Network
March 12, 2013

This week the Bradley Manning Support Network is joining with FireDogLake in a call-in action to protest the government’s decision to move ahead with all its charges against Bradley Manning. Call Maj. General Linnington, the presiding authority over the trial, and demand he step in to free Bradley. Call 202-685-2807.  

Call Maj. Gen. Linnington and tell him the “aiding the enemy” charge is an outrage and Bradley deserves to be free!

Maj. Gen. Linnington:

*If this mailbox is also full, leave the Department of Defense a written message:
[This site asks you to submit a question. So put your comments in the form of a question. Here's what I wrote: "If you are going to charge Pfc. Bradley Manning with 'aiding the enemy' because he revealed the truth about U.S. war crimes, then you'd better also charge the New York Times, the Washington Post and every other major and minor newspaper, magazine, and TV News broadcaster with the same 'crime.' Exposing the truth about war crimes is not a crime, it's an obligation! Will you Free Bradley Manning Now? He was only doing his duty!" ...BW]

One of the most moving aspect of Manning’s testimony was his explanation as to why he released the so-called “Collateral Murder” video, which shows the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and bystanders by apparently bloodthirsty and remorseless American soldiers in a US aircraft.

Manning described being deeply troubled by the video, especially the crew’s “lack of concern for human life” and lack of “concern for injured children at the scene.” Manning directly stated that he wanted the American public “to know that not all people were targets that needed to be neutralized” but “people living in the pressure cooker environment of asymmetrical warfare.”

Statements like these solidify what many of us had assumed for some time now: Pfc. Bradley Manning is an American hero who wanted to aid the public, not a traitor looking to ‘aid the enemy.’ That he risked his life to courageously expose this information and provoke a public debate to bring greater transparency to our foreign policy actions makes the insinuation that he ‘aided the enemy’ all the more absurd.
Please call Maj. General Linnington now!
It is clear that Pfc. Manning exposed these documents at great personal risk for our benefit. The least we can do is continue to support him in any way we can. Thank you for continuing to do so.


Petition to Free Lynne Stewart: Save Her Life - Release Her Now!

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

"There is immediate remedy available for Lynne Stewart. Under the 1984 Sentencing Act, after a prisoner request, the Bureau of Prisons can file a motion with the Court to reduce sentences “for extraordinary and compelling reasons.” Life threatening illness is foremost among these and Lynne Stewart meets every rational and humane criterion for compassionate release."
Here is the link to read and sign the whole petition:

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


Community and Postal Workers United
National Call for Unity
Don't give up the ship!
National Day of Action
March 17, 2013, St. Patty's Day
43rd Anniversary of the Great Postal Strike of 1970

FILM: Crimes of Police screens April 4th at the Grand Lake Theater!

Where else would a documentary film on Police Brutality screen opening night besides the 11th Oakland International Film Festival?



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

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

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

       Izzy Aronson, on Kindle, is definitely ready for the world.
[Just had to pass this around. It's a great little novel with a real flavor of San Francisco in those times....Bonnie Weinstein]


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:






A. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)



1) Cops Shoot 16-Year-Old in New York City
An eyewitness says he was “running for his life” when he was shot dead., March 11, 2013

On Saturday night, two undercover police officers shot and killed 16-year-old Kimani Gray. According to the police account, the officers approached Gray when he “adjusted his waistband in what the police describe as a suspicious manner.” When the police asked him to “show his hands,” they claim Gray turned around and pointed a gun at the officers, who fired 11 rounds. The weapon police say belonged to Gray was not fired.

Although there is no confirmed evidence of wrongdoing by the officers, whose names have not be released, several witnesses cast doubts on the official version of the incident:

1. Eyewitness says Gray was “running for his life” when he was shot dead. “‘He was running for his life, telling the cops, ‘Stop,’ said witness Camille Johnson. ‘They really are, seriously, walking around, shooting little kids.’” (Pix11, March 10, 2013)

2. Eyewitness says Gray was adjusting his belt, not shooting his gun, when the shooting began. “Mr. Gray’s sister, Mahnefah Gray, 19, said that a witness to the shooting told her that her brother had been fixing his belt when he was shot.” (New York Times, March 10, 2013)

3. Eyewitness says, after he was shot, Gray said “please don’t let me die.” One of the officers responded, “Stay down or, we’ll shoot you again.” (New York Times, March 10, 2013)

4. Friends says “Kimani had just returned from a baby shower, and was shot only minutes after he was dropped off on East 52nd Street.” (New York Times, March 10, 2013

5. Gray’s sister and others say he did not own a gun. “Mr. Gray’s sister, Mahnefah Gray, 19, said that a witness to the shooting told her that her brother had been fixing his belt when he was shot. She, among others who knew Mr. Gray, said they had never known him to have a gun.” Gray’s cousin, Malik Vernon, also “insisted he didn’t own a gun.” (New York Times, March 10, 2013; New York Post, March 11, 2013)

The New York Times does quote an anonymous source saying Gray was “holding the gun for a friend.” The police were quick to note that Gray had “four prior arrests.”


2) Wells Fargo Typo Victim Dies in Court
The bank billed Larry Delassus $13,361 owed by his neighbor, then foreclosed
On the morning of Dec. 19, 2012, in a Torrance courtroom, Larry Delassus' heart stopped as he watched his attorney argue his negligence and discrimination case against banking behemoth Wells Fargo.

His death came more than two years after Wells Fargo mistakenly mixed up his Hermosa Beach address with that of a neighbor in the same condo complex. The bank's typo led Wells Fargo to demand that Delassus pay $13,361.90 ­— two years of late property taxes the bank said it had paid on his behalf in order to keep his Wells Fargo mortgage afloat.

But Delassus, a quiet man who suffered from the rare blood-clot disorder Budd-Chiari syndrome and was often hospitalized, didn't owe a penny in taxes.

One of his neighbors, whose condo "parcel number" was two digits different from Delassus', owed the back taxes.

In a series of painfully tragic events, Wells Fargo relied on its typographical error to double Delassus' mortgage — from $1,237.69 to $2,429.13 — as its way of recouping the $13,361.90 in taxes Delassus didn't owe. Delassus, a retiree living on a $1,655 check, couldn't meet the mysteriously increased mortgage. He stopped paying, and soon was far behind on his mortgage.

Delassus and his attorney did not discover until May 2010 that a mis-entered number had dragged Delassus into this spiral. As court documents obtained by L.A. Weekly show, after admitting its error, Wells Fargo foreclosed on Delassus anyway and sold his condo.

Delassus had to move to a tiny apartment in an assisted-living home in Carson.

Friends say he didn't die of heart disease that day in court, as the coroner found. He was, they believe, killed by a system so inhumane that it could not undo a devastating piece of red tape the system itself created.

"He was very sensitive," says close friend Debbie Popovich, 59. "He was a very good person. He was kind of shy, and he had a really good sense of humor — really, he was a very simple guy who just liked to work and do his thing."

In 1995, Delassus bought condo No. 105 at 320 Hermosa Beach Ave. The building, a white-stucco affair with blue trim, on a busy road with a grassy divider, is unremarkable, but a view of the Pacific glints in through the beach-facing windows.

A neighbor, who gave her name only as Kelly, says Delassus participated in the homeowners association and helped around the complex. But the Navy veteran from St. Louis often was sick from Budd-Chiari syndrome, which made simple tasks difficult and could cause mental confusion.

"Larry loved his home," Kelly says. "He wanted to die in that house."

Delassus got the first odd letter from Wells Fargo on Jan. 29, 2009. It informed him that Wells' tax service provider, First American Real Estate Tax Service, "reported delinquent taxes for the property located at: 320 Hermosa Beach Avenue 105."

Delassus, told that he owed taxes of $13,361.90 for 2007 and '08, was baffled. His attorney Anthony Trujillo, a friend and next-door neighbor, says Delassus was actually six months ahead on his taxes, which he paid directly to L.A. County.

On March 9, 2009, according to court documents, the bank informed Delassus that it was doubling his monthly mortgage payment to $2,429.13 to recoup the $13,361.90 in taxes.

"He came to me and told me what was going on" a couple of months later, Trujillo says. At that point, neither man knew that a bank typo was to blame. In December 2009, Wells Fargo notified Delassus that it intended to foreclose.

Then in May 2010, Trujillo discovered the erroneous fine print in Wells Fargo's original 2009 letter to Delassus — the "parcel number" off by two digits and belonging to somebody else.

In court documents later, Wells Fargo attorney Robert Bailey of Anglin Flewelling Rasmussen Campbell & Trytten LLP admitted the bank's mistake: "Wells Fargo paid the amount it determined was owed to the County Assessor: approximately $10,500. This was a mistake. The $10,500 was the tax amount owed on a neighboring property, not Plaintiff's." (Bailey did not address the discrepancy between $13,361 and $10,500.)

Bailey added: "In September, 2010 Wells Fargo acknowledged its error in paying the taxes on Plaintiff's neighbor's property and corrected it." By then, however, Delassus was so far behind on his mortgage payments wrongly doubled by Wells Fargo that the bank refused to let him resume his $1,237.69 installments, Trujillo says. He faced a sizable "reinstatement" cost — which is often the past due amount plus fees.

In an unsettling new twist, Delassus couldn't get Wells Fargo to tell him how much his reinstatement cost was. Later, in a videotaped deposition, Trujillo asks Michael Dolan, a litigation-support manager for Wells Fargo: "So Plaintiff was never provided with the reinstatement amount after the bank discovered its error, correct?"

Dolan responds, "That is correct."

Delassus and Trujillo — who is a business litigator but not a mortgage attorney — could have sought help from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or from the Comptroller of the Currency in Washington, D.C., says Brian Hubbard, spokesman for the comptroller's office. But neither man knew about this outside help.

On Jan. 19, 2011, Trujillo videotaped Delassus on the phone, quietly speaking to a Wells Fargo representative. (Wachovia merged with Wells Fargo in December of 2008.) "Wachovia's never sent me how much my monthly payments would be, if that includes escrow or anything," Delassus says to the bank. "I'm kind of in the dark here. Reinstatement ... what would that be?"

After being transferred to another representative, Delassus says to Trujillo, "The music's gone, but nobody answers. I think we're disconnected. Shit. Hello? Hello? Dial tone. Fuckers." Six days later, on Jan. 25, 2011, Delassus did hear, clearly, from Wells Fargo: It wanted the total payoff amount on the condo, $337,250.40. (Wells Fargo refused to comment on specifics of the case.)

The huge sum was due the very next day, Trujillo says. Instead, he sued the bank on Jan. 26, claiming negligence and discrimination against a disabled person.

On May 13, 2011, shortly after another bad bout of illness, Delassus' condo was sold by the bank. In a videotaped court deposition later, Delassus breaks down crying. "I came back from the hospital, and that very day, they sold the son of a bitch," he says. "I'm homeless. I did not have a home. My condo — 16 years, gone. Gone."

At Carson Senior Assisted Living, to which Delassus moved, he became good friends with Popovich, who had lost her home as well. The duo planted flowers and trees in a small area behind the apartment, complete with a scarecrow and an ornamental owl, where they would talk late into the night.

"He really thought he was gonna get his place back," Popovich says. "He thought if he told the truth, they could do something for him." Instead Delassus grew sicker and moved to Tender Liv-in Care in Torrance, owned by Michelle Rogers.

Rogers was in court last December when Delassus, listening to Trujillo arguing his case, slumped over and later died. "It was the most shocking thing I've been through in a long time," she says.

The night before, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Laura Ellison had indicated that she intended to side with Wells Fargo in a summary judgment. Delassus had been very sick, and his speech was slurred — his illness, acting up. But he wanted his day in court, especially since the judge was considering a guardianship request. Instead, as his attorney spoke, somebody yelled, "Call 911!"

His friends and neighbors believe his war with Wells Fargo killed Larry Delassus. Says Trujillo, "The stress just completely messed him up. Once you get in that state, this world is tough on you."

In a statement to the Weekly, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Vickee J. Adams expressed sympathy over his death. However, she added that, in light of Judge Ellison's indication that she planned to rule for Wells Fargo, "Given that there was no testimony or evidence to be presented at the hearing, there was no reason for Mr. Delassus to attend, and it is truly unfortunate that he was brought there."  


3) An Energy Coup for Japan: ‘Flammable Ice’
March 12, 2013

TOKYO — Japan said Tuesday that it had extracted gas from offshore deposits of methane hydrate — sometimes called “flammable ice” — a breakthrough that officials and experts said could be a step toward tapping a promising but still little-understood energy source.

The gas, whose extraction from the undersea hydrate was thought to be a world first, could provide an alternative source of energy to known oil and gas reserves. That could be crucial especially for Japan, which is the world’s biggest importer of liquefied natural gas and is engaged in a public debate about whether to resume the country’s heavy reliance on nuclear power.

Experts estimate that the carbon found in gas hydrates worldwide totals at least twice the amount of carbon in all of the earth’s other fossil fuels, making it a potential game-changer for energy-poor countries like Japan. The exact properties of undersea hydrates and how they might affect the environment are still poorly understood, however, as is the potential for making extraction commercially viable.

Japan has invested hundreds of millions of dollars since the early 2000s to explore offshore methane hydrate reserves in both the Pacific and the Sea of Japan. That task has become all the more pressing after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, which has all but halted Japan’s nuclear energy program and caused a sharp increase in the country’s fossil fuel imports.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said a team aboard the scientific drilling ship Chikyu had started a trial extraction of gas from a layer of methane hydrates about 300 meters, or 1,000 feet, below the seabed Tuesday morning. The ship has been drilling since January in an area of the Pacific about 1,000 meters deep and 80 kilometers, or 50 miles, south of the Atsumi Peninsula in central Japan.

Using a specialized drill, the team converted the undersea methane hydrate into ice and natural gas, and brought the natural gas to the surface, the ministry said in a statement.

Hours later, a flare on the ship’s stern showed that gas was being produced, the ministry said.

“Japan could finally have an energy source to call its own,” said Takami Kawamoto, a spokesman for the Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corp., or Jogmec, the state-run company leading the trial extraction.

The team will continue the trial extraction for about two weeks before analyzing how much gas has been produced, Jogmec said. Japan hopes to make the extraction technology commercially viable in about five years.

“This is the world’s first trial production of gas from oceanic methane hydrates, and I hope we will be able to confirm stable gas production,” Toshimitsu Motegi, the Japanese trade minister, said at a news conference in Tokyo. He acknowledged that the extraction process would still face technical hurdles and other problems.

Still, “shale gas was considered technologically difficult to extract but is now produced on a large scale,” he said. “By tackling these challenges one by one, we could soon start tapping the resources that surround Japan.”

Jogmec estimates that the surrounding area in the Nankai submarine trough holds at least 1.1 trillion cubic meters, or 39 trillion cubic feet, of methane hydrate, enough to meet 11 years’ worth of gas imports to Japan.

A separate, rough estimate by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has put the total amount of methane hydrate in the waters surrounding Japan at more than 7 trillion cubic meters, or what researchers have long said is closer to 100 years’ worth of Japan’s natural gas needs.

“Now we know that extraction is possible,” said Mikio Satoh, a senior researcher in marine geology at the institute who was not involved in the Nankai trough expedition. “The next step is to see how far Japan can get costs down to make the technology economically viable.”

Sometimes referred to as flammable ice, methane hydrate is a sherbet-like substance that can form when methane gas is trapped in ice below the seabed or underground. Japan, together with Canada, has already succeeded in extracting gas from methane hydrate trapped in permafrost soil.

Experts say there are abundant deposits of gas hydrates in the seabed and in Arctic regions. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, recent mapping off the North Carolina and South Carolina coasts shows large accumulations of methane hydrates. Canada, China, Norway and the United States are also exploring hydrate deposits.

Scientists at the U.S.G.S. note, however, that there is still a limited understanding of how drilling for hydrates might affect the environment, particularly the possible release of methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, and are calling for continued research and monitoring.

“Gas hydrates have always been seen as a potentially vast energy source, but the question was, How do we extract gas from under the ocean?” said Ryo Matsumoto, a professor in geology at Meiji University in Tokyo who has led research into Japan’s hydrate deposits. “Now we’ve cleared one big hurdle.”


4) Rates on Some Student Loans Again Set to Double

It’s March, and it’s déjà vu all over again as students and consumer advocates try to raise awareness of a coming increase in interest rates on some federal student loans.

On July 1, just like last year, rates on subsidized loans made to low- and moderate-income undergraduates under the federal Stafford program are scheduled to double. Again, like last year, the rate is set to rise to 6.8 percent from 3.4 percent for new loans made after June 30.

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a recap. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 reduced rates on subsidized Stafford loans over four academic years, to the current 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent. But the rates are scheduled to bounce back up, unless Congress acts to extend the current rate.

Last year, Congress extended the lower rates for one year. So, here we are again.

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will debate the costs and benefits of the federal student loan program, including student loan interest rates.

The debate comes as growing student debt, which has reached $1 trillion, has become a concern for policy makers and regulators.

“Congress must not double the rate,” said Ethan Senack, higher education advocate with the United States Public Interest Research Group. The group and student leaders are calling on Congress make the rate reduction permanent. The group estimated that the lower rates this academic year saved nearly 8 million students about $1,000 each on their loan costs.

Do you depend on subsidized Stafford loans? How would the rate increase affect you?


5) March 23rd Detroit YOUTH Takeover

Detroit Youth are having a takeover on March 23rd from 1pm-3pm to demand resources be spent on education instead of incarceration.
— with Becca Williams, Bart Eddy, Alicia Skillman, Christina de Roos, Sala Ivey, Trevon Stapleton, John J George, Erika Fox, Rasul Zakie, Cheyenne Vs Sade, Michael Reynolds, Brian Peck, Charsha Ayana Olumba, Britney Marie, Jay Rayford, Nyse Jenkins, Briana Tipler, Malik Yakini, Lawrence Williams, Tolu Olorunda, Situation Sherrod, James Tate Page-Two, Royce Williams, Collin Foster Mays, Kinda Makini-Anderson, Decarlo Burris, Viva Amor, Remii Remii'Ma Remy and Wesoepic InGod at YOUTH VOICE Detroit.


Guest Editorial: by Rick Sterling‚ Mar. 06‚ 2013 Dear

Ms. Asimov -

Thanks for your invitation to read and comment on all your San Francisco Chronicle articles related to the crisis at City College of San Francisco (CCSF). I have read all thirty-two.

I agree that your articles are well written and informative. However, I think there are some shortcomings, specifically:

1) Factual Errors
2) Narrow scope and misleading sensationalism and
3) Lack of investigation into the big picture.

1. Factual Errors.
In your September 20/2012 article titled " City College near bankruptcy ..." the lead sentence says "City College of San Francisco is perilously close to bankruptcy, in part because it employs nearly twice as many faculty as similar colleges and pays them better ...".

This is not true. As indicated on page 6 of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) report , you mistakenly dropped the word "full time" from the sentence which changes the meaning significantly. Furthermore, CCSF faculty are not paid better. Full time faculty at CCSF start and end their careers at lower salary level than at Foothill DeAnza College in Cupertino. Salary schedules are here and here. Note that the Foothill De Anza schedule is monthly for average ten month teaching contract. Note that the annual salaries listed for CCSF are the highest pay BEFORE the voluntary pay reduction.

In the same SF Chronicle article there is the claim "Faculty salaries rose by 25 percent over seven years..." The source of this error is in the original FCMAT report. The chart on page 26 shows that they were referring to total faculty salary COSTS not faculty salaries.

In the context of a crisis, it is provocative to claim that one group is benefiting economically in the midst of economic problems. In contrast with your article, on page 14 of the report it says "there have been no across-the-board salary increases for any employee group since July 2007". And elsewhere it is verified that CCSF faculty agreed to salary reductions in 2011. In summary, instead of a huge salary increase, as claimed, faculty have actually taken pay cuts.

2. Narrow Scope and Misleading Sensationalism
Many words can be used to describe CCSF. A few of them are "enormously popular", "widely respected", "diverse and broad ranging", "much beloved". In sharp contrast, the characterization we have read in the SF Chron has been quite consistently "poorly run", "nearly bankrupt", "bloated and slow thinking". How about some balance?

I understand that CCSF has a fiscal and organizational crisis and your primary job is reporting on that. However the purpose of an educational institution is to educate and train. Why have we not had articles looking into the performance of CCSF graduates who have transferred to UCB, SFSU and elsewhere? Why have we not had articles looking into the performance of CCSF students training in aircraft maintenance, nursing, graphic design? How about an article looking into the amazing story of why 72.9% of San Franciscan voters approved the parcel tax to support CCSF?

Your numerous references to students being able to take classes without paying has led to much public misunderstanding. In the article titled " City College may end free-classes perk" your lead sentence ends "They can take classes without paying the required fees." Because of the sensational way this was presented, many of your readers do not understand that a student cannot re-register, get transcript or transfer without paying their fees. Isn't the reality that students can be one semester in arrears before it catches up with them and they have to pay? Regarding the cost accounting isn't there another aspect to this: The liberal policy surely results in some people being in college who would not otherwise. If this policy keeps just 5 people a year in school instead of headed to prison, doesn't that save society financially and otherwise? How about an article on that?

3. Lack of Investigation into the Big Picture
When the Accrediting Commission issued its "Show Cause" sanction in July 2012 many people were shaking their heads wondering: "I thought CCSF was such a good college .... how did it come to this? What's going on?"

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) seems to be only marginally concerned with the quality of education. In their report, they acknowledge the dedication and high commitment of CCSF teachers. But these comments are made almost in passing as though that was a secondary matter. The real concern of ACCJC is administration, finance and formulaic "student learning objectives". Perhaps that is because the ACCJC review team and commission is overwhelmingly comprised of active or retired college administrators. The seventeen person review team which went to CCSF had only three teachers with thirteen administrators and one trustee.

In 2012 ACCJC reviewed 20 colleges and applied sanctions against 9 of them for a 45% sanction rate. An article titled "ACCJC Gone Wild" shows how abnormal the operations of ACCJC are in comparison with other accrediting organizations in the United States. Why has this not been told to the public?

There are other puzzling things about the ACCJC and its parent body, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Their stated purpose is to promote the interests of schools and higher education yet they are not public organizations.

In the past couple years ACCJC and WASC have received grants of $450K and $1.5M from a private foundation (Lumina Fund for Education) created through the merger in 2000 of the Student Loan Marketing Association ("Sally Mae") and USA Group. Contrary to what some people believe, Sally Mae is a for profit corporation (symbol: SLM) with Goldman Sachs as one of the major stockholders. Should it not be asked: How much influence does Lumina have in the operations and priorities of WASC and ACCJC? Are Lumina's donations intended primarily to benefit the student loan industry? The 2011 Lumina grantto WASC was to "redesign its accreditation process". Where is the public oversight and review of this accreditation redesign? Is CCSF a victim of this accreditation redesign?

In the face of major cutbacks CCSF has tried to maintain priority on full time teachers rather than part-timers. It has probably been slow to make necessary cuts. In 2010-2011 academic year the budget was balanced. In 2011-2012 they ran deficit and had to dip into the reserve fund. But isn't that what the reserves are for?

An argument can be made that the crisis at CCSF has been, to significant extent, created by ACCJC.
In 2006 the ACCJC made recommendations to CCSF but issued no sanction. Yet last summer ACCJC issued the harshest sanction, resulting in sensational headlines and widespread confusion. ACCJC has set requirements and deadlines which require enormous expenditure of time and resources at the same time CCSF has been dealing with state budget cuts while making improvements to fix real problems. . The ACCJC "show cause" sanction has added to the financial challenges because the publicity and confusion has contributed to the reduced enrollment.

ACCJC had the option to issue a sanction of "Warning" or "Probation" which would have required the college to respond but without all the negative consequences. Why did ACCJC not choose that route? Have they intentionally created and exacerbated the crisis? How does that serve the interests of higher education?

CCSF has been a highly popular institution in San Francisco for over 75 years. While it may correctly need improvements and changes, the threat to disaccredit and effectively close it is, frankly, outrageous.

We need the major media such as the San Francisco Chronicle to critically examine the pronouncements of authority such as ACCJC, to help us understand what is true and what is not, and to counteract instead of contributing to public confusion.

Best regards,

Rick Sterling
Sr. Development Engineer (retired)
Space Sciences Laboratory
UC Berkeley

P.S. I have never taken a class or taught at CCSF. This subject is important to me because I started my own technical career at community college and have many family members who have benefitted from the wonderful California community college system.


7)  The 10 worst people on Forbes’ 2013 billionaire list
The Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson and Donald Trump are just a few of the year's most notable ghouls

It will hardly come as a surprise that the rich got richer in 2013. Didn’t happen to you, did it? The combined wealth of the world’s billionaires hit an all-time high of 5.4 trillion, up from 4.6 trillion in 2012.

The Forbes list of billionaires is brimming over with oligarchs, monopolists, thugs, miscreants, and hustlers. Not to mention right-wingers, narcissists, and parasitic predators. The only thing missing is the king of Mexian drug lords, Joaquin“El Chapo” Guzman, whose assets were evidently too hard to calculate this year.

Putting together a list of the worst individuals in this group is a daunting task: How to choose, for example, between telecom monopolists? The richest person in the world, Mexican mogul Carlos Slim Helu, is certainly no friend of humanity, but Silvio Berlusconi, with his special brand of Technicolor depravity, managed to edge him out. There are hundreds of garden-variety jerks to choose from, along with several dozen egregious SOBs like GoDaddy’s Bob Parsons who deserve dishonorable mention. And there should be a whole separate list of Russian oligarchs. Alas, one runs out of space and time.

While not comprehensive, here, in no particular order, are some of the biggest creeps on the 2013 roster.

1. The Koch brothers: Charles Koch ($34 bn), David Koch ($34 bn), William Koch ($4 bn)

Where to begin? David and Charles, the brothers still with Koch industries, are among the world’s biggest polluters, for starters. Bill Koch, who split off from the family company, is a world-class weirdo who devotes himself to things like building a faux Western town solely for his amusement and buying a $2 million photo of Billy the Kid. Though not as active in bankrolling GOP pols as his brothers, Bill was a big supporter of fellow 1 percent jerk Mitt Romney and has found time to fight against America’s first offshore wind farm in Massachusetts. As for David and Charles, they have won a permanent spot in the Public Menace Hall of Fame, kicking their fellow human beings in the face with everything from funding climate change denial to strangling democracy. They have striven mightily to reshape America into a Tea Party nightmare, and have plenty of money to continue their mission.

2. Rupert Murdoch ($11.2 bn)

Murdoch, the Australian media tycoon, has dedicated himself to coarsening the public sphere through the misinformation, intolerance, and contempt of ordinary people promoted through his News Corp. Politicians woo him for his cash and the vast influence of his newspapers, magazines and TV networks, creating a foul nexus of influence that is corrosive to democracy. Be it union busting, race-baiting, or monopolistic business practices, Murdoch has been there, done that. Lately, he has found himself embroiled in a hacking scandal in which employees of his newspapers were caught doing just about anything, including bribing police and hacking into the phone of a murdered schoolgirl, to get a story. Murdoch recently tweeted what he considered a joke about an obese woman who fell through a New York sidewalk, asking if she got fat from food stamps and welfare.

3. Gina Rinehart ($17 bn)

If there is a hell for those who hate working people, Australian mining mogul Gina Rinehart occupies the innermost circle, right there in Satan’s maw. The richest woman in the Asia/Pacific region likes to share her obscene philosophy of wealth, and recently made a case for $2 dollar-a-day pay. She also instructed poor people to stop being jealous of the rich and to focus on working harder, and drinking and smoking less. She has blamed Australia’s economic problems on a socialist anti-business agenda, but of course Rinehart, who inherited a $30 billion fortune, has never had a real job. She does have her own Facebook fanpage, “F*ck Gina Rinehart,” which boasts nearly 38,000 likes.

4. The Walton family: Christy Walton and family ($28.2 bn), Jim Walton ($26.7 bn), Alice Walton ($26.3 bn), S. Robson (Rob) Walton ($26.1 bn), Anne Walton Kroenke, ($4.5 bn), Nancy Walton Laurie ($3.9 bn)

The Walton family is the richest in the U.S. and heirs to the retail juggernaut Walmart. They collectively claim 0.14 percent of the country’s entire wealth, or to put it another way, they are worth as much as the bottom 41 percent of all Americans combined. Their legacy is a grotesque business model that depends on pushing down wages and sinking living standards for millions of Americans. Rob is chairman of the board of directors of a company that pays its full-time hourly employees an average of $12.50 and has a policy of keeping them part-time so they don’t even earn that. The Waltons are big-time funders of conservative causes, with special emphasis on undermining public education. Jim Walton, who serves as the chairman for the Walton-owned Arvest bank, is particularly active in injecting his family’s ill-gotten gains into politics.

5. Sheldon Adelson ($36.5 bn)

The casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is known as a backer of hawkish pro-Israel groups and a supporter of right-wingers both in America and Israel. In 2012, he spent more than any American in history funneling money –at least $100 million– mostly to various conservative candidates. Next to the Koch brothers, he’s been just about the biggest bankroller of the right. He’s also a poster child for corruption. Recently, Adelson admitted that his Las Vegas Sands Corporation likely broke the law by bribing Chinese officials in order to expand business opportunities and to raise money for his various projects.

6. Silvio Berlusconi ($6.2 bn)

Berlusconi, one of Italy’s longest serving post-war prime ministers, is a telecom monopolist whose nauseating personality and image have dominated the country and brought corruption and sex scandals to new heights. With his notorious “bunga-bunga” parties, he has normalized a special brand of cheesy misogyny and crepuscular excess that has made him the model for goatish gazillionaires across the world. When confronted with accusations that he’d paid for sex with an underage Moroccan prostitute, he replied, “At least I’m not gay.” Belusconi’s criminal record is long and impressive, including tax fraud, bribery and the illegal financing of political parties. But he has deployed a creative means of avoiding being locked up: make up new laws. Last week, he was convicted of wiretapping in a bank deal and sentenced to a year in jail. But this will not prevent him from participating in the next government and evidently has not changed public opinion in Italy. Why should it? He’s been committing crimes and getting away with it for decades.

7. Carl Icahn ($20 bn)

Icahn’s face should be placed beside the term “corporate raider” in any dictionary of financial chicanery. C.E. Meyer, the chairman of Trans World Airlines, which was taken over by Icahn, famously called him “one of the greediest men on earth.” Also referred to as “Icahn the Barbarian,” his specialty has been taking over a company, selling its assets to pay the debt used for the purchase, and sending jobs down the toilet while enriching himself. The elderly vulture capitalist has lately been thinking about his legacy and is attempting to rebrand himself as a “shareholder activist.” That’s rather a tall order for the man who, along with Ivan Boesky, served as the inspiration for Gordon Gekko in the film Wall Street.

8. Donald Trump ($3.2 bn)

Famed for the assholic mantra “You’re fired!” from his reality show venture, Trump is as shallow and thuggish a 1 percenter as you’re likely to find anywhere. He is a congenital liar, having delivered whoppers on his net worth, his business deals, and, well, just about anything else he talks about for more than five minutes. He used the 2012 election cycle as a forum for personal ego boosting and the spreading of lies, including the idiotic notion that Obama is not a natural-born citizen. Fun fact: Trump used deferrments to avoid service in the Vietnam War, but lied and said it was because he had a high draft number.

9. Peter Peterson ($1.3 bn)

Private equity mogul Pete Peterson, who founded the Blackstone Group with Stephen Schwarzman (also on our list) has a very straightforward agenda. He wants to kill Social Security and Medicare, the programs that keep millions of American out of poverty. His strategy is to channel gargantuan amounts of money into stoking nonsensical deficit hysteria. His focus on austerity policies, which have proved disastrous around the world, particularly in places like the U.K., makes him an economic quack, but one who has found willing ears among fools and knaves. Peterson has pushed his messaging into popular culture, he has held high-profile summits, and he has enlisted hordes of wealthy politicians, like Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, to carry his water in Washington. He is a driving force behind the “Fix the Debt” campaign, a consortium of corporate honchos and rich individuals who have attempted to bring deficit scare-mongering to D.C. in order to achieve cuts to vital programs and further strip hardworking Americans of their dignity.

10. Stephen Schwarzman ($6.5 bn)

The Blackstone Group’s co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, described as “private equity’s designated villain” in the New Yorker, is fond of throwing lavish parties for himself, including an infamous $3 millon birthday fete in June 2007 at New York City’s Park Avenue Armory. The party, which went down in history as a show-stopping hymn to bad taste, featured a marching band and a 50-foot silkscreen recreation of Schwarzman’s own $40 million apartment. Revellers included Bill Clinton and Cardinal Edward Egan, now considered a dark horse for pope. A couple of months later, the economy tanked, thanks in part to the mismanagement and excess debt of the unregulated private equity firms that have served to weaken the real economy. Most recently, Schwarzman captured headlines by comparing raising taxes on private equity fatcats like himself to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Seriously! He is reportedly outraged that persons like himself have been the subject of contempt since the financial crisis. The heart bleeds.


8) Wrongfully Convicted and Seeking Restitution
March 13, 2013

COLORADO SPRINGS — Robert Dewey spent almost 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Now he spends his time waiting. Waiting for food stamps, or his monthly $698 disability check. Swallowing painkillers and waiting for his wrenched back to stop aching. Waiting for the state to repay him for lost time.

A lifelong motorcycle rider, Mr. Dewey, 52, knows the dangers of slick and twisting roads. But in the 10 months since he was exonerated by DNA testing and released from prison, the most perilous roads in front of him are not the highways he navigates on his rebuilt Harley-Davidson, but the one leading him away from prison and into a bewildering world of smartphones, grandchildren and uncertain new freedoms.

“When you come out, you’re on top,” he said one recent afternoon, dragging on a cigarette and sinking deeper into the couch at a friend’s house. “It’s easy to fall.”

Mr. Dewey’s release is among a few high-profile exonerations that are now prodding Colorado to confront the question of what it owes inmates who have been falsely imprisoned, a civic soul-searching that Louisiana, Texas, Illinois and other states are also confronting.

Colorado is one of 23 states that have no system to compensate the wrongfully convicted. It does not provide a formal network of counseling, education or other assistance, which advocacy groups like the Innocence Project say aggravates an already difficult and meager transition back to civilian life.

A bill in Colorado’s statehouse would change that here, granting $70,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment, plus tuition waivers at state colleges. It passed an early legislative test last Thursday, receiving unanimous support from the state’s House Judiciary Committee.

“We have a responsibility to make this injustice a justice,” said Representative Angela Williams, a Democrat from Denver who is championing the measure. “You lose everything. You’re starting from scratch. How do you save money? How do you invest?”

A spokesman for Colorado’s governor, John W. Hickenlooper, said he had not decided whether to support the bill. But Mr. Dewey, now jobless, is betting everything on its passage.

“I’m just seeing dollars roll down the sink,” he said. “I have no credit. I asked my bank for a loan of $250 — they wouldn’t do it. It’s hard out here.”

Robert Dewey had lived a rough life. He served time for armed robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon. He had worked as a laborer and repairman, but by the mid-1990s, he was using drugs and hanging out on the fringes of a ragged group of methamphetamine users in western Colorado.

Then, in 1994, Jacie Taylor, a 19-year-old woman who had fallen into the same circle, was raped and strangled in her apartment in the town of Palisade, Colo. The police eventually homed in on Mr. Dewey, who had been staying nearby, and arrested him in June 1995.

Years later, DNA evidence would link the murder to Douglas Thames, who had also passed through Palisade. Mr. Thames has now been charged in Ms. Taylor’s death.

Mr. Dewey knew none of this in 1996 when he was sentenced to life in prison. It felt like a dream, he said, a grim movie in which he was the audience, not the protagonist. Next thing he knew, he was a convicted killer peering out a cell window at distant city lights glowing on the horizon.

“I didn’t know who did it,” he said. “Didn’t care at the moment. I just knew it wasn’t me.”

After years of work by his court-appointed lawyer, Danyel Joffe, the Innocence Project came on board in 2007 and paid for tests that showed no DNA links between Mr. Dewey and the crime scene. His conviction was reversed, and he was released last April. He left with an apology and a handshake from prosecutors in Mesa County, he said, but little else.

There have been moments of grace, like petting a dog, or touching a tree for the first time in more than a decade. But there have been mountains of difficulties.

Because Mr. Dewey had been sentenced to life, he said, he never touched a computer or took any vocational classes while he was in prison. He came out awe-struck by a world that had gone online and turned digital. The first time he walked into a Walmart, he said, he was so overwhelmed by its colors and scale that he had to run outside to smoke a cigarette.

After his release, people mailed donations of $100 or $200 and sent him tools and parts for his motorcycle. A man in prison even sent Mr. Dewey $20, he said. But the donations have dried up, and he is often short of money. He wonders whether he will ever save enough to make it to Missouri to see grandchildren who were born while he was in prison.

He says that he wants to work, but that a painful back injury aggravated in prison makes him reluctant to do so.

“God bless him, but the system has created him the way he is,” said Stephen Laiche, one of Mr. Dewey’s lawyers in his 1996 trial. Mr. Laiche is now working to seal Mr. Dewey’s records from the murder case. “Are we surprised that he can’t get a job? Because we wrongfully convicted him, he couldn’t work for 20 years.”

But Mr. Dewey seems determined to tell and retell a story that he lives every day. A few weeks ago, he spoke to a dozen people at a Unitarian church in the northern Colorado town of Greeley, recounting again in the carpeted silence his nearly 18 years in the “shoe box.”

“Yeah, I’m bitter, " he said. “I’m not blaming it on anybody. It is what it is. I just try to do the best I can.”


9) Death to Whistle-Blowers?
March 13, 2013

LAST month Pfc. Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to several offenses related to leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, a plea that could land him in jail for 20 years. But Private Manning still faces trial on the most serious charges, including the potential capital offense of “aiding the enemy” — though the prosecution is not seeking the death penalty in this case, “only” a life sentence.

If successful, the prosecution will establish a chilling precedent: national security leaks may subject the leakers to a capital prosecution or at least life imprisonment. Anyone who holds freedom of the press dear should shudder at the threat that the prosecution’s theory presents to journalists, their sources and the public that relies on them.

You don’t have to think that WikiLeaks is the future of media, or Private Manning a paragon of heroic whistle-blowing, to understand the threat. Indeed, the two of us deeply disagree with each other about how to assess Private Manning’s conduct and WikiLeaks’s behavior.

Mr. Abrams, who represented The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case, has argued that both Daniel Ellsberg, who provided the documents to the newspaper, and The Times acted with far more restraint and responsibility than Private Manning and WikiLeaks have, and that both have repeatedly behaved with a devil-may-care obliviousness to genuine national security interests.

Mr. Benkler, a law professor, has argued that Private Manning and Mr. Ellsberg (himself a Manning supporter) played a similar public role, that WikiLeaks behaved reasonably under the circumstances and that the revelations, including American forces’ complicity in abuses by Iraqi allies, understatement of civilian casualties and abuses by contractors deserve recognition, not criticism.

We write together because we believe our disagreements are characteristic of many who think about the WikiLeaks/Manning affair; public feelings range from respect to deep discomfort. When it decided the Pentagon Papers case, in 1971, the Supreme Court was well aware that, as Justice Potter Stewart put it, “It is elementary that the successful conduct of international diplomacy and the maintenance of an effective national defense require both confidentiality and secrecy.”

Despite this clear understanding of the risks involved in leaks and disclosure, the court’s decision was encapsulated in Justice Hugo L. Black’s simple statement: “The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.”

And what could be more destructive to an informed citizenry than the threat of the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole for whistle-blowers?

Under the prosecution’s theory, because Private Manning knew the materials would be published and that Al Qaeda could read them once published, he indirectly communicated with the enemy. But in this theory, whether publication is by WikiLeaks or The Times is entirely beside the point. Defendants are guilty of “aiding the enemy” for leaking to a publishing medium simply because that publication can be read by anyone with an Internet connection.

In a January hearing the judge, Col. Denise Lind, asked prosecutors directly whether they would have brought the same charges had Private Manning leaked the materials to The New York Times instead of WikiLeaks. The prosecutors’ answer was unambiguously yes.

That yes was not courtroom bluster, but a necessary concession regarding what their theory means. And nothing in that theory would limit its application to the release of hundreds of thousands of documents. It could apply as effectively to a single abuse-revealing document.

So yes, we continue to disagree about what to make of Private Manning and WikiLeaks. But we agree that WikiLeaks is part of what the Fourth Estate is becoming, that the leaks included important disclosures and that their publication is protected by the First Amendment no less than the publication of the Pentagon Papers was.

Private Manning’s guilty plea gives the prosecution an opportunity to rethink its strategy. The extreme charges remaining in this case create a severe threat to future whistle-blowers, even when their revelations are crystal-clear instances of whistle-blowing. We cannot allow our concerns about terrorism to turn us into a country where communicating with the press can be prosecuted as a capital offense.

Floyd Abrams is a lawyer and the author of the forthcoming book “Friend of the Court: On the Front Lines With the First Amendment.” Yochai Benkler is a law professor at Harvard and co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.


10) Monarch Migration Plunges to Lowest Level in Decades
"But an equally alarming source of the decline, both Mr. Taylor and Mr. Vidal said, is the explosive increase in American farmland planted in soybean and corn genetically modified to tolerate herbicides. The American Midwest’s corn belt is a critical feeding ground for monarchs, which once found a ready source of milkweed growing between the rows of millions of acres of soybean and corn. But the ubiquitous use of herbicide-tolerant crops has enabled farmers to wipe out the milkweed, and with it much of the butterflies’ food supply. “That habitat is virtually gone. We’ve lost well over 120 million acres, and probably closer to 150 million acres,” Mr. Taylor said. A rapid expansion of farmland — more than 25 million new acres in the United States since 2007 — has eaten away grasslands and conservation reserves that supplied the monarchs with milkweed, he said."
March 13, 2013

The number of monarch butterflies that completed an annual migration to their winter home in a Mexican forest sank this year to its lowest level in at least two decades, due mostly to extreme weather and changed farming practices in North America, the Mexican government and a conservation alliance reported on Wednesday.

The area of forest occupied by the butterflies, once as high at 50 acres, dwindled to 2.94 acres in the annual census conducted in December, Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas disclosed at a news conference in Zitácuaro, Mexico.

That was a 59 percent decline from the 7.14 acres of butterflies measured in December 2011.

Because the insects cannot be counted, the combined size of the butterfly colonies is used as a proxy in the census, which is conducted by the commission and a partnership between the World Wildlife Fund and the Mexican cellphone company Telcel.

“We are seeing now a trend which more or less started in the last seven to eight years,” Omar Vidal, the head of the wildlife group’s Mexico operations, said in an interview. Although insect populations can fluctuate greatly even in normal conditions, the steady downward drift in the butterfly’s numbers is worrisome, he said.

The latest decline was hastened by drought and record-breaking heat in North America when the monarchs arrived last spring to reproduce. Warmer than usual conditions led the insects to arrive early and to nest farther north than is typical, Chip Taylor, director of the conservation group Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas, said in an interview. The early arrival disrupted the monarchs’ breeding cycle, he said, and the hot weather dried insect eggs and lowered the nectar content of the milkweed on which they feed.

That in turn weakened the butterflies and lowered the number of eggs laid.

But an equally alarming source of the decline, both Mr. Taylor and Mr. Vidal said, is the explosive increase in American farmland planted in soybean and corn genetically modified to tolerate herbicides.

The American Midwest’s corn belt is a critical feeding ground for monarchs, which once found a ready source of milkweed growing between the rows of millions of acres of soybean and corn. But the ubiquitous use of herbicide-tolerant crops has enabled farmers to wipe out the milkweed, and with it much of the butterflies’ food supply.

“That habitat is virtually gone. We’ve lost well over 120 million acres, and probably closer to 150 million acres,” Mr. Taylor said.

A rapid expansion of farmland — more than 25 million new acres in the United States since 2007 — has eaten away grasslands and conservation reserves that supplied the monarchs with milkweed, he said.

The monarchs’ migration is seen as a natural marvel and, for Mexico, a huge tourist attraction. But naturalists regard the butterflies as a forward indicator of the health of the food chain. Fewer butterflies probably means there are fewer other insects that are food for birds, and fewer birds for larger predators.

Mr. Vidal and Mr. Taylor said December’s record-low census does not necessarily constitute a knockout blow against the butterfly. The Mexican government has halted what was once extensive logging in the monarchs’ winter home, and there remains the prospect that conservationists and state and local governments will replenish some of the milkweed lost to development and changed farming habits.

Mr. Vidal said that American and Canadian officials should move quickly. “Mexico is doing its part,” he said. “Mexico has invested resources, and it’s eliminated this massive illegal logging in the reserve. But on the other hand, I think the United States has to do much more.”

Mr. Taylor said a further decline could cross a tipping point at which the insects will be unusually vulnerable to outside events like a Mexican cold snap or more extreme heat that could put them in peril.

“Normally, there’s a surplus of butterflies and even if they take a big hit, they recover,” he said. But if their current 2.94-acre wintering ground drops below 2.5 acres, bouncing back could be difficult.

“This is one of the world’s great migrations,” he said. “It would be a shame to lose it.”


11) Anger in East Flatbush Persists Over Teenager’s Killing by the Police
March 13, 2013

First came the shooting: an armed teenager killed by police officers on a darkened Brooklyn street.

Then came the anger: a Monday evening vigil marred by an unruly young mob thrashing its way through local businesses; a second protest the next night; and another on Wednesday night, after which, the police said, someone hit an officer in the face with a brick, another brick was thrown through the window of a police van, and there were 46 arrests — mostly for disorderly conduct. Two officers suffered minor injuries.

By the time an autopsy of the 16-year-old was released Wednesday, the tension in East Flatbush could be measured in the silently flashing lights of squad cars parked at tight intervals along Church Avenue.

For some, the sight of extra police officers meant a potential reprieve in an area troubled by crime. For others, it was anything but reassuring.

The police said that two plainclothes officers fatally shot the teenager, Kimani Gray, just before 11:30 p.m. on Saturday after he brandished a revolver and pointed it at them. The police commissioner,Raymond W. Kelly, said Tuesday that the police had interviewed three witnesses, “two of which say that the officers said, ‘Don’t move.’ ”

“Another witness said an officer says, ‘Freeze,’ ” he said. The officers then fired 11 shots, the police said.

Seven bullets hit Mr. Gray, including three that entered his body from the rear, according to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The autopsy did not establish the order in which the bullets struck Mr. Gray, or determine the path of the bullets, which might make clearer if Mr. Gray had his back to the officers when he was shot, or if he had twisted away after being struck from the front.

But the findings, inconclusive though they were, appeared likely to heighten the tensions of a community already distrustful of the police and increasingly incensed about the shooting of the teenager.

On Wednesday night, about 200 people attended the vigil. The gathering became unruly when about half of them splintered off and marched to a nearby police precinct station house. After officers in riot gear set up a roadblock on Church Avenue, Mr. Gray’s sister Mahnefah tried to cross the street and was put into a police car. She was given a summons and released. Some of the protesters shouted, “That’s the sister,” then started throwing bottles when the police would not release her. Someone hurled a chair. Screams could be heard as skirmishes broke out on side streets.

For local residents, many of whom voiced skepticism about the official account, the situation surrounding Mr. Gray’s death was grimly familiar. Less than a year before, and only blocks away, a narcotics detective shot and killed an unarmed 23-year-old woman, Shantel Davis, as she tried to flee the police in a car that had been reported stolen at gunpoint, the police said at the time.

Vigils followed that shooting as well. But soon the rhythms of daily life returned, marked by what young men and women said was a daily backbeat of police stops.

“You try to put it out of your mind,” said Ms. Davis’s sister Crystal.

In interviews around East Flatbush, many spoke of a Police Department that, in its aggressive pursuit of gangs and informal criminal crews, had sown distrust, especially among young men and women, who feel that their encounters with officers often have racial overtones.

At a barbershop along Church Avenue, two men on Tuesday were discussing the recent shooting when an Asian delivery cyclist pulled onto the sidewalk across the street. “See that guy?” said Elverton Thomas, 39, a black man and telemarketer who was there for a haircut. “He can ride on the sidewalk. We can’t.”

His barber, Julian Clark, also black, concurred. Two years before, he said, an officer stopped him in front of the shop for sidewalk riding, and then arrested him after the officer said his identification had expired; he spent a day in custody sorting it out, he said.

“They have a hard time because there’s a lot of crime in the neighborhood,” he said of the police. “But when they play hardball, they end up going after innocent people, too.”

The seemingly constant presence of the police in the lives of many youths — both on the street and, increasingly, monitoring conversations on social media — has left many feeling suffocated, said Shanduke McPhatter, 35, an ex-gang member who works with young men in the neighborhood. “I understand the state of mind that these youths have,” he said. “The problem is there is no relationship with the police.”

At the same time, he said, the situation on the streets has grown more complex for law enforcement: gangs are less organized, replaced instead by informal crews with few requirements and in which leadership is frequently up for grabs among increasingly young members.

“The police say, ‘Look at these kids, they’re wild,’ ” Mr. McPhatter said. “And then they use that as an excuse to be wild themselves.”

The Rev. Terry Lee, who runs a local youth ministry and acts as a liaison to the police, said many of the neighborhood shootings involved “kids killing kids” and lamented that the community did not rise up more frequently in anger over those shootings. But he said he understood why. “The community we’re living in can get dangerous at times,” he said. “People are afraid of retaliation.”

Mr. Lee said the local 67th Precinct had grown more open to the community in recent years. “The problem is, people still don’t want to go to the police,” he said.

The autopsy report on Mr. Gray did not specify which of the seven bullets caused the death of the teenager; that determination awaits further investigation.

One bullet entered his left shoulder in the rear; two other bullets struck the back of his thighs, one in the left thigh and one in the right. Two bullets struck from the front, hitting his right thigh; one bullet entered his left side, striking his lower rib cage; and the last bullet hit his left lower forearm.

John C. Cerar, the former commander for firearms training at the Police Department, said many factors could explain the wounds to the front and back of Mr. Gray’s body.

“Most of the time, it’s the person making a turn, or the position of the officers,” he said, or some combination of the two. Once that person has a gun, he said, the threat to the officers is imminent.

Mr. Gray’s revolver was loaded with four bullets, the police said.

Mr. Kelly, the police commissioner, said Tuesday that there was “nothing to indicate that this shooting was outside the guidelines.” Mr. Cerar concurred, saying, “Under the reported circumstances, it appears to be a good shooting.”

But raw feeling in the neighborhood fueled accounts at wide variance with that provided by the police. Some said Mr. Gray, while armed, did not point the gun; others said they had heard that there had been no gun at all, or that his hands had been in the air. A family friend, Kevin Blacks, 33, said he was not surprised that the autopsy had found that Mr. Gray had been shot so many times or hit from behind.

He said he had spoken to Mr. Gray’s parents. “The dad is shook,” Mr. Blacks said, standing by a makeshift memorial for Mr. Gray. “He doesn’t sleep. He doesn’t talk. He’s still in a dream.”

Local elected officials and clergy members, seeking to lower the temperature in the neighborhood, mostly did not issue new statements Wednesday.

“Our focus right now is to get the funeral service together,” said Gilford T. Monrose, a local pastor and community leader who is working with the family on the service; a date had yet to be set, he said.

On Tuesday, police investigators could be seen inside a Rite Aid store where, the night before, a group of at least three dozen mostly young people briefly rampaged through the aisles, turning over displays and assaulting one customer who tried to intervene. The police released store surveillance video and later announced the arrest of a 19-year-old, saying he was one of three who hit the customer and took his cellphone.

“Nothing justifies that,” Mr. Kelly said. He said at a City Council hearing on Tuesday that the violence had been caused by a disorderly group that broke away from the vigil and did not constitute a riot, as some had termed it.

“That belittles it,” City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams said later, referring to the community anger after the police shooting. “So now we’re going to wait for something worse, for something that meets the true definition of a riot?”

Patrick McGeehan, Wendy Ruderman and Tim Stelloh contributed reporting.


12) Women Feel Pressed to Work More as Economy Finds Footing: Report
March 14, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal employee Leslie Shah went back to work just after her second child celebrated his first birthday, one of a growing number of American mothers who are choosing full-time work since the economic downturn.

"It really came down to a financial decision," said Shah, 44, who lives in Maryland just outside Washington. "Gas prices are up, my grocery bill is up."

More American women are feeling pressed to work a greater number of hours even as the country emerges from its economic doldrums. A Pew Research Center Report released on Thursday found nearly one in three Americans mothers last year said they would prefer a full-time job, up from one in five in 2007.

Lead researcher Kim Parker cited the 2007-2009 recession as the likely factor behind the findings, adding that fewer women said they wanted to work full time before the downturn.

"I doubt that that's because that's what they really want, but that's what they really need to provide for their families," Parker said in an interview.

Pew's findings, based in part on its survey of 2,511 adults nationwide in late 2012, came amid renewed public debate about working mothers in the United States.

Former U.S. State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter, put working moms back in the spotlight with a magazine article last summer on "Why Women Still Can't Have It All." In the fall, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer announced she put in a full day's work two weeks after her baby was born, then banned telecommuting a few months later.

The debate intensified this month with Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg's new book "Lean In" pushing women to take on leadership roles. [ID:nL1N0C544V] One woman who did that, former Lehman Brothers chief financial officer Erin Callan, lamented in the New York Times on Sunday never having taken the time to have children.

The uproar stirred by the female executives opened wounds about privilege, choice and class divide. Critics said that for American women who are not well-paid top company officials, there is often no choice in the matter - they have to work - and the debate over style and leadership is all but moot.

According to Pew, women struggling with money, especially single mothers, were far more likely to desire full-time jobs.

About half of women who struggled financially said working full time was ideal, compared to about 31 percent of those who said they live comfortably, the nonpartisan research group's report said.

In 2012, about half of single mothers said they would rather work full time, up from 26 percent at the start of the recession, Pew found. In comparison, the number of married mothers who wanted full-time jobs remained flat.

That rings true for Phoenix, Arizona, mother Limpo Bokasa, who works as a medical case manager while raising her 7-year-old twin daughters on her own.

"You're spent emotionally, physically and spiritually for your children. You're running on empty," she said. "What I make for work is not enough to cover all my bills. ... You have to know just how to stretch every paycheck."

But for others, working also means independence and professional satisfaction.

Kendra Jochum, a 33-year-old mother of two boys, aged four and one, was buying a new house in Maryland when she and her husband found out they were having a baby girl. They welcomed the surprise pregnancy, but it brought worries about child care and her job as a social worker if she took a long leave.

"I enjoy work. I don't want to give that up," Jochum said.


The recession, which hit more traditional male jobs such as those in construction, in many cases flipped the economic burden and turned mothers into breadwinners.

Both mothers and fathers said they are equally stressed about work-life balance. Overall about half each say it's very or somewhat difficult, according to the Pew survey, which had a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.

A wider look at men and women's roles over the last few decades shows the gender gap has shrunk as women work more and fathers take on a greater share of housework and child care.

Fathers spent 17 hours taking care of chores and children per week in 2011 compared to about seven hours four decades ago. Still, that is about half the 32 hours now spent by mothers.

"There's been this convergence of gender roles, but there's still this big gap," said Pew's Parker, herself a mother of two.

Another gap - that between the ideal and the reality - shows when it comes to kids: just 16 percent of parents overall said it was ideal for mothers with young children to work full time. Most said mothers working part-time or not at all would be better.

"That's the whole thing that society really hasn't come to terms with yet, the economic realities versus what is best for a young child," Parker said.

(Editing by Doina Chiacu)


13) Eyewitness "Certain" Kimani Gray Was Unarmed When Police Shot Him

The only civilian eyewitness to come forward in the case of a Brooklyn teen shot dead by a pair of plainclothes New York City police officers is "certain" the 16 year-old was empty-handed when the cops opened fire.

Kimani 'Kiki' Gray was shot several times by two officers patrolling East Flatbush in an un-marked car around 11:30 p.m. Saturday night.

According to the NYPD's account, the officers spotted Gray standing with five other young males in front of a home at E. 52nd St., near Tilden Ave. As the officers approached, Gray separated from the group and adjusted his waistband in a manner the officers deemed suspicious, the department says.

"After the anti-crime sergeant and police officer told the suspect to show his hands, which was heard by witnesses, Gray produced a revolver and pointed it at the officers, who fired a total of 11 rounds, striking Gray several times," Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department, said.

Gray was taken to Kings County Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The officers--one a veteran of eight years, the other a veteran of five--have not been identified. They have been placed on administrative duty while the shooting is investigated.

A New York Daily News report published early Wednesday morning cast considerable doubt on the NYPD's version of events.

Tishana King claims to have watched the entire scene unfold from her window. She told the Daily News she is "certain [Gray] didn't have anything in his hands" when he was shot.

King says Gray was backing up when the officers began shooting. "Kimani started backing up," she said. "The cop took out his gun and started firing at Kimani."

"His [Gray's] hands were down," she said. "I couldn't believe he let off [fired] his gun. There was no reason. No false move."

A police source told the Daily News the officers who killed Gray initially reported to supervisors that he pulled a gun. King gave a tape recorded interview to the NYPD hours after the shooting and never mentioned the teen possessing a firearm.

A .38-caliber Rohm's Industry revolver was found at the scene.

Multiple witnesses have claimed Gray begged not to be killed.

Sharon Smith told the Voice she witnessed the shooting and said her daughter was outside when it happened; "[She] heard him say 'don't kill me, don't kill me.' And they say 'stay still' or they going to shoot you again."

On Tuesday New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly spoke to reporters following the City Council's budget hearing. He answered a number of questions about the shooting. The exchange was recorded and posted on Capital New York's website.

When asked how many witnesses saw Gray with a gun or pointing a gun, Commissioner Kelly first said that, "We are not speaking to the shooting officers because of an agreement that we have with the district attorney."

The commissioner explained that speaking to the officers could give them immunity; "So we don't have direct information from the officers themselves."

When asked if there are any witnesses in the case who "specifically say they don't see a gun," Commissioner Kelly said, "No."

The commissioner went on to say the department has three civilian witness.

Two of them heard an officer say, "Don't move," the commissioner said. The third said they heard an officer say "freeze." The commissioner added that one of the witnesses also heard an officer say, "What do you have in your hands?"

"We have several ear witnesses that hear the shots fired but nothing more. These are the three witnesses that have something of import," Commissioner Kelly said.

Asked again if "witnesses say the gun was pointed at the officer at any time," the commissioner said, "No. I told you what we have as far as the witness is concerned." He added, "There's nothing to indicate that this shooting, at this time, was outside the guidelines."

The NYPD's allegation that Gray "pointed" a gun at police was reported in virtually every major New York City news outlet over the weekend. The department has not yet responded to requests for clarification on the source of the claim.

Dwayne Charles, 17, was returning home from a track meet, coming out of the subway at Nostrand and Church Avenue, when he got a call that Gray had been shot. The boys had been friends since the 1st grade.

Wearing a blue hoodie with a photo of Gray printed on the front, Charles stood at the same intersection Wednesday night. He described the moment he got the news.

"I'm like, 'Alright, I'm about to be on my way,'" he said. "Hop in a dollar cab. I reach on New York [Avenue]. They like, 'Kiki just died.'"

Since that moment Charles says he has struggled to cope. "Anytime I get any alone time," he said, "my mind goes crazy."

"A lot of my friends died, but it didn't hit me like Kiki," he added. "He was a good kid that got caught up in the wrong situation."

Charles doubts Gray had a gun, but if he did, he'd be wise enough not to point it at the police, he says.

"Kiki is not just smart. He's street smart also," Charles explained. "He knows not to do something like that. He would never do something like that."

The shooting has struck a chord with many in the East Flatbush neighborhood where he died.

On Monday, a vigil was held, as well as a march to the NYPD's 67th precinct. The scene turned chaotic, however, when a splinter group broke from the main crowd. Approximately 60 individuals rushed into a Rite-Aid pharmacy, overturned displays, pulled a cash register down (though the department says no money was taken), struck a customer over the head with a wine bottle-resulting in a trip to the emergency room-and assaulted the store's manager.

Videos from inside the store were posted online Tuesday. The splinter group also trashed a fruit stand, threw objects at police and broke bus windows, witnesses and the department said.

On Tuesday, Gray's family requested that a second vigil, scheduled for last night, be postponed. Still, nearly 200 demonstrators, including a significant number from outside the community, marched through East Flatbush chanting at police in riot gear Tuesday evening.

Police sources have pointed out that Gray's criminal record includes charges of "grand larceny, possession of stolen property and inciting a riot."

On Monday, a police source told the Daily News the department believes Gray was a Bloods gang member and referenced a pair of online videos. The Voice discovered videos of two separate incidents that appear to match the paper's description.

In the first recorded incident, a teen in a red-hooded sweatshirt slaps another teen in a blue hooded sweatshirt in the face while the narrator says "shapow." The video indicates the teen in the red sweater is a Blood, while the teen in the blue was a rival Crip. The Voice was unable to confirm if the young man in the red sweatshirt was Gray, though comments on the videos suggest so.

When asked about "shapow," Charles bristled. "What that have to do with this?" he asked. "It don't justify shooting him 11 times."

"That's what the news portraying him as, as a gang member," he said.

Charles neither confirmed nor denied Gray's alleged gang affiliation, arguing instead that young males in his neighborhood band together for protection. "It's not even a gang, it's family," he said. "You have to have friends with you. You grow up by yourself, you getting robbed, you getting stabbed."

In addition to street violence, Charles says guys in his area worry about being harassed by the police. He says he's stopped by the cops "everyday." Charles says officers and youth in the neighborhood often know each other well, but rarely on positive terms. He said this was this case with Gray.

"They been harassing Kiki," Charles said. "They were out for him."

He claims at least one officer was aware that Gray's older brother had died in a car accident two years ago, and he had made light of it.

"One time Kiki and me was in Kennedy Fried Chicken, they came in the store," he said. "They came in the store, like, 'How your brother doing?'" Charles says Gray attempted to ignore the question and walk away but it didn't work; "He was about to get up and leave, they was like 'sit the fuck down before I shoot you. Sit the fuck down.'"

At Tuesday's budget hearing, city council member Jumaane Williams, who represents the district where Gray was killed, addressed Monday night's unrest in a pointed exchange with Commissioner Kelly. Williams argued resentment in his district is the result of systemic problems.

"We're not going to pretend that what happened yesterday is just one incident," Williams said. "It is not the details of one shooting. It is about how you and the NYPD and the Mayor have reacted to these communities. It is about years of not being heard."

The sentiment resonated with Charles; "When stuff happening, they ain't out here helping nobody."

"They not protecting us. They just killing us," he said. "They went over the line this time."

[Ryan Devereaux]


14) Spring Rain, Then Foul Algae in Ailing Lake Erie
March 14, 2013

TOLEDO, Ohio — For those who live and play on the shores of Lake Erie, the spring rains that will begin falling here soon are less a blessing than a portent. They could threaten the very future of the lake itself.

Lake Erie is sick. A thick and growing coat of toxic algae appears each summer, so vast that in 2011 it covered a sixth of its waters, contributing to an expanding dead zone on its bottom, reducing fish populations, fouling beaches and crippling a tourism industry that generates more than $10 billion in revenue annually.

The spring rains reliably predict how serious the summer algae bloom will be: the more frequent and heavy the downpours, the worse the outbreak. And this year the National Weather Service says there is a higher probability than elsewhere of above-normal spring rains along the lake’s west end, where the algae first appear. The private forecaster Accuweather predicts a wetter than usual March and April throughout the region.

It is perhaps the greatest peril the lake has faced since the 1960s, when relentless and unregulated dumping of sewage and industrial pollutants spawned similar algae blooms and earned it the nickname “North America’s Dead Sea.” Erie recovered then, thanks to a multibillion-dollar cleanup by the United States and Canada that became a legendary environmental success story.

But while the sewage and pollutants are vastly reduced, the blooms have returned, bigger than ever.

Once, fisheries and sports anglers pulled five million walleye from the rejuvenated lake every year. Today the catch is roughly one-fifth that, the Environmental Protection Agency says. Commercial fisheries’ smelt catch is three-fifths of past levels. The number of charter fishing companies has dropped 40 percent. Sport fish like walleye and yellow perch are deserting the lake’s center and moving shoreward in search of oxygen and food.

“We’ve seen this lake go from the poster child for pollution problems to the best example in the world of ecosystem recovery. Now it’s headed back again,” said Jeffrey M. Reutter, who directs the Sea Grant College Program at Ohio State University.

The algae problem is hardly isolated. Similar blooms are strangling other lakes in North America and elsewhere, including Lake Winnipeg, one of Canada’s largest, and some bays in Lake Huron.

The algae are fed by phosphorus, the same chemical that American and Canadian authorities spent billions to reduce — for good, they believed — in the 1970s and ‘80s. This time, new farming techniques, climate change and even a change in Lake Erie’s ecosystem make phosphorus pollution more intractable.

Like plants, algae thrive on a phosphorus diet. Decades ago, some 64 million pounds of phosphorus flowed into Lake Erie each year from industrial and sewer outfalls, leaky septic tanks and runoff from fertilized lawns and farms.

The United States and Canadian governments responded by capping household detergent phosphates, reining in factory pollutants and spending $8 billion to upgrade lakeside sewage plants. Phosphorus levels plunged by two thirds, and the algae subsided. But in the mid-1990s, it began creeping back.

“2002 was the last year that we didn’t have much of a bloom,” said Thomas Bridgeman, a professor at the Lake Erie Center at the University of Toledo. “2008, ’09 and ’10 were really bad years for algal blooms.

“And then we got 2011.”

2011 was the wettest spring on record. That summer’s algae bloom, mostly poisonous blue-green algae called Microcystis, sprawled nearly 120 miles, from Toledo to past Cleveland. It produced lake-water concentrations of microcystin, a liver toxin, that were 1,200 times World Health Organization limits, tainting the drinking water for 2.8 million consumers.

Dead algae sink to the lake bed, where bacteria that decompose the algae consume most of the oxygen. In central Lake Erie, a dead zone now covers up to a third of the entire lake bottom in bad years.

“The fact that it’s bigger and longer in duration is a bad thing,” said Peter Richards, a senior research scientist at the National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University in Ohio. “Fish that like to live in cold bottom waters have to move up in the thermocline, where it’s too warm for them. They get eaten, and that tends to decrease the growth rates of a lot of the fish.”

Last spring, the rains arrived amid a record drought, and the algae retreated to waters near Toledo. “We had two extremes in two years,” Mr. Bridgeman said. “The lake responded exactly the way we thought it would.”

But no one hopes for a drought. To cut phosphorus levels this time, scientists say, the habits — and the expensive equipment — of 70,000 farmers along the Erie shore must change. Most of the phosphorus that feeds algae these days comes from farmland.

Much of the phosphorus originates near Toledo, where the Maumee River completes a 137-mile journey and empties into the lake’s shallow western basin.

The Maumee watershed is Ohio’s breadbasket, two-thirds farmland, mostly corn and soybeans. Farming there is changing radically, said Steve Davis, a watershed specialist with the United States Agriculture Department’s Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Plowing is declining; 55 percent of farmland is planted using anti-erosion methods promoted by the Resource Conservation Service, like no-till farming, in which seeds are inserted into small holes in unplowed ground. Fertilizing is now contracted to companies that cast pellets onto the bare ground from trucks, or to “factory farms” that spray liquefied animal waste on their cropland.

Mr. Davis has analyzed his watershed almost to the last cornstalk. Animal waste makes up 14 percent of all fertilizer. The rest is fertilizer pellets, 48 pounds per acre. In past days, most pellets sank into plowed soil and stayed there. Now, rain and snowmelt wash an average 1.1 of those 48 pounds off unplowed soil. Much winds up in the Maumee, then in Lake Erie.

The Maumee supplies only about 5 percent of Erie’s water, but half its phosphorus. And while algae struggle to digest ordinary phosphorus — only about 30 percent gets taken up — fertilizer phosphorus is designed for plants to use instantly.

Two other recent changes make matters still worse.

One is the zebra mussel, a foreign invader that has dominated Erie since its discovery in 1988. Millions of mussels feast on nontoxic green algae, removing competitors to the toxic Microcystis algae and decimating the base of the food chain that supports Erie’s fish. Then in a vicious cycle, mussels excrete the algae’s phosphorus, providing the Microcystis a ready-made meal.

The other is climate change. Only heavy rains wash fertilizer off farmland, and since 1940, Mr. Richards said, heavy spring rainstorms have increased by 13 percent.

The Maumee’s phosphorus can be limited, Mr. Davis says, but only if farmers change their approach. More soil testing and new G.P.S.-guided machinery can ensure that crops receive the minimum fertilizer they need. Other new equipment can put fertilizer in the ground during planting instead of pellets being broadcast in the winter. Leaving land fallow beside streams reduces runoff.

The catch is that fertilizing is already efficient: that wasted 1.1 pounds is but 2 percent of all pellets spread on Maumee-area farms. “When you’re only losing a pound per acre,” Mr. Davis said, “how do you cut it to a half?”


15) Younger Generations Lag Parents in Wealth-Building
March 14, 2013

WASHINGTON — Pearl Brady has a stable job with good benefits and holds two degrees, a bachelor’s and a master’s. But despite her best efforts, she has no savings, and worries that it will be years before she manages to start putting away money for a house, children and eventually retirement.

“I’m in that extremely nervous category,” said Ms. Brady, 28, a Brooklynite who works for a union. “I know how much money I’m going to be making for the near term. I hope in my 30s and 40s to be able to save, but I have no idea how. It’s scary.”

Ms. Brady has plenty of company. A new study from the Urban Institute finds that Ms. Brady and her peers up to roughly age 40 have accrued less wealth than their parents did at the same age, even as the average wealth of Americans has doubled over the last quarter-century.

Because wealth compounds over long periods of time — a dollar saved 10 years ago is worth much more than a dollar saved today — young adults probably face less secure futures for decades down the road, and even shakier retirements.

“In this country, the expectation is that every generation does better than the previous generation,” said Caroline Ratcliffe, an author of the study. “This is no longer the case. This generation might have less.” The authors said the situation facing young Americans might be unprecedented.

A broad range of economic factors has conspired to suppress wealth-building for younger American workers; the trend predates the Great Recession. Younger Americans are facing stagnant pay — the median income, when adjusted for inflation, has declined since its 1999 peak — as well as a housing collapse and soaring student loan debt.

In interviews, a half-dozen young adults — men and women, with families and single, in a broad range of industries — described economic conditions that left them just barely keeping their heads above water.

Ms. Brady, for instance, earns about $1,800 a month in take-home pay. But she paid for her undergraduate and graduate education in part with loans, which cost her about $400 a month. She also is trying to pay down her credit card debt, which requires about $500 a month. After food, rent and living expenses, there is little left over.

Looking forward, she said, it seemed hard to imagine building a nest egg. “Realistically, my income will go up, but not at a rate that’s going to match my expenses,” Ms. Brady said. “I feel like every step forward I take, it’s three steps back.”

Chuck Ross, 31, has a master’s in economics and at one point built up a $12,000 nest egg from investing. But he lives in Wichita, Kan., where jobs in his field are few. He works at a large chain restaurant and is struggling with $40,000 in student loans. “My dad works for himself,” he said. “He’s always joking about how he’ll work until he dies. We laugh, but for me, that’s becoming more and more of a thought.”

Others said they had put their money into a home only to fall into foreclosure, or were struggling to pay for child care.

Strong and sustained job and wage growth would cure many of the ills facing younger workers, experts said. But their delayed or diminished wealth accumulation might still have a lasting impact on their finances.

“It’s a little bit of a tipping-point moment,” said Signe-Mary McKernan, an author of the study from the Urban Institute, a nonprofit Washington research institution. “If we don’t address it today, they might never catch up.”

For instance, the researchers said, if a person delayed the purchase of a home to age 40 instead of buying at age 30, that might result in a $42,000 loss in home equity by the time she reaches 60, given trends in wealth accumulation over the past few decades.

The Urban Institute study is one of many to show something of a perfect storm of economic trends battering younger workers. One is the collapse of the housing bubble. Young people who bought homes as prices started to decline in 2006 are often underwater on their mortgages today. But now that prices have fallen sharply and interest rates are remarkably low, many other young adults are locked out of the market because credit standards are tougher.

A second major trend is the rise of student loan debt, which has continued to grow through the recession, sometimes saddling students with burdens that extend into six figures and might take decades to pay down. A study of Federal Reserve data by the Pew Research Center found that 40 percent of relatively young households had outstanding student debt as of 2010, up from 34 percent in 2007. The median balance among all households with student loan debt was more than $13,000.

“I just don’t think about it,” said Mr. Ross, of his student loans. “I push the thoughts out of my mind, and when I do think about it now and then I kind of just think that maybe I’ll have to work indefinitely. And I hope I can find a career that will allow my body to do that.”

Finally, and perhaps most important, younger workers have faced a brutal job market in the last half-decade. The unemployment rate is 7.8 percent for workers between the ages of 25 and 34; it hovered over 10 percent for more than a year during the recession and early stages of the recovery. For workers between the ages of 45 and 54, the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent, and it peaked at 8 percent in 2010.

Those who held on to their jobs are often worse off. Wages, adjusted for inflation, have stagnated for a broad swath of workers for over a decade. For millions of workers, wages have actually declined through the recession and the sluggish recovery.

With the wage and jobs picture bleak, and fixed pensions largely gone from the private sector, the answer to the conundrum of shoring up savings for younger workers might lie in new government policies, the Urban Institute scholars said. They suggested encouraging retirement accounts by making them automatic unless an employee opted out, or modifying the home mortgage interest deduction to push more money toward homeownership for lower-income workers.

For now, millions of younger workers are on their own. “We both had vanilla lower-middle-to-middle-class lifestyles,” said Christopher Greer, a 32-year-old who works in astronomy and lives in Arizona, referring to himself and his girlfriend. “I’m not sure how that’s going to play out for us.”


16) Restaurant Horror Show: How Servers Are Abused
Almost 10 percent of the U.S. workforce is in the restaurant industry. Why is it legal to treat them so poorly? “'People think a tip is extra, to show gratitude for really good service, but it’s really not,' Chung said. 'Consumers should really know that they’re subsidizing workers’ wages, it’s not on top of it. You’re making up the difference for the fact that someone doesn’t make minimum wage.'”
By Matt Frassica,
March 15, 2013
This is the second installment in a new series called Working Ahead, which will examine key issues facing the modern American worker, and how we can use our everyday spending habits to help save and create good jobs. The series is brought to you by the AFL-CIO. To read the other stories in this series, click here.

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe in Louisville, Ky., was a monument to the power of kitschy sculptures and loud colors. Coverage in magazines like Bon Appetit and from TV personalities like Oprah and Bobby Flay brought tourists, and tourists ate fare like bourbon ball French toast and Hot Brown sandwiches. Weekend mornings, you could count on the place being packed with people whose idea of a good place for brunch involved a collection of ugly lamps and $13 Bloody Marys.

But then in January, a former server named Leila DiFazio accused Lynn’s management of firing her over a new policy that paid servers credit card tips on their paychecks rather than in cash at the end of the night, and required waiters to bring $100 cash to work every day to share tips with untipped staff members. DiFazio refused to comply.

“Bringing in $100 each shift is unrealistic for me because I am [a] single mother of a 2 and a half year-old-boy,” DiFazio wrote on the website of an organization called Kentucky Jobs With Justice, part of the national group Jobs with Justice.

Kentucky Jobs With Justice printed DiFazio’s story as a flier and distributed it around the restaurant. The next day, without explanation, Lynn’s closed.

It’s illegal for employers to require tip-pooling, even though tipped staffers often share tips voluntarily with untipped employees like hosts, bussers, dishwashers and cooks. Still, forced tip-pools and other kinds of tip theft are common practices nationwide, according to Daisy Chung, executive director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, an advocacy group for restaurant workers.

“That’s something a lot of people don’t know — the tips you leave for that server may not make it to that person,” Chung said.

This is the age of the farm-to-table restaurant, a time when the menus of many upscale restaurants highlight the place and the practices of where the animals they serve were raised. But while the farmer is having a moment, we often forget the plight of the American restaurant worker — a giant segment of the workforce, and among the last workers who often make less than the minimum wage, relying on customer tips for a living.

We might ask the server about how humanely the free-range chicken was killed — and that very server might be working for a couple dollars an hour, and sick leave, vacation time or other benefits.

Lynn’s isn’t the only restaurant where workers have questioned how tips are paid out. ROC-NY reached a $1.15 million settlement with Mario Batali’s restaurant Del Posto in September 2012 over accusations of tip misappropriation, wage theft and discrimination — accusations Batali denied. His management group settled an unrelated class action suitearlier in 2012 over claims that over 1,000 employees in his Manhattan restaurants were forced to fork over a percentage of their tips to the house — that settlement came to $5.25 million.

Chung described tip-sharing schemes as an attempt by owners to solve a business problem — how to compensate low-wage back-of-house employees without actually paying them enough to live on. So they often reach into the pockets of the underpaid waitstaff to do it. “Tipped workers are required to subsidize non-tipped workers, because the restaurant doesn’t actually want to pay more,” she said.

Life as a commodity

Nearly one in 10 U.S. workers is employed in the restaurant industry, a total of 13.1 million people, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Yet of all employment categories tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, restaurant employees receive the lowest wages.

According to a ROC report, nearly 90 percent of restaurant workers don’t receive paid sick days, vacation or health insurance.

In this sense, restaurant workers are increasingly representative of the situation of American labor in the early 21st century: employed at-will, without benefits, for a wage that’s constantly shrinking in buying power.

Union representation for food service workers is very rare, except in hotels and casinos. Unite Here, the union that includes many of these workers, succeeded in a 2011 drive to organize employees at the W Hotel in Boston, including the hotel restaurant, Market by Jean-Georges.

Greg Roberts, a waiter with 30 years of experience in the industry, described a sense of the tenuousness of his employment before the drive. “People would seem to disappear,” he said, the result of a single customer complaint or a manager’s pique. “There was a definite sense that no one was safe.”

Schedules would change every week, and management would distribute the schedule two days in advance. Employees were required to be available for on-call shifts one or two days a week, and given only a few hours’ notice if they would be needed.

“It gave them maximum flexibility,” Roberts said. Workers, however, saw it differently. “It makes it very difficult to plan the rest of your life around.”

Caught up in a large corporation’s relentless Taylorization, Roberts felt dehumanized. “You’re a commodity that can be moved back and forth to maximize profit.”

Thanks to healthcare reform signed into law by Mitt Romney, Massachusetts employers have to provide insurance for their workers. But, before unionization, Roberts and other employees had a high-deductible plan that made accessing care prohibitively expensive. A colleague told him he opted out of the company’s health plan in order for his children to qualify for state-subsidized coverage.

Customer service suffered under the old regime, Roberts said. “If you’re unhappy, that comes out. You live and die on people’s perceptions of service. You can’t give good service if you’re embittered.”

Stiffed on the tip

“I don’t tip because society says I have to. All right, I mean, I’ll tip if somebody really deserves a tip, if they really put forth the effort, I’ll give them something extra. But this tipping automatically, it’s for the birds. As far as I’m concerned, they’re just doing their jobs.” –Mr. Pink, “Reservoir Dogs”

The reasons put forth for withholding tips for service are varied but fall into a few general categories. There are the ideological objections, often with a libertarian slant. There’s the misanthropic cheapskate defense. There are studies showing the influence of subliminal factors like music choice, the customer’s genes, the weather, the proximity of the server or size of her breasts.

To a server at a chain restaurant forced to interact with customers according to a script (“Do you need a few more minutes with the menu?”) or to wear a minimum amount of “flair,” or a waitress in a diner whose arms, back and feet ache as much as her smile muscles, these excuses will not carry a pitcher of margaritas.

Everyone who has worked as a server has a story of a tip deadbeat. The infamous recent case of the St. Louis pastor who scribbled out the automated gratuity added to her Applebee’s check and wrote, “I give God 10%, why do you get 18?” is an aberration only for the publicity it has generated.

The excuses for not leaving a tip, including Mr. Pink’s memorable stem-winder, proceed from the misguided belief that servers make federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. Leaving aside the question of whether the minimum wage is sufficient for anyone to live on, federal law allows states to deduct up to $5.12 per hour from the minimum wage for workers who earn more than $30 in tips per month.

Twelve states let employers pay tipped workers like servers and bartenders the lowest wage permitted under federal law — $2.13 per hour. That figure hasn’t changed since 1991.

For a single adult with no children, the living wage in a medium-size Midwestern city is around $8.28 an hour, according to MIT’s living wage calculator.

“People think a tip is extra, to show gratitude for really good service, but it’s really not,” Chung said. “Consumers should really know that they’re subsidizing workers’ wages, it’s not on top of it. You’re making up the difference for the fact that someone doesn’t make minimum wage.”

Politicians don’t seem to know this. Following President Obama’s call for raising the minimum wage in his State of the Union speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said, somewhat cryptically, in a floor speech, “He spoke of workers’ minimum wages, instead of their maximum potential.”

To what degree and by what mechanism the raising of workers’ wages would inhibit their maximum potential went unexplained, although the justice of denying some of the economy’s most marginal workers a raise for 22 years appears to be a conservative article of faith as resistant to empirical dispute as the non-anthropogenic causes of climate change.

Power and its obligations

According to Dorothy Sue Cobble, professor of history and labor studies at Rutgers, traditional unionization like that provided by Unite Here has been on the wane in the restaurant industry for decades. “Probably 1 percent of private sector restaurants are organized now,” Cobble said. “The law has made that more and more difficult.”

Instead, tipped employees are left to rely on the good will of their customers. Cooks and dishwashers, many of whom don’t speak English and may not have legal status, are at the mercy of their bosses.

“As in any industry, you have unscrupulous people and people with consciences. It’s about 50-50,” said Roger Fields, a partner in a San Francisco accounting firm who specializes in restaurants and the author of “Restaurant Success by the Numbers.”

Restaurant owners seek to keep their labor costs at about 40 percent of gross sales, according to Fields, although by focusing on higher-margin breakfast and lunch service or foods that require less-skilled workers, they can squeeze that percentage lower.

“Some of our better clients, their cost of labor is 27 percent,” Fields said. “That’s pretty damn good.”

Even from the owners’ perspective, however, harsh labor practices can end up hurting profits. “The abusive owners, they run up a lot of costs in training,” Fields said. “If you treat people well, they’ll stay with you and do good work.”

A ROC campaign called High Road attempts to persuade restaurant owners of the value of good labor practices, in part by emphasizing the high costs of turnover.

“We definitely acknowledge that it’s tough to be in this business, especially in New York City,” Chung said. “But I think, a lot of time, people don’t prioritize labor.”

“We want to show employers that running a restaurant ethically is possible and still profitable.”

In this, according to Cobble, ROC harks back to an older model of unionism, from before the Great Depression — one that emphasized training standards, professionalism and providing employers with skilled and reliable workers.

“Employers wanted to have workers in the union because consumers would associate that with the best service, the best food,” Cobble said. Restaurants would advertize their union membership with cards in the window.

To try to push restaurant owners toward better practices, ROC publishes Michelin-likeratings guides and an app that covers a handful of major cities.

Not all states allow employers to get away with paying the federal minimum of $2.13 an hour. Many have set minimum wages higher than the federal minimum, or allow a smaller deduction for tipped employees. A few states, like California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state, don’t allow any deduction at all for tipped employees — in San Francisco, the inflation-pegged minimum wage, including for all restaurant employees, tipped or untipped, is currently $10.55.

Gary Alan Fine, a professor of sociology at Northwestern, studied the culture of restaurants from inside the kitchen for his book “Kitchens.” It changed the way he thought about the work that goes on behind the kitchen door, and the way he tips. Fine will sometimes leave an extra $20 just for the dishwashers, he said.

“No one pays them any attention,” he said. “The way that the economic system of the restaurant is structured is that it’s based upon tips. We as diners have to recognize that.” 


17) Right to Lawyer Can Be Empty Promise for Poor
March 15, 2013

ADEL, Ga. — Billy Jerome Presley spent 17 months in a Georgia jail because he did not have $2,700 for a child support payment. He had no prior jail record but also no lawyer. In Baltimore last fall, Carl Hymes, 21, was arrested on charges of shining a laser into the eyes of a police officer. Bail was set at $75,000. He had no arrest record but also no lawyer. In West Orange, N.J., last summer, Walter Bloss, 89, was served with an eviction notice from the rent-controlled apartment he had lived in for 43 years after a dispute with his landlord. He had gone to court without a lawyer.

Fifty years ago, on March 18, 1963, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that those accused of a crime have a constitutional right to a lawyer whether or not they can afford one. But as legal officials observe the anniversary of what is widely considered one of the most significant judicial declarations of equality under law, many say that the promise inherent in the Gideon ruling remains unfulfilled because so many legal needs still go unmet.

Civil matters — including legal issues like home foreclosure, job loss, spousal abuse and parental custody — were not covered by the decision. Today, many states and counties do not offer lawyers to the poor in major civil disputes, and in some criminal ones as well. Those states that do are finding that more people than ever are qualifying for such help, making it impossible to keep up with the need. The result is that even at a time when many law school graduates are without work, many Americans are without lawyers.

The Legal Services Corporation, the Congressionally financed organization that provides lawyers to the poor in civil matters, says there are more than 60 million Americans — 35 percent more than in 2005 — who qualify for its services. But it calculates that 80 percent of the legal needs of the poor go unmet. In state after state, according to a survey of trial judges, more people are now representing themselves in court and they are failing to present necessary evidence, committing procedural errors and poorly examining witnesses, all while new lawyers remain unemployed.

“Some of our most essential rights — those involving our families, our homes, our livelihoods — are the least protected,” Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson of the Texas Supreme Court, said in a recent speech at New York University. He noted that a family of four earning $30,000 annually does not qualify for legal aid in many states.

James J. Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corporation, said, “Most Americans don’t realize that you can have your home taken away, your children taken away and you can be a victim of domestic violence but you have no constitutional right to a lawyer to protect you.”

According to the World Justice Project, a nonprofit group promoting the rule of law that got its start through the American Bar Association, the United States ranks 66th out of 98 countries in access to and affordability of civil legal services.

“In most countries, equality before the law means equality between those of high and low income,” remarked Earl Johnson Jr., a retired justice of the California Court of Appeal. “In this country for some reason we are concerned more with individuals versus government.”

With law school graduates hurting for work, it may appear that there is a glut of lawyers. But many experts say that is a misunderstanding.

“We don’t have an excess of lawyers,” said Martin Guggenheim, a law professor at New York University. “What we have is a miserable fit. In many areas like family and housing law, there is simply no private bar to go to. You couldn’t find a lawyer to help you even if you had the money because there isn’t a dime to be made in those cases.”

Even in situations where an individual is up against a state prosecutor and jail may result, not every jurisdiction provides lawyers to the defendants. In Georgia, those charged with failing to pay child support face a prosecutor and jail but are not supplied with a lawyer.

Mr. Presley lost his job in the recession and fell way behind on support payments for his four children. In 2011, he was jailed after a court proceeding without a lawyer in which he said he could not pay what he owed. He was brought back to court, shackled, every month or two. Each time, he said he still could not pay. Each time, he was sent back.

A year later, he contacted a public defender who handles only criminal cases but who sent his case to the Southern Center for Human Rights. Atteeyah Hollie, a lawyer there, got him released that same day, helped him find work and set up a payment plan.

An important service lawyers can provide defendants like Mr. Presley is knowledge of what courts want — receipts of medical treatment, evidence of a job search, bank account statements. On their own, many people misstep when facing a judge.

In Adel, Ga., a town of 5,000, child support court meets monthly. On a recent morning, a dozen men in shackles and jail uniforms faced Chuck Reddick, a state prosecutor, on their second or third round in court.

“In most cases, they simply can’t pay,” said John P. Daughtrey, who was sheriff here until losing an election in November. “An attorney could explain to the judge why jail is not the solution and how to fix it. As a sheriff, I want criminals in my jail, not a debtor’s prison.”

Mr. Reddick and Judge Carson Dane Perkins of Cook County Superior Court in Adel both said they would welcome lawyers for defendants because it would make the process clearer and smoother.

“If we could extend the right to a lawyer to civil procedures where you face a loss of liberty, that would be good,” Judge Perkins said. “Lawyers can get affidavits from employers and help make cases for those who can’t pay.”

The Southern Center for Human Rights has filed a class-action suit seeking a guarantee of a lawyer for such cases in Georgia. Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer there, said the center had received thousands of calls from Georgians facing child support hearings. Among them was Russell Davis, a Navy veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who was jailed three times and lost his apartment and car while in jail.

Georgia also offers a case study on the mismatch between lawyers and clients at a time when each needs the other. According to the Legal Services Corporation, 70 percent of the state’s lawyers are in the Atlanta area, while 70 percent of the poor live outside it. There are six counties without a lawyer and dozens with only two or three.

Mr. Bloss, who faced eviction in New Jersey, went to legal services, which won for him the right to stay in his apartment while his case is under appeal.

In Baltimore, where Mr. Hymes was accused of shining a laser at a police officer and assigned bail of $75,000, first bail hearings do not include a lawyer. Tens of thousands are brought through Central Booking every year, facing a commissioner through a glass partition, who determines whether to release the detainee on his own recognizance or assign bail and at what level.

“For the poor, bail is a jail sentence,” said Douglas L. Colbert, a law professor at the University of Maryland. A study he conducted on 4,000 bail cases of nonviolent offenders found that two and a half times as many detainees were released on their own recognizance and bail was set at a far more affordable level if a lawyer was at the hearing.

Mr. Hymes was relatively lucky. When he eventually faced a judge with the help of a public defender, bail was slashed to $200 cash. It took his family a few weeks to pay. A student of Mr. Colbert’s, Iten Naguib, acted as an intermediary.

“If there had been an attorney involved at the initial stages,” Ms. Naguib said, “Mr. Hymes would likely have been released much earlier.”


18) Assemblyman Is Charged With Marijuana Possession
March 15, 2013

A New York State assemblyman from the Hudson Valley was charged with marijuana possession after he was stopped for speeding, the authorities said on Friday.

The assemblyman, Stephen M. Katz, 59, a Republican from Mohegan Lake, was found with a “small bag” of marijuana when stopped on Thursday, the State Police said in a statement. Assemblyman Katz was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation that is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

In a statement, Mr. Katz said the episode was “unfortunate.”

“This should not overshadow the work I have done over the years for the public and my constituency,” he said, adding, “I am confident that once the facts are presented that this will quickly be put to rest.”

Mr. Katz, who was first elected in 2010, represents a district that includes parts of Putnam and Westchester Counties. As a Republican in the Assembly, which Democrats control, he is not especially influential, but he has made a name for himself as one of the more outspoken state legislators. (This week, for instance, he enraged fans of the Buffalo Bills by questioning the use of state money to entice the team to stay in New York.)

Mr. Katz has had previous troubles. A veterinarian by trade, he was once accused of illegally disposing of a dead German shepherd, and another time of allegedly attacking a Chihuahua he was treating. Both times, he said, he was exonerated.

On Thursday, Mr. Katz was pulled over around 10 a.m. after he was detected driving 80 miles per hour on the New York State Thruway in Coeymans, south of Albany, where the speed limit is 65 m.p.h. The State Police said the trooper who approached his car noticed the smell of marijuana, and then found Mr. Katz to be in possession of the drug.

Mr. Katz was released on an appearance ticket and is due in court on March 28.

The assemblyman, who is a member of the chamber’s Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, voted against a bill last year that would have legalized medical marijuana.




Subject: Jeremy Scahill's new documentary: "Dirty Wars."

Hi folks,

Jeremy Scahill has come out with a new documentary on the U.S. covert wars in Africa and the Middle East, called "Dirty Wars."  Here's an interview with him and the film's director, Richard Rowley, on "Democracy Now": 

Be warned; this can be very emotional, what we are doing around the world causes so much suffering.  I know you all know this already, but hearing more details still brings up all those intense feelings. 

Thanks to all of you for all of the work you are doing to resist these horrors.

in peace,

Mike Wong

Check out our blog:!  (Click on my name to see all my articles.)

"It is the task of the people of the whole world to put an end to the aggression and oppression perpetrated by imperialism, and chiefly by U.S. imperialism."   
People of the world, unite!


"Support Academic Freedom at CUNY"


 Occupy DOE 2.0: The March for Public Education

April 4, 2013—April 7, 2013

Organizer: United Opt Out National
Venue: U.S. Department of Education
Address:  400 Maryland Ave, SW, , Washington, DC, DC, 20202, United States

Three Spiritual Visionaries Discuss “The Dream Never Dies”
45 Years After the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Conversation exploring the “Beloved Community”
with Alice Walker, Jack Kornfield and Michael Bernard Beckwith
Thursday, April 4, 2013, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at Zellerbach Auditorium, University of California, Berkeley Campus.

Oakland, C.A.  - Join the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) for “The Dream Never Dies,” a benefit evening of music and conversation exploring the possibilities and practicalities of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s "Beloved Community" in the 21st century. The event features Alice Walker, Jack Kornfield, and Michael Bernard Beckwith with musical performances by Rickie Byars Beckwith & Raz Kennedy ~ moderated by Konda Mason.  Thursday, April 4, 2013, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at Zellerbach Auditorium, University of California, Berkeley Campus.  Tickets are Sliding Scale and range from $30 - $100 ($20 for students w/ ID) at More information at


Thirty representatives from many groups involved in anti-drone actions, met in New York on December 15, 2012 and established a coordinating body to be known as the Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare (NSDSW).

The group endorsed this draft statement of purpose:
“Horrified by the facts of the era of drone warfare and surveillance technology, we declare our commitment to establishing an ongoing network of groups and organizations. The Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare seeks to initiate and coordinate events and actions that will raise a united and spirited voice for justice and peace, and to stop weaponized drones and related technology applications. These activities are aimed at highlighting the illegality, immorality, and unconstitutional nature of using drones to spy on and/or kill human beings.”

Anti-drone website:    For more information and resources, and to join the Network, contact Nick Mottern -
The group supported the following actions:

April Days of Action – In response to call for anti-drone action focused on drone manufacturing on April 4-7 by San Diego group, coordinated days of action were proposed. Groups are encouraged to select one or more of the days to organize drone-related activities.  National coordinators are listed below.

April 4-7 – Drone Manufacturing. Actions around the country directed at drone manufacturing facilities in region and calling for an end to manufacturing weaponized and surveillance drones. Coordinator: Joe Scarry –

April 16-18 – Drone Research/Training.  Actions/teach-ins, etc. at colleges & universities that do drone research or pilot training. Demand an end to research and training related to drone warfare. Coordinator: Marge Van Cleef –

    April 27-28 – Drone Bases.  Organize protests at bases in region.  Hancock Reaper drone base protest organizers calling for large demonstrations there.  Coordinator: Dave Soumis –

C. Drone Warfare War Crimes Tribunal – Explore holding tribunal in September, possibly with victims testifying.

D. Forums/workshops on impact of US intervention/drone attacks in other countries. Organize tours of U.S.-based speakers or people from countries under attack who can analyze and report on internal politics and social movements in countries like Pakistan & Afghanistan and other countries under attack.


Rally for Bradley Manning. 

Join us at Fort Meade on June 1, 2013.

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

• 1pm Gather (Reece Road and US 175, Fort Meade, Maryland)
• 2pm March
• 3pm Rally and Speak Out

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

After more than three years of imprisonment, including nine months of torture, Nobel Peace
Prize nominee Bradley Manning’s trial is finally scheduled to begin June 3, 2013, at Fort Meade,
Maryland. The outcome of this trial will determine whether a conscience-driven 25-year-
old WikiLeaks whistle-blower spends the rest of his life in prison. Bradley believed that the
American people have a right to know the truth about what our government does around the
world in our name. We the People must send a message to the military prosecuting authority,
and President Obama, that Bradley Manning is a patriot and heroic truth-teller.

June 1st is the International Day of Action to Support Bradley Manning. Join us at Fort Meade on
the eve of Bradley’s court martial. Solidarity actions are welcome at bases, recruiting centers and US
embassies worldwide. We ask that Veterans for Peace join us in cosponsoring these historic events.

Monday, June 3, 2013
8:30 am, enter Fort Meade at Reece Road and US 175, Fort Meade, Maryland
9:00 am scheduled daily start of hearings at Magistrate Court
4432 Llewellyn Avenue, Fort Meade, MD. It is 2 miles from the Main Gate.
The court martial is expected to last 6-12 weeks. Supporters are encouraged to attend as many days of
this trial as they are able.

Parking for Saturday, June 1, 2013. We hope to come to an understanding with local
authorities regarding the best place for supporters to park for the Saturday rally. Parking is
available about one mile south near Blue Water Blvd (Weis Market) and US 175. We’ll try to
help shuttle folks as needed.

Portable toilets are expected to be available.

Join us in the courtroom for the trial beginning June 3, 2013. Drive (or taxi) to the Fort Meade Visitor
Control Center at the Fort Meade Main Gate (all the other gates are for military ID holders only), Reece Road and US 175, Fort Meade, Maryland. We suggest arriving when the visitor center opens at 7:30am, and certainly before 8:15am. The proceedings are scheduled to begin at 9am daily. The multiple layers of security take time to navigate, and procedures often change from day to day. Each person will need a valid state or federal photo ID such as a driver’s license, state photo ID card, or passport. Foreign passports are accepted. Anyone driving on to Fort Meade will be required to submit their driver’s license, vehicle registration, and printed (not digital) proof of insurance. Your vehicle will be subject to search, and you may be required to cover over political bumper stickers on your vehicle. Consider walking on base if there are any questions at all regarding your vehicle and paperwork.

The proceedings will be held at the Magistrate Court, 4432 Llewellyn Ave, Fort Meade, MD
20755 (this is one mile from the Visitor Center). Electronic devices, including cell phones,
computers, cameras, are not allowed in the courtroom, and should be left in your vehicle.

There are no pre-registration requirements for the public to attend the proceedings. However,
those wishing to attend as credentialed media should contact the US Army Military District of
Washington Public Affairs Office at 202-685-4645.


The Fort Meade Main Gate is less than 10 miles south of the Baltimore-Washington DC
International (BWI) airport. It is located between Washington DC and Baltimore MD.

From Washington, DC, take MD-295 N towards BALTIMORE to US 175 EAST, then follow
175 EAST until you come to Reece Road. From Baltimore, MD, take MD-295 S towards
WASHINGTON to US 175 EAST, then take 175 EAST until you come to Reece Road.

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

There is regional bus service from BWI Airport to the Arundel Mills Shopping Center (Bus 017).
Then take the CTC K to the Main Gate. For a Google Maps public transit view of this option:

Note that the nearby Odenton MARC train station serves commuter trains only and does not
run on the weekend. Amtrak does not stop at this station.


There are many hotels serving this area just south of the BWI Airport. The closest of these are
5-6 miles from the Ft. Meade Main Gate. One option is Aloft Arundel Mills, 7520 Teague Rd,
Hanover, MD, 21076 (866-539-0036), $80-$100 night. A search of the area turns up
rooms nearby starting at $60 a night. The only lodging really close to the Ft. Meade Main Gate
is the White Gables Motel; however, for a number of reasons, we strongly suggest avoiding it.



Wealth Inequality in America 

[This is a must see to believe] 


Read the transcription of hero Bradley Manning's 35-page statement explaining why he leaked "state secrets" to WikiLeaks.
March 1, 2013

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


Please forward widely

Lynne Stewart Emergency Alert!

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Write Lynne at:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054
Federal Medical Center Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, Texas 76127

Send your generous contribution payable to:

Lynne Stewart Organization
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216

In solidarity,

Jeff Mackler, West Coast Coordinator
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee



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

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


All we are asking you to:
Listen to the audio below and update yourself on the facts. Check out the website as well.
   You don't have to write the prison authorities because THEY READ EVERYTHING WE SEND AND TELL HER SO.

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

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

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

-----Original Message---

    But, to listen to the report, go to:

128 kbps version (hi fi):

32 kbps version (lo fi):

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




Statement of Support for Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine:
We Condemn Attacks Against Advocates for BDS and Palestinian Rights!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

We cannot let these courageous autoworkers or their families down.

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


Petition to US White House and State Department: Condemn Israeli Aggression in Gaza

Please spread the word far and wide about this petition.

Please invite all of your facebook friends to the "event" to sign the petition.

If you are on twitter, sign the petition there as well and pass it around.

In solidarity and peace,

African Americans for Justice in the Middle East and North Africa
Statement Regarding the Aggression Against Gaza

African Americans for Justice in the Middle East and North Africa (AAJMENA) strongly condemns Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza. The arguments offered by the Israeli government for its attack on Gaza are nakedly cynical in both form and content. That a truce had been negotiated, with the assistance of the Egyptian government, between Israel and Hamas only to be broken by the Israeli assassination of Hamas military commander Ahmad Jabari clearly indicates that the Netanyahu government is not interested in peace. Israel is responsible for the escalating violence and for this epic breach of human rights.

This crisis underscores a stunning power imbalance. Nuclear-armed Israel, by far the most powerful military force in the Middle East (and among the mightiest in the world), has unleashed its immense war making capacity on Gaza’s captive population, mobilizing warships and tanks and launching more than 1,000 F-16 airstrikes since the attack began. The use of such weapons on civilians is a flagrant violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act.

The aggression against Gaza must be understood as the latest act in the decades-long oppression of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli government. Blockaded Gaza has been plunged into misery by the Israeli-U.S. effort to thwart the democratic will of the Palestinian people as demonstrated in their 2006 legislative elections. When a coup was attempted against Hamas—and failed—the Israelis sealed Gaza, spinning events to make it appear that those not interested in peace were the Palestinians. As a result, Gaza is the largest open-air prison in the world, with 1.5 million people locked into a roughly 140-square-mile strip of land. This latest humanitarian crisis has caused the disproportionate death and suffering of Palestinians, but casualties on both sides will be the consequence of Israeli aggression.

Rather than taking a stand against Israeli’s onslaught and issuing an unambiguous demand for an end to the bloodshed, the Obama administration has condemned alleged Palestinian terrorism, repeating the dishonest line that this violent attack is merely in defense of Israel (a position reinforced by the one-sided coverage of the corporate news media). This represents a massive failure on the administration’s part. For all Obama’s denunciation of the Assad regime in Syria, it appears that his administration regards the outright slaughter of civilians in Palestine as acceptable. It is crucial that we recognize the extent of U.S. complicity in the bloodshed; our tax dollars ($8.5 million a day) enable Israeli militarism at a time when those funds are desperately needed to fill gaps in services and infrastructure back home.

As African Americans and people of African descent in the U.S. from academia, activism and various social movements, we cannot remain silent. We call upon all people of good will to:

1. Endorse this statement.

2. Communicate with the White House and the U.S. Department of State to request that President Obama demand that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and the IDF cease the bombardment of Gaza and withdraw their armed forces immediately. Insist that the U.S. condition aid to Israel on compliance with U.S. and international law.

3. Contact the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. and demand that Israel withdraw its forces and end the blockade.

4. Send your local media outlet a “letter to the editor” expressing outrage against the provocative and murderous acts of the Israeli government.

5. Join protests against Israeli aggression.

6. Support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions ( and U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (, and back the efforts of labor unions and student groups to compel their employers and administrators to divest from companies that do business in Israel.


An Appeal from Conscientious Objectors in Israel - Resistance to serving in the I.D.F. is growing among Israeli youth.

International Support is important in strengthening and broadening this spirit of defiance:

Conscientious objector Natan Blanc sentenced to prison for the first time for his refusal to join the Israeli Army.

CO Natan Blanc, 19 years old from, Haifa, arrived, Sunday, 19 November, to the Induction Base in Tal-hashomer, where he declared his refusal to serve in the Israeli Army. he was sentenced to 10 days of imprisonment for his refusal, he also received a suspended sentence of 10 days.
In his refusal declaration Blanc wrote:
"I began thinking about refusing to conscripted into the Israeli Army during the “Cast Lead” operation in 2008. The wave of aggressive militarism that swept the country then, the expressions of mutual hatred, and the vacuous talk about stamping out terror and creating a deterrent effect were the primary trigger for my refusal. Today, after four years full of terror, without a political process [towards peace negotiations], and without quiet in Gaza and Sderot, it is clear that the Netanyahu Government, like that of his predecessor Olmert, is not interested in finding a solution to the existing situation, but rather in preserving it.  From their point of view, there is nothing wrong with our initiating a “Cast Lead 2″ operation every three or four years (and then 3, 4,5 and 6): we will talk of deterrence, we will kill some terrorist, we will lose some civilians on both sides, and we will prepare the ground for a new generation full of hatred on both sides. As representatives of the people, members of the cabinet have no duty to present their vision for the futures of the country, and they can continue with this bloody cycle, with no end in sight.  But we, as citizens and human beings, have a moral duty to refuse to participate in this cynical game."

You can read the full declaration here.

His prison address is:
Natan Blanc
Military ID 7571369
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Fax: ++972-4-9540580
Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send them your letters of support and encouragement via e-mail to: (hitting “reply all” to this message will send the message to the same address), and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.

Recommended Action
First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, social networks, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.
Other recommendations for action:

1. Sending Letters of Support
Please send Natan letters of support to the prison address above and via e-mail to: and

2. Letters to Authorities
It is recommended to send letters of protest on the objectors’ behalf, preferably by fax, to:
Mr. Ehud Barak,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
Tel-Aviv 61909,
E-mail: or
Tel.: ++972-3-6975220
Fax: ++972-3-6962757
Copies of your letters can also be sent to the commander of the military prison at:
Commander of Military Prison No. 6,
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Fax: ++972-4-9540580
Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General:
Denny Efroni,
Chief Military Attorney
Military postal code 9605, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-569-45-26
It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison, and it is the same officer who is ultimately in charge of the military Conscience Committee:
Gil Ben Shaul,
Commander of Induction Base,
Meitav, Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-737-60-52
For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.
Here is a generic sample letter, which you can use in sending appeals to authorities on the prisoners’ behalf. Feel free to modify this letter or write your own:
Dear Sir/Madam,
It has come to my attention that Natan Blanc (military ID 7571369), a conscientious objector to military service, has been imprisoned for the second time for his refusal to become part of the Israeli army, and is held in Military Prison no. 6 near Atlit.
The imprisonment of conscientious objectors such as Blanc is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals.
I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of Natan Blanc, without threat of further imprisonment in the future, and urge you and the system you are heading to respect the dignity and person of conscientious objectors, indeed of all persons, in the future.
3. Letters to media in Israel and in other countries
Writing op-ed pieces and letters to editors of media in Israel and other countries could also be quite useful in indirectly but powerfully pressuring the military authorities to let go of the objectors and in bringing their plight and their cause to public attention.
Here are some contact details for the main media outlets in Israel:


Contact the Obama campaign now to voice your support for Bradley!

The Obama campaign keeps track of how many calls and e-mails they get about each issue.

Contact President Obama's team now and tell them "Obama must uphold his promise to protect whistle-blowers and free Bradley Manning!"
Call: 312-698-3670



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

Posted 1 day ago on July 27, 2012, 10:28 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Occupy Wall Street is a nonviolent movement for social and economic justice, but in recent days disturbing reports have emerged of Occupy-affiliated activists being targeted by US law enforcement, including agents from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. To help ensure Occupiers and allied activists know their rights when encountering law enforcement, we are publishing in full the National Lawyers Guild's booklet: You Have the Right to Remain Silent. The NLG provides invaluable support to the Occupy movement and other activists – please click here to support the NLG.
We strongly encourage all Occupiers to read and share the information provided below. We also recommend you enter the NLG's national hotline number (888-654-3265) into your cellphone (if you have one) and keep a copy handy. This information is not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact the NLG or a criminal defense attorney immediately if you have been visited by the FBI or other law enforcement officials. You should also alert your relatives, friends, co-workers and others so that they will be prepared if they are contacted as well.

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

What Rights Do I Have?

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

Standing Up For Free Speech

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

What if FBI Agents or Police Contact Me?

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

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

Do I have to answer questions?

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

Do I have to give my name?

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

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

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

Can agents search my home or office?

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

What if agents have a search warrant?

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

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

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

What if I speak to government agents anyway?

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

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

What if police or agents stop me in my car?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can I call my consulate if I am arrested?

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

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

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

What should I do if I want to contact DHS?

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

What Are My Rights at Airports?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What If I Am Under 18?

Do I have to answer questions?

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

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

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

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

Can my backpack or locker be searched?

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


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

NLG National Hotline for Activists Contacted by the FBI



Letter from Lynne Stewart

9/27/12 9:15 am

Once again the 2d Circuit has turned me down–this time the whole Court, en
banc. Not surprising, I was well aware that we were dealing with the Company
Store and could expect very little. Nonetheless as a favorite line from Edna
St Vincent Millay:

“Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the Quick mind beholds at every turn”
I never lose hope that my case will be resolved as being too obvious a
contradiction to justice for them to sustain !

Our next stop is the petition for Certiorari to the Supreme Court, asking them
to hear us. We will be trying to impress them with the significant
wrongfulness of the whole prosecution itself and of the errors at trial and
later at sentencing. Our due date is some time in late December and we are
hoping to have Amicus support, so if you are part of a group that supports
lawyers or civil rights etc. please suggest it as early as possible. Contact
Jill Shellow, my lawyer by email, for further explanations.

Looking forward to my 73 birthday on October 8, the one bright ray of light is
that my husband, Ralph Poynter, will be speaking at the National Lawyers Guild
convention held in Pasadena, California from the 10th to 14th of October.

Addressing the Plenary he will speak of my case and that of other political
prisoners locked away for decades by a vindictive government. I wish I could
attend and meet and greet and hug and laugh with my lawyer buddies of many
years and many conventions but I will have to be content with my usual micro-
management style from afar — Texas, that is !!!

Meanwhile, I continue to tough it out. I am feeling quite well after the
surgery, an infection and then a severe iron deficiency — my usual vim and
vigor are back and ready for the fight with the Supreme Court who thinks
corporations are people—what will they make of me, a real person ??!! (smile)
Join me. Bring me Home, where I can join in some of the epic battles now at

Posted in BEHIND BARS, FROM LYNNE | No Comments »

“Court Denies Lynne Stewart Re-hearing” by Jeff Mackler

September 26th, 2012
Dear Friends of Lynne Stewart,
On Monday, September 24, 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
rejected Lynne’s appeal for a re-hearing before the entire court. Her original
conviction was upheld in 2009 by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit.
The Second Circuit’s opinion was not unexpected. This was the same court that
earlier pressed Federal District Court John Koeltl to re-consider his original
28-month sentence and instead sentence Lynne to ten years.

Lynne, a leading civil rights attorney for 30 years, was convicted in 2005 on
frame-up charges of conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism. Her crime? She
issued a press release on behalf of her client, the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel
Rachman, a leading Egyptian Islamic cleric, was also a victim of the U.S. “war
on terror” when a government-instigated frame-up trial convicted him of
conspiracy to destroy New York buildings. Typical of “conspiracy” convictions,
no evidence of wrongdoing was presented at his trial.

Rachman, a leading critic of the Hosni Mubarack dictatorship in Egypt, and now
serving a life sentence in Rochester, Minnesota, was the subject of national
attention a few months ago when Egypt’s new president, Mohammad Morsi,
embarrassed the Obama administration by demanding his release.

Lynne’s attorneys explained on Monday that “The clock now starts running on
our Petition for Certiorari to the Supreme Court. We have 90 days to get it
filed (with the possibility of a 30-day extension).”

Lynne is presently imprisoned at FMC Carswell outside of Fort Worth, Texas.
She has successfully recovered from a difficult surgery that was spitefully
delayed by prison authorities. For the past 45 days Lynne was denied all
visitors, mail and other basic prison rights on the trumped-up accusation that she violated prison rules in assisting a fellow prisoner certify a legal document.

Her spirits are high and she is now going through a backlog of some 100-plus
letters from friends and supporters.

Here’s a brief summary/timeline of Lynne’s case.
- indicted on April 9, 2002;
- on February 10, 2005, convicted on all counts of conspiracy to aid and
abet terrorism;
- on October, 17, 2006, sentenced to 28 months;
- on November 17, 2009, a US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit three-
judge panel upheld the conviction, shamelessly accusing Lynne of “knowingly
and willfully making false statements,” re-directing her case to District
Court Judge John Koeltl for re-sentencing, instructing him to consider
enhancements for terrorism, perjury, and abuse of her position as a lawyer –
an outrageous mandate intimidating Koeltl to comply.
- on November 19, 2009, Stewart jailed at MCC-NY, 150 Park Row, New York, NY;
andon July 15, 2010, Stewart re-sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for doing
her job honorably, ethically, and admirably with distinction for 30 years.
Disgracefully, Judge Koeltl explained it, saying: .”(C)omments by Stewart in
2006, including a statement in a television interview that she would do ‘it’
again and would not ‘do anything differently’ influenced (the)
decisionŠ.indicat(ing) the original sentence ‘was not sufficient’ to reflect
the goals of sentencing guidelines.”

Forgotten were Koeltl’s October 2006 comments, calling Lynne’s character
“extraordinary,” saying she was “a credit to her profession,” and that a long
imprisonment would be “an unreasonable result,” citing “the somewhat atypical
nature of her case (and) lack of evidence that any victim was harmed.”
He also considered her age (70), health (at times poor), distinguished career
representing society’s disadvantaged and unwanted, and the unlikelihood she’d
commit another “crime.” However, the Second Circuit Appeals Court intimidated
him to comply, his own career perhaps on the line otherwise.

Please write Lynne at:
Lynne Stewart
FMC Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Ft. Worth, Texas 76127
In solidarity,
Jeff Mackler, West Coast Coordinator
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee

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

Visiting Lynne:

Visiting is very liberal but first she has to get people on her visiting list;
wait til she or the lawyers let you know. The visits are FRI, SAT, SUN AND MON for 4 hours and on
weekends 8 to 3. Bring clear plastic change purse with lots of change to buy from the
machines. Brief Kiss upon arrival and departure, no touching or holding during visit (!!) On visiting
forms it may be required that you knew me before I came to prison. Not a problem for most of

Commissary Money:

Commissary Money is always welcome It is how Lynne pay for the phone and for

Also for a lot that prison doesn't supply in terms of food and "sundries"
(pens!) (A very big list that includes Raisins, Salad Dressing, ankle sox, mozzarella (definitely
not from Antonys--more like a white cheddar, Sanitas Corn Chips but no Salsa, etc. To add money,
you do this by using Western Union and a credit card by phone or you can send a USPO money
order or Business or Govt Check. The negotiable instruments (PAPER!) need to be sent to

Bureau of Prisons, 53504-054, Lynne Stewart, PO Box 474701, Des Moines Iowa

(Payable to Lynne Stewart, 53504-054) They hold the mo or checks for 15 days.

Union costs $10 but is within 2 hours. If you mail, your return address must be
on the envelope. Unnecessarily complicated? Of course, it's the BOP !)

The address of her Defense Committee is:

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216

For further information:

718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

Please make a generous contribution to her defense.


Free Mumia NOW!

Write to Mumia:

Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335

SCI Mahanoy

301 Morea Road

Frackville, PA 17932

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rachel Wolkenstein
August 21, 2011 (917) 689-4009

On August 13, 2012, without any notice and in violation of his constitutional rights and state law, Mumia Abu-Jamal was formally sentenced by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe to life imprisonment without parole. The impact of this illegal sentencing is to prevent a possible challenge to the slow death of life imprisonment. All sentences, including "mandatory" sentences, require a formal proceeding allowing the person to be sentenced the right to be heard and to challenge his sentence.

Mumia confirmed to his son Jamal and to attorney Rachel Wolkenstein during a visit with him on Sunday, August 19, 2012, that he had no prior knowledge of the re-sentencing. The record of this re-sentencing is contained in the official Court of Common Pleas Docket Sheet. In attempting to find out more details, Wolkenstein searched for the court file on August 20. But there is no file containing a record of this sentencing with the Criminal Division Court of Common Pleas Clerk. The information released so far by Elaine Rattliff, Deputy Clerk of Courts is that the sentencing followed a call from the Department of Corrections and further explanation awaits a call back from Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe.

Notably Judge Dembe is same judge who refused in 2001 to consider a legal challenge to "hanging judge" Albert Sabo's self-confessed racism and bias against Mumia during his trial and post-conviction appeals from 1995-1998. Court reporter Terri Mauer-Carter heard Sabo declare before the start of the trial, "I'm going to help them fry the n-----."

For thirty years Mumia was kept in solitary confinement on death row under a death sentence that was illegally and unconstitutionally imposed. Federal district court Judge William Yohn ruled in December 2001 that Judge Albert Sabo incorrectly and unconstitutionally instructed the jury in deciding on life or death. Despite this decision, Mumia was kept on death row, in solitary confinement for the next ten years, while the prosecution pursued two appeals in the Federal Court of Appeals and two attempts at U.S. Supreme Court rulings to uphold the death sentence. All that time, Mumia sat in solitary confinement. According to Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rappatour on Torture, solitary confinement for longer than 15 days is a form of torture! Mumia should be freed from prison, now!

This latest legal outrage comes nine months after the state conceded defeat in obtaining its desired "legal lynching" of Mumia. On December 8, 2011, Philadelphia District Attorney, Seth Williams—with the support of Maureen Faulkner, the Fraternal Order of Police and former District Attorney, Philadelphia Mayor and PA governor, Edward Rendell—announced that they were no longer seeking a death sentence for Mumia. This was their recognition that it was neither legally possible nor politically advantageous to hold a new sentencing hearing.

Mumia's 1982 trial contained violations of every single element of due process and a fair trial. But it began with framing an innocent man. Mumia was framed for a crime he did not commit. His crime in the eyes of the state is that he was and continues to be "the voice of the voiceless," a former spokesman for the Black Panther Party and continuing supporter of the MOVE organization.

In his first phone call from general population on January 28, 2012, Mumia relayed the following message to his wife, Wadiya Jamal: "My dear friends, brothers and sisters – I want to thank you for your real hard work and support. I am no longer on death row, no longer in the hole, I'm in population. This is only Part One and I thank you for the work you've done. But the struggle is for freedom!"


Police Attack Antiwar Protester

Police Brutality Against Anti War demonstrator Buffalo New York 2011
NFTA Police and anti terror task force assault anti war demonstration in Buffalo.
Nate Buckley maced while in handcuffs. His new trial date is October 16, 2012.

For updates or to donate please go to:
Sign the petition:
Watch a video of the incident:


Sign the petition for the NATO 5!
Drop all charges against the NATO 5 and all anti-NATO protesters!
Protesters are still being held in Cook County Jail in Chicago. Release them all
Sign the Petition Here:

The charges against the NATO 5 and the others are false. All these prisoners
urgently need your solidarity. Please sign our petition. Share it with your
family, friends and coworkers. Signing the petition will generate a direct email

Illinois State's Attorney Anita Alvarez
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, and
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel,
and several other public officials, demanding all charges against the NATO5
be dropped.

Email addresses for the targets

Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war
and international solidarity activists!

Our mailing address is:

Committee to Stop FBI Repression

PO Box 14183

Minneapolis, MN 55414


Tarek Mehanna - another victim of the U.S. War to Terrorize Everyone. He was
targeted because he would not spy on his Muslim community for the FBI. Under the
new NDAA indefinite military detention provision, Tarek is someone who likely
would never come to a trial, although an American citizen. His sentencing is on
April 12. There will be an appeal.

Another right we may kiss goodbye. We should not accept the verdict and continue
to fight for his release, just as we do for hero Bradley Manning, and all the
many others unjustly persecuted by our government until it is the war criminals
on trial, prosecuted by the people, and not the other way around.

Marilyn Levin

Official defense website:



(For a complete analysis of the prospects of war, click here)


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


Justice for Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace: Decades of isolation in Louisiana
state prisons must end

Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:\




Write to Bradley

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

I am Bradley Manning

Courage to Resist

484 Lake Park Ave. #41

Oakland, CA 94610


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

Bradley Manning 89289

830 Sabalu Road

Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

The receptionist at the military barracks confirmed that if someone sends
Bradley Manning a letter to that address, it will be delivered to him."

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

Courage to Resist needs your support

Please donate today:

"Soldiers sworn oath is to defend and support the Constitution. Bradley Manning
has been defending and supporting our Constitution." --Dan Ellsberg, Pentagon
Papers whistle-blower

Jeff Paterson

Project Director, Courage to Resist

First US military service member to refuse to fight in Iraq

Please donate today.

P.S. I'm asking that you consider a contribution of $50 or more, or possibly
becoming a sustainer at $15 a month. Of course, now is also a perfect time to
make a end of year tax-deductible donation. Thanks again for your support!

Please click here to forward this to a friend who might also be interested in
supporting GI resisters.


The Battle Is Still On To


The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610


Call for EMERGENCY RESPONSE Action if Assange Indicted,

Dear Friends:

We write in haste, trying to reach as many of you as possible although the
holiday break has begun.......This plan for an urgent "The Day After"
demonstration is one we hope you and many, many more organizations will take up
as your own, and mobilize for. World Can't Wait asks you to do all you can to
spread it through list serves, Facebook, twitter, holiday gatherings.

Our proposal is very very simple, and you can use the following announcement to
mobilize - or write your own....



New Federal Building, 7th and Mission, San Francisco (nearest BART: Civic

4:00-6:00 PM on The Day FOLLOWING U.S. indictment of Assange

Demonstrations defending Wikileaks and Assange, and Brad Manning, have already
been flowering around the world. Make it happen here too. Especially here . . .

To join into this action plan, or with questions, contact World Can't Wait or
whichever organization or listserve you received this message from.

World Can't Wait, SF Bay




Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper

Chronicle Editorial

Monday, December 13, 2010

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


- From Amnesty International USA

17 December 2010

Click here to take action online:\

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

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


Short Video About Al-Awda's Work

The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's
work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown
on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l
Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected
over the past nine years.


Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, depends on your financial
support to carry out its work.

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

and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!



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




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


Danny Glover Greetings to the Labour Start Global Solidarity Conference 

Join Danny Glover in supporting Nissan Mississippi workers' right to have a free and fair union election. Go to: and send a message to Nissan to stop the union busting and DO BETTER. For more information go to:

Danny Glover, the star of Lethal Weapon and other Hollywood blockbusters, delivered a message to the LabourStart conference which opened yesterday in Sydney, Australia. 

I'd like to ask you to take a minute to watch the video:

Then please sign up to the online campaign, here:

Here's why:

Management at Nissan’s plant in Mississippi is running an aggressive and sophisticated anti-union campaign against its employees who are forming a union to achieve a voice in the workplace.

Nissan is denying these workers a fair, democratic election, and management has sent a clear message to the workforce that considering a union could cost them their job.

Supported by workers, students, community leaders and human rights activists around the world, the United Auto Workers (UAW) have launched a campaign on LabourStart calling on Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer, Toshiyuki Shiga, to intervene to make things right in Mississippi.

Speaking yesterday at the LabourStart conference now taking place in Sydney Jeffrey Moore, one of the Mississippi auto workers, said:

“Nissan workers are seeking union representation because they want fairness and a chance to be heard.  They are seeking a voice on the job just like their colleagues in Japan and elsewhere.”

“At Canton Mississippi, Nissan management is making propaganda against the UAW and intimidating workers depriving them from a free choice. This is unacceptable and against freedom of association,” said Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union in support of the workers’ campaign.

“UAW has offered Nissan a positive, collaborative approach, but the US management is refusing partnership despite the fact that most of Nissan's operations in countries such as Mexico, Spain, UK, Russia, Japan, Australia, South Africa and Thailand are unionized and enjoy constructive labour and management relations,” said Raina.

Please spread the word -- let's make sure that Nissan is overwhelmed with messages of support for the workers in Canton, Mississippi.  Please forward this message to your fellow union members, your friends and your family.

Thank you.

Eric Lee

Fukushima Never Again

"Fukushima, Never Again" tells the story of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns in north east Japan in March of 2011 and exposes the cover-up by Tepco and the Japanese government.
This is the first film that interviews the Mothers Of Fukushima, nuclear power experts and trade unionists who are fighting for justice and the protection of the children and the people of Japan and the world. The residents and citizens were forced to buy their own geiger counters and radiation dosimeters in order to test their communities to find out if they were in danger.
The government said contaminated soil in children's school grounds was safe and then
when the people found out it was contaminated and removed the top soil, the government and TEPCO refused to remove it from the school grounds.
It also relays how the nuclear energy program for "peaceful atoms" was brought to Japan under the auspices of the US military occupation and also the criminal cover-up of the safety dangers of the plant by TEPCO and GE management which built the plant in Fukushima. It also interviews Kei Sugaoka, the GE nulcear plant inspector from the bay area who exposed cover-ups in the safety at the Fukushima plant and was retaliated against by GE. This documentary allows the voices of the people and workers to speak out about the reality of the disaster and what this means not only for the people of Japan but the people of the world as the US government and nuclear industry continue to push for more new plants and government subsidies. This film breaks
the information blockade story line of the corporate media in Japan, the US and around the world that Fukushima is over.
Production Of Labor Video Project
P.O. Box 720027
San Francisco, CA 94172
For information on obtaining the video go to:


Labor Beat: SOJO - The Fight for Social Justice High School 
["This is not an education plan, it's a business plan." quote from the] 

The fight for community democratic control of Social Justice High School is an important battle waged during the countdown to a possible strike of the Chicago Teachers Union in early September, 2012. And on August 31, students and faculty achieved a victory in forcing SOJO (as the High School is known) to hire back two teachers who were earlier fired for opposing destructive changes in the school's programs. All this took place in the midst of a student sit-in, an intense mass meeting of the school community, and a powerful student protest campaign that got the fired teachers reinstated.

Here are scenes from that fight: The dramatic August 23 mass meeting, testimonies of student leaders (one who reads a poem she was earlier prohibited from reading by CPS toadies), a big Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign indoor rally featuring speeches by the two fired teachers Angela Sangha and Katie Hogan; the student protest march two days later; the reinstatement of the two fired faculty members.

Speaking/interviewed: Andrea Guzman (Little Village community activist); Professor David Stovall (Advisory Local School Council representative); Dennis Kosuth (Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign member); Angela Sangha (founding teacher, Social Justice High School); Katie Hogan (founding teacher, Social Justice High School); Professor Rico Gutstein (University of Illinois - Chicago).

Please make a Donation to Labor Beat (Committee for Labor Access) and help rank-and-file tv:

Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info:, 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search "Labor Beat".

On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat has regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY. For more detailed information, send us a request at


all the sons 
By Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Published on Aug 27, 2012 by
Men have been going off to war for centuries. In the past couple centuries, they have been migrating to other countries (especially the U.S.) for work. They have been organizing, too, to fight oppression and stop the deaths of their sons and brothers.

"And I don't know why it has to be this way again."

I wrote this song for the mothers, too, who lose their sons to war and murder by police officers. Maybe someday "it doesn't have to be this way again."


Labor Beat: Chicago Teachers Stand Strong

On May 23, 2012, Chicago Teachers Union held a massive rally at the Auditorium
theater to inform their membership about the coming contract struggle they face.
In the climate of school closings, budget cuts, a terrible new proposed
contract, and teacher-bashing on the part of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Chicago
schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizzard, CTU took to the streets to show their numbers
and appeal to the public, and within two weeks CTU was voting to authorize a

Meanwhile a few blocks away, Stand Up Chicago, Action Now, and many other
community organizations rallied against the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME,
the operator of the Chicago Board of Trade) and the $110 million tax break
they've been given by Illinois. CME is one of the most profitable companies in
the region, and yet now Illinois government is making broad cuts to social
programs needed by struggling families. These two marches converged at Jackson
and LaSalle in a unified demand for economic justice for Chicago's 99%.

Please make a Donation to Labor Beat (Committee for Labor Access) and help
rank-and-file tv:

Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is
a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer
Labor Beat. For info:, 312-226-3330. For
other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search "Labor Beat".

On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat has
regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia,
PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY.


Guantanamo Bay Prisoners Were Tortured with Sesame Street\

Guantanamo Bay prisoners were reportedly tortured with the sounds of children's
Sesame Street songs, in an attempt to get them to talk.

Read more at\


15 yr old Teen girl in jail beating video speaks out on cop attacking her in
Police brutality case


1000 year of war through the world


Anatomy of a Massacre - Afganistan

Afghans accuse multiple soldiers of pre-meditated murder

To see more go to

Follow us on Facebook ( or Twitter

The recent massacre of 17 civilians by a rogue US soldier has been shrouded in
mystery. But through unprecedented access to those involved, this report
confronts the accusations that Bales didn't act alone.

"They came into my room and they killed my family". Stories like this are common
amongst the survivors in Aklozai and Najiban. As are the shocking accusations
that Sergeant Bales was not acting alone. Even President Karzai has announced
"one man can not do that". Chief investigator, General Karimi, is suspicious
that despite being fully armed, Bales freely left his base without raising
alarm. "How come he leaves at night and nobody is aware? Every time we have
weapon accountability and personal accountability." These are just a few of the
questions the American army and government are yet to answer. One thing however
is very clear, the massacre has unleashed a wave of grief and outrage which
means relations in Kandahar will be tense for years to come: "If I could lay my
hands on those infidels, I would rip them apart with my bare hands."

A Film By SBS

Distributed By Journeyman Pictures

April 2012


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

SPD Security Cams.wmv


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


Private prisons,

a recession resistant investment opportunity


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

"Thought Crimes"


Common forms of misconduct by Law Enforcement Officials and Prosecutors


Organizing & Instigating: OCCUPY - Ronnie Goodman


Rep News 12: Yes We Kony


The New Black by The Mavrix - Official Music Video


Japan One Year Later


The CIA's Heart Attack Gun\


The Invisible American Workforce


Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment

For more detailed information, send us a request at


Anti-War Demonstrators Storm Pentagon 1967/10/24


Liberal Hypocrisy on Obama Vs Bush - Poll


Greek trade unionists and black bloc October 2011!


The Battle of Oakland

by brandon jourdan plus


Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces


February 1, 2012, 10:56 am\


Defending The People's Mic

by Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street

The North Star

January 20, 2012

Grand Central Terminal Arrests - MIRROR

Two protesters mic check about the loss of freedom brought about by the passage
of the NDAA and both are promptly arrested and whisked out of public sight.


This is excellent! Michelle Alexander pulls no punches!

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

behind the War on Drugs and its connection to the mass incarceration of Black
and Brown people in the United States.

If you think Bill Clinton was "the first black President" you need to watch this
video and see how much damage his administration caused for the black community
as a result of his get tough attitude on crime that appealed to white swing

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


Release Bradley Manning

Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)

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

School police increasingly arresting American students?



Nuclear Detonation Timeline "1945-1998"

The 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are
plotted visually and audibly on a world map.


We Are the 99 Percent

We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to
choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are
suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay
and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1
percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

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


Drop All Charges on the 'Occupy Wall Street' Arrestees!

Stop Police Attacks & Arrests! Support 'Occupy Wall Street'!




We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools



In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the 44-Day Flint Michigan sit-down strike at
GM that began December 30, 1936:

According to Michael Moore, (Although he has done some good things, this clip
isn't one of them) in this clip from his film, "Capitalism a Love Story," it was
Roosevelt who saved the day!):

"After a bloody battle one evening, the Governor of Michigan, with the support
of the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, sent in the National
Guard. But the guns and the soldiers weren't used on the workers; they were
pointed at the police and the hired goons warning them to leave these workers
alone. For Mr. Roosevelt believed that the men inside had a right to a redress
of their grievances." -Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story'

- Flint Sit-Down Strike

But those cannons were not aimed at the goons and cops! They were aimed straight
at the factory filled with strikers! Watch what REALLY happened and how the
strike was really won!

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



HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov




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

Uploaded by laborvideo on Dec 13, 2011

ILWU Local 10 longshore workers speak out during a blockade of the Port of
Oakland called for by Occupy Oakland. Anthony Levieges and Clarence Thomas rank
and file members of the union. The action took place on December 12, 2011 and
the interview took place at Pier 30 on the Oakland docks.

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

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

Production of Labor Video Project


UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

19 November 11\

UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed


Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis


UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car!

Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed




Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland


Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs


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


Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest
were actually undercover Quebec police officers:

POLICE STATE Criminal Cops EXPOSED As Agent Provocateurs @ SPP Protest


Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail



Occupy Oakland Protest

Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland

Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police

Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES

KTVU TV Video of Police violence

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

Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland

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


Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share


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

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


#Occupy Wall Street In Washington Square: Mohammed Ezzeldin, former occupier of
Egypt's Tahrir Square Speaks at Washington Square!


#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street

By adele pham


Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change




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

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


Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)

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



I received the following reply from the White House November 18, 2011 regarding
the Bradley Manning petition I signed:

"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning

"Thank you for signing the petition 'Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused
WikiLeaks whistleblower.' We appreciate your participation in the We the People
platform on

The We the People Terms of Participation explain that 'the White House may
decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or
similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or
agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.' The military justice
system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of

Military Justice. Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the
specific case raised in this petition...

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


"He broke the law!" says Obama about Bradley Manning who has yet to even be
charged, let alone, gone to trial and found guilty. How horrendous is it for the
President to declare someone guilty before going to trial or being charged with
a crime! Justice in the U.S.A.!

Obama on FREE BRADLEY MANNING protest... San Francisco, CA. April 21, 2011-
Presidential remarks on interrupt/interaction/performance art happening at
fundraiser. Logan Price queries Barack after org. FRESH JUICE PARTY political


Labor Beat: Labor Stands with Subpoenaed Activists Against FBI Raids and Grand
Jury Investigation of antiwar and social justice activists.

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

"Investigate the Billionaires...Full investigation into Wall Street..." Jesse
Sharkey, Vice

President, Chicago Teachers Union


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks


Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale