Saturday, November 09, 2013


Sat. Nov. 9
National Day of Action for Andy Lopez
San Francisco Protest: 1 pm, 24th & Mission Sts.



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

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

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

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

—Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq.
   October 25, 2013

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




Pvt. Manning attorney to speak in LA, Oakland, Seattle

David Coombs, attorney for American prisoner of conscience US Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, will speak at three upcoming West Coast events hosted by the Private Manning Support Network. Mr. Coombs continues to represent the heroic WikiLeaks whistle-blower recently sentenced to 35-years in military prison.
Monday, Dec. 9 at 6:30pm -- Oakland CA
Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street, Oakland CA 94612



Two important weeks to support the Iraq War whistleblower

Some dates you just don't forget.

Chelsea Manning
Three years ago, in October of 2010, WikiLeaks shocked the world when it published the “Iraq War Logs,” a comprehensive database which contained thousands of records detailing abuse and corruption during the war in Iraq. These documents were revealed by Chelsea Manning, who has been sentenced to 35 years at a Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, prison. The documents that Chelsea Manning revealed via WikiLeaks uncovered crimes that were committed by both the Iraqi government and the U.S. military with the knowledge of top Pentagon officials.

They describe how thousands of innocent Iraqis were targeted for their religious or political beliefs, then detained and tortured in prisons operated by the Iraqi government. These same documents reveal acts in which U.S. soldiers abused and killed Iraqi civilians, and have yet to be held accountable. The documents even revealed to the public how U.S. forces helped teach the Iraqi military interrogation methods that have been banned by the UN as torture.

For the sake of the millions of civilians and the thousands of soldiers who have suffered in this unnecessary war, we ask that you remember the date that the public gained access to this information and take action to support Chelsea and her goal of bringing transparency to government. You can do this by contributing a letter to the official application for clemency that is being sent to Convening Authority Major General Jeffrey S. Buchanan. He is one of two people with the power to free Private Manning now, along with President Obama. There is precedent for convening authorities to reduce or eliminate the sentences of soldiers in cases where they have been convinced that the court martial did not deliver justice.

Given the numerous injustices in Private Manning’s case, we believe that Major General Buchanan should demonstrate leniency: Manning was imprisoned for three years before trial (including one year of solitary confinement); motives of conscience were not considered as an important factor by the judge; shockingly, the prosecution was even allowed to change their charge sheet after presenting their case.

Please follow these guidelines to write a letter. If you have already done so, please encourage at least three of your friends to do the same.

For those looking to take further action, we encourage you to organize a letter-writing party, which you can register on the Events Section of our website. All letters should be scanned electronically and PDF versions should be sent to by November 1.

As we remember the tragedy of the Iraq War, in many ways made clearer by the release of the war logs themselves, we must seize this opportunity to show support for PVT Manning and her work to bring much-needed transparency to international relations. Only through working together with adequate information can people of the world prevent history from repeating.

Thank you for your support.

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

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610




Please sign the NEW petition for Lynne Stewart.

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

Free Lynne Stewart: Support Compassionate Release

Free Lynne Stewart: Support Compassionate Release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

or via:

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

Write and call:

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

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

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

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

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


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:













(Unless otherwise noted)













1) Snowden Asks U.S. to Stop Treating Him Like a Traitor
November 1, 2013

2) Twitter Helps Revive a Seedy San Francisco Neighborhood
November 1, 2013

3) That Other Big Afghan Crisis, the Growing Army of Addicts
November 2, 2013 

4) The Cellblocks’
November 1, 2013

5) Wealth in the USA
What Americans don't know and don't understand is quite an obstacle to progress.
By Marty Kaplan, October 30, 2013

6)  Clemency for Snowden? U.S. Officials Say No
November 6, 2013 
November 5, 2013

9) Measures to Legalize Marijuana Are Passed
November 6, 2013 

10) Socialists Made Strong Showing on Election Day
November 6, 2013

11) CIA Paying AT&T to Provide Call Records-NY Times
November 7, 2013

12) Executions Stall as States Seek Different Drugs
November 8, 2013 

13) Honesty Doesn't Pay Off for Ex-Homeless Man
November 9, 2013










1) Snowden Asks U.S. to Stop Treating Him Like a Traitor
November 1, 2013

BERLIN — Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive American security contractor granted temporary asylum by Russia, has appealed to Washington to stop treating him like a traitor for revealing that the United States has been eavesdropping on its allies, a German politician who met with Mr. Snowden said on Friday.

Mr. Snowden made his appeal in a letter that was carried to Berlin by Hans-Christian Ströbele, a veteran member of the Green Party in the German Parliament. Mr. Ströbele said he and two journalists for German news outlets met with Mr. Snowden and a person described as his assistant — probably his British aide, Sarah Harrison — at an undisclosed location in or near Moscow on Thursday for almost three hours.

Mr. Ströbele had gone to Moscow to explore whether Mr. Snowden could or would testify before a planned parliamentary inquiry into the eavesdropping. Any arrangements for Mr. Snowden to testify would require significant legal maneuvering, as it seemed unlikely that he would travel to Germany for fear of extradition to the United States.

In his letter, Mr. Snowden, 30, also appealed for clemency. He said his disclosures about American intelligence activity at home and abroad, which he called “systematic violations of law by my government that created a moral duty to act,” have had positive effects.

Yet “my government continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense,” Mr. Snowden wrote. “However, speaking the truth is not a crime. I am confident that with the support of the international community, the government of the United States will abandon this harmful behavior.”

Mr. Ströbele, 74, is a seasoned left-wing defense lawyer and the longest-serving member of the parliamentary committee that oversees German intelligence. At a packed news conference after his return to Berlin, he said he was contacted about going to Moscow late last week after the German government said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone might have been tapped by American intelligence agents. He declined to elaborate, but said he has had no dealings with the Russian authorities or the German Embassy in Moscow.

He deftly parried requests to reveal more, while appealing to the governments and citizens of Germany, France and the United States to stop treating Mr. Snowden as a criminal.

Instead, Mr. Ströbele said, echoing an opinion gaining support here, Germany should thank Mr. Snowden. After ARD, the premier German television network, reported on Thursday night about the Moscow visit, it broadcast a commentary arguing that Germany should show gratitude for his exposure of United States intelligence practices.

Mr. Ströbele said he had found Mr. Snowden lucid and well informed. He said he had been told that Mr. Snowden was allowed to go shopping, but Mr. Ströbele declined to reveal any other details about Mr. Snowden’s routine.

News about the visit to Moscow eclipsed a number of interviews given on Thursday by the American ambassador, John B. Emerson, who tried to assuage German fears that the United States Embassy in Berlin was the center for monitoring Ms. Merkel and other well-placed Germans.

Mr. Emerson, who arrived in Berlin two months ago and is a strong proponent of a landmark American and European trade deal under negotiation, was summoned to the German Foreign Ministry last week after Berlin’s suspicions about eavesdropping on Ms. Merkel were made public. The action was unprecedented in post-World War II relations between the United States and Germany.

Ms. Merkel, while palpably angry in appearances last week, has made no direct statements since, quietly sending two senior advisers to Washington this week to begin re-establishing the trust she said had been breached.

Mr. Ströbele’s news conference yielded moments of humor as well. At one point, his cellphone rang. He pulled it out, looked at it and asked cheerfully, “Does anybody know the chancellor’s number?” Asked to speculate about which intelligence services might have monitored his trip to Moscow, he said with a smile, “I assume that they are all interested.”



2) Twitter Helps Revive a Seedy San Francisco Neighborhood
November 1, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — The middle stretch of Market Street here has befuddled mayors, investors and entrepreneurs for decades.

Studded with check-cashing joints, strip clubs and dollar stores, the seven-block strip known as the Mid-Market had resisted cleanup efforts and resolutely remained the same: a seedy place to visit day or night. Even the area’s community groups said they were fearful.

Mid-Market is home to some of the highest vacancy rates in the city for office or retail, despite its proximity to City Hall, which is a few blocks away.

So it seemed implausible that a young company, heralded as one of the technology industry’s next big things, would want to make its headquarters in Mid-Market. But in April 2011, that young company, Twitter, dispelled rumors that it was leaving San Francisco for a nearby city suburb and instead announced it was relocating to Mid-Market. In June 2012, it moved in.

Twitter leased space from Shorenstein Properties, a real estate firm based in San Francisco, known for its blue-chip office towers in the Financial District here. Shorenstein bought an 11-story building in 2011 fronting Mid-Market that had been vacant for five years. For them, it made sense to buy the undervalued Art Deco landmark built in 1937, which had some of the most spacious floor plans in the city at a time when office space was tight. Twitter signed a lease until 2021 for 295,000 square feet in the building and could expand that as its work force grows. “In our gut, we believed if we changed it, they would come. We thought it would be a real catalyst for the neighborhood,” said Charles W. Malet, chief investment officer for Shorenstein Properties.

Now 15 other companies, like Spotify, Square and Yammer, emboldened by Twitter’s move and a city tax incentive that largely exempts them from city payroll taxes if they relocate to the Mid-Market, have committed to take 1.3 million square feet in the area, which the city has renamed Central Market. Apartment towers with 5,500 units are in the works, and arts groups, chefs, retailers and even a venture capital firm have taken up residence.

“You had a once vacant and blighted area that is now a gravitational center for some of the most innovative companies in the world,” said Todd Rufo, director of the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Not to be outdone, the rest of San Francisco is in the middle of an impressive building boom. Developers are building office towers downtown for the first time in five years, many confident enough to build without signed leases for the space. Other buildings are undergoing extensive renovation. Branches of technology companies, old and new, like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo, are expanding or moving to the city and now make up more than half of demand for office space. (During the tech bubble in the late 1990s, tech accounted for only a quarter of demand.)

“People tend to build when they can lease and make money,” said Meade N. Boutwell, a senior vice president at commercial real estate brokerage C.B.R.E. in San Francisco.

In 2013, San Francisco became the second-most-expensive city in the country, behind New York, in which to rent office space. Rents rose from to $53.84 per square foot from $46.12 in the third quarter, according to C.B.R.E. Vacancy levels stand at 8.2 percent, down from 9.7 percent the same time last year. Four years ago, it was 15 percent.

Rob Speyer, co-chief executive officer of Tishman Speyer, a big real estate developer based in New York, said, “San Francisco has led the U.S. commercial real estate market out of the financial crisis.”

Tishman Speyer is betting heavily on the city by starting construction on two speculative office buildings with debt-free financing. After buying a parking lot in an area called South of Market, or SoMa, the firm began building the city’s first speculative office tower since the recession.

Nearly 18 months into construction, Neustar, a data analytics company, agreed to lease four of the building’s 10 floors to consolidate its Bay Area offices.

“This is a strategic decision for 10 years, not three,” said Mark F. Bregman, Neustar’s senior vice president and chief technology officer.

Tishman Speyer is also gambling on another former parking lot, where a 26-story office tower is taking shape and should open in two years. No leases have been signed yet, but Mr. Speyer said the decision “took less courage than others.”

Mr. Speyer added: “There were literally no construction starts, vacancy was dropping into the low single digits and rents were increasing 30 percent a year. It was obvious to us the market could support not just one but several buildings.”

The emphasis on San Francisco signifies how Silicon Valley, an area extending south from just below San Francisco to San Jose, Calif., no longer has a grip on technology companies. About 18 months ago, tech companies started moving or expanding here to be closer to their employees.

Venture capitalists, traditionally sequestered in the valley to be close to start-ups and entrepreneurs, are also setting up outposts in San Francisco. Some of the biggest, like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, have opened offices here to give them a place to incubate their seed companies and to hold events to meet new ones.

Christina Lee, a marketing and communications partner at Kleiner Perkins in Menlo Park, Calif., said “the partnership is more active in the city than in the last four decades.”

The tax incentive offered by the city gives companies moving to the Mid-Market neighborhood a break from paying the city’s 1.5 percent payroll tax for six years on employees hired after its move. Before the city passed the incentive, it was estimated Twitter would save about $22 million over six years. The city would not provide updated savings figures, saying it was confidential information.

The city also now offers all companies a tax break on stock options when they are exercised. And now that Twitter is poised to issue its initial public offering next Wednesday, some analysts have estimated that San Francisco could lose millions of dollars more in revenue if Twitter’s employees begin cashing in their options.

Karen Wickre, a spokeswoman for Twitter, defended the tax breaks the company had received. “The mayor and board of supervisors realized the existing tax structure taxed job creation, so to keep start-ups like ours in the city, they created a limited exemption for the Mid-Market zone,” she said. “The tax exemption was certainly a factor, but so was the chance to stay in the city in a landmark building.”

Although the payroll tax break gets much credit for drawing companies to the neighborhood, its spacious buildings also attracted companies at a time when the vacancy rate in SoMa, where many of the tech companies have opened offices, is 3 to 4 percent, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, the real estate services company.

So the Mid-Market area began to look attractive to developers. TMG Partners and DivcoWest, San Francisco real estate firms, bought a 16-story 354,000-square-foot government building in 2011 a block away from Twitter’s new office. Even though it is outside the payroll tax exclusion zone, the company renovated it for leasing. Dolby Laboratories, the audio company, agreed to purchase it for $110 million in 2012.

“People look at that and say, ‘What a deal,’ but we saw a transitioning neighborhood and foresaw it taking off in three to five years, not two,” said Matt Field, a managing director at TMG Partners. With 700 employees scattered in three aging rental buildings in San Francisco, Dolby needed a central building and did not want to leave the city where it was founded. Very few buildings were large enough and could be renovated for laboratories.

“You really have to be looking forward if you’re buying this building in this neighborhood. We’re buying for the future,” said Lewis Chew, chief financial officer for Dolby.

Across the street from Twitter, Crescent Heights, a Miami developer, is erecting a 754-unit apartment complex that is the biggest of the new residential developments in the neighborhood. Its first 26-story tower opened last month, and a second building, with 37 stories, will open next year.

After Twitter announced it was moving to the area, the developer scrapped its original plans and tailored the apartments for the tech workers who would be employed nearby. Residents of NEMA, short for New Market, as the development is called, will have amenities like a saltwater pool, landscaped terraces, valet parking and dog-walking services.

“We wanted to participate even more in the renaissance of the area. We wanted to set an example and provide the most creative offerings,” said Bruce Menin, principal at Crescent Heights.




3) That Other Big Afghan Crisis, the Growing Army of Addicts
November 2, 2013

ISLAM QALA, Afghanistan — The addicts stalk the streets of this border post like hollowed-out skeletons, hair matted by filth and eyes glassy. The villages that hug the roads are veritable zombie towns, where families of men, women and children hide their addiction within barren mud compounds.

“Sometimes I feel it is better to die than live like this,” said Haidar, 30, seated on the floor of his living room beside a small tin of sugarlike powder.

His family, a wife and young children, bore the gaunt faces of addiction as well.

In western Herat Province, held up as an island of stability and progress in Afghanistan, this forlorn border town is instead a showcase for an intensifying crisis: Long the global leader in opium production, Afghanistan has now also become one of the world’s most addicted societies.

The number of drug users in Afghanistan is estimated to be as high as 1.6 million, or about 5.3 percent of the population, among the highest rates in the world. Nationwide, one in 10 urban households has at least one drug user, according to a recent report from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. In the city of Herat, it is one in five.

From 2005 to 2009, the use of opiates doubled, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, putting Afghanistan on par with Russia and Iran, and the number of heroin users jumped more than 140 percent. Most drug experts think the rate of drug use has only increased since then.

In a country troubled by adversity, from its long-running war to rampant corruption, drug addiction ranks low among national priorities. Government funding for treatment and outreach is less than $4 million a year. There are just under 28,000 formal treatment slots available nationwide, officials say, and such programs rely heavily on roughly $12 million a year in extra international funding for treatment.

The focus of the international community and the Afghan government has instead been on reducing opium production. Since the beginning of the war in 2001, the Americans have spent more than $6 billion to curb Afghanistan’s opium industry, including eradication and alternative crop subsidies. The effort has struggled, and in many areas eradication efforts have been unofficially abandoned as too costly in terms of lost public support for government.

In the last two years, opium cultivation has increased to the highest level since 2008, as global demand and prices remain robust.

The sheer volume of supply has fueled domestic demand, a phenomenon the United Nations drug czar in Afghanistan refers to as “the Coca-Cola effect,” after the company’s market-saturation tactics.

Cementing the status quo is a lack of treatment options, like methadone substitution, or a holistic plan to address the crisis.

“This is a tsunami for our country,” said Dr. Ahmad Fawad Osmani, the director of drug demand reduction for the Ministry of Public Health. “The only thing our drug production has brought us is one million drug users.”

While it has grown far worse in the past few years, the drug crisis in Afghanistan is not new. International health officials caught on early to the problem, which in some measure stemmed from the traditional use of opium for medication.

In fact, one of the earliest challenges Afghan security forces had to surmount was a public image as a band of opium-addled thieves.

The problem, while more controlled, still exists: Just last month, the nation’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, fired 65 employees after discovering they were addicted to opium.

In rural areas, the problem is expected to be worse. In some villages, the rate of drug use is as high as 30 percent of the population, based on hair, urine and saliva samples taken by the authors of the urban study. And drugs not traditionally in wide use here, including crystal methamphetamine, are now figuring in the problem as well.

Perhaps nowhere in Afghanistan presents a bleaker picture of addiction than Herat Province. Widely held up as a success story, the province enjoys a booming economy, a relatively progressive society and a vibrant capital free of the trash-strewn streets and waterways that choke most large Afghan cities.

But beneath the surface, Herat is contending with the country’s most serious drug addiction problem.

The head of the counternarcotics ministry in Herat says there are 60,000 to 70,000 addicts in the province, though some health officials figure the number is closer to 100,000. In the capital, roughly 8 percent of the population uses drugs, the new international report found.

The addiction crisis brings with it all manner of problems, including crime and public health concerns. A 2010 report by Johns Hopkins University found that about 18 percent of intravenous drug users in the provincial capital were infected with H.I.V., compared with just 3 percent in Kabul.

Long a staging area for men who work as day laborers in Iran, Islam Qala is now also a frequent waypoint for addicts returning to Herat. Most of the men say they picked up their habits while in Iran. The authorities there, struggling to deal with a widespread drug crisis of their own, are quick to banish Afghan addicts back across the border by the thousands, and the deported people stream back into Islam Qala six days a week.

In Herat’s capital, addicts fill the streets and parks, begging from pedestrians and motorists with relentless persistence. Pockets of the city have been transformed into junkie ghettos, like Kamar Kulagh, a roadside slum of sandbags, rocks and rags.

On a recent day, the faint outline of figures crawled through the bleached landscape, situated to the side of a highway on the northern edge of the city. Broken glass covered the hillside leading down to the encampment.

A makeshift lounge constructed of a discarded truck grill and broken toilet seats offered respite from the sun. The smell of feces wafted through the air.

Azim Niazi, 30, shuffled through the village clutching two bags bulging with empty bottles, recycling them to pay for a drug habit that he said he had picked up as a laborer in Iran.

Wahid Ahmad, 27, who said he had been living there since he was deported from Iran two years ago, joined him.

The two began discussing the death that morning of one of the camp residents, a man they knew only as Reza.

“This is the third day someone has died here,” Mr. Ahmad said, listing the illnesses that plague residents of the camp. He paused, reflecting for a moment as the whir of traffic raced by above. Bloodshot eyes crouched within his gaunt face.

The pair walked deeper into the camp to check on Reza’s body, stretched out in a stone den with a yellowed plastic roof. Reza lay on his back, the bottom of his gray shalwar pulled over his emaciated face. Flies buzzed in and out of the hovel. A heavy perfume masked the decay.

“His friend will die tomorrow,” said Mr. Niazi, pointing to a man, a skeleton cloaked in skin, lying in a sliver of shade nearby.

A man strolled past, carting his 2-year-old daughter in his arms.

Though many of the addicts in Herat came by way of Iran and Islam Qala, others decided to stay nearer the border — or are simply unable to make their own way anymore.

Substance abuse has taken root in the local community too, infecting entire villages around Islam Qala, including young children hooked by secondhand opium smoke.

“The entire region is addicted, whole villages,” said Arbah Shahabuddin, an elder in Islam Qala. “If you take off your shoes, the addicts will steal them.”

To demonstrate the devastation, Mr. Shahabuddin, a homeopathic doctor, offered a tour of the drug villages.

A maze of dirt roads divides the homes, which sit behind high mud walls. Mr. Shahabuddin pointed to the new construction peeking over the walls of select compounds: smugglers’ homes.

“Anyone here that looks clean is a smuggler,” he explained.

House to house, Mr. Shahabuddin went, dragging families from their compounds into the blinding daylight to tell their stories. They stood startled, somewhat incoherent and mostly debilitated by addiction.

At one home, a woman answered the door and ran to collect her husband, Dad Mohammad, who was getting high. Mr. Mohammad, 35, said he had been using heroin for the past seven years. “It’s very easy to find heroin here,” he said.

His wife, Bibi Gul, standing in the doorway of their home, complained that her husband beat her every day and took money from their children to feed his addiction.

Mr. Mohammad, wearing a woolen hat in the midday heat, stared into the distance, smiling.



4) The Cellblocks’
November 1, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, a street team from was standing on a sidewalk near Columbus Circle in Manhattan talking with a dozen women about to board a charter bus that would take them upstate to visit their relatives in prison. It was 10 p.m. and many of the women huddled in the darkness were toting sleepy children; most were also burdened with plastic bags of Pop Tarts, pretzels, cookies and potato chips — junk food unavailable to men behind bars.

The team from Sendapackage, which could be thought of as prison’s version of, was handing out glossy catalogs offering New York’s 50,000 inmates hundreds of items for purchase and delivery: soft drinks, cigarettes, canned ravioli, cotton hoodies and — perhaps most popular of all — music on cassette tape, the only format that corrections regulations will allow.

“We’ve got same-day shipping and a 10 percent discount on first-time orders,” the team’s coordinator, Zerimar Ramirez (or Mr. Z), was telling the group. As some of the women flipped with interest through the product line, a video crew stood ready if any of them cared to go on camera and provide a testimonial.

Though it might surprise many who have no experience with prison, sending packages to loved ones doing time can be, as thousands of local families know, a Kafkaesque process. Beyond the hassle of going to several stores to assemble a package, and then having to take it to the post office or UPS, is navigating a welter of rules governing what is allowable.

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision publishes a list, currently more than 20 pages long, of who can send what, and how, and what is permitted and what is not. Food cannot contain poppy seeds; emery boards must be “nonmetallic”; boxer shorts and briefs must be of a solid color only.

“I thought there had to be a better way,” said Chris Barrett, Sendapackage’s founder, who seems to have discovered that way on the Internet. The items that Mr. Barrett’s service sells online (as well as through its catalog) have all been chosen in advance to adhere to the extensive directives put in place for gifts by the corrections department. His selection is comprehensive and diverse enough that the company bills itself as “New York’s inmate superstore.”

In a city that appears more and more to be colonized by corporate-funded start-ups, Sendapackage, which is two years old, has an exceptionally personal creation myth. The idea came to Mr. Barrett in 2008, not long after his younger brother, Robert Maffei, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for a murder in Brooklyn. When he was 19, Mr. Maffei killed a man after firing a pistol from a moving car. After he was put away, Mr. Barrett, who had himself served six years on a mob-related gun charge, tried to send him some deodorant and a package of salami at the Sullivan Correctional Facility, in Fallsburg.

Mr. Barrett was unaware that the items had been made with alcohol, which is forbidden inside prison. As he recounts the story, a guard disposed of his well-intentioned gifts as soon as they arrived.

“Eventually I started hearing that other people — wives and moms who didn’t know the rules, who didn’t have time to go shopping — were having the same problem,” Mr. Barrett said. “I began to sense there was a need here, a real need.”

Though he had worked in marketing and been a nightclub co-owner after his release from prison, Mr. Barrett at that point had no experience as a digital entrepreneur. So he took a year, he said, pricing items, building a website and developing relationships with vendors — “Everything we needed,” he explained, “to pitch the idea.”

In late 2010, after several months of looking for an angel, he finally persuaded a Brooklyn businessman to fund his nascent venture with a personal check for $1.5 million.

Within six months, Mr. Barrett had rented space in a warehouse in the Bronx and quickly filled its shelves with basic items: brushed-twill baseball caps, cans of Beefaroni. As time went by, he added to his inventory, gradually expanding into watches, gummi bears, stereo headphones and exfoliating moisturizing creams.

Last year, he struck what was his biggest and most promising deal to date, persuading Universal Records to produce, on cassette, a line of new music popular with inmates. Compact discs are not allowed in prison because they can be broken into shivs. But arguing that he had access to an audience that was literally captive, Mr. Barrett persuaded Universal to manufacture a limited supply of R&B and hip-hop tapes, in an exclusive arrangement, provided that he bought them on consignment and in bulk.

“No one makes cassette tapes anymore,” Mr. Barrett said, still sounding vaguely amazed. “I’m probably the only guy on the planet with Kanye West’s new album on tape.”

Judging by the letters he has received, Mr. Barrett, who is slim of build and 40, has managed to transform himself into something like the R. H. Macy of the state prison system.

“While looking through your catalog, a couple of things caught my eye,” one customer, in the Downstate Correctional Facility, wrote. “Your prices, which are very reasonable, and your wide selection of things, such as sneakers, boots, headsets, blankets, winter coats, thermals, books, TVs, radios, beard trimmers and cosmetics.”

Even the state corrections department, an agency not known for its entrepreneurial spirit, has quietly supported Mr. Barrett’s efforts. Declining to comment specifically on Sendapackage, Tom Mailey, a department spokesman, said, “From our point of view, any vendor that is compliant with the rules and regulations and directives regarding packages will work for us.”

On an ordinary day, Sendapackage handles up to 40 orders. About a third are placed online by relatives on the outside; most of the rest arrive from inside prisons by telephone or mail.

Mr. Barrett said the average order was usually in the neighborhood of $110. With seven employees, he currently serves all of New York’s 58 state prisons, and he would like to expand into neighboring Pennsylvania and into states like Texas and California, which have very large numbers of inmates. After paying for its inventory, Sendapackage earns about $800,000 a year, Mr. Barrett said. He said he was simply waiting to accrue sufficient capital to grow.

“We’re not making a killing yet,” he said. “But we’re getting there.”

While some might be squeamish about having a criminal customer base, Mr. Barrett, perhaps because of his own incarceration, offers the same kinds of promotions and perks that businesses whose clients are on the outside use: He offers inmates a 10 percent discount on orders near their birthdays, for example (“Thank you for the generous gift certificate!” another customer wrote), and he donates 5 percent of his profits to a charity called In Arm’s Reach, which gives assistance to children with incarcerated parents.

Using his connections to the hip-hop world, made through his nightclubs and the cassette-tape deal, Mr. Barrett also hosts parties for his clients’ families, including one last Thanksgiving at which the local rapper Jadakiss appeared.

“It’s a tough experience when somebody you love goes away,” said Mr. Ramirez, the street-team coordinator who once served as the head of security at the Griffin, Mr. Barrett’s nightclub in the meatpacking district. “So on top of everything else, we try to do a few events every year that are fun.”

As far as business models go, Sendapackage’s is more or less recession-proof, and as Mr. Barrett noted, its target demographic is extremely loyal.

“I’ve never seen a business,” he said, “where you can get and keep a customer for as long as we keep ours.”




5) Wealth in the USA
What Americans don't know and don't understand is quite an obstacle to progress.
By Marty Kaplan, October 30, 2013

If you think the widening chasm between the rich and the rest spells trouble for American democracy, have a look at the growing gulf between the information-rich and-poor.

Earlier this year, a Harvard economist’s jaw-dropping study of American’s beliefs about the distribution of American wealth became a viral video. Now a new Pew study of the distribution of American news consumption is just as flabbergasting.

According to the Harvard study, most people believe that the top 20 percent of the country owns about half the nation’s wealth, and that the lower 60 percent combined, including the 20 percent in the middle, have only about 20 percent of the wealth. A whopping 92 percent of Americans think this is out of whack; in the ideal distribution, they said, the lower 60 percent would have about half of the wealth, with the middle 20 percent of the people owning 20 percent of the wealth.

What’s astonishing about this is how wrong Americans are about reality. In fact, the bottom 80 percent owns only seven percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top one percent hold more of the country’s wealth—40 percent—than nine-out-of-ten people think the top 20 percent should have. The top ten percent of earners take home half the income of the country; in 2012, the top one percent earned more than a fifth of U.S. income—the highest share since the government began collecting the data a century ago.

But America’s information inequality is at least as shocking as its economic inequality.

Pew sliced the TV news audience into thirds: heavy, medium and light. In my Jeffersonian fantasy, that distribution would look like a bell curve; in fact, it looks like a cliff. Heavy viewers watch a little over two hours of TV news a day, but medium viewers barely watch a quarter of an hour and light viewers average only two minutes a day. The top third of the country does 88 percent of the day’s TV news viewing; the middle third watches only ten percent of the total time; the bottom third sees just two percent of the minutes of news consumed. Two-thirds of Americans live in an information underclass as journalistically impoverished as the minuscule bazillionaire class is triumphant. This month, the Pew Research Journalism Project reported how Americans get their news at home. If you think it’s from the Internet, you’ll be surprised that the 38 percent of us who access news at home on a desktop or laptop spend an average of only 90 seconds a day getting news online. America’s dominant news source is television, and the disparity between heavy viewers of TV news and everyone else is as startling as the gap between the plutocrats and the people.

As for those heavy news viewers, says Pew, “There is no news junkie like a cable junkie.” A heavy local news viewer watches about 22 minutes of it a day at home, and a heavy network news viewer watches about 32 minutes a day. But a heavy cable news consumer averages 72 minutes of it a day. The gap between heavy, medium and light cable news viewers is especially stark. If you’re reading this, you’re probably in that 72-minutes-of-cable-news-a-day class. But medium cable news viewers see barely more than three minutes of it a day, and light cable news viewers see about 12 seconds of it a day. In other words, either you live in the country that watches more than an hour of Blitzer, O’Reilly, Maddow, et al, a day—or in the country that watches virtually none of them at all.

If you want to know where this is heading, consider another cheery piece of Pew research. Americans 67 to 84 years old spend 84 minutes a day watching, reading or listening to the news. Boomers (48 to 66) are close behind, at 77 minutes a day. But Gen Xers (33 to 47) spend 66 minutes, and Millennials (18 to 31) spend only 46 minutes a day. The kids are tuning out. I love it that 43 percent of “The Colbert Report” audience, and 39 percent of “The Daily Show” viewers, are 18 to 29 years old; the young audiences of those fake news shows get real news from them. But fewer than a million-and-a-half Americans under 50 are watching them.

Much has been made of the ideological news bubbles we live in, where we see the world exclusively through Fox-colored lenses, or filters manufactured only by MSNBC or CNN. The Pew study upends this belief. It’s true that about one-quarter of American adults watch only Fox News, another quarter watch only CNN and 15 percent watch only MSNBC. But 28 percent of Fox News viewers also watch MSNBC, and 34 percent of MSNBC viewers watch Fox. More than half of MSNBC viewers, and nearly half of Fox viewers, watch CNN, and of CNN’s viewers, about four-out-of-ten also watch Fox, and four-out-of-ten also watch MSNBC.

It’s encouraging that our self-segregation into polarized news ghettos is a bit of a myth. But whatever joy there is in that finding is blunted by the disparity between people who watch a lot of news and people who watch almost none of it, and by the trend toward an even deeper division ahead. The danger democracy faces isn’t so much that different segments of our country inhabit alternative realities constructed from different data delivered by different news sources. It’s that a minority of the country watches a fair amount of news, and a majority may as well be living on the moon.

Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.



6)  Clemency for Snowden? U.S. Officials Say No

If Edward J. Snowden believes he deserves clemency for his disclosures of classified government documents because they provoked an important public debate about the reach of American spying, he has failed to sway the White House and at least two key members of Congress.

The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, and her House counterpart, Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, gave sharply negative answers on Sunday when asked whether they believed Mr. Snowden had made a case for clemency.

“He was trusted; he stripped our system; he had an opportunity – if what he was, was a whistle-blower – to pick up the phone and call the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and say I have some information,” Ms. Feinstein said on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” But “that didn’t happen.”

“He’s done this enormous disservice to our country,” she added, “and I think the answer is no clemency.”

Mr. Rogers was equally adamant.

“No, I don’t see any reason” to grant clemency, he said on the same program. “I wouldn’t do that. He needs to come back and own up. We can have those conversations, if he believes there are vulnerabilities he’d like to disclose.”

Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser, said on the ABC program “This Week” that there had been no consideration of clemency, and that Mr. Snowden should return to the United States to face charges.

Mr. Snowden’s argument – made in a “Manifesto for the Truth” published on Sunday by the German news magazine Der Spiegel and in a letter to American officials handed to a leftist German politician who met with Mr. Snowden in Moscow – was that he has started a useful debate about whether American spies are overreaching with the help of enormously powerful technology and should be reined in.

Federal prosecutors have charged Mr. Snowden with theft and with two violations of the Espionage Act of 1917. But Mr. Snowden, who has taken refuge in Russia, has denied any treasonous intent, saying he disclosed secrets to the news media, not to hostile foreign powers, and did so to push for reform.

“Instead of causing damage, the usefulness of the new public knowledge for society is now clear because reforms to politics, supervision and laws are being suggested,” he wrote in Der Spiegel. “Citizens have to fight against the suppression of information about affairs of essential importance for the public. Those who speak the truth are not committing a crime.”

Indeed, Ms. Feinstein is among those who have raised the question of overreach by the National Security Agency and the need for possible reform, particularly after reports that the agency had long monitored the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Ms. Feinstein said on Sunday that she strongly supported a White House review to consider a more appropriate framework for intelligence operations. She wants her committee to conduct its own review.

Tapping the private phones of close allies, she said, “has much more political liability than probably intelligence viability, and I think we ought to look at it carefully. I believe the president is doing that.”

As to the question of whether President Obama could have been unaware of such phone monitoring – and whether the Europeans who have expressed outrage over National Security Agency espionage could have been truly surprised that such high-level spying goes on – Mr. Rogers replied: “I think there’s going to be some Best Actor Awards coming out of the White House this year, and Best Supporting Actor Awards coming out of the European Union.”

He said that fundamentally, the security agency was doing the work it had been created to do, a belief that Ms. Feinstein said she largely shared.



7) Lawyers Challenge Detention of Greenwald’s Partner in London
November 6, 2013

LONDON — Lawyers challenged on Wednesday the legality of the detention at Heathrow Airport in August of David Michael Miranda, the partner of the journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has been writing about the secret documents taken by a former analyst for the National Security Agency, Edward J. Snowden.

Mr. Miranda, 28, was stopped while transiting from Berlin to Brazil and his computer, telephone and memory sticks were confiscated. They contained around 58,000 encrypted, secret files from the Snowden archive, the British government said.

British intelligence officials are still trying to decrypt all of the files to see exactly what Mr. Miranda was carrying, but have argued that the stolen documents and the stories written based on them have damaged national security and aided global terrorism.

Mr. Miranda had been traveling home to Brazil, where he lives with Mr. Greenwald, after visiting Germany, where he met with Laura Poitras, an American filmmaker who has worked with Mr. Snowden and Mr. Greenwald on the N.S.A. stories. Mr. Miranda has said that he did not know the contents of what he was ferrying back to Brazil on a ticket paid for by The Guardian newspaper, for which Mr. Greenwald was then working.

Lawyers for Mr. Miranda challenged the legality of using counterterrorism powers at ports of entry in this case, arguing that the law was misused and Mr. Miranda’s fundamental rights were violated. Matthew Ryder, Mr. Miranda’s lawyer, argued that the case hinged on Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which gives officers the power to stop, question and detain people at ports such as airports even if wrongdoing is not suspected.

“If the court finds that such a power was used proportionally in seizing journalistic material in this way, we ask court then to consider if Schedule 7 is compatible with fundamental rights — in particular, the right to freedom of expression,” Mr. Ryder stated. “This case illustrates vividly why it is not compatible.”




8) In Public Education, Edge Still Goes to Rich
November 5, 2013

“There aren’t many things that are more important to that idea of economic mobility — the idea that you can make it if you try — than a good education,” President Obama told students at the State University of New York in Buffalo in August.

It is hardly a partisan belief. About a decade ago, on signing the No Child Left Behind Act, President George W. Bush argued that the nation’s biggest challenge was to ensure that “every single child, regardless of where they live, how they’re raised, the income level of their family, every child receive a first-class education in America.”

This consensus is comforting. It provides a solution everyone can believe in, whether the problem is income inequality, racial marginalization or the stagnation of the middle class. But it raises a perplexing question, too. If education is a poor child’s best shot at rising up the ladder of prosperity, why do public resources devoted to education lean so decisively in favor of the better off?

The anguished and often angry national debate over how to improve American educational standards, focused intently on grading students and teachers, mostly bypasses how the inequity of resources — starting at the youngest — inevitably affects the outcome.

“The debate about education reform is a lot about process,” said David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center in Newark, an advocacy group for disadvantaged students. “To a large extent it is a huge distraction. We never get to the question of what resources we need to get the students to meet the standards.”

The United States is one of few advanced nations where schools serving better-off children usually have more educational resources than those serving poor students, according to research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Among the 34 O.E.C.D. nations, only in the United States, Israel and Turkey do disadvantaged schools have lower teacher/student ratios than in those serving more privileged students.

Andreas Schleicher, who runs the O.E.C.D.’s international educational assessments, put it to me this way: “The bottom line is that the vast majority of O.E.C.D. countries either invest equally into every student or disproportionately more into disadvantaged students. The U.S. is one of the few countries doing the opposite.” The inequity of education finance in the United States is a feature of the system, not a bug, stemming from its great degree of decentralization and its reliance on local property taxes.

“Decentralization was wonderful for the initial diffusion of high schools,” said Lawrence Katz, a professor of economics at Harvard who helped write “The Race between Education and Technology,” one of the most comprehensive analyses of the spread of the American educational system throughout the 20th century. “But it created big geographic inequality.”

Today, the federal government provides only about 14 percent of the money for school districts from the elementary level through high school, compared to 54 percent, on average, among other industrial nations. More than half the money comes from local sources, mostly property taxes, which is about twice the share in the rest of the O.E.C.D.

This skews the playing field from early on. In New York, for instance, in 2011 the value of property in the poorest 10 percent of school districts amounted to some $287,000 per student, according to the state’s education department. In the richest districts it amounted, on average, to $1.9 million.

The state government in Albany redresses part of the imbalance: In the 2010-11 school year it transferred $6,600 per student to the state’s poorest school districts, about four times as much as it sent to the richest. But it’s still a long way from closing the gap.

That year, the most recent for which comprehensive data is available, the wealthiest 10 percent of school districts, in rich enclaves like Bridgehampton and Amagansett on Long Island, spent $25,505 on average per pupil. In the poorest 10 percent of New York’s school districts — in cities like Elmira, which has double the nation’s poverty rate and half its median family income — the average spending per student was only $12,861.

Disparities across the country are even starker. In New York, schools spend an average of $19,000 per student. In Tennessee they spend $8,200. The Alpine school district in Utah spends only $5,321. And funding in some states is even more skewed than in New York.

The Education Law Center compiles an annual report on the distribution of funding for education across the country, adjusting for variation in district sizes, teacher wages and school districts’ needs. Only 17 states, including Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey, provide more money per student to high-poverty districts than to low-poverty districts, it concluded. Funding is flat in 15 states.

In 16, including left-leaning states that provide lots of money for education like New York and in right-leaning states that provide very little like Texas, school funding is regressive. (Hawaii and the District of Columbia were excluded from their analysis.)

In Illinois and Nevada, New Hampshire and North Carolina, school districts with a poverty rate of 30 percent receive at least 20 percent less money per pupil than districts with a 10 percent poverty rate.

Can anything be done to close these gaps?

Parents, unions and advocacy groups have mostly relied on legal challenges, arguing that state governments have failed to provide adequate funding for education as required by most state constitutions. The Education Law Center counted dozens of lawsuits in 45 states since the 1960s, including one filed earlier this year by the New York State United Teachers and a handful of parents from poor districts like Elmira and Stillwater who also argued that property tax ceilings prevented poorer districts from closing the gap themselves.

Litigation has worked to some extent. But it is a blunt tool. In New Jersey, a host of state Supreme Court decisions over the last 30 years radically improved the funding in 31 poor urban school districts, and helped close the gap in test scores with more affluent schools. But one unintended consequence is that poor rural districts have lost funding.

Money, to be sure, is not a silver bullet that will automatically lift the test scores of poor American children and close performance gaps. How the money is deployed is absolutely crucial.

Still, the disparity matters a lot. Social and economic deprivation has a particularly strong impact on student performance in the United States. Differences in socio-economic status account for 17 percent of the variation in test scores, according to O.E.C.D. researchers, compared to 9 percent in Canada or Japan. In New York, according to Peter Applebee, an expert on education finance at the United Teacher’s union, only 18 percent of students in the poorest 10 percent of school districts scored above proficiency level in math last year. In the richest tenth, 45 percent did. These gaps will be hard to close until the lopsided funding of education changes. As income and wealth continue to flow to the richest families in the richest neighborhoods, public education appears to be more of a force contributing to inequality of income and opportunity, rather than helping to relieve it.



9) Measures to Legalize Marijuana Are Passed
November 6, 2013

DENVER — Marijuana proponents scored significant victories on Tuesday as voters around the country passed ballot measures decriminalizing marijuana possession and approved regulatory taxes on the drug.

In Colorado, voters backed a heavy tax on recreational marijuana, which was made legal here last year. The tax will pay for the cost of overseeing the state’s marijuana industry as well as school construction.

Voters in three Michigan cities approved measures legalizing the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults on private property, following Detroit and Flint, which passed similar measures last year. And voters in Portland, Me., passed an ordinance legalizing the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana by adults over 21, making it the first East Coast city to pass such a law, advocates said.

The victories are widely seen as fuel for the legalization movement, which has chipped away at state drug laws over the past decade and has vowed to push for more changes from state legislatures.

“A majority of Americans now agree that marijuana should be legal for adults, and this was reflected at the polls,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, one of the main groups behind the legislative initiatives across the country.

“There is clearly momentum behind marijuana policy reform,” Mr. Tvert said. “We expect to see these kinds of measures passing across the nation over the next several years.”

Marijuana supporters saw little opposition during this election cycle — evidence, they said, that public sentiment is shifting in favor of less stringent drug laws.

In Ferndale, Mich., nearly 70 percent of voters approved an ordinance legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. And in the city of Jackson, 60 percent of residents supported a similar measure.

In Lansing, where the mayor backed legalization, unofficial election results showed the measure there winning handily, with 8,550 voters supporting it and 5,339 opposing.

Chuck Ream, co-founder of the Safer Michigan Coalition, which has pushed for legalization for years, said he was struck by how easily the local ordinances passed. “They were all landslides,” Mr. Ream said.

He said advocates had gained momentum to push for a proposal pending in Michigan’s statehouse that would make it a misdemeanor to possess small amounts of marijuana. “We certainly hope that the Legislature will act immediately to pass the decriminalization law for the entire state of Michigan, now that they see that voters absolutely don’t support prohibition any longer,” he said.

Similarly, in Portland, Maine’s largest city, marijuana advocates said their victory — by nearly 30 percentage points — would help persuade lawmakers to pass legislation to regulate marijuana and alcohol in a similar manner.

“We have always viewed this as a first step to bring the sale and distribution of marijuana to Maine,” said David Marshall, a Portland city councilor and one of the leading supporters of the new ordinance.

Young progressive voters turned out in large numbers, Mr. Marshall said, helping to widen the margin of victory.

“We were confident going in. We’re going to start seeing what steps we want to take to bring this to the next level,” he said.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and there is still uncertainty around how local law enforcement officials will handle decriminalization measures passed by municipalities.

In Portland, for example, the city’s police chief, Michael Sauschuck, said he would continue to enforce Maine state law, under which marijuana possession of less than 2.5 ounces is a civil offense.

“The ordinance in question really won’t affect our day-to-day operations,” he said. “Quite frankly, it’s really a status quo situation.”

Colorado and Washington are the only states to have legalized marijuana statewide, and Colorado’s efforts to create a regulatory framework have served as a prototype for marijuana advocates around the country.

On Tuesday, a majority of Colorado voters approved a 15 percent excise tax on the wholesale price of recreational marijuana, and an additional 10 percent sales tax on its retail price.

Lawmakers from both parties, as well as Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and the state’s attorney general, a Republican, backed the tax measure, which passed with 65 percent of the vote. “We are grateful voters approved funding that will allow for a strong regulatory environment, just like liquor is regulated,” Mr. Hickenlooper said in a statement. “We will do everything in our power to make sure kids don’t smoke pot and that we don’t have people driving who are high. This ballot measure gives Colorado the ability to regulate marijuana properly.”



10) Socialists Made Strong Showing on Election Day
November 6, 2013

It’s a far cry from a revolution, but socialists had a surprisingly strong showing in two city council races on Election Day, November 5. In Seattle, Kshama Sawant picked up 46 percent of the vote while challenging 15-year Democratic incumbent Richard Conlin. And in Minneapolis, Ty Moore is only 131 votes behind Democratic candidate Alondra Cano.

While Sawant and Moore both trail their opponents, neither race has been officially called. And even if they both lose, they will have received an unusual amount of grassroots and institutional support for two avowedly anti-capitalist candidates running in major American cities. Additionally, they both received major labor union endorsements, and Moore even managed to raise more money than the Democrat in the race.

“This is an indication of how eager people are for real change,” Sawant told msnbc. Both she and Moore ran as members of the Socialist Alternative party, an organization alternatively described as Trotskyist or democratic socialist.

“I think the situation across the country is ripe for this, and our organization Socialist Alternative. What’s unique is our organization took the initiative,” said Moore. “I think in the post-Occupy world, with the political discrediting of most capitalist institutions, including the two major parties, Wall Street, the corporate-owned media—no offense intended—there’s openness to a more bold working class challenge to the two-party system.”

Among the issues Moore campaigned on: A $15 minimum wage, public ownership of Minneapolis utilities, and declaring housing to be a human right. Sawant also focused on low wages and affordable housing as key issues, and was a vociferous supporter of the SeaTac, Washington referendum that raised that town’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Both candidates have a history of grassroots activism outside of the electoral process. Sawant is a member of the teachers union AFT Local 1719, one of six unions to endorse her candidacy. Moore is a cofounder of the anti-foreclosure group Occupy Homes; his campaign was endorsed by the powerful labor organization SEIU Minnesota State Council. Sawant also received the support of a handful of Democratic Party activists under the banner “Democrats for Sawant,” and the endorsement of Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger.

“In fact, we created quite a stir within the labor movement in Seattle and the Democratic Party,” said Sawant. Her campaign says that it managed to raise $110,000 entirely from individual donors.

Bhaskar Sunkara, editor and publisher of the socialist publication Jacobin Magazine, said that a younger generation of voters might be slightly more sympathetic to the socialist cause.

“In general, a lot of young people are demographically a lot less white, a lot of us are first generation or immigrants coming from places where the word has less of a taboo,” he said. “And the Cold War is over.”

In fact, young people between the ages of 18 and 29 have a slightly more favorable view of the word “socialism” than “capitalism,” according to a 2011 Pew Poll. Socialist magazines like Jacobin Magazine and Dissent have developed a small cult following among millennials, and their young editors have popped up in mainstream news outlets like the New York Times.

Even when wielded by Republicans as an epithet, the “s” word, as Sunkara calls it, doesn’t seem to carry as much weight as it used to. In New York, Democrat Bill de Blasio’s campaign was barely affected by repeated accusations that he was a socialist or Communist sympathizer. De Blasio trounced Republican Joe Lhota on Tuesday with a 49 percent margin of victory.

“In some ways, I think the right wing has done us a favor” by accusing Democrats of being socialists, said Moore.

But Sunkara cautioned against overestimating the meaning of Moore and Sawant’s campaigns, arguing that they probably do not herald “the coming tide of some third-party push.”

“I think if anything, these are just kind of exceptional examples that we can maybe turn into a generalized trend over the course of years,” he said.

“Our campaigns have shown in a couple small areas how the anger at the present system can be translated into an electoral challenge,” said Moore, “but I don’t think it will be only electoral.” He highlighted the recent fast food strikes as an example of crucial non-electoral organizing.

Sawant said she believed campaigns like hers would spread, but “it’s not an automatic thing.”

“Especially young people of color are feeling a deep sense of betrayal,” said Sawant, herself an Indian-born immigrant. “What have they gotten from society? And they are looking for an alternative, something that speaks to them.”



11) CIA Paying AT&T to Provide Call Records-NY Times
November 7, 2013

(Reuters) - The CIA is paying AT&T more than $10 million (£6,236,357.97) a year to provide phone records for overseas counter-terrorism investigations, the New York Times reported, quoting government officials.

The No. 2 U.S. mobile service provider is cooperating under a voluntary contract, not under subpoenas or court orders compelling the company to participate, the paper said. (

The report comes amid widespread political uproar after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents describing how the U.S. government collects far more internet and telephone data than previously known.

Under the AT&T arrangement, the CIA supplies phone numbers of overseas terrorism suspects and AT&T searches its database to provide call records that may help identify foreign associates, the paper said.

Most of the call logs provided by AT&T involve foreign-to-foreign calls, the paper said.

AT&T does not disclose the identity of the Americans calling from the United States, and masks their phone numbers when it produces the records, the paper said, quoting the officials.

AT&T was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore and Alina Selyukh in Washington,)



12) Executions Stall as States Seek Different Drugs
November 8, 2013

HOUSTON — Florida ran out of its primary lethal-injection drug last month and relied on a new drug that no state had ever used for an execution. At Ohio’s next scheduled execution, the state is planning to use a two-drug combination for the first time. Last month in Texas, Michael Yowell became that state’s first inmate executed using a drug made by a lightly regulated pharmacy that usually produces customized medications for individual patients.

The decision by manufacturers to cut off supplies of drugs, some of which had been widely used in executions for decades, has left many of the nation’s 32 death penalty states scrambling to come up with new drugs and protocols. Some states have already changed their laws to keep the names of lethal-drug suppliers private as a way to encourage them to provide drugs.

The uncertainty is leading to delays in executions because of legal challenges, raising concerns that condemned inmates are being inadequately anesthetized before being executed and leading the often-macabre process of state-sanctioned executions into a continually shifting legal, bureaucratic and procedural terrain.

In the Florida execution, which used the new drug midazolam as part of a three-drug mix, The Associated Press reported that the inmate, William Happ, appeared to remain conscious longer and made more body movements after losing consciousness than those executed with the old formula.

“We have seen more changes in lethal injection protocols in the last five years than we have seen in the last three decades,” said Deborah W. Denno, a professor at Fordham Law School and a death penalty expert. “These states are just scrambling for drugs, and they’re changing their protocols rapidly and carelessly.”

All 32 states with legalized executions use lethal injection as their primary option for executions. Of the more than 250 executions since 2008, all but five were done with lethal injections.

Facing increasing pressure and scrutiny from death penalty opponents, manufacturers of several drugs used in lethal injections — including sodium thiopental and pentobarbital — over the past few years have ceased production of the drugs or required that they not be used in executions. Looking for alternatives, state prison systems have been more eager to try new drugs, buy drugs from new sources, keep the identities of their drug suppliers secret and even swap drugs among states.

A week before the execution of a convicted murderer, Arturo Diaz, in September, Texas prison officials received two packages of pentobarbital from the Virginia Department of Corrections, at no charge; the state with the country’s second-busiest death chamber acting as ad-hoc pharmacy to the state with the busiest.

Several states have turned to compounding pharmacies, which are largely unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration and overseen primarily by the states. They have traditionally made specialized drugs, for instance, turning a medication into a cream or gel if a patient has trouble swallowing pills.

In Missouri, the availability of drugs and litigation have slowed the pace of executions. There have been two since 2009.

“We are going to continue to be affected by these pharmaceutical company decisions time and again, unless the death penalty states can find a pharmaceutical product that has some supply stability around it,” said Chris Koster, the attorney general in Missouri, which dropped plans to use the anesthetic propofol after the European Union threatened to limit exports of the drug if it was used in an execution.

The drug shortages and legal wrangling have led some officials to discuss older methods of execution. In July, Mr. Koster suggested that the state might want to bring back the gas chamber. Dustin McDaniel, the attorney general in Arkansas, which has struggled with its lethal-injection protocol, told lawmakers the state’s fallback method of execution was the electric chair.

Mr. Koster and Mr. McDaniel said they were not advocating the use of the gas chamber or the electric chair, but were talking about the possible legal alternatives to an increasingly problematic method for states.

“No state has had any success with getting their hands on the cocktail that has heretofore been relied upon,” Mr. McDaniel said. He said that lawyers for the state are trying to navigate the appeals process in death penalty cases while knowing that “if the legal hurdles were magically to go away, we are in no position to carry out an execution in this state.”

In their rush to find drugs, death penalty states have opened a new wave of lawsuits that have delayed executions at a time when public support for the death penalty has waned and a handful of states have abolished it in recent years. A recent Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans favor the death penalty for convicted murderers, the lowest support in nearly 41 years.

Lawyers for seven Florida death row inmates have challenged the constitutionality of a lethal-injection protocol that uses midazolam as an anesthetic. And Missouri was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union after it added drug suppliers to its execution team. Such a move prevents the public and the courts from learning the names of the suppliers, because a state secrecy law provides anonymity to members of the execution team.

Those laws not only protect drug suppliers from negative publicity and harassment, but make it easier for prison systems to get the drugs because they can offer anonymity to reluctant suppliers. A similar law in Georgia is under review by the State Supreme Court, delaying for months the execution of Warren Hill.

But even the method of drug payment has entered a strange new realm.

Texas prison officials bought pentobarbital at a compounding pharmacy in a Houston suburb, using a credit card instead of the usual purchase order. Oklahoma has been quietly buying its lethal injection drugs using the state prison agency’s petty-cash accounts, and at one point got money for the drugs from the same account it used to pay for released inmates’ Greyhound bus tickets. State prison officials said they use the petty-cash funds to leave no public paper trail of the identities of drug suppliers or the state’s executioners.

“You want to be able to protect the identities of the people participating, the executioners and the supplier of the drugs,” said Jerry Massie, the Oklahoma Corrections Department spokesman.

Other moves by states to get drugs, including using compounding pharmacies, have troubled death penalty opponents. In Texas, prison officials bought compounded pentobarbital without a prescription. Maurie Levin, a lawyer representing death row inmates, said the lack of a prescription raised legal questions.

Katherine Fretland contributed reporting from New Orleans.




13) Honesty Doesn't Pay Off for Ex-Homeless Man
November 9, 2013

HACKENSACK, N.J. — A good deed has come back to haunt a formerly homeless northern New Jersey man.

James Brady found $850 on a Hackensack sidewalk last April and turned it in to police. Brady was awarded the money six months later after no one contacted police during the required waiting period.

Now, The Record ( ) reports that Brady has been denied General Assistance and Medicaid benefits by the Hackensack Human Services Department through Dec. 31 because he failed to report the $850 as new income he received.

The director of human services tells the newspaper they are just following the rules.

Brady was homeless when he found the money but has since found housing. He was featured in news reports nationwide for turning in the money, despite his own financial struggles.
Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.),


















Sat. Nov. 9
National Day of Action for Andy Lopez
San Francisco Protest: 1 pm, 24th & Mission Sts.

Saturday, November 9 will be a National Day of Action demanding Justice for Andy Lopez Cruz, the 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed by Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus, on Oct. 22. The killing has sparked an unprecedented wave of mass protests in Santa Rosa. On November 4, the Lopez Cruz family, represented by attorney Arnoldo Casillas, filed a lawsuit against Sonoma County and Gelhaus.

Rallies, marches, speakouts and other actions will be taking place in many cities across California and around the country on Nov. 9, including:

Los Angeles
1 pm, City Hall (West steps), 200 N. Spring St., march to LAPD headquarters
For more info: 323-394-3611, answerla@answerla.

1 pm, Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th & Broadway
For more info: 415-596-7009

1 -4 pm, Downtown Federal Courthouse, 5th & I Sts.
For more info: 916-572-9680

San Francisco
1 pm, 24th & Mission Sts.
For more info: 415-821-6545,,

Santa Rosa
1 pm, Julliard Park, 329-409 Santa Rosa Ave.
Watch video of Oct. 29 March for Andy Lopez.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
2969 Mission St.



The Bay Area Battle in Transport: Workers Face Employer Onslaught
No More Defeats Like Wisconsin
Business Unionism vs. Class Struggle Unionism
 November 10 (Sunday) 2:00 PM
 At: Black Repertory Theater
 3201 Adeline Street, Berkeley

Although BART workers marched through downtown Oakland in August and October chanting "Strike, strike, strike!", union officials shackled them with a concessionary contract.

Why did BART workers settle for a concessionary contract after fighting for four months — striking twice, staging militant mass rallies in downtown Oakland, and inspiring AC Transit bus drivers and mechanics to twice vote down concessionary contracts — each time overwhelmingly?

Why did BART workers vote so resoundingly to approve the concessionary contract (more than 85% of those voting voted "Yes")? Was this the best they could do? How could they have won a better contract?

Why didn't BART union leaders mobilize the rank and file (for example, through democratically elected strike committees?) Why wasn't there a joint strike committee of the BART unions (ATU 1555, SEIU 1021, and AFSCME 3993) and the AC Transit union (ATU 192)? Why did ATU 192 president Yvonne Williams denounce a joint strike of AC Transit workers and BART workers as "Armageddon?"  

Why did BART and AC Transit union officials put their faith in Democratic politicians rather than reaching out aggressively to labor and the community? Why did ATU 1555 leaders call on Jerry Brown to invoke a 60-day cooling-off period to suspend the right to strike? How can we defend the right to strike for transit workers, when Democratic state politicians are drafting legislation to make such strikes illegal?

Why did ILWU officials turn their backs on their union's militant history and direct their members to cross a picket line of port truckers and community supporters? How can ILWU members reclaim the solidarity their union badly needs. Longshoremen are locked out at two northwest ports. Scabs are doing their work. And negotiations for the ILWU's master contract for all West Coast ports is just around the bend.

Has the labor movement lost its class struggle moorings? In its heyday unions fought for the unemployed and underemployed, for immigrant workers and youth, against racism and home foreclosures. What can be done to ignite such struggle today, forge real solidarity, and beat the bosses' barrage of union busting? Come hear speakers involved in these worker struggles:

George Figueroa-  Strike Coordinator of the successful July BART strike for ATU Local 1555*, now being victimized by BART.
A Member ATU Local 192*
A Port trucker organizer*
Clarence Thomas-  Co-Chair of the Million Worker March, Executive Board member of ILWU 10
(*for identification purposes only)
This forum is organized by the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee (
labor donated























Pvt. Manning attorney to speak in LA, Oakland, Seattle

David Coombs, attorney for American prisoner of conscience US Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, will speak at three upcoming West Coast events hosted by the Private Manning Support Network. Mr. Coombs continues to represent the heroic WikiLeaks whistle-blower recently sentenced to 35-years in military prison.
Monday, Dec. 9 at 6:30pm -- Oakland CA
Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street, Oakland CA 94612




Kimberly Rivera

Imprisoned pregnant resister seeks early release for birth

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

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

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

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



Sign the Petition to Pardon Pvt. Chelsea Manning

Join us in urging President Obama to Pardon Pvt. Manning

Because the public deserves the truth and whistle-blowers deserve protection.
We are military veterans, journalists, educators, homemakers, lawyers, students, and citizens.
We ask you to consider the facts and free US Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.
As an Intelligence Analyst stationed in Iraq, Pvt. Manning had access to some of America’s dirtiest secrets--crimes such as torture, illegal surveillance, and corruption—often committed in our name. Manning acted on conscience alone, with selfless courage and conviction, and gave these secrets to us, the public.
“I believed that if the general public had access to the information contained within the [Iraq and Afghan War Logs] this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy,” Manning explained to the military court. “I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan were targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare.”
Journalists used these documents to uncover many startling truths. We learned:
  • Donald Rumsfeld and General Petraeus helped support torture in Iraq.
  • Deliberate civilian killings by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan went unpunished.
  • Thousands of civilian casualties were never acknowledged publicly.
  • Most Guantanamo detainees were innocent.
For service on behalf of an informed democracy, Manning was sentenced by military judge Colonel Denise Lind to a devastating 35 years in prison. Government secrecy has grown exponentially during the past decade, but more secrecy does not make us safer when it fosters unaccountability.
Pvt. Manning was convicted of Espionage Act charges for providing WikiLeaks with this information, but the prosecutors noted that they would have done the same had the information been given to The New York Times. Prosecutors did not show that enemies used this information against the U.S., or that the releases resulted in any casualties.
Pvt. Manning has already been punished, even in violation of military law. She has been:
  • Held in confinement since May 29, 2010.
  • Subjected to illegal punishment amounting to torture for nearly nine months at Quantico Marine Base, Virginia, in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Article 13—facts confirmed by both the United Nation’s lead investigator on torture and military judge Col. Lind.
  • Denied a speedy trial in violation of UCMJ, Article 10, having been imprisoned for over three years before trial.
  • Denied anything resembling a fair trial when prosecutors were allowed to change the charge sheet to match evidence presented, and enter new evidence, after closing arguments.
Pvt. Manning believed you, Mr. President, when you came into office promising the most transparent administration in history, and that you would protect whistle-blowers. We urge you to start upholding those promises, beginning with this American prisoner of conscience.
We urge you to grant Pvt. Manning’s petition for a Presidential Pardon.

Sign the petition.

    Help us continue to cover 100%
    of Bradley's legal fees! Donate today:

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610

Write to Pvt. Manning:

PVT Bradley E Manning
1300 N Warehouse Rd
Ft Leavenworth KS 66027-2304




Two campaigns that need funds – Please donate!

Cartoon by Anthonty Mata for CCSF Guardsman

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-End long-term solitary confinement

-Provide adequate and nutritious food

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

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

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


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


Wealth Inequality in America

[This is a must see to believe]



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

March 1, 2013


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



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

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

For more information, go to

Write to Lynne Stewart at:

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



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

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

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

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

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

What Rights Do I Have?

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

Standing Up For Free Speech

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

What if FBI Agents or Police Contact Me?

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

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

Do I have to answer questions?

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

Do I have to give my name?

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

Do I need a lawyer?

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

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

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

Can agents search my home or office?

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

What if agents have a search warrant?

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

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

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

What if I speak to government agents anyway?

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

What if the police stop me on the street?

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

What if police or agents stop me in my car?

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

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

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

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

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

What if I receive a grand jury subpoena?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can I call my consulate if I am arrested?

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

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

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

What should I do if I want to contact DHS?

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

What Are My Rights at Airports?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What If I Am Under 18?

Do I have to answer questions?

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

What if I am detained?

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

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

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

Can my backpack or locker be searched?

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


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

NLG National Hotline for Activists Contacted by the FBI





Free Mumia NOW!

Write to Mumia:

Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335

SCI Mahanoy

301 Morea Road

Frackville, PA 17932

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rachel Wolkenstein

August 21, 2011 (917) 689-4009






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

Censorship" book



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

state prisons must end

Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:\







Write to Bradley

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

I am Bradley Manning

Courage to Resist

484 Lake Park Ave. #41

Oakland, CA 94610


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

Bradley Manning 89289

830 Sabalu Road

Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

The receptionist at the military barracks confirmed that if someone sends

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

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


Courage to Resist needs your support

Please donate today:

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

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

Papers whistle-blower

Jeff Paterson

Project Director, Courage to Resist

First US military service member to refuse to fight in Iraq

Please donate today.

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

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

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

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

supporting GI resisters.



The Battle Is Still On To


The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610




Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper

Chronicle Editorial

Monday, December 13, 2010

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

death row!


- From Amnesty International USA

17 December 2010

Click here to take action online:\


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

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



Short Video About Al-Awda's Work

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

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

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

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

over the past nine years.


Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

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

support to carry out its work.

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

and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!











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








Exceptional art from the streets of Oakland:

Oakland Street Dancing




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


Fukushima Never Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

Production Of Labor Video Project

P.O. Box 720027

San Francisco, CA 94172

For information on obtaining the video go to:



1000 year of war through the world


Anatomy of a Massacre - Afganistan

Afghans accuse multiple soldiers of pre-meditated murder

To see more go to

Follow us on Facebook ( or Twitter


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

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

confronts the accusations that Bales didn't act alone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Film By SBS

Distributed By Journeyman Pictures

April 2012


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


SPD Security Cams.wmv


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

Terror Drills


Private prisons,

a recession resistant investment opportunity


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

"Thought Crimes"


Common forms of misconduct by Law Enforcement Officials and Prosecutors


Organizing and Instigating: OCCUPY - Ronnie Goodman


Rep News 12: Yes We Kony


The New Black by The Mavrix - Official Music Video


Japan One Year Later


The CIA's Heart Attack Gun\



The Invisible American Workforce


Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment

For more detailed information, send us a request at


The Battle of Oakland

by brandon jourdan plus


Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces


February 1, 2012, 10:56 am\



This is excellent! Michelle Alexander pulls no punches!

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


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

and Brown people in the United States.

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

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

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


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




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

the Bradley Manning petition I signed:

"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning

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

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

platform on

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

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

similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or

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

system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of

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

specific case raised in this petition...

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



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

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

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

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

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

Presidential remarks on interrupt/interaction/performance art happening at

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


Release Bradley Manning

Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)

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


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks


School police increasingly arresting American students?



Nuclear Detonation Timeline "1945-1998"

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

plotted visually and audibly on a world map.


We Are the 99 Percent

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

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

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

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

percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

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


We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools



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

GM that began December 30, 1936:

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

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

Roosevelt who saved the day!):

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Flint Sit-Down Strike

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

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

strike was really won!

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



HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov




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

Uploaded by laborvideo on Dec 13, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

Production of Labor Video Project


UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

19 November 11\


UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed


Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis


UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car!

Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed




Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland


Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs


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


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

were actually undercover Quebec police officers:

POLICE STATE Criminal Cops EXPOSED As Agent Provocateurs @ SPP Protest


Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail



Occupy Oakland Protest

Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland

Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police

Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES

KTVU TV Video of Police violence

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


Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland

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


Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share


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

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


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

Egypt's Tahrir Square Speaks at Washington Square!


#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street

By adele pham


Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change




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

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


Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)

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


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

Jury Investigation of antiwar and social justice activists.

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

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

Sharkey, Vice

President, Chicago Teachers Union


Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale



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