PVT Chelsea Manning tells TIME Magazine what she's thankful for this year
For their special Thanksgiving edition, TIME Magazine asked WikiLeaks whistleblower PVT Chelsea Manning what she's thankful for this year. Her answer was published alongside those from Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, and 14 other well-known public figures. Her response, while demonstrating wisdom beyond her years, is one that many people who work for the betterment of society will appreciate:
"I’m usually hesitant to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. After all, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony systematically terrorized and slaughtered the very same Pequot tribe that assisted the first English refugees to arrive at Plymouth Rock. So, perhaps ironically, I’m thankful that I know that, and I’m also thankful that there are people who seek out, and usually find, such truths. I’m thankful for people who, even surrounded by millions of Americans eating turkey during regularly scheduled commercial breaks in the Green Bay and Detroit football game; who, despite having been taught, often as early as five and six years old, that the “helpful natives” selflessly assisted the “poor helpless Pilgrims” and lived happily ever after, dare to ask probing, even dangerous, questions.
Such people are often nameless and humble, yet no less courageous. Whether carpenters of welders; retail clerks or bank managers; artists or lawyers, they dare to ask tough questions, and seek out the truth, even when the answers they find might not be easy to live with.
I’m also grateful for having social and human justice pioneers who lead through action, and by example, as opposed to directing or commanding other people to take action. Often, the achievements of such people transcend political, cultural, and generational boundaries. Unfortunately, such remarkable people often risk their reputations, their livelihood, and, all too often, even their lives.
Malcolm X began to openly embrace the idea, after an awakening during his travels to the Middle East and Africa, of an international and unifying effort to achieve equality, and was murdered after a tough, yearlong defection from the Nation of Islam. Martin Luther King Jr., after choosing to embrace the struggles of striking sanitation workers in Memphis over lobbying in Washington, D.C., was murdered by an escaped convict seeking fame and respect from white Southerners. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician in the U.S., was murdered by a jealous former colleague. These are only examples; I wouldn’t dare to make a claim that they represent an exhaustive list of remarkable pioneers of social justice and equality—certainly many if not the vast majority are unsung and, sadly, forgotten.
So, this year, and every year, I’m thankful for such people, and I’m thankful that one day—perhaps not tomorrow—because of the accomplishments of such truth-seekers and human rights pioneers, we can live together on this tiny “pale blue dot” of a planet and stop looking inward, at each other, but rather outward, into the space beyond this planet and the future of all of humanity.
For those who don't already know, PVT Chelsea Manning grew up in a conservative community in the Midwest. She suffered a dysfunctional home life, and she was bullied at school for being gay. She was even homeless for a period, working two part-time jobs to get by. She dreamed of one day going to college, and for this reason joined the Army at the age of 19. A few years later she realized she was not gay, but transgender; since she was in the Army, her only option was to hide her identity while working 14 hour days in a war zone. Through all these obstacles, she has remained committed to educating herself, asking the hard questions, and taking risks in the name of helping other people.
This year, we give thanks for PVT Manning's humanist idealism, her bravery, and her unyielding belief that through the work of dedicated individuals our society can and will be made more just. It is not only her actions, but also her unique individualism, that has inspired thousands of people around the world to action. We hope you'll join us in showing thanks for Chelsea by making a gift to ensure her legal appeals process is fully funded. 35 years is far too harsh a punishment for showing the public the truth.
Donate to Support the Legal Appeals
So far we've raised just over $16,000 of the $40,000 needed. Please help us meet our goal by Chelsea's birthday on December 17th.
“When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.”-Pvt. Manning
Here are three important ways you can support Chelsea:
1. Make a gift to the Private Manning Defense Fund. We are currently in the middle of a fund drive to raise $40,000 for her legal appeals and personal needs, including visits from family.
2. Send her a message at:PVT Bradley E Manning
1300 N Warehouse Rd
Ft Leavenworth KS 66027-2304
Please note that regular letter paper must be used, as cardstock will be turned away.
3. Hold a party with friends and neighbors to raise money for Chelsea’s legal defense. Whether a dinner party, cocktail party or concert, bringing people together for an evening of education and socializing is a great way to kindle some social consciousness. On each person's way out the door, you can ask them to add a personal message on a joint letter to Chelsea. If you want your party to be public, send information about your event to firstname.lastname@example.org
Help us continue to cover 100%
of Pvt. Manning's legal fees! Donate today.
COURAGE TO RESIST
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610
Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. ARTICLES IN FULL
B. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS
D. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.
A. ARTICLES IN FULL
(Unless otherwise noted)
1) Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Published: January 1, 2014
Seven months ago, the world began to learn the vast scope of the National Security Agency’s reach into the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe, as it collects information about their phone calls, their email messages, their friends and contacts, how they spend their days and where they spend their nights. The public learned in great detail how the agency has exceeded its mandate and abused its authority, prompting outrage at kitchen tables and at the desks of Congress, which may finally begin to limit these practices.
The revelations have already prompted two federal judges to accuse the N.S.A. of violating the Constitution (although a third, unfortunately, found the dragnet surveillance to be legal). A panel appointed by President Obama issued a powerful indictment of the agency’s invasions of privacy and called for a major overhaul of its operations.
All of this is entirely because of information provided to journalists by Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who stole a trove of highly classified documents after he became disillusioned with the agency’s voraciousness. Mr. Snowden is now living in Russia, on the run from American charges of espionage and theft, and he faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.
Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.
Mr. Snowden is currently charged in a criminal complaint with two violations of the Espionage Act involving unauthorized communication of classified information, and a charge of theft of government property. Those three charges carry prison sentences of 10 years each, and when the case is presented to a grand jury for indictment, the government is virtually certain to add more charges, probably adding up to a life sentence that Mr. Snowden is understandably trying to avoid.
The president said in August that Mr. Snowden should come home to face those charges in court and suggested that if Mr. Snowden had wanted to avoid criminal charges he could have simply told his superiors about the abuses, acting, in other words, as a whistle-blower.
“If the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, I signed an executive order well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information that provided whistle-blower protection to the intelligence community for the first time,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference. “So there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions.”
In fact, that executive order did not apply to contractors, only to intelligence employees, rendering its protections useless to Mr. Snowden. More important, Mr. Snowden told The Washington Post earlier this month that he did report his misgivings to two superiors at the agency, showing them the volume of data collected by the N.S.A., and that they took no action. (The N.S.A. says there is no evidence of this.) That’s almost certainly because the agency and its leaders don’t consider these collection programs to be an abuse and would never have acted on Mr. Snowden’s concerns.
In retrospect, Mr. Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not. Beyond the mass collection of phone and Internet data, consider just a few of the violations he revealed or the legal actions he provoked:
■ The N.S.A. broke federal privacy laws, or exceeded its authority, thousands of times per year, according to the agency’s own internal auditor.
■ The agency broke into the communications links of major data centers around the world, allowing it to spy on hundreds of millions of user accounts and infuriating the Internet companies that own the centers. Many of those companies are now scrambling to install systems that the N.S.A. cannot yet penetrate.
■ The N.S.A. systematically undermined the basic encryption systems of the Internet, making it impossible to know if sensitive banking or medical data is truly private, damaging businesses that depended on this trust.
■ His leaks revealed that James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, lied to Congress when testifying in March that the N.S.A. was not collecting data on millions of Americans. (There has been no discussion of punishment for that lie.)
■ The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rebuked the N.S.A. for repeatedly providing misleading information about its surveillance practices, according to a ruling made public because of the Snowden documents. One of the practices violated the Constitution, according to the chief judge of the court.
■ A federal district judge ruled earlier this month that the phone-records-collection program probably violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. He called the program “almost Orwellian” and said there was no evidence that it stopped any imminent act of terror.
The shrill brigade of his critics say Mr. Snowden has done profound damage to intelligence operations of the United States, but none has presented the slightest proof that his disclosures really hurt the nation’s security. Many of the mass-collection programs Mr. Snowden exposed would work just as well if they were reduced in scope and brought under strict outside oversight, as the presidential panel recommended.
When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. That’s why Rick Ledgett, who leads the N.S.A.’s task force on the Snowden leaks, recently told CBS News that he would consider amnesty if Mr. Snowden would stop any additional leaks. And it’s why President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home.
2) Loan Monitor Is Accused of Ruthless Tactics on Student Debt
By NATALIE KITROEFF
Stacy Jorgensen fought her way through pancreatic cancer. But her struggle was just beginning.
Before she became ill, Ms. Jorgensen took out $43,000 in student loans. As her payments piled up along with medical bills, she took the unusual step of filing for bankruptcy, requiring legal proof of “undue hardship.”
The agency charged with monitoring such bankruptcy declarations, a nonprofit with an exclusive government agreement, argued that Ms. Jorgensen did not qualify and should pay in full, dismissing her concerns about the cancer’s return.
“The mere possibility of recurrence is not enough,” a lawyer representing the agency said. “Survival rates for younger patients tend to be higher,” another wrote, citing a study presented in court.
There is $1 trillion in federal student debt today, and the possibility of default on those taxpayer-backed loans poses an acute risk to the economy’s recovery. Congress, faced with troubling default rates in the past, has made it especially hard for borrowers to get bankruptcy relief for student loans, and so only some hundreds try every year. And while there has been attention to aggressive student debt collectors hired by the federal government, the organization pursuing Ms. Jorgensen does something else: it brings legal challenges to those few who are desperate enough to seek bankruptcy relief.
That organization is the Educational Credit Management Corporation, which, since its founding in Minnesota nearly two decades ago, has been the main private entity hired by the Department of Education to fight student debtors who file for bankruptcy on federal loans.
Founded in 1994, just after the largest agency backstopping federal student loans collapsed, Educational Credit is now facing concerns that its tactics have grown ruthless. A review of hundreds of pages of court documents as well as interviews with consumer advocates, experts and bankruptcy lawyers suggest that Educational Credit’s pursuit of student borrowers has veered more than occasionally into dubious terrain. A law professor and critic of Educational Credit, Rafael Pardo of Emory University, estimates that the agency oversteps in dozens of cases per year.
Others have also been highly critical.
A panel of bankruptcy appeal judges in 2012 denounced what it called Educational Credit’s “waste of judicial resources,” and said that the agency’s collection activities “constituted an abuse of the bankruptcy process and defiance of the court’s authority.”
Representative Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat who has introduced a bill to limit predatory tactics, said, “The government should hold its agents to the highest standards, and I don’t know that we’ve been doing that.”
He added that the government has a special responsibility to use “a standard that’s reasonable.”
The case that caused the bankruptcy judges to accuse the agency of abuse concerned Barbara Hann, who took a particularly drawn-out beating from Educational Credit. In 2004, when Ms. Hann filed for bankruptcy, Educational Credit claimed that she owed over $50,000 in outstanding debt. In a hearing that Educational Credit did not attend, Ms. Hann provided ample evidence that she had, in fact, already repaid her student loans in full.
But when her bankruptcy case ended in 2010, Educational Credit began hounding Ms. Hann anew, and, on behalf of the government, garnished her Social Security — all to repay a loan that she had long since paid off.
When Ms. Hann took the issue to a New Hampshire court, the judge sanctioned Educational Credit, citing the lawyers’ “violation of the Bankruptcy Code’s discharge injunction.”
Educational Credit went on to appeal the sanctions twice, earning a reprimand from Judge Norman H. Stahl of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, who agreed with the bankruptcy judges that the agency “had abused the bankruptcy process.”
Asked for comment, Educational Credit responded that the case was not related to undue hardship and that it was based on “complicated issues of legal procedure.”
Another case dating from 2012 involved Karen Lynn Schaffer, 54, who took out a loan for her son to attend college. Her husband, Ronney, had a steady job at the time.
But Mr. Schaffer’s hepatitis C began to flare up, and he was found to have diabetes and liver cancer. He became bedridden and could no longer work.
Ms. Schaffer said she did her best to cut expenses. She began charging her adult son rent, got loan modifications for her mortgages and cut back on watering the yard and washing clothes to save on utilities. She woke up at 4 every morning to take care of her husband before leaving for a full day at a security job.
But Educational Credit said Ms. Schaffer was spending too much on food by dining out. According to Ms. Schaffer, that was a reference to the $12 she spent at McDonald’s. She and Mr. Schaffer normally split a “value meal,” a small sandwich and fries.
“I was taking care of Ron and working a full-time job, so lots of times I didn’t have time to fix dinner, or I was just too darn tired,” Ms. Schaffer said in an interview. The lawyers also suggested she should charge her son for using their car, require him to pay more in rent and rent out the other room in their house.
Asked for comment, Educational Credit said that Ms. Schaffer “did not meet the legal standard for undue hardship,” and that she declined an income-based payment plan. Her lawyer argued that the plan would treat any forgiven loans as taxable income at the end of the repayment period so it was not a viable option.
Supporters of the agency’s tactics say they are necessary to hold borrowers accountable. “For every dollar that the aggressive debt-collection firm fails to recoup, that’s a dollar that someone else is going to have to pay,” said G. Marcus Cole, a law professor at Stanford University.
Professor Cole added that if it were easy to discharge student loans in bankruptcy, lenders would simply not lend money to students without clear assets or prospects. “We need a standard like that to be able to allow students who can’t afford an education to be able to borrow,” he said.
The Educational Credit Management Corporation is the product of a scandal that almost brought down the government’s student loan program two decades ago. In 1990, the Higher Education Assistance Foundation, the nation’s largest student loan guarantee agency for federal loans, announced that it had become insolvent, evidence that no one was paying very close attention to where student loans went, and whether they were ever paid off.
“The high default rates had a particularly high impact with the press,” said Frank Holleman, deputy secretary of education at the time.
Lawmakers began arming the Department of Education with a set of unprecedented collection tools, including the ability to garnish debtors’ wages and Social Security, and appropriate their tax rebates.
The changes helped cut default rates from a high of 22 percent in 1990 to around 10 percent in the 2011 fiscal year.
But critics of Educational Credit said it had stepped over a line between legitimate efforts to collect on defaulted loans and legal harassment.
“We should be outraged when a student-loan creditor like E.C.M.C. can use bulldog tactics to scare away someone who has a legitimate claim for relief,” said Professor Pardo, who has analyzed hundreds of adversary proceedings involving the nonprofit. “Part of the outrage is that ultimately E.C.M.C. is defending the federal government’s interest.”
Professor Pardo called the agency’s tactics a “war of attrition, death by a thousand cuts.”
Asked to respond, Educational Credit issued a statement saying that its practices strictly follow federal law and that it strives to avoid lengthy court proceedings by working with borrowers to help them apply for income-based repayment plans. When appropriate, it said it “consents to a discharge as an undue hardship.” It acknowledged that some cases are “close calls.”
Chris Greene, a spokesman for the Department of Education, said that the department offers flexible repayment options and believes that Educational Credit complies with the law and government policies. He said that if there was evidence of wrongdoing, the department would investigate.
One of the places where Educational Credit has had the biggest impact has been to shape the meaning of the phrase “undue hardship,” the standard required since the 1970s for relief from student debt. In 2009, for example, the agency persuaded the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to adopt stricter standards. One argument it made was that if student borrowers seeking bankruptcy could qualify for a repayment plan tied to their incomes they were, by definition, ineligible for relief.
The dissenting judge, Kermit E. Bye, said the decision “improperly limits the inherent discretion afforded to bankruptcy judges when evaluating requests” for relief. He also said the new standards subjected debtors to a higher burden of proof than was actually required by law.
These and other changes have been regretted by others as well. “We thought we were doing God’s work,” said David A. Longanecker, a former Department of Education official, referring to efforts to strengthen collection. “We didn’t realize the full extent to which our actions would lead to some activities that would be unfair to borrowers.”
3) Shorter Workweeks Are Likely in New Year
By CASEY B. MULLIGAN
Casey B. Mulligan is an economics professor at the University of Chicago. He is the author of “The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy.”
Three economic forces are pushing toward shorter workweeks for employees during the new year.
The red line in the chart below is a monthly index of the employment-to-population ratio, normalized to a value of 100 in December 2007, when the recession began. In this series, each employed person counts the same, regardless of how many hours she or he works.
By that measure, there has been hardly any labor market recovery because, as indicated by an index value of 93, employment per capita still remains 7 percent below what it was before the recession began.
Average weekly hours of private-sector employees (the blue line) returned comparatively quickly to near their prerecession level and have maintained that level over the last two years.
I predict that average weekly work hours will decline again over the next year because fiscal policy is now switching from penalizing part-time work to rewarding it.
Since 2008, government benefits for the long-term unemployed have served as a penalty for part-time work, because unemployment benefits are largely – if not entirely – withheld when an unemployed person accepts a part-time position. Moreover, people moving to part-time work from either full-time work or unemployment will find that the move renders them eligible for fewer benefits the next time they are laid off from a job.
Many of the part-time-work penalties disappear this week when the federal government stops paying long-term unemployment benefits (short-term unemployment benefits will continue, and they embody some of the same incentives), although the penalties would reappear should Congress resurrect the program.
Full-time work has traditionally offered health and other benefits that part-time jobs rarely do, and those benefits have kept a number of workers in full-time positions. The Affordable Care Act aims to end that advantage, by giving workers opportunities to obtain insurance outside the workplace.
In addition, in some cases the new insurance opportunities can be so inexpensive compared with employer insurance that people stand to, paradoxically, have more disposable income from working part time than they do from working full time.
The third economic force is that in January 2015 the Affordable Care Act begins to penalize employers that do not offer affordable health insurance, except that part-time employees (working less than 30 hours or four days a week) are exempt for the purposes of determining the penalty. This is another reason that part-time work – especially positions with 29-hour weekly work schedules – would increase at the expense of full-time work, at least if the mandate goes ahead as planned.
All together, it looks like many of the jobs in the new year will involve less work.
4) The Spirit of MLK Launches Worldwide Wave of Action
Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We have come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism…. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges…. I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom…”
On the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, April 4, 2014, the spirit of MLK will rise again. We will engage a worldwide wave of action, “from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city. From every mountain side…”
We will “let freedom ring.”
Anonymous, Occupy and the 99% Movement have set up the dominoes for an unprecedented worldwide wave of action. The tipping point is near.
We are calling on all Anons, nonAnons, collectives, organizations and conscious individuals to take autonomous nonviolent direct action throughout the global spring.
For a sustained three-month cycle, we will swarm corrupt targets and rally around solutions to the vast problems we are confronted by.
This time, we will not have stationary targets for the police state to crush. We will be everywhere, fluid and evasive. The movement will be an unstoppable crowdsourced, decentralized and autonomous revolutionary force.
You lead, in your own way. Engage in a diversity of nonviolent tactics, from large-scale mobilizations to small daily acts, knowing that millions of people throughout the world will also be engaged at the same time you are, in whatever way they can.
Without revealing too much strategic information, here are some action ideas to get a fire going in your mind:
• Mass gatherings, demonstrations;
• Marches, parades;
• Flash mobs, swarms;
• Shutdown harmful corporate and governmental operations;
• Worker Strikes;
• Hunger strikes;
• Strategic defaults, debt strikes;
• Foreclosure prevention;
• Boycotting corrupt corporations;
• Move your money out of the big banks and the stock market;
• Use alternative currencies and economic systems;
• Cancel your cable television and support independent media;
• Use independent online tools that don’t sell your info and protect your privacy;
• Online civil disobedience, Anonymous operations;
• Leak information on corruption;
• Use alternative energy;
• Build your own urban and hydroponic farms, or get your food from them;
• Support local businesses;
• Join local community organizations;
• Take part in food banks and help develop community support systems;
• Start or join intentional and autonomous communities;
• Experiment with new governing systems, Liquid Democracy;
• Host teach-ins;
• Organize socially conscious events;
• Make conscious media;
• Guerrilla postering, messages on money;
• Help inspiring groups and organizations spread their message;
• Random acts of kindness and compassion;
• Mass meditations, prayer sessions and spiritual actions.
You know what you can do to play a part. Do whatever you feel inspired to do. Amplify what you are already doing. Think about what you are willing to do to be the change that we urgently need to see in the world, and then do it.
Don’t get bogged down in infighting and caught up in negativity. Ignore the saboteurs. Collaborate with people who inspire you. Keep moving forward with an indomitable will, a compassionate spirit and radiate a positive attitude. Moods are contagious. Be passionate and have fun!
Create a culture of transformation.
If we begin preparing now, a massive Spring offensive will lead to a Summer of transformation, a Fall of the empire and the birth of a new era.
United we will blaze a contagious nonviolent wave of action through mass consciousness.
United we will signal the end of the old world.
United we will usher in a new paradigm.
Now is the time.
Ride the Worldwide Wave of Transformation
5) An Error Message for the Poor
By DAVID A. SUPER
WASHINGTON — MORE than two million people have signed up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, a tribute to the effectiveness of the “tech surge” the Obama administration deployed to overcome the highly publicized problems with HealthCare.gov that emerged in October. The website’s initial rollout will long stand as a monument to how badly technology contracting can go wrong. But the remarkable recovery also demonstrates what a determined response to such bungling can achieve.
Sadly, food stamp and Medicaid recipients can only look on in envy. Just as disaster-relief agencies keep track of hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, students of anti-poverty programs remember a litany of automation and contracting meltdowns — some of them prolonged, even epic. Florida, 1992-93. Michigan, 1998-99. Colorado, 1998-2002. Texas, 2006-7. Indiana, 2007-9. The Colorado Benefits Management System is particularly memorable: When first implemented, it reportedly refused food stamps to anyone who did not have a driver’s license from Guam.
But finding parallels to the HealthCare.gov meltdown requires no memory at all. Just as HealthCare.gov was filling the headlines, a contractor for the Georgia Department of Human Services was neglecting to send renewal notices to the homes of some 66,000 food stamp recipients and about half that number of Medicaid beneficiaries. On Nov. 1, the state’s computer system — which goes by the Orwellian acronym Success — automatically terminated benefits to all those affected for failure to cooperate with reviews they had never been told were underway.
In December, a Massachusetts contractor sent thousands of people, many of whom were elderly or had disabilities, new electronic food stamp benefit cards and immediately deactivated their old cards — without waiting to see if the new ones had arrived in the mail. Many had not. In mid-October, a contractor’s glitch made food stamps inaccessible to recipients in 17 states.
The White House showed impressive alacrity in fixing HealthCare.gov. But its response to technology failures affecting low-income people has been far more sluggish. The federal Department of Health and Human Services did eventually direct Georgia to reactivate the Medicaid benefits for those wrongfully terminated. The federal Department of Agriculture (which administers food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) brushed aside repeated pleas to tell Georgia to reinstate food assistance in time for Thanksgiving.
Instead, Georgia told its desperate people to reapply through a website, though it operated only intermittently. Wrongfully terminated households could call to request paper applications — but the call center answered fewer than 30 percent of the calls it received in September, and the lucky few who did get through had average waiting times of 34 minutes. They could go into a local food stamp office — but once there, they would only be directed to a terminal to try to get on the website or a phone to try to get through to the call center. Not just Orwell, but Kafka and Dickens come to mind.
Nor was this latest failure an isolated episode. In July 2012, a group of Atlanta eligibility workers told the federal Agriculture Department that case managers were “falsely documenting” that they were calling customers and “getting no answer” and using that excuse to justify denial of food-stamp assistance.
The Agriculture Department did not investigate these whistle-blowers’ complaints. When my name appeared in an Atlanta news article about the food stamp debacle, a state employee called me to report a backlog of 12,000 applications waiting to be entered into the Success database.
All of this reflects a broader double standard for automation and contracting — and for government administration generally. An Indiana state judge described a familiar pattern in an earlier food stamp and Medicaid automation contracting fiasco: Officials implemented a “supersized” contract, an “untested theoretical experiment,” that resulted in irremediable “personal suffering of needy Hoosiers.”
A few years ago, a former federal official, frustrated at frequent indifference to low-income Medicaid beneficiaries, joked darkly that the two big government health insurance programs should be called “Med-I-Care” and “Med-I-Don’t-Care.” (Elderly Medicare users are politically far more important than the poor and disabled customers of Medicaid.)
Properly supervised contractors can use technology to improve the delivery of government services. But attention, oversight and willingness to act decisively to remedy fiascoes seem to depend on the wealth and clout of those who are affected. As Obamacare regains its footing, that lesson shouldn’t be forgotten.
David A. Super is a professor of law at Georgetown University.
6) Brazil Is Abuzz About Snowden
By JOE NOCERA
January 3, 2014
RIO DE JANEIRO — When I visited China in June, my trip happened to coincide with the discovery that Edward Snowden was hiding out in Hong Kong. By then, Snowden’s revelations about the voracious data-collection operation by the National Security Agency was front-page news all over the world. Snowden hadn’t yet been charged for the leak of tens of thousands of pages of classified N.S.A. documents, but it was clear that it was coming. So it was only natural to ask — as many journalists did — would Hong Kong give Snowden asylum if he requested it?
Now I’m in Brazil, where I’ve spent the last few weeks, and wouldn’t you know it? A question very much in the air here is whether Brazil would grant Snowden asylum once his temporary stay in Russia comes to an end. In recent weeks, Snowden had twice expressed publicly his desire to gain asylum to Brazil, once in an open letter published in a newspaper in São Paulo — in which he said he would cooperate with Brazilian authorities investigating the N.S.A. once he was safely inside the country — and then, somewhat more cautiously, in a television interview.
With the possible exception of Germany, there isn’t another nation as publicly irate over the eavesdropping on its citizens and its government as Brazil. Upon learning that the N.S.A. had spied on her personal communications, Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, canceled a state visit. Then, during a speech to the United Nations, she excoriated the United States, even as President Obama stood in the wings. Along with Germany, Brazil has rekindled a long-stalled effort to create a new structure for Internet governance, one that would be less dependent on American companies and American networks. Virgílio Fernandes Almeida, a government official who is chairman of the country’s Internet Steering Committee, told me that there is no question that the Snowden revelations helped jump-start the effort.
Indeed, two weeks ago, a $4 billion contract for a fighter jet, in which Boeing was said to be the front-runner, went to a unit of Saab instead. Although Saab was the lowest-cost bidder, “The N.S.A. problem ruined it for the Americans,” a Brazilian government source told Reuters.
“Brazil was one of the most targeted countries,” said Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who is based here and is closest to Snowden. “It was more than even Russia or China.”
What is also true is that Greenwald, who has published dozens of stories in The Guardian based on the documents Snowden supplied, did his best to stoke Brazil’s rage. After every print revelation — O Globo, a large Brazilian daily, was his vehicle of choice — he would appear on a popular show similar to “60 Minutes” to talk up his latest bombshell. “Snowden became almost a household name after that,” said Maurício Santoro, a Rio-based human rights advocate for Amnesty International.
And then Greenwald found the document about the surveillance on Dilma’s phone calls, text messages and emails, and all hell broke loose. “It wasn’t a supertechnical document,” Greenwald told me. “It was written for an idiot. It was like, ‘Great news. We have had great success eavesdropping on Dilma.’ ”
Perhaps just as infuriating to the Brazilian elites was the discovery that the N.S.A., along with Britain’s secret spy agency, GCHQ, had apparently succeeded in penetrating the private computer network of Petrobas, a giant state-owned oil company and a source of national pride.
“Why did they have to do this to us?” asked Santoro, posing the question many Brazilians still want answered. “Of course we have our disagreements with the U.S., but we are not enemies. What has also been maddening has been the lack of a clear explanation from the Obama administration,” he added.
Yet for all that, Santoro doesn’t think that Brazil will give Snowden asylum. So far, the government has been coy, saying that because Snowden has not applied for asylum through the proper channels, there is nothing to talk about. The way it was explained to me, though, Brazil prefers to use what it likes to call “soft power” on the world stage — global consensus building, that sort of thing. Helping to create an Internet governance system fits nicely in that model. Giving Snowden asylum does not.
Meanwhile, the American government shows no signs of softening its stance of trying Snowden for espionage if it gets its hands on him. It’s worth remembering that another important whistle-blower, Daniel Ellsberg, was eventually put on trial for leaking the Pentagon Papers. The case was thrown out of court largely because of government misconduct, starting with the break-in of the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.
At least as it concerns the N.S.A., government misconduct is now official policy. We know that thanks to Snowden. He needs a place to live. Why not you, Brazil?
7) Afghanistan’s Worsening, and Baffling, Hunger Crisis
By ROD NORDLAND
LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan — In the Bost Hospital here, a teenage mother named Bibi Sherina sits on a bed in the severe acute malnutrition ward with her two children. Ahmed, at just 3 months old, looks bigger than his emaciated brother Mohammad, who is a year and a half and weighs 10 pounds.
In another bed is Fatima, less than a year old, who is so severely malnourished that her heart is failing, and the doctors expect that she will soon die unless her father is able to find money to take her to Kabul for surgery. The girl’s face bears a perpetual look of utter terror, and she rarely stops crying. Half of the other children in the ward are crying as well, a cacophony that rarely pauses.
Afghan hospitals like Bost, in the capital of the war-torn Helmand Province, have been registering significant increases in severe malnutrition among children. Countrywide, such cases have increased by 50 percent or more compared with 2012, according to United Nations figures. Doctors report similar situations in Kandahar, Farah, Kunar, Paktia and Paktika provinces — all places where warfare has disrupted people’s lives and pushed many vulnerable poor over the nutritional edge.
Even the capital has seen an increase. “In 2001, it was even worse, but this is the worst I’ve seen since then,” said Dr. Saifullah Abasin, head of the malnutrition ward at Kabul’s Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital.
Reasons for the increase remain uncertain, or in dispute. Most doctors and aid workers agree that continuing war and refugee displacement are contributing. Some believe that the growing number of child patients may be at least partly a good sign, as more poor Afghans are hearing about treatment available to them.
What is clear is that, despite years of Western involvement and billions of dollars in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, children’s health is not only still a problem, but also worsening, and the doctors bearing the brunt of the crisis are worried.
Nearly every potential lifeline is strained or broken here. Efforts to educate people about nutrition and health care are often stymied by conservative traditions that cloister women away from anyone outside the family. Agriculture and traditional local sources of social support have been disrupted by war and the widespread flight of refugees to the cities. And therapeutic feeding programs, complex operations even in countries with strong health care systems, have been compromised as the flow of aid and transportation have been derailed by political tensions or violence.
Perhaps nowhere is the situation so obviously serious as in the malnutrition ward at Bost Hospital, which is admitting 200 children a month for severe, acute malnutrition — four times more than it did in January 2012, according to officials with Doctors Without Borders, known in French as Médecins Sans Frontières, which supports the Afghan-run hospital with financing and supplementary staff.
One patient, a 2-year-old named Ahmed Wali, is suffering from the protein deficiency condition kwashiorkor, with orange hair, a distended belly and swollen feet. An 8-month-old boy named Samiullah is suffering from marasmus, another form of advanced malnutrition in which the child’s face looks like that of a wrinkled old man because the skin hangs so loosely.
Médecins Sans Frontières helped Bost Hospital nearly double the number of beds in the pediatric wing at the end of last year, and there are still not enough — 40 to 50 children are usually being treated each day, mostly two to a bed because they are so small. Nearly 300 other children, less severely malnourished, are in an outpatient therapeutic feeding program.
Now, M.S.F. is planning to open five satellite clinics with intensive feeding programs in Lashkar Gah to take the pressure off the overcrowded hospital.
Despite the increase in the malnutrition caseload, doctors and health officials are not sure there has actually been a sharp rise in child malnutrition that can be blamed on any single factor.
“It’s quite an unusual situation, and it’s difficult to understand what’s going on,” said Wiet Vandormael, an M.S.F. official who has helped coordinate with Bost Hospital.
In part, expansion of the hospital’s facilities has acted as a magnet, drawing more cases, Mr. Vandormael said. Unlike at other public hospitals in Afghanistan, patients and their caregivers do not have to pay for their own medicine and food at Bost. And M.S.F. has been able to ensure that it gets regular deliveries of Unicef-provided therapeutic foods used to treat malnutrition.
“Our treatment is better, so we get more patients as they hear about it,” said Dr. Yar Mohammad Nizar Khan, head of pediatrics at Bost Hospital.
Nonetheless, the numbers are still worrisome. Dr. Mohammad Dawood, a pediatrician at Bost Hospital, said there were seven or eight deaths a month there because of acute malnutrition from June through August, and five in September. Doctors around the country have reported similar rates.
Officials at Unicef and the Afghan Ministry of Public Health have declined to characterize child malnutrition here as an emergency, however. As defined internationally, that would mean severe acute malnutrition in more than 10 percent of children younger than 5; health officials in Afghanistan estimate the rate is more like 7 percent.
“Science-wise, the increase in number of children reporting to the hospitals is not an absolute evidence the situation is getting worse,” said Moazzem Hossain, head of nutrition for Unicef here. “It’s a good sign, the program is expanding, more are being screened, more are being found and treated.”
Another problem is unreliable statistics.
In January 2012, for instance, Unicef and the Afghan government’s Central Statistics Organization released a survey of more than 13,000 households showing that some provinces had reached or exceeded emergency levels, with more than 10 percent acute severe child malnutrition.
The survey caused an uproar, but Unicef and the Health Ministry repudiated it, saying it was based on faulty research. Unicef then financed a more thorough child nutrition survey, which was completed in November, but the government has yet to release the data, said Dr. Bashir Ahmed Hamid, head of nutrition for the Health Ministry. “Unfortunately we faced some challenges with data analysis,” he said.
Dr. Hamid said he expected the new data to show very high levels, probably more than 50 percent, of long-term or chronic malnutrition, which shows up as stunted growth in children. While acute malnutrition can be fatal, chronic malnutrition can cause multiple health and developmental problems.
Unlike malnutrition crises elsewhere in the world, this one has not been connected to specific food shortages or crop failures. In addition, parents are not showing up malnourished, even when their children are.
Doctors involved in treating the victims offer many explanations for what is happening. “There are mines in their fields, and they can’t get to their crops,” said Dr. Dawood in Helmand Province. “And they can’t get to help at local clinics, so they’re coming in very late stage in very critical condition.”
His colleague, Dr. Khan, blamed another problem. “The main cause of malnutrition in Afghanistan is lack of breast feeding,” he said. “They see beautiful pictures of milk cartons, and they think it’s better.”
In a country where access to clean water is difficult, and most milk is powdered, that is often a recipe for diarrhea and other conditions that can worsen malnutrition.
In addition, where women commonly have many children, often with less than a year between them, it is difficult for mothers to provide enough nourishment, by breast or bottle. Ahmed Wali, the 2-year-old Bost Hospital patient with kwashiorkor, is the ninth of 10 children of his mother, Baka Bebi, who is in her mid-30s. She weaned him onto powdered milk mixed with stream water as soon as she could.
Poverty is another factor. In Afghanistan, the poverty line is defined as a total income sufficient to provide 2,100 calories a day to each family member. Some 36 percent of Afghans are below that threshold, according to the health ministry.
In 2013, Unicef raised its target for providing therapeutic foods to severe acutely malnourished Afghan children, to 52,144 from 35,181. Therapeutic foods are specially made for the severely malnourished, who have difficulty digesting normal food.
But Dr. Hossain of Unicef acknowledged that those programs have experienced supply-chain problems, and Unicef was working with the Health Ministry to develop better monitoring and management systems. Shipments of therapeutic foods, mostly made by two companies in France and Norway, had been reduced because of differences between NATO and Pakistan, and sanctions on Iran, the two countries with ports closest to landlocked Afghanistan, he said.
“Managing a feeding system is difficult; there is a long way for Afghanistan to go,” he added. “But even countries like Sri Lanka, with an outstanding health system, are still struggling to manage therapeutic feeding supplies.”
Cases of acute severe malnutrition are running at more than 100 a month, including five to 10 deaths, at Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital in Kabul, and such cases have doubled since 2012, said Dr. Aqa Mohammad Shirzad, who is in charge of pediatric malnutrition programs there.
Each of the hospital’s 17 beds for severely malnourished patients has at least two patients, and some have three. The malnutrition intensive care ward there has an incubator that does not work, one suction pump and oxygen bottles, for respiratory masks, propped up without stands or proper connections.
A 5-year-old boy who weighs less than 20 pounds was being treated recently on a bench because the infusion line would not stretch to a bed. Two window panes nearby were missing glass.
This is the country’s premier pediatric hospital, the one to which Fatima’s father was told to bring her from Bost Hospital to have heart surgery. She never arrived.
Jawad Sukhanyar contributed reporting from Kabul, Taimoor Shah from Kandahar, and New York Times employees from Khost and Kunar.
8) Access to Abortion Falling as States Pass Restrictions
By ERIK ECKHOLM
January 3, 2014
A three-year surge in anti-abortion measures in more than half the states has altered the landscape for abortion access, with supporters and opponents agreeing that the new restrictions are shutting some clinics, threatening others and making it far more difficult in many regions to obtain the procedure.
Advocates for both sides are preparing for new political campaigns and court battles that could redefine the constitutional limits for curbing the right to abortion set by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and later modifications by the Supreme Court.
On Monday, in a clash that is likely to reach the Supreme Court, a federal appeals court in New Orleans will hear arguments on a Texas requirement that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals — a measure that caused one-third of the state’s abortion clinics to close, at least temporarily.
Advocates for abortion rights, taking heart from recent signs in Virginia and New Mexico that proposals for strong or intrusive controls may alienate voters, hope to help unseat some Republican governors this year as well as shore up the Democratic majority in the United States Senate.
Anti-abortion groups aim to consolidate their position in dozens of states and to push the Senate to support a proposal adopted by the Republican-controlled House for a nationwide ban on most abortions at 20 weeks after conception.
“I think we are at a potential turning point: Either access to abortion will be dramatically restricted in the coming year or perhaps the pushback will begin,” said Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University.
The anti-abortion groups, for their part, feel emboldened by new tactics that they say have wide public appeal even as they push the edges of Supreme Court guidelines, including costly clinic regulations and bans on late abortions.
“I’m very encouraged,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “We’ve been gaining ground in recent years with laws that are a stronger challenge to Roe.”
“I think it is more difficult to get an abortion in the country today,” she said.
The new laws range from the seemingly petty to the profound. South Dakota said that weekends and holidays could not count as part of the existing 72-hour waiting period, meaning that in some circumstances women could be forced to wait six days between their first clinic visit and an abortion.
Laws passed last year by Arkansas and North Dakota to ban abortions early in pregnancy, once a fetal heartbeat was detected, were hailed by some as landmarks if quickly rejected by federal courts. But bans on abortion at 20 weeks, also an apparent violation of constitutional doctrine, remain in force in nine states.
In Roe and later decisions, the Supreme Court said that women have a right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb — at about 24 weeks of pregnancy with current technology — and that any state regulations must not place an “undue burden” on that right.
In 2013 alone, 22 states adopted 70 different restrictions, including late-abortion bans, doctor and clinic regulations, limits on medication abortions and bans on insurance coverage, according to a new report by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.
Anti-abortion legislation in the states exploded after the major conservative gains in the 2010 elections, the report said, resulting in more than 200 measures in 30 states over the last three years.
Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group, has a similar count, describing the flood of new laws as “life-affirming legislation designed to protect women from the harms inherent in abortion.”
Twenty-four states have barred abortion coverage by the new health exchanges and nine of them forbid private insurance plans, as well, from covering most abortions.
A dozen states have barred most abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy, based on a theory of fetal pain that has been rejected by major medical groups. Such laws violate the viability threshold and have been struck down in three states, but proponents hope the Supreme Court will be open to a new standard.
A partial test is expected this month, when the Supreme Court announces whether it will hear Arizona’s appeal to reinstate its 20-week ban, which was overturned by federal courts.
Many legal experts expect the court to decline the case, but this would not affect the status of similar laws in effect in Texas and elsewhere. Still, those on both sides are watching closely because if the court does take it, the basis of four decades of constitutional law on abortion could be upended.
“If they take the Arizona case, it seems like at least four of the justices are willing to reconsider the viability line as the point at which states can ban abortions,” said Caitlin Borgmann, an expert on reproductive rights at the City University of New York School of Law.
The many strands of attack came together in Texas, which in a tumultuous special session in July required doctors performing abortions to have local hospital admitting privileges, imposed costly surgery-center standards on abortion clinics, sharply limited medication abortions and adopted a 20-week ban.
The admitting privileges requirement immediately forced about one-third of some 30 clinics in the state to stop performing abortions and left much of South Texas without any abortion clinics.
A federal judge called the rule medically unnecessary and halted enforcement, but the state appealed successfully to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to reinstate it pending a trial.
On Monday, that appeals court, in New Orleans, will hear arguments. The case against the rule, being argued by groups including Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union, was supported in a brief by the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which said it served no valid purpose.
Texas officials asserted that the requirement promotes safety and that any burdens on women have been exaggerated. Some Supreme Court justices have already said that they expect eventually to hear the case.
Courts have temporarily blocked similar admitting-privilege requirements in Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
Another provision of the Texas law with potentially vaster impact, set to take effect in September, imposes surgery-center standards for clinics, even those that perform only the safest early-stage procedures or nonsurgical medication abortions. The requirement could leave the state with as few as eight abortion centers, according to Planned Parenthood.
“Any one of the restrictions passed in the last several years would be bad, but taken together, we are witnessing a catastrophe for Texas women,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Amid all the setbacks, abortion rights groups say they see encouraging signs.
A referendum to impose a 20-week ban in Albuquerque was defeated. Although Texas adopted some of the country’s most stringent controls, State Senator Wendy Davis’s filibuster in June energized women and led to her campaign for governor.
In Virginia, these groups say, Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II’s strong anti-abortion stance became a liability, contributing to his defeat in the governor’s race.
“I honestly believe we have shifted the momentum,” said Ilyse Hogue, the president of Naral Pro-Choice America.
Ms. Hogue predicted that candidates less hostile to abortion rights would put up strong races against Republicans running for governor in, for example, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Kansas.
Ms. Tobias, of National Right to Life, responded, “The other side is getting more people activated, but so are we.”
The proliferation of state restrictions is recreating a legal patchwork.
“Increasingly, access to abortion depends on where you live,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the reproductive freedom project at the American Civil Liberties Union. She added, “That’s what it was like pre-Roe.”
9) Boeing Workers Approve 8-Year Contract Extension
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
"As part of Washington’s efforts to woo Boeing, the state legislature approved $8.7 billion in subsidies for Boeing through 2040 if it placed 777X assembly in the state, where Boeing now does most of its production. ...Boeing had promised to do final assembly of its planned 777X in the Puget Sound area and assemble the plane’s composite wings there if the machinists approved the eight-year contract extension, which will be added to a contract running through 2016. With Friday’s vote, Boeing is assured that it will not be hit by any machinist strikes through 2024."
Boeing workers narrowly approved an eight-year contract extension, their union announced late Friday, in a move that will assure production of Boeing’s new 777X aircraft in the Puget Sound area.
The workers voted 51 percent to 49 percent in favor, responding to pressures from top union officials and Washington State lawmakers, who warned that Boeing might place 777X production elsewhere, potentially costing Washington more than 10,000 jobs.
Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee, said late Friday, “Tonight, Washington State secured its future as the aerospace capital of the world.”
Friday’s vote, by members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, came after Boeing workers rejected a similar deal in November, 67 percent to 33 percent, because it contained numerous concessions, including a pension freeze.
Many Boeing workers changed their stance and backed the deal after they saw Boeing solicit offers from other states. The company said 22 states had offered to assemble the 777X, some offering billions of dollars in subsidies.
As part of Washington’s efforts to woo Boeing, the state legislature approved $8.7 billion in subsidies for Boeing through 2040 if it placed 777X assembly in the state, where Boeing now does most of its production.
Boeing had promised to do final assembly of its planned 777X in the Puget Sound area and assemble the plane’s composite wings there if the machinists approved the eight-year contract extension, which will be added to a contract running through 2016. With Friday’s vote, Boeing is assured that it will not be hit by any machinist strikes through 2024.
“Thanks to this vote by our employees, the future of Boeing in the Puget Sound region has never looked brighter,” Raymond L. Conner, chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement. “We’re proud to say that together, we’ll build the world’s next great airplane — the 777X and its new wing — right here.”
The 777 is a long-range, twin-aisle aircraft that carries about 365 passengers. The new 777X would be one-fifth more fuel efficient and carry up to 400 passengers.
The contract extension produced a bitter rift in the machinists’ union. Local leaders opposed holding another vote, saying the revised deal was not different enough from the rejected deal. But R. Thomas Buffenbarger, president of the parent union, ordered a new vote, fearing Boeing would move assembly to a right-to-work state where it might be hard to unionize new workers. Officials at the parent union expressed concern that Boeing would lay off thousands of machinists in Washington once production of the 777X replaced that of the 777.
To persuade union members to approve the revised deal, Boeing, pushed by the parent union, agreed to add a $5,000 one-time payment to each worker, in January 2020, on top of the $10,000 signing bonus it had previously promised upon ratification. In the biggest revision, Boeing agreed to preserve the current six-year progression it takes for new employees to reach full pay. In the earlier deal, that would have taken at least 16 years.
Most of the 31,000 machinists eligible to vote were in Washington, but some worked in Oregon and Kansas. Many machinists bridled at approving a contract extension that contained a pension freeze and other concessions when Boeing had record profits and a record order backlog. Boeing said its strong earnings resulted from pricing on planes ordered years ago. It warned that its airplanes are now being sold at significant discounts.
A Boeing official wrote to workers saying that, despite the concessions, they would still “receive market-leading wages and benefits.” Many have base pay of $70,000 a year, with some earning $100,000 with overtime.
Emma G. Fitzsimmons contributed reporting.
10) Unemployed in Europe Stymied by Lack of Technology Skills
By LIZ ALDERMAN
DUBLIN — Week after week, newspapers issue a stream of hopeful headlines: Microsoft, PayPal, Fujitsu and scores of other companies are expanding their investments in Ireland, creating thousands of jobs as unemployment hovers near record highs.
There is just one hitch: Not enough people are qualified to fill all the jobs. In some cases, the companies have had to look outside Ireland to recruit candidates with the right skills.
After a five-year economic crisis, the mismatch represents one of the thorniest problems facing Ireland and many other European countries. Hundreds of thousands of people who lost work, and many young people entering the work force, are finding that their skills are ill suited to a huge crop of innovation-based jobs springing up across the Continent.
“In all countries, there is an expectation that many of the new jobs created will be in the knowledge-intensive economy,” said Glenda Quintini, a senior labor economist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “But we are seeing a worrisome skills mismatch that means a large number of unemployed people are not well prepared for the pool of jobs opening up.”
Employers have long complained that graduates do not have the skills they need. But in a recent report, the International Labor Organization warned that “skills mismatches and occupational shifts have worsened” in Europe in the wake of the crisis. People laid off in hard-hit sectors, from construction to finance, face lengthy retraining, while too few graduates entering the job market have chosen engineering, science or technology degrees for the growing innovation-based jobs market.
The gap in Europe has important consequences for the recovery as the euro zone grapples with unemployment rates stuck stubbornly above 12 percent: It may hold back a return to meaningful growth and generate “significant economic and social costs,” according to the European Commission, the policy-making arm of the European Union.
The International Labor Organization went further, warning that the gap might contribute to extended spells of unemployment and might reduce the effectiveness of policy interventions to stimulate growth. In the United States, the phenomenon has also helped contribute to a rise in long-term joblessness, the organization said.
Around two million job vacancies around the European Union are languishing unfilled, about the same number as in 2010, in sectors ranging from hotel work to computer programming, according to Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union.
A study released in November by Eurofound, the research arm of the European Union, showed that despite the recession, almost 40 percent of companies reported difficulty in finding workers with the right skills, compared with 37 percent in 2008 and 35 percent in 2005.
The problem is especially striking for innovation-based companies, which are generating jobs at a rapid clip as technology spreads through every sector of the economy. By 2015, about 900,000 information and communications technology vacancies may go unfilled in the European Union, the European Commission warned in a recent report on the digital economy. The gap “is of major concern to European competitiveness” and to the economy as a whole, the commission said.
Governments and companies around Europe are fast-tracking efforts to retrain the unemployed for a burst of technology-related jobs. They are also stepping up campaigns to lure university students to mathematics, engineering and science in place of popular courses in the humanities and social sciences.
In Ireland, the government introduced a series of retraining and higher-education programs and sought to polish the allure of mathematics degrees as alarm bells sounded over the issue a couple of years ago. At the time, unemployment was around 14 percent after an economic collapse that destroyed jobs in the construction sector, which had employed around a quarter of the young men in the country.
Multinational technology and social media companies kept investing, lured by Ireland’s ultralow 12.5 percent corporate tax rate and an English-speaking work force. But many have been forced to look outside the country for employees with the right skills, despite more than 391,500 being out of work and a jobless rate of around 12.5 percent.
The issue peaked last summer, when PayPal’s chief executive in Ireland, Louise Phelan, stoked controversy by acknowledging that the company had recruited from 19 other countries for 500 positions in its operations center in Dundalk because of a lack of foreign-language skills among Irish nationals. This summer, Fujitsu, which employs 800 people in Ireland, revealed that it had had to hire most of its Ph.D.-level experts from abroad.
All told, around half of information technology jobs in Dublin were being filled with foreign workers, while around 4,500 information technology jobs in the country were going unfilled because of a limited supply of suitably skilled applicants, various studies have shown. Paul Sweetman, the director of ICT Ireland, a business lobby group, said that part of Ireland’s strategy was to enhance its attractiveness as an investment and work destination by luring bright minds from around the world to the technology sector.
The skills shortage prevented Ireland-based companies from “effectively executing their business strategies,” which created a risk of lower productivity and slower growth, according to a recent report by the consulting company Accenture.
Part of the problem for all countries, not only Ireland, was that technology-related university training lost appeal after the dot-com bust in the early 2000s, said Regina Moran, the executive director of Fujitsu in Ireland. In Ireland, people flocked to construction or tourism work, which blossomed in the middle of the decade.
Ian Sharpe was one of them. He spent nearly 15 years working in the hotel industry until Ireland’s banking crisis strangled the Celtic Tiger and left him jobless in 2010. He languished on benefits as he tried fruitlessly to find new work.
But last year he latched on to back-to-work programs that the government had introduced with businesses.
Recently, 182 candidates — most of them unemployed, with backgrounds in fields including farming, construction and even astrophysics — went through retraining. One company, VMware, hired 82 people, and other companies hired nearly everyone else — including Mr. Sharpe.
On a recent weekday, he was huddled with a team of technicians in the Cork-based offices of VCE, a joint venture between VMware, Cisco, EMC and Intel that provides cloud and virtualization software and services.
After six months as an intern, he was hired full time to help manage a data center, with an annual salary of around 30,000 euros, or about $40,000 — about what he was making as a hotel manager.
The initiatives are not without flaws. For example, as part of the JobBridge internship program, people continue to collect unemployment and receive a modest €50 stipend per week. For many, that barely covers transportation and food. Stories have littered the Irish press of abuses by companies in the program, such as giving interns either menial tasks or fully fledged professional work with no pay, and with no job ultimately materializing.
Such talk was so widespread that Mr. Sharpe said that people had urged him not to enter the program. But he wanted to avoid the fate of a number of his friends who had fallen into a rut, where the longer they were unemployed, the less likely they were to get back into the job market.
“I know people who had to get medication for being depressed, because they don’t see anything coming,” he said.
He now has an air of hope. “I’ve gone from someone who had never been professionally involved in I.T. to getting an engineering position just nine months later,” Mr. Sharpe said. “You can see where you’re going,” he added. “Finally, there’s something to aim for.”
11) Fifty Years Later, War on Poverty Is a Mixed Bag
By ANNIE LOWREY"But high rates of poverty — measured by both the official government yardstick and the alternatives that many economists prefer — have remained a remarkably persistent feature of American society. About four in 10 black children live in poverty; for Hispanic children, that figure is about three in 10. According to one recent study, as of mid-2011, in any given month, 1.7 million households were living on cash income of less than $2 a person a day, with the prevalence of the kind of deep poverty commonly associated with developing nations increasing since the mid-1990s"
WASHINGTON — To many Americans, the war on poverty declared 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson has largely failed. The poverty rate has fallen only to 15 percent from 19 percent in two generations, and 46 million Americans live in households where the government considers their income scarcely adequate.
But looked at a different way, the federal government has succeeded in preventing the poverty rate from climbing far higher. There is broad consensus that the social welfare programs created since the New Deal have hugely improved living conditions for low-income Americans. At the same time, in recent decades, most of the gains from the private economy have gone to those at the top of the income ladder.
Half a century after Mr. Johnson’s now-famed State of the Union address, the debate over the government’s role in creating opportunity and ending deprivation has flared anew, with inequality as acute as it was in the Roaring Twenties and the ranks of the poor and near-poor at record highs. Programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps are keeping millions of families afloat. Republicans have sought to cut both programs, an illustration of the intense disagreement between the two political parties over the best solutions for bringing down the poverty rate as quickly as possible, or eliminating it.
For poverty to decrease, “the low-wage labor market needs to improve,” James P. Ziliak of the University of Kentucky said. “We need strong economic growth with gains widely distributed. If the private labor market won’t step up to the plate, we’re going to have to strengthen programs to help these people get by and survive.”
In Washington, President Obama has called inequality the “defining challenge of our time.” To that end, he intends to urge states to expand their Medicaid programs to poor, childless adults, and is pushing for an increase in the minimum wage and funding for early-childhood programs.
But conservatives, like Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, have looked at the poverty statistics more skeptically, contending that the government has misspent its safety-net money and needs to focus less on support and more on economic and job opportunities.
“The nation should face up to two facts: poverty rates are too high, especially among children, and spending money on government means-tested programs is at best a partial solution,” Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution wrote in an assessment of the shortfalls on the war on poverty. Washington already spends enough on antipoverty programs to lift all Americans out of poverty, he said. “To mount an effective war against poverty,” he added, “we need changes in the personal decisions of more young Americans.”
Still, a broad range of researchers interviewed by The New York Times stressed the improvement in the lives of low-income Americans since Mr. Johnson started his crusade. Infant mortality has dropped, college completion rates have soared, millions of women have entered the work force, malnutrition has all but disappeared. After all, when Mr. Johnson announced his campaign, parts of Appalachia lacked electricity and indoor plumbing.
Many economists argue that the official poverty rate grossly understates the impact of government programs. The headline poverty rate counts only cash income, not the value of in-kind benefits like food stamps. A fuller accounting suggests the poverty rate has dropped to 16 percent today, from 26 percent in the late 1960s, economists say.
But high rates of poverty — measured by both the official government yardstick and the alternatives that many economists prefer — have remained a remarkably persistent feature of American society. About four in 10 black children live in poverty; for Hispanic children, that figure is about three in 10. According to one recent study, as of mid-2011, in any given month, 1.7 million households were living on cash income of less than $2 a person a day, with the prevalence of the kind of deep poverty commonly associated with developing nations increasing since the mid-1990s.
Both economic and sociological trends help explain why so many children and adults remain poor, even putting the effects of the recession aside. More parents are raising a child alone, with more infants born out of wedlock. High incarceration rates, especially among black men, keep many families apart. About 30 percent of single mothers live in poverty.
In some cases, government programs have helped fewer families because of program changes and budget cuts, researchers said. For instance, the 1996 Clinton-era welfare overhaul drastically cut the cash assistance available to needy families, often ones headed by single mothers.
“As of 1996, we expected single mothers to go to work,” Professor Ziliak said. “But if they’re shelling out most of their weekly pay in the form of child care, they can’t make sense of doing it.”
The more important driver of the still-high poverty rate, researchers said, is the poor state of the labor market for low-wage workers and spiraling inequality. Over the last 30 years, growth has generally failed to translate into income gains for workers — even as the American labor force has become better educated and more skilled. About 40 percent of low-wage workers have attended or completed college, and 80 percent have completed high school.
Economists remain sharply divided on the reasons, with technological change, globalization, the decline of labor unions and the falling value of the minimum wage often cited as major factors. But with real incomes for a vast number of middle-class and low-wage workers in decline, safety-net programs have become more instrumental in keeping families’ heads above water.
The earned-income tax credit, for instance, has increased employment among single mothers and kept six million Americans above the poverty line in 2011. Food stamps, formally known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, kept four million Americans out of poverty in 2011.
Above all, the government has proved most successful in aiding the elderly through the New Deal-era Social Security program and the creation of Medicare in the 1960s. The poverty rate among older Americans fell to just 9 percent in 2012 from 35 percent in 1959.
But for working-age households, both conservatives and liberals agree that government transfer programs alone cannot eliminate poverty. The answer, the White House has said, is in trying to improve households’ earnings before tax and transfer programs take effect.
“Going forward, the biggest potential gains that could be made on poverty would be in raising market incomes,” said Jason Furman, the chairman of Mr. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. “In the short run, that means things like the minimum wage, and in the long run, things like early education.”
If Congress approved a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current level of $7.25, it would reduce the poverty rate of working-age Americans by 1.7 percentage points, lifting about five million people out of poverty, according to research by Arindrajit Dube of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. But in the meantime, the greatest hope for poorer Americans would be a stronger economic recovery that brought the unemployment rate down from its current level of 7 percent and drew more people into the work force. The poverty rate for full-time workers is just 3 percent. For those not working, it is 33 percent.
12) Moves to Curb Spying Help Drive the Clemency Argument for Snowden
By PETER BAKER
WASHINGTON — To the prosecutors pursuing him, Edward J. Snowden has committed espionage by divulging national secrets. But the growing backlash against government surveillance has spurred a spirited debate about whether he should be forgiven.
The whistleblower-versus-traitor argument has taken on a new dimension with recent moves to curtail the programs that Mr. Snowden revealed. A federal judge ruled that one program was probably unconstitutional, technology companies are demanding changes, lawmakers are considering restrictions, and even a White House panel urged modifications.
If the programs are so debatable, advocates for Mr. Snowden argue, then he should not be punished for bringing them to light.
“I absolutely think the tide has changed for Snowden,” said Jesselyn Radack, a legal adviser to Mr. Snowden and a lawyer with the Government Accountability Project, an advocacy group. “All of these things taken together counsel in favor of some sort of amnesty or pardon.”
But the call for leniency, proposed by a National Security Agency official, advanced by the American Civil Liberties Union and fueled by liberal newspaper editorial pages and television commentators, has made little headway in the White House or the Justice Department, which both reject it out of hand. Nor has it been persuasive to officials in the national security establishment, who warn that letting Mr. Snowden off the hook would set a dangerous precedent.
“Bottom line for me is that he is responsible for the most damaging leaks in U.S. intelligence history,” said John McLaughlin, a former acting C.I.A. director. Mr. Snowden, who worked as an N.S.A. contractor, “is a traitor and no way a whistle-blower,” Mr. McLaughlin added, and “represents only callow arrogance.”
Michael V. Hayden, who led the initial expansion of surveillance as the security agency’s director after the Sept. 11 attacks, said clemency would be “outrageous on its face.”
“This is the most destructive hemorrhaging of American secrets in the history of the Republic,” he said, “and Snowden’s cavalier dismissal of the consequences of his actions looks like depraved indifference at best.”
In interviews, a majority of the members of the White House review panel that recently recommended scores of changes to the surveillance programs to President Obama likewise dismissed the notion of exoneration for Mr. Snowden, even though they believed that the programs he disclosed should be curbed.
“His supporters say he may have violated the law, but it can be forgiven,” said Richard A. Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism adviser who served on the panel. “I don’t think it can be. In any outcome here, he’s going to serve time. The only question here is how much.”
As the debate plays out, Mr. Snowden watches from refuge in Moscow, where he fled last year after turning over classified documents to journalists from The Guardian and The Washington Post. Even after a lengthy interview published by The Post last month, little is known of his current life beyond his self-description as an “inside cat” who survives on ramen noodles and entertains sympathetic visitors but does not read the books they bring him.
Mr. Snowden claimed vindication last month after a judge ruled against the legality of a telephone metadata collection program detailed in the documents he disclosed. Another judge took the opposite position, but the conflict suggests that the matter is not as cut-and-dried as the government asserts, Mr. Snowden’s advocates said. The White House panel found “persistent instances of noncompliance” by the security agency but no “illegality or other abuse of authority” targeting domestic political activity.
Mr. Snowden’s disclosures are protected by the First Amendment, said Bruce Fein, a former Reagan administration lawyer who at one point represented Mr. Snowden's father. “It prohibits government from punishing communications that expose government lawlessness whether or not the illegality is classified,” he said. “Calling government to account for breaking the law is a compelling civic duty of all citizens.”
The amnesty idea won widespread attention last month when Richard Ledgett, who leads an N.S.A. task force evaluating damage from the disclosures, said on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” that it was “worth having a conversation about” it to prevent further revelations.
That position won further attention in the last week with editorials in The Guardian and The New York Times urging clemency. (The editorial page of The Times is run independently of the news department.) Debates about the idea played out on CNN, ABC and elsewhere, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former State Department official in the Obama administration, posted a message on Twitter in favor of clemency.
But inside the White House and the Justice Department, Mr. Ledgett’s suggestion has been met with stony opposition. The administration has made no move to reach out to negotiate any kind of deal and makes clear that it has no plans to. Officials express nothing but antipathy for Mr. Snowden, whose disclosures, one argued, have caused Al Qaeda and its allies “to change their tactics.”
Under the Espionage Act, there is no whistle-blower defense that would allow Mr. Snowden to argue his innocence because he was justified in exposing wrongdoing. Such an argument might be raised at sentencing, but Mr. Snowden’s supporters are focused on the court of public opinion, portraying him as a hero.
“The irony is the Obama administration welcomes the debate but condemns the man who sparked the debate,” said Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the A.C.L.U. “The debate would never have happened but for Edward Snowden.”
Michael B. Mukasey, an attorney general under President George W. Bush, said that theoretically noble motives were no excuse. “The only lesson if he doesn’t get prosecuted will be that if you commit a crime, take hostages — whether people or information — that you can use to negotiate your freedom,” he said.
John D. Negroponte, a former director of national intelligence, said any changes to the programs would be relatively minor. “Whether it’s tweaked — and that’s what it’s going to be, tweaked — it doesn’t justify what Mr. Snowden did,” he said.
Among those who want to change the program are the five members of Mr. Obama’s review panel. Three opposed leniency for Mr. Snowden, including Mr. Clarke; Geoffrey R. Stone, a University of Chicago law professor; and Michael J. Morell, a former acting director of the C.I.A.
“Even if Snowden’s benefit outweighed his costs, you don’t want to encourage people to make this decision for themselves,” Mr. Stone said.
The other two panel members, Cass R. Sunstein and Peter Swire, took no public position. But Mr. Swire said the debate underscored how much the surveillance had polarized the country. “One Silicon Valley person I spoke to on the question of whistle-blower versus traitor, his estimate was over 90 percent of the people in his company would say whistle-blower,” said Mr. Swire, a professor at Georgia Tech. “And I don’t think I’ve met a person in the intelligence community who would say whistle-blower. This is one of the biggest left coast-right coast splits we’ve seen.”
B. EVENTS AND ACTIONS*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND
U.S. Court of Appeals Rules Against Lorenzo Johnson’s
New Legal Challenge to His Frame-up Conviction!
Demand the PA Attorney General Dismiss the Charges!
Free Lorenzo Johnson, Now!
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied Lorenzo Johnson’s motion to file a Second Habeas Corpus Petition. The order contained the outrageous declaration that Johnson hadn’t made a “prima facie case” that he had new evidence of his innocence. This not only puts a legal obstacle in Johnson’s path as his fight for freedom makes its way (again) through the state and federal courts—but it undermines the newly filed Pennsylvania state appeal that is pending in the Court of Common Pleas.
Stripped of “legalese,” the court’s October 15, 2013 order says Johnson’s new evidence was not brought into court soon enough—although it was the prosecution and police who withheld evidence and coerced witnesses into lying or not coming forward with the truth! This, despite over fifteen years and rounds of legal battles to uncover the evidence of government misconduct. This is a set-back for Lorenzo Johnson’s renewed fight for his freedom, but Johnson is even more determined as his PA state court appeal continues.
Increased public support and protest is needed. The fight for Lorenzo Johnson’s freedom is not only a fight for this courageous man and family. The fight for Lorenzo Johnson is also a fight for all the innocent others who have been framed and are sitting in the slow death of prison. The PA Attorney General is directly pursuing the charges against Lorenzo, despite the evidence of his innocence and the corruption of the police. Free Lorenzo Johnson, Now!
—Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq.
October 25, 2013
For more on the federal court and PA state court legal filings.
Hear Mumia’s latest commentary, “Cat Cries”
Go to: www.FreeLorenzoJohnson.org for more information, to sign the petition, and how to help.
PUSH CHELSEA'S JAILERS TO RESPECT HER IDENTITYCall and write Ft Leavenworth today and tell them to honor Manning's wishes around her name and gender:
Chelsea's supporters were awarded the title “absolutely fabulous overall contingent” at the San Francisco Pride Parade
Call: (913) 758-3600
Col. Sioban Ledwith, Commander
U.S. Detention Barracks
1301 N Warehouse Rd
Ft. Leavenworth KS 66027
Private Manning has been an icon both for the government transparency movement and LGBTQ activists because of her fearlessness and acts of conscience. Now, as she begins serving her sentence, Chelsea has asked for help with legal appeals, family visits, education, and support for undergoing gender transition. The latter is a decision she’s made following years of experiencing gender dysphoria and examining her options. At a difficult time in her life, she joined the military out of hope–the hope that she could use her service to save lives, and also the hope that it would help to suppress her feelings of gender dysphoria. But after serving time in Iraq, Private Manning realized what mattered to her most was the truth, personal as well as political, even when it proved challenging.
Now she wants the Fort Leavenworth military prison to allow her access to hormone replacement therapy which she has offered to pay for herself, as she pursues the process to have her name legally changed to ‘Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.’
To encourage the prison to honor her transgender identity, we’re calling on progressive supporters and allies to contact Fort Leavenworth officials demanding they acknowledge her requested name change immediately. Currently, prison officials are not required to respect Chelsea’s identity, and can even refuse to deliver mail addressed to the name ‘Chelsea Manning.’ However, it’s within prison administrators’ power to begin using the name ‘Chelsea Manning’ now, in advance of the legal name change which will most likely be approved sometime next year. It’s also up to these officials to approve Private Manning’s request for hormone therapy.
Call: (913) 758-3600
Col. Sioban Ledwith, Commander
U.S. Detention Barracks
1301 N Warehouse Rd
Ft. Leavenworth KS 66027
Tell them: “Transgender rights are human rights! Respect Private Manning’s identity by acknowledging the name ‘Chelsea Manning’ whenever possible, including in mail addressed to her, and by allowing her access to appropriate medical treatment for gender dysphoria, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT).”
While openly transgender individuals are allowed to serve in many other militaries around the world, the US military continues to deny their existence. Now, by speaking up for Chelsea’s right to treatment, you can support one brave whistleblower in her personal struggle, and help set an important benchmark for the rights of transgender individuals everywhere. (Remember that letters written with focus and a respectful tone are more likely to be effective.) Feel free to copy this sample letter.
Earlier this year, the Private Manning Support Network won the title of most “absolutely fabulous overall contingent” at the San Francisco Pride Parade, the largest celebration of its kind for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning) people nationwide. Over one thousand people marched for Private Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning in that parade, to show LGBTQ community pride for the Iraq War’s most well-known whistleblower.
Help us continue to cover 100%
of Pvt. Manning's legal fees! Donate today.
COURAGE TO RESIST
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610
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. BillsSupporters are also encouraged to sign an online petition posted at:
c/o Fort Carson Public Affairs Office
1626 Ellis Street
Suite 200, Building 1118
Fort Carson, CO 80913
c/o Fort Carson Public Affairs Office
1626 Ellis Street
Suite 200, Building 1118
Fort Carson, CO 80913
Photos: Top-Kimberly with husband Mario during her court martial. Middle-Kimberly in Canada prior to being deported. Bottom-Courage to Resist rallies outside Canadian Consulate, San Francisco CA, prior to Kimberly's forced return.Initial press release by The Center for Conscience in Action, an Oklahoma City-based organization dedicated to the intersection of peace, conscience and direct action. CCA’s Legal Support Project provides low and no cost legal representation to military service members seeking discharge on the grounds of conscience.
For more information or to schedule an interview about this subject, please contact James M. Branum, lead defense counsel for PFC Rivera, at 405-494-0562 or girightslawyer(at)gmail(dot)com. Consolidated Brig Miramar generally forbids inmates from doing interviews with the press, but you are welcome to see if an exception can be made by contacting the Brig Public Affairs office at 858-577-7071.
Additional case updates will be posted at couragetoresist.org and freekimberlyrivera.org.
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.
PLEASE HELP BOTH OF THESE IMPORTANT EFFORTS!
Checks can be made out to Save CCSF Coalition with “legal” in the memo line and sent to:
Save CCSF CoalitionOr you may donate online: http://www.gofundme.com/4841ns
2132 Prince St.
Berkeley, CA 94705
2132 Prince St.
Berkeley, CA 94705
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.
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" ACLU.org
What you Didn't know about NYPD's Stop and Frisk program !
Egypt: The Next President -- a little Egyptian boy speaks his remarkable mind!
Wealth Inequality in America
[This is a must see to believe video...bw]
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 Salon.com.
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
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rachel Wolkenstein
August 21, 2011 (917) 689-4009
MUMIA ABU-JAMAL ILLEGALLY SENTENCED TO
LIFE IMPRISONMENT WITHOUT PAROLE!
FREE MUMIA NOW!
"A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against
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
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
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
FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL!
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610
KEVIN COOPER IS INNOCENT! FREE KEVIN COOPER!
Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper
Monday, December 13, 2010
Death penalty -- Kevin Cooper is Innocent! Help save his life from San Quentin's
URGENT ACTION APPEAL
- 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!
D. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.:
[Some of these videos are embeded on the BAUAW website:
http://bauaw.blogspot.com/ or bauaw.org ...bw]
Exceptional art from the streets of Oakland:
Oakland Street Dancing
NYC RESTAURANT WORKERS DANCE & SING FOR A WAGE HIKE
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 http://www.youtube.com/user/journeymanpictures
Follow us on Facebook (http://goo.gl/YRw42) 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
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
a recession resistant investment opportunity
Attack Dogs used on a High School Walkout in MD, Four Students Charged With
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 email@example.com.
The Battle of Oakland
by brandon jourdan plus
Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces
By ANDY NEWMAN
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,
FREE BRADLEY MANNING
I received the following reply from the White House November 18, 2011 regarding
the Bradley Manning petition I signed:
"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning
"Thank you for signing the petition 'Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused
WikiLeaks whistleblower.' We appreciate your participation in the We the People
platform on WhiteHouse.gov.
The We the People Terms of Participation explain that 'the White House may
decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or
similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or
agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.' The military justice
system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of
Military Justice. Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the
specific case raised in this petition...
That's funny! I guess Obama didn't get this memo. Here's what Obama said about
BRADLEY MANNING "BROKE THE LAW" SAYS OBAMA!
"He broke the law!" says Obama about Bradley Manning who has yet to even be
charged, let alone, gone to trial and found guilty. How horrendous is it for the
President to declare someone guilty before going to trial or being charged with
a crime! Justice in the U.S.A.!
Obama on FREE BRADLEY MANNING protest... San Francisco, CA. April 21, 2011-
Presidential remarks on interrupt/interaction/performance art happening at
fundraiser. Logan Price queries Barack after org. FRESH JUICE PARTY political
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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8x1_q9wg58
But those cannons were not aimed at the goons and cops! They were aimed straight
at the factory filled with strikers! Watch what REALLY happened and how the
strike was really won!
'With babies & banners' -- 75 years since the 44-day Flint sit-down strike
HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov
ONE OF THE GREATEST POSTS ON YOUTUBE SO FAR!
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 www.laborvideo.org
UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
19 November 11
UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed
Police PEPPER SPRAY UC Davis STUDENT PROTESTERS!
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
THE BEST VIDEO ON "OCCUPY THE WORLD"
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
WHAT HAPPENED IN OAKLAND TUESDAY NIGHT, OCTOBER 25:
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
FREE THE CUBAN FIVE!
One World One Revolution -- MUST SEE VIDEO -- Powerful and beautiful...bw
"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
President, Chicago Teachers Union
Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale
To unsubscribe go to: firstname.lastname@example.org