Monday, September 22, 2014

BAUAW NEWSLETTER: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014

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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter



Table of Contents:



A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

B. ARTICLES IN FULL






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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS



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Occupation, Repression, and Strategies of Resistance from the US to Palestine:
A Night of Music, Food, and Conversation to Support the Case of Rasmea Odeh

Featuring from Palestine:
Sahar Francis, Deputy Director of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

Friday, November 14th
7pm
Oakstop
1721 Broadway, Oakland
Accessible by elevator and Bart

$10-20 donation
All proceeds will go to Rasmea Odeh's defense fund

RSVP & purchase ticket[HERE].

 
Tickets will also be available at the door. Please consider purchasing in advance to help us account for food.

Presentations by:
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Critical Resistance
AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center 

Catering by Reem's: Arab street food with California love
Arabic music by Wael Buhaissy and Fatima Lahlou

This is a crucial time to come to Rasmea's defense. Please-mark your calendar, and spread the word widely about this upcoming Fundraiser to Support the Defense of Rasmea Odeh.

The political trial of Palestinian American activist Rasmea Odeh has reached a critical point. Odeh is the founder of the Arab Women's Committee in Chicago, a grassroots collective that promotes leadership among Arab immigrant women. The US government has accused her of omitting an answer on her citizenship application 10 years ago. Odeh, who was sexually tortured into a false confession by Israel and served a decade in Israeli prisons, faces revocation of her citizenship, imprisonment, and deportation.

Last week, Judge Gershwin Drain ruled that, although Odeh's account of the torture and forced confession were "credible," they were not admissible as evidence. This casts a dark shadow on her chances of receiving a fair trial. We will have the latest news on her trial, which begins November 4th.

In the words of a letter of protest by more than 100 feminist scholars:
Rasmea's story encompasses some of the most urgent feminist struggles of our times-violence against women and the use of sexual violence as a tool of colonization and war; the impact of racism and anti-immigrant policies upon women; the criminalization of women of color; and the use of intimidation to thwart feminist activism.

info@araborganizing.org | 415.861.7444

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Rasmea Defense Committee statement

Without a full and fair trial,
Rasmea found guilty

In a travesty of justice, Rasmea Odeh today was found guilty of one count of Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization. For over a year, Rasmea, her supporters, and her legal team have been battling this unjust government prosecution, saying from the start that the immigration charge was nothing but a pretext to attack this icon of the Palestine liberation movement. And although there is real anger and disappointment in the jury’s verdict, it was known as early as October 27th that she would not get a full and fair trial.

On that day, Judge Gershwin Drain made a number of rulings that made her defense virtually impossible. The government’s indictment stated that she had unlawfully gained U.S. citizenship because she had allegedly answered a number of questions falsely on her visa application in 1995 and her naturalization application in 2004. She had been in this country as a lawful permanent resident for almost 20 years, and a citizen for over nine, when she was arrested on October 22nd, 2013.

The main basis for the arrest a year ago was that she had allegedly falsely answered “No” to a question asking whether she had ever been arrested or imprisoned. The government claimed that she failed to disclose that she had been convicted by the Israelis of participating in bombings in 1969. This conviction in a military court was the result of a false confession made after she was viciously tortured and raped by Israeli military authorities for weeks. There is no due process in Israeli military courts, which “convict” over 99% of Palestinians who come before them, and “evidence” from these should not be accepted in a court in the U.S.

But Judge Drain did allow the conviction in Israel to be entered into evidence; and even though he suggested that Rasmea’s assertion that she faced torture and sexual abuse at the hands of her Israeli captors was “credible,” he still ruled that it could not be brought up in the course of her trial. So her attorneys had to scrap plans to call to the stand an expert witness, clinical psychologist Dr. Mary Fabri, who has decades of experience working with torture survivors, to testify that the allegedly false answers on the immigration forms were the result of Rasmea’s chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The judge also rejected Rasmea’s selective prosecution motion, even though it was clear that the case against her grew out of the investigation of 23 anti-war and Palestinian community organizers in Chicago and Minneapolis, who were subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in 2010. Make no mistake. Rasmea came under attack by the U.S. government because she is Palestinian, and because for decades, she has organized for Palestinian liberation and self-determination, the Right of Return, and an end to U.S. funding of Israeli occupation. Palestine support work, especially the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, has made a number of recent gains, and the long arm of federal law enforcement has attempted to crack down on it, like it has on all effective and impactful movements for social justice in the history of this country. The crackdown reached Rasmea.

More than 200 people from across the Midwest, especially from Chicago, traveled to stand with her throughout the trial. They bore silent witness to her incredible testimony, for despite the judge’s rulings, she and her defense team did put the crimes of Israel on record. Her story of being exiled from the village of her birth, Lifta, in 1948; of being exiled again during the 1967 war; of experiencing the death of her sister after the raid on her home in 1969; and of being a political prisoner, one of the most famous in the history of the Palestine liberation movement—all these are stories of the crimes of apartheid Israel, crimes that continue today in the racist settler and military assaults we have seen in the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, 1948 Palestine, and the West Bank. Israel’s terrorism, and the U.S. government’s complicity, were exposed for all the world to see.

Rasmea’s honesty in the face of cross-examination from Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel was thoroughly convincing as well. She said clearly that she thought the questions on the immigration forms were being asked about her time in the U.S., because she said she had nothing to hide and did not need to lie. She had testified about her torture at the United Nations when she was released in 1979, and as her lead attorney, Michael Deutsch, said, “It was well known that she was convicted, and traded [in a prisoner exchange]. The U.S. Embassy knew it, the State Department knew it, and Immigration should have known it.” So although the government had to prove that she “knowingly lied,” it never met that burden, regardless of what the verdict says.

For over a year, the Rasmea Defense Committee has been organizing educational events, rallies, protests, and call-in days to demand that U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade and Tukel drop the charges against her. We now have more work ahead of us. Rasmea’s brilliant legal team—Deutsch, Jim Fennerty, Bill Goodman, and Dennis Cunningham—will undoubtedly file an appeal, and have strong grounds to do so, based on Judge Drain’s unjust decisions. And we will continue to support their work with our political organizing and mobilizations.

Just like our people in Palestine and across the world will never rest until every inch of historical Palestine is free, we will never rest in our defense and support of Rasmea as she moves forward to challenge this conviction. As Deutsch said in his closing statement to the jury, “It has been one of the great privileges of my long legal career to represent this extraordinary woman of great passion and dignity.” Rasmea’s story is the story of millions of Palestinians, and of millions of freedom-loving defenders of justice everywhere. Her eventual victory will be a victory for Palestine and for all the people’s movements across the world.

Today, we thank everyone who stood with Rasmea this past year, and ask you to continue fighting with us until we achieve that victory.

www.uspcn.org and www.stopfbi.net
Donate to Rasmea! today

http://www.stopfbi.net/events/11-10-14/be-detroit-nov-10-rasmea-odeh-and-final-verdict

 follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to a friend
Copyright © 2014 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414



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Rally and Demand: FREE LORENZO JOHNSON, NOW!

FREE ALL THE INNOCENT!

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Friday, November 14, 2014, 1:00 P.M.

The date the court has ordered prosecutors to answer!

Office of the PA Attorney General

Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, PA



When will the Legal Lynching of
Innocent People Stop?

—a statement by Lorenzo "Cat" Johnson, November 5, 2014

At Trial and Direct Appeal while two Innocent men’s lives were at stake, Attorney General Christopher Abruzzo knowingly introduced false testimony and let false testimony go uncorrected from the Trial Court, all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court that relied on said testimony. From there the Attorney General's office introduced this evidence in Federal Court's: District Court, the Third Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, knowing that said testimony was false, misleading and untrue.

The false misleading and untrue testimony introduced in all stages of my appeal process led to the Summary Reversal of the Third Circuit Dismissal of my case.

The U. S. Supreme Court in it's Summary Reversal and Per Curiam opinion relied on false, misleading and untrue testimony that prosecutor Abruzzo knowingly introduced in my trial.

At all times the prosecution, in it's own file dating back from 1995 had knowledge and evidence showing that the arguments and claims presented at court was false and THEY "NEVER" corrected it to this date. …

The evidence recently released from the files of the Attorney General's office shows conclusively that the findings of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals was correct, rightful and legally sound and based on a true reading of the evidence. That the evidence was indeed Insufficient and if the recently released files were available to trial counsel, I would have been quickly found Innocent.  What do you think?
                                   “The Pain Within”


 MAKE A CONTRIBUTION TO SUPPORT THE RALLY HERE.

Reach Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson:
 Lorenzo Johnson DF1036
 SCI Mahanoy
 302 Morea Road  
 Frackville, PA 17932  

Twitter: @FREERENZ
Instagram: 1Lorenzo
JPay.com code:
Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC

FREE THE INNOCENT! FREE LORENZO JOHNSON!


www.FreeLorenzoJohnson.org



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Sat. Nov. 15, 12noon
March and Protest for Mexico
24th and Mission St.

Hundreds of people marched in anger late Saturday to the Presidential Palace in Mexico’s capital after the government announced that the 43 students who disappeared seven weeks ago in the state of Guerrero have been murdered.

A political crisis is unfolding for Peña Nieto’s government, who has done nothing to stem the wave of murders and remained silent for weeks in this latest massacre.

The Bay Area stands in solidarity with the people of Mexico. We demand:
Resignation of the EPN government
End to the Narco-government
End to State/Drug Cartel Repression
US Out of Mexico

Send a message in order to add your group to the list of supporters.

Patrocinado por/Sponsored by:
ANSWER Coalition
The Kenneth Harding Jr. Foundation
La Misión de Martin Baro Proyecto de Transformación.
Left Party
Party for Socialism and Liberation - PSL
Workers World Party
Yo Soy 132 Bay Area

ANSWER SF
http://answersf.nationbuilder.com/



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First Amendment Lawsuit


"Abu-Jamal v. Kane" filed 11/10 in Federal



Court!

Dear Friends,

Today the Abolitionist Law Center, Amistad Law Project, and the
Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center are filing a historic lawsuit in Federal Court on behalf of Prison Radio, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Educators for Mumia, and other plaintiffs. We seek to overturn a new PA Law designed to allow the state to silence targeted prisoners by preventing their speech.

What is at stake is your right to hear Mumia and other prisoners, journalists right to record, and prisoners right to speak.  As a puppet for the agenda of the Fraternal Order of Police, and to add to his poll numbers, PA Governor Tom Corbett signed SB508 into law on 10/21, (effective immediately), and specifically targeting Mumia Abu-Jamal's right to free speech.

The law puts Prison Radio, our correspondents, and our listeners in jeopardy. So in response we have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in the middle district of PA (Harrisburg).

We will win this lawsuit.
We will continue to record Mumia.
We can uphold all prisoners’ rights to speak their truth.
But we need your help to do it.


DONATE:



https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/protect-freedom-of-speech-keep-mumia-on-the-air


Defeat Pennsylvania’s Prisoner Gag Law!

Free Speech Under Threat from Police & Politicians!

Mumia is the Immediate Target, but We’re All in the Cross-Hairs!

How You Can Help… see below…



07 November 2014 — An outrageous new law threatening the free speech of convicts has been passed in Pennsylvania in a lightning fast process. The chief target of this law?  Innocent political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, and others like him. The perpetrators of this law?  The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and their lap-dog friends in the state legislature and governor’s mansion of PA. The victims of this law? Convicts like Mumia; non-profits that distribute the writings and speech of convicts; and ultimately the working class and all who oppose this racist, capitalist system.



The new law, the “Re-victimization Relief Act,” enables crime victims—as well as local authorities and the state, using taxpayer funds—to sue any imprisoned convict whose conduct “perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim,” ie, causes “mental anguish.” This broad and subjective definition could mean anything!



PA Governor: Convicts Have No Rights



This law was hashed together, and quickly passed and signed in reaction to a pre-recorded commencement address to a Goddard College graduating class by Mumia Abu-Jamal, himself a graduate of Goddard College.  Mumia’s inspiring address at Goddard said absolutely nothing about his case, yet cops protested at the college entrance; and days later the law was signed by PA Governor Corbett in a ceremony at 13th and Locust in Philadelphia, the spot where Officer Daniel Faulkner was shot to death—by someone other than Mumia—in 1981. Corbett said that “convicted felons in prison have abused and surrendered their rights,” a blatantly false assertion.



Protestors shouted “free Mumia,” and “one-term Tom” at the Governor, which is what he turned out to be after losing his seat in the recent mid-term elections. But the threatening law he signed continues to menace convicts.



“Mumia Bill” Designed to “Shut Him Up”



This new law is just the latest manifestation of the blatant targeting of Mumia, by the very cops, courts and politicians who put him away for a crime he didn’t commit in the first place. Called the “Mumia Bill,” this act was designed to “shut him up” (Philly.com, 07.Oct.2014). It follows a long line of “Mumia rules,” in which courts have literally changed precedent when considering Mumia’s case, only to change back again on other cases later. Will this blatantly unconstitutional law get overturned, or will it be allowed to stand as yet another “Mumia rule,” in defiance of all precedent? We cannot take that chance!



Mumia’s case is just the immediate pretext for this legal atrocity. The danger here is that this blatantly unconstitutional law could have far-reaching effects, even if it does eventually get overturned. What about radio stations such as the Pacifica Network, and non-profit organizations such as Prison Radio, which promote the defense cases, and distribute the writings of Mumia and other convicts, wrongfully convicted or otherwise?  They all have the right of free speech!



Lawyers with the Abolitionist Law Center and the Amistad Law Project have joined with Prison Radio (publishers of Mumia’s commentaries) to mount an aggressive defense against this vindictive, so-called “legal” challenge to the right of free speech. These folks need you help!



— Donate Now To Defeat PA’s Prisoner Gag Law —

Go to: http://bit.ly/defendfreespeech



Mumia has been definitively shown to be innocent of the 1981 crime for which he was convicted. He was the victim of an orchestrated frame-up by cops and prosecutors, who were not only targeting a known leftist and former Black Panther, and not only covering up their own rampant corruption in Philadelphia’s inner city; but they were also covering their probable complicity in the execution of one of their own, who was talking to the Feds about the corruption at the time.



The system has chickened out of trying to execute Mumia, since the evidence of his innocence is so overwhelming. But they’ve confined him to state prison for life without the possibility of parole (LWOP). Our job remains unchanged: Mumia is Innocent! For labor action to free Mumia!



Defeat Pennsylvania’s Prisoner Gag Law!

http://bit.ly/defendfreespeech


This message brought to you by:

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

PO Box 16222, Oakland CA 94610 • www.laboractionmumia.org • 510.762.2347

November 2014



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Support Prison Radio



$35 is the yearly membership.



$50 will get you a beautiful tote bag (you can special order a yoga mat bag, just call us).



$100 will get the DVD "Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary"



$300 will bring one essay to the airwaves.



$1000 (or $88.83 per month) will make you a member of our Prison Radio Freedom Circle. Take a moment and Support Prison Radio



Luchando por la justicia y la libertad,



Noelle Hanrahan, Director, Prison Radio

PRISON RADIO

P.O. Box 411074 San Francisco, CA 94141

www.prisonradio.org
info@prisonradio.org 415-706-5222

Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their ideas and experiences. Last week, PA Representative Mike Vereb introduced a bill (HB2533) called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which would allow victims, District Attorneys, and the Attorney General to sue people who have been convicted of “personal injury” crimes for speaking out publicly if it causes the victim of the crime “mental anguish.”

The bill was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech at Goddard College, and is a clear attempt to silence Mumia and other prisoners and formerly incarcerated people. We believe that this legislation is not actually an attempt to help victims, but a cynical move by legislators to stop people in prison from speaking out against an unjust system.

While to us this seems like a clear violation of the first amendment, unfortunately the PA General Assembly doesn’t appear to agree, and they have fast-tracked the bill for approval and amended another bill (SB508) to include the same language. The legislation could be voted on as early as Wednesday.

If this bill passes, it will be a huge blow to the movement against mass incarceration. People inside prisons play a leading role in these struggles, and their perspectives, analysis, and strategies are essential to our work. Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who write books, contribute to newspapers, or even write for our Voices from the Inside section would run the risk of legal consequences just for sharing their ideas.

That’s why we are asking you to take action TUESDAY OCTOBER 14 by calling Pennsylvania lawmakers to tell them that prisoners should not be denied the right to speak.

Please call your legislators and demand that they vote NO on HB2533 and SB508. You can look up contact information at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/.

We are also asking folks to call the following Senate leaders and ask them to stop the bill from moving forward:

Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne  (717) 787-1349

Senate Minority Whip Anthony Williams  (717) 787-5970

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi  (717) 787-4712

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (717) 787-7683

Not sure what to say on the phone? Click here for a sample call script.

Want to write a letter to your legislators, or looking for more talking points? Click here for more info!

- See more at: http://decarceratepa.info/freespeech#sthash.TtdN3AkI.dpuf


Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their ideas and experiences. Last week, PA Representative Mike Vereb introduced a bill (HB2533) called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which would allow victims, District Attorneys, and the Attorney General to sue people who have been convicted of “personal injury” crimes for speaking out publicly if it causes the victim of the crime “mental anguish.”

The bill was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech at Goddard College, and is a clear attempt to silence Mumia and other prisoners and formerly incarcerated people. We believe that this legislation is not actually an attempt to help victims, but a cynical move by legislators to stop people in prison from speaking out against an unjust system.

While to us this seems like a clear violation of the first amendment, unfortunately the PA General Assembly doesn’t appear to agree, and they have fast-tracked the bill for approval and amended another bill (SB508) to include the same language. The legislation could be voted on as early as Wednesday.

If this bill passes, it will be a huge blow to the movement against mass incarceration. People inside prisons play a leading role in these struggles, and their perspectives, analysis, and strategies are essential to our work. Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who write books, contribute to newspapers, or even write for our Voices from the Inside section would run the risk of legal consequences just for sharing their ideas.

That’s why we are asking you to take action TUESDAY OCTOBER 14 by calling Pennsylvania lawmakers to tell them that prisoners should not be denied the right to speak.

Please call your legislators and demand that they vote NO on HB2533 and SB508. You can look up contact information at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/.

We are also asking folks to call the following Senate leaders and ask them to stop the bill from moving forward:

Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne  (717) 787-1349

Senate Minority Whip Anthony Williams  (717) 787-5970

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi  (717) 787-4712

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (717) 787-7683

Not sure what to say on the phone? Click here for a sample call script.

Want to write a letter to your legislators, or looking for more talking points? Click here for more info!

- See more at: http://decarceratepa.info/freespeech#sthash.TtdN3AkI.dpuf
Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their ideas and experiences. Last week, PA Representative Mike Vereb introduced a bill (HB2533) called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which would allow victims, District Attorneys, and the Attorney General to sue people who have been convicted of “personal injury” crimes for speaking out publicly if it causes the victim of the crime “mental anguish.”

The bill was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech at Goddard College, and is a clear attempt to silence Mumia and other prisoners and formerly incarcerated people. We believe that this legislation is not actually an attempt to help victims, but a cynical move by legislators to stop people in prison from speaking out against an unjust system.

While to us this seems like a clear violation of the first amendment, unfortunately the PA General Assembly doesn’t appear to agree, and they have fast-tracked the bill for approval and amended another bill (SB508) to include the same language. The legislation could be voted on as early as Wednesday.

If this bill passes, it will be a huge blow to the movement against mass incarceration. People inside prisons play a leading role in these struggles, and their perspectives, analysis, and strategies are essential to our work. Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who write books, contribute to newspapers, or even write for our Voices from the Inside section would run the risk of legal consequences just for sharing their ideas.

That’s why we are asking you to take action TUESDAY OCTOBER 14 by calling Pennsylvania lawmakers to tell them that prisoners should not be denied the right to speak.

Please call your legislators and demand that they vote NO on HB2533 and SB508. You can look up contact information at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/.

We are also asking folks to call the following Senate leaders and ask them to stop the bill from moving forward:

Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne  (717) 787-1349

Senate Minority Whip Anthony Williams  (717) 787-5970

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi  (717) 787-4712

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (717) 787-7683

Not sure what to say on the phone? Click here for a sample call script.

Want to write a letter to your legislators, or looking for more talking points? Click here for more info!

- See more at: http://decarceratepa.info/freespeech#sthash.TtdN3AkI.dpuf


Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their ideas and experiences. Last week, PA Representative Mike Vereb introduced a bill (HB2533) called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which would allow victims, District Attorneys, and the Attorney General to sue people who have been convicted of “personal injury” crimes for speaking out publicly if it causes the victim of the crime “mental anguish.”

The bill was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech at Goddard College, and is a clear attempt to silence Mumia and other prisoners and formerly incarcerated people. We believe that this legislation is not actually an attempt to help victims, but a cynical move by legislators to stop people in prison from speaking out against an unjust system.

While to us this seems like a clear violation of the first amendment, unfortunately the PA General Assembly doesn’t appear to agree, and they have fast-tracked the bill for approval and amended another bill (SB508) to include the same language. The legislation could be voted on as early as Wednesday.

If this bill passes, it will be a huge blow to the movement against mass incarceration. People inside prisons play a leading role in these struggles, and their perspectives, analysis, and strategies are essential to our work. Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who write books, contribute to newspapers, or even write for our Voices from the Inside section would run the risk of legal consequences just for sharing their ideas.

That’s why we are asking you to take action TUESDAY OCTOBER 14 by calling Pennsylvania lawmakers to tell them that prisoners should not be denied the right to speak.

Please call your legislators and demand that they vote NO on HB2533 and SB508. You can look up contact information at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/.

We are also asking folks to call the following Senate leaders and ask them to stop the bill from moving forward:

Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne  (717) 787-1349

Senate Minority Whip Anthony Williams  (717) 787-5970

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi  (717) 787-4712

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (717) 787-7683

Not sure what to say on the phone? Click here for a sample call script.

Want to write a letter to your legislators, or looking for more talking points? Click here for more info!

- See more at: http://decarceratepa.info/freespeech#sthash.TtdN3AkI.dpuf
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Medical Care Needed for Chelsea Manning!

ACLU files lawsuit against Army demanding medical care for Manning

By the Chelsea Manning Support Network



Yesterday, the ACLU and Chelsea Manning filed a lawsuit against the Army demanding the necessary medical treatment for Manning’s previously diagnosed gender dysphoria.



By continuing to deny Manning treatment, the Army is directly violating Chelsea’s constitutional rights under the 8th amendment. Chase Strangio, attorney in the ACLU Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender project and co-counsel on Ms. Manning’s case, notes “such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.”



Due to a full year of neglecting Manning’s medical care, the ACLU had previously announced a Sept 4th deadline for the Army to provide treatment. After continued failure to provide treatment, the ACLU filed a lawsuit yesterday and released the following statement:

ACLU Demands Government Provide Chelsea Manning Necessary Medical Care



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



September 23, 2014



CONTACT: Crystal Cooper, ACLU National, 212-549-2666; media@aclu.org



WASHINGTON—Today, Chelsea Manning filed a lawsuit in federal court in the District of Columbia against Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of the Army officials for their failure to provide necessary medical treatment for her gender dysphoria, a condition with which she was originally diagnosed by Army doctors more than four years ago.



The complaint is accompanied by a motion for preliminary injunction demanding that Ms. Manning be provided hormone therapy, permission to follow female grooming standards, and access to treatment by a medical provider qualified to treat her condition. Ms. Manning is currently serving a thirty-five year prison sentence at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth Kansas, and though the military recognizes that she has gender dysphoria requiring treatment, critical care has been withheld without any medical basis.



“The government continues to deny Ms. Manning’s access to necessary medical treatment for gender dysphoria, without which she will continue to suffer severe psychological harms,” said Chase Strangio, attorney in the ACLU Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender project and co-counsel on Ms. Manning’s case. “Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.”



Ms. Manning is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, the ACLU of Kansas and civilian defense counsel David E. Coombs. Last month, Ms. Manning’s legal team sent a letter to the DOD and Army officials demanding that she receive treatment for gender dysphoria in accordance with medical standards of care, including hormone therapy and permission to follow female grooming standards. Her treatment needs have continued to be unmet and her distress has escalated.



“I am proud to be standing with the ACLU behind Chelsea on this very important issue.” said David E. Coombs, “It is my hope that through this action, Chelsea will receive the medical care that she needs without having to suffer any further anguish.”



Gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition that requires hormone therapy and changes to gender expression, like growing hair, to live consistently with one’s gender identity as part of accepted standards of care.



Without necessary treatment, gender dysphoria can cause severe psychological distress, anxiety, and suicidality. For this reason, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the American Psychological Association have issued policy statements that support providing treatment to prisoners diagnosed with the condition in accordance with established standards of care, as the Federal Bureau of Prisons and many state corrections agencies are already doing.



A copy of the complaint is available at:



aclu.org/lgbt-rights-prisoners-rights/manning-v-hagel-et-al-complaint-declaratory-and-injunctive-relief



The motion for preliminary injunction is available at:



aclu.org/lgbt-rights-prisoners-rights/manning-v-hagel-et-al-plaintiffs-motion-preliminary-injunction



This press release is available at:



aclu.org/lgbt-rights-prisoners-rights/aclu-demands-government-provide-chelsea-manning-necessary-medical-care



—Free Chelsea Manning, September 24, 2014



http://www.chelseamanning.org/press/aclu-files-lawsuit-against-army-demands-medical-care-for-manning

Write to Chelsea Manning:

Mail must be addressed exactly as follows:

CHELSEA E. MANNING     89289

1300 NORTH WAREHOUSE ROAD

FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS 66027-2304



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Please forward and post widely

Protest Now! No To Police Censorship of Mumia, and Teachers!


Reinstate the Urban Dreams Website!


Action Still Needed! Please send messages to the School Board!


- Scroll down for School Board addresses -

Here’s what happened: Under pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)—operating through a friendly publicity agent called Fox News—the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) earlier this year shut down an entire website composed of teacher-drafted curriculum material called Urban Dreams.  Why?  Because this site included course guidelines on the censorship of innocent political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal!  The course material compared the censorship of Mumia’s extensive radio commentaries and writings, with that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s later writings, which focused on class exploitation and his opposition to the US’ imperialist War against Vietnam. Both were effectively silenced by the big media, including in Mumia’s case, by National Public Radio (NPR).

Mumia Is Innocent! But He’s Still a Top Target of FOP

Abu-Jamal has long been a top-row target for the FOP, which tried to get him legally killed for decades.  Mumia was framed by the Philadelphia police and falsely convicted of murdering a Philadelphia policeman in 1982, with the extensive collaboration of lying prosecutors, corrupt courts, the US Justice Department, and key political figures.

Mumia’s death sentence was dropped only when a federal appeals court judge set it aside because of blatantly illegal jury instructions by the original highly racist trial judge.  (The same federal judge upheld every bogus detail of Mumia’s conviction.)  The local Philadelphia prosecutor and politicians chickened out of trying to get Mumia’s original death sentence reinstated due to the fact that all their evidence of his guilt had long been exposed as totally fraudulent! 

FOP: Can’t Kill Him? Silence Him!

The FOP had to swallow the fact that the local mucky-mucks had dropped the ball on executing Mumia, but they were rewarded with a substitute sentence of life without the possibility of parole, imposed by a local court acting in secret.  Mumia is now serving this new and equally unjust sentence of “slow death.”

This gets us back to the FOP’s main point here, which is to silence Mumia. They can’t stop Mumia from writing and recording his world-renownd commentaries (which are available at Prison Radio, www.prisonradio.org). But they look for any opportunity to smear and discredit Mumia, and keep him out of the public eye; and these snakes have found a morsel on the Urban Dreams web site to go after!

Urban Dreams Was Well Used by Teachers

Urban Dreams was initially set up under a grant from the federal Dept. of Education in 1999-2004 and contains teacher-written material on a wide variety of issues.  It is (was) used extensively in California and beyond. The OUSD’s knee-jerk reaction to shut the whole site down because of a complaint from police, broadcast on the all-powerful Fox News network, shows the rapid decline of the US into police-state status.  Why should we let a bunch of lying, vicious cops, whose only real job is to protect the wealthy and powerful from all of us, get away with this?

Fresh from defeating Obama’s nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department because he served for a period as Mumia’s attorney, the FOP is attacking a school lesson plan that asks students to think outside the box of system propaganda. But the grave-diggers of capitalist oppression are stirring.

Labor Says No To Police Persecution of Mumia!

In 1999, the Oakland teachers union, Oakland Education Association (OEA), held an unauthorized teach-in on Mumia and the death penalty.  Later the same year, longshore workers in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) shut down all West-Coast ports to Free Mumia.  Other teacher actions happened around the country and internationally.  And now the Alameda County Labor Council, acting on a resolution submitted by an OEA member, has denounced the FOP-inspired shutdown of Urban Dreams, and called for the site’s complete restoration (ie no deletions).

Labor Says No To Censorship of Mumia, and Teachers!

We are asking union members particularly, and everyone else as well, if you abhor police-sponsored censorship of school curricula, and want to see justice and freedom for the wrongfully convicted such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, send your message of protest now to the Oakland School Board, at the three addresses below.

Union members: take the resolution below to your local union or labor council, and get it passed!

 Whatever you do, send a copy of your protest letter or resolution, or a report of your actions, to Oakland Teachers for Mumia, at communard2@juno.com.

Here is the Alameda County Labor Council resolution:

_   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _

Labor Speaks: Urban Dreams Censorship Resolution

Alameda County Labor Council

Whereas Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award winning journalist, defender of the rights of the working class, people of color, and oppressed people has been imprisoned since 1982 without parole for a crime he didn’t commit after his death sentence was finally overturned;

Whereas the Oakland Unified School District’s censorship of the Urban Dreams website was in reaction to a Fox News and Fraternal Order of Police attack on a lesson plan asking students to consider a parallel between censorship of Martin Luther King’s radical ideas and censorship of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and;

Whereas it is dangerous and unacceptable to allow the police to determine the curriculum of a major school district like Oakland, or any school district;

Whereas removal of the Urban Dreams OUSD website denies educators and student access to invaluable curriculum resources by Oakland teachers with social justice themes promoting critical thinking, and;

Whereas in 1999, the Oakland Education Association led the teach-in on Mumia Abu-Jamal and the death penalty which helped deepen the debate in the U.S. on the death penalty itself, and greatly intensified the spotlight on the widespread issue of wrongful conviction and demanded justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal, and;

Whereas OEA and Alameda Contra Costa County Service Center of CTA cited the Mumia teach-in and the censored unit on Martin Luther King Jr. in its Human Rights WHO AWARD for 2013;

Be it resolved that the Alameda Labor Council condemns OUSD’s censorship of the Urban Dreams website and demands that it immediately restore access to all materials on the website, reaffirms its demand for justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal, and issues a press release to seek the widest possible support from defenders of free speech and those who seek justice for Mumia.

- Submitted by Keith Brown, OEA

- Passed, Alameda County Labor Council, 14 July 2014
_   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _

Now It’s your turn!
Join with Ed Asner, and with the Alameda County Labor Council, in protesting the
Oakland School Board’s censorship of the Urban Dreams web site!
    • Ask your local union, labor council or other organization to endorse the resolution by the Alameda County Labor Council.
    • Demand the School Board reinstate the Urban Dreams website without any deletions!
    • Send your union resolutions or letters of protest to the following; 
        1. Oakland Board of Education: boe@ousd.k12.ca.us 
        2. Board President Davd Kakishiba: David.Kakishiba@ousd.k12.ca.us 
        3. Superintendent Antwan Wilson: Antwan.Wilson@ousd.k12.ca.us

Important: Send a copy of your resolution or email to:
Bob Mandel/Teachers for Mumia at: communard2@juno.com.
Thank you for your support!

-This message is from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal,
and Oakland Teachers for Mumia.
communard2@juno.com.



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B. ARTICLES IN FULL




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1)  Protests Resume at Guggenheim Over Abu Dhabi Museum

By Colin Moynihan
November 5, 2014http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/protests-resume-at-guggenheim-over-abu-dhabi-museum/?ref=nyregion









2) With Scars Fresh and Windows Still Boarded, Ferguson Steels for More Unrest

By JULIE BOSMAN and MONICA DAVEY 

NOV. 7, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/08/us/ferguson-missouri.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0








3) More Than 600 Reported Chemical Exposure in Iraq, Pentagon Acknowledges

"Another veteran, a Navy explosive-ordnance disposal technician who remains on active duty, said he was burned on the left forearm in December 2006 when handling 114 American-designed M110 mustard shells at a bomb makers’ weapons cache near Samarra."

By C. J. CHIVERS 

NOV. 6, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/world/middleeast/-more-than-600-reported-chemical-weapons-exposure-in-iraq-pentagon-acknowledges.html?ref=world








4) A.C.L.U. in $50 Million Push to Reduce Jail Sentences

By ERIK ECKHOLM 

NOV. 6, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/us/aclu-in-dollar50-million-push-to-reduce-jail-sentences.html?ref=us








5) In a Mississippi Jail, Convictions and Counsel Appear Optional

By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON 

SEPT. 24, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/us/in-a-mississippi-jail-convictions-and-counsel-appear-optional.html?action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article








6) Trial on G.M. Safety Defects Set for 2016

By DANIELLE IVORY 

NOV. 6, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/business/trial-on-gm-safety-defects-set-for-2016.html?ref=us








7) Mexico: Burned remains probably are 43 missing

By JACOBO G. GARCIA, Associated Press

Updated 6:13 pm, Friday, November 7, 2014

http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Families-of-missing-students-told-of-new-remains-5878519.php









8) Pregnant, and No Civil Rights

By LYNN M. PALTROW and JEANNE FLAVIN 

NOV. 7, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/08/opinion/pregnant-and-no-civil-rights.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C{%221%22%3A%22RI%3A7%22}&_r=0








9) Video Captures NY Deputy Slapping, Cursing at Man

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

NOV. 9, 2014, 11:40 A.M. E.S.T.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/11/09/us/ap-us-deputy-suspended.html?ref=us








10) Insights on Hummingbird Travel, Life Span Revealed

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

NOV. 9, 2014, 12:07 P.M. E.S.T.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/11/09/us/ap-us-hummingbird-secrets.html?ref=us








11) States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F

By LIZETTE ALVAREZ 

NOV. 9, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/us/states-listen-as-parents-give-rampant-testing-an-f.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news










12) Police Use Department Wish List When Deciding Which Assets to Seize

By SHAILA DEWAN 

NOV. 9, 2014


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/us/police-use-department-wish-list-when-deciding-which-assets-to-seize.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news



















































































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1)  Protests Resume at Guggenheim Over Abu Dhabi Museum

By Colin Moynihan
November 5, 2014

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/protests-resume-at-guggenheim-over-abu-dhabi-museum/?ref=nyregion



Just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday a 40-foot banner fluttered into view inside the central rotunda of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, where visitors were looking at works by a collection of painters and sculptors called the Zero Group, who had aimed to redefine art after World War II.



The banner, which read “Stop Labor Abuse” and “Countdown to Guggenheim Abu Dhabi,” was held by two members of the protest group Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction, which has been involved in a series of unsanctioned displays inside the museum meant to denounce labor conditions on Saadiyat Island, a luxury enclave in Abu Dhabi, where a branch of the Guggenheim is planned.



Much of the work on Saadiyat Island, which is also home to a branch of the Louvre and a New York University campus, is done by foreign migrants. Critics say workers are forced to work long hours, are housed in deplorable conditions and have been subject to police raids and beatings if they object.



Museum visitors on Wednesday gazed quizzically at the banner, occasionally wondering aloud what it meant; after about five minutes security guards yanked it from the protesters, who then departed without incident.



The episode was the beginning of the group’s “Countdown” campaign, which members said would be aimed at donors to the Guggenheim rather than its managers. A second demonstration is scheduled for Thursday evening, when donors will be gathering at the museum for a dinner.



A previous campaign, called “52 Weeks” and intended to sway the museum’s trustees, ended in October. That campaign, which lasted a year, produced original artworks commenting on labor conditions in Abu Dhabi, and included a few brief occupations of the museum’s rotunda.



People connected to Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction and a related group, Gulf Labor, have asked museum officials to guarantee that workers involved with the Guggenheim project will not be mistreated. Museum officials have said that they wanted to strengthen labor protections and were concerned about the welfare of workers.



Some protesters met in the spring with museum officials, including the Guggenheim’s director, Richard Armstrong, said Andrew Ross, a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University who has worked with Gulf Labor. During that meeting, Mr. Ross said, museum officials told the protesters that they would address the concerns over the treatment of workers in Abu Dhabi.



“We’ve heard nothing since,” Mr. Ross said. “This is what we do when we don’t get a response; we step up pressure.”



The Guggenheim did not comment.



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2) With Scars Fresh and Windows Still Boarded, Ferguson Steels for More Unrest

By JULIE BOSMAN and MONICA DAVEY 

NOV. 7, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/08/us/ferguson-missouri.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0


FERGUSON, Mo. — Walk down West Florissant Avenue, and the scars of the summer are still there. The door and display window of a beauty supply store remain covered with plywood; a glued-up poster, “Beauty Town Is Back,” is the one hopeful sign of the life inside. A cellphone store, too, still has the plywood up from when riots and confrontations with the police shook this neighborhood. And the Family of Faith Baptist Church uses its billboard to proclaim, “Join us as we pray for peace.”



But few are expecting peace as this St. Louis suburb prepares for a grand jury decision, expected in the next few weeks, on whether to indict the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in August, inciting months of protests and putting Ferguson at the center of a national debate over the police and race.



Here, where heavily fortified police officers faced the demonstrators and the nights sometimes turned violent, even those shopkeepers who put in new windows are boarding up again.“I hate this,” said Dan McMullen, the president of Solo Insurance Services, as he sat behind his desk on Thursday. During the course of a 20-minute conversation, his phone did not ring; no customers walked through the door. “Business is terrible,” he lamented. “The customers don’t want to come here anymore. We all know the grand jury is going to come back in the next couple of weeks, and everyone knows there won’t be an indictment. This time around will be a lot more violent.”



Mr. McMullen, a former police officer who is white, opened his desk drawer to show the loaded revolver that he keeps there.



“I don’t anticipate having to use it,” he said, but added that he was prepared to do so if necessary to defend his business.



All around this small suburb, people are bracing for the grand jury’s decision, with the wide expectation that the officer, Darren Wilson, will not face serious charges for shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown six times.



Government officials have said that forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on Officer Wilson’s gun, giving credence to the officer’s account that at one point he was pinned in his vehicle and engaged in a struggle over his gun with Mr. Brown. He told investigators that he had feared for his life, and police officers are typically given wide latitude to defend themselves if they feel their safety is threatened.



Nor are civil rights charges expected. Federal officials have said that while their investigation is continuing, the evidence so far does not support such a case against Officer Wilson.



But people protesting police tactics, who have continued to hold marches here since the shooting on Aug. 9, say they envision larger, angrier demonstrations should Officer Wilson walk free. Fearing renewed unrest, the police in the region have bought new riot gear, called meetings with nearby departments and held special training seminars.



Community groups have said that they expect major demonstrations to resume in front of the police station in Ferguson and the courthouse in nearby Clayton. One group, the Organization of Black Struggle, said it planned acts of civil disobedience after the grand jury returns.



School leaders are reviewing emergency contingency plans and urging officials to announce the grand jury finding outside of school hours — perhaps on a Sunday, so that children returning home are not caught in a melee.



A coalition of roughly 50 protest groups that formed in the aftermath of the shooting has asked local officials for 48 hours’ notice before the announcement. At a news conference this week, the groups also asked that the police use a “demilitarized response” when interacting with protesters, banning the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and armored vehicles.



Behind the scenes, government officials at various levels have been struggling with how to orchestrate and blunt the effects of the grand jury announcement. Investigators in Missouri want the Justice Department to announce the results of its civil rights investigation at the same time, according to several people briefed on the case, who insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential conversations. Yet Justice Department officials, who have promised that their investigation will be independent, do not want to coordinate announcements.



Other government officials have been privately discussing whether they can pressure the Ferguson police chief, Thomas Jackson, to step down, or somehow substitute the St. Louis County police for the local force. The county prosecutor, Robert P. McCulloch, has said that if the grand jury does not indict Officer Wilson, he will take the unusual step of releasing the evidence for public scrutiny if a judge approves.



Mr. Brown’s parents are preparing to call on the people of Ferguson not to react violently to the grand jury’s decision, even though they have little faith in the prosecutor, according to their lawyer, Benjamin L. Crump. “We want people to pray that the system will work, but the family doesn’t have much confidence at all,” Mr. Crump said. Nor, he added, are they confident that the local police will deal properly even with peaceful protesters.



Regardless of what the grand jury decides, Mr. Crump said the Browns would dedicate themselves to pressuring the federal government and states to pass “Michael Brown laws” that would require officers to wear video cameras.



“The real change they want is for people to use their frustration and turn it into legislation,” he said. “If you get the Mike Brown law passed, nobody will have to deal with something like this and the insult to injury afterwards.”



Elected officials have tried to soothe nerves in recent days, even as some police departments have bought more pepper-spray balls, flexible handcuffs and batons, and, in the case of at least one department, decided to delay repairing police vehicles until any additional unrest is over.



Anxious business owners filled part of a banquet hall here the other night, brimming with worries about what to expect.



At the meeting, billed as a “disaster preparedness seminar,” they peppered city officials with questions: If Officer Wilson faces no charges, will Ferguson be able to manage the ensuing protests, perhaps destructive ones? Should they be stocking up on fire extinguishers, in case someone tries to burn down their stores? Should they arm themselves with guns?



Yon Kim, a clerk at a beauty supply store, later described the growing tension. “I know it’s not going to be smooth,” she said. “The customers are already scared. And if something happens, we don’t know if insurance is going to cover it.”



Marty Buchheit, the owner of the Teakwood barbershop on South Florissant, said that his landlord had already told him that they were going to “board up.”



“There’s going to be protests,” Lt. Col. Al Eickhoff, an assistant Ferguson police chief, told the business owners, while urging them to be careful how they respond. “Once you pull that trigger,” he warned, “you cannot pull that bullet back.”



Among the other bits of less-than-reassuring guidance for business owners: Empty your trash often, fire officials said, so it does not become a target during protests. And Mayor James Knowles III suggested that people steer clear of the area in the evening if protests break out. “By 8, 9 o’clock, nothing good is going to happen out on the streets,” Mr. Knowles said. “When the gremlins come out, you’re just going to get caught in the crossfire.”



And the protests go on. Nearly every night, demonstrators gather in front of Police Headquarters on South Florissant Road, chanting and confronting police officers with expletive-laden cries and promises to shut the streets down.



On Wednesday evening, an unusually large crowd of more than 100 protesters was there, many with garish Guy Fawkes masks of white faces. The police, wearing riot gear and armed with plastic handcuffs, warned the protesters that if they continued to block the road, they would be arrested. The group defied the police, marching down the middle of the street and leaving a traffic jam behind them. Some pounded on cars whose drivers were trying to maneuver through. One driver, a white-haired older woman, turned onto South Florissant, saw the protesters and did a hasty U-turn to avoid being trapped by the crowd.



At times, officers appeared to struggle to remain calm in the face of insults. “You’re three-fifths of a person,” one woman taunted an black police officer, who turned his back and walked in the opposite direction.



The leaders of at least three police departments — the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Police Department — have held regular meetings as part of an effort at unified preparation. “We’re focused on the preservation of life and property,” Jon Belmar, the chief of the county police, which spent $37,741 in October on helmets, shields, batons and shin guards, said in an interview.



A central goal, some law enforcement officials said, is to ensure that peaceful demonstrators are able to voice their views while also preventing violence.



The St. Louis Police Department has spent $325,000 on new equipment, including riot gear; sent 350 officers to training sessions on how to manage civil disobedience; and met with police chiefs from other communities around the nation that have dealt with unrest. Still under consideration are canceled days off for officers and 12-hour shifts. “We’ll be prepared to respond,” said D. Samuel Dotson III, the chief in St. Louis.



Capt. Ronald S. Johnson, the Missouri State Highway Patrol official who became the public face of law enforcement here after early clashes, said he had spoken to school groups and church panels about broad issues and long-term changes needed in Ferguson. Still, the grand jury’s looming decision comes up regularly.



“I tell them that we’re going to make it through whatever happens,” Captain Johnson said in an interview. “I also tell them that it is my belief that whatever happens is not going to be as bad as we believe it’s going to be. I also tell them that I believe we’ll be better for it. But I tell them that I look at each day for each day.”



Julie Bosman reported from Ferguson, and Monica Davey from Chicago. Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting from Washington.








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3) More Than 600 Reported Chemical Exposure in Iraq, Pentagon Acknowledges

"Another veteran, a Navy explosive-ordnance disposal technician who remains on active duty, said he was burned on the left forearm in December 2006 when handling 114 American-designed M110 mustard shells at a bomb makers’ weapons cache near Samarra."

By C. J. CHIVERS 

NOV. 6, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/world/middleeast/-more-than-600-reported-chemical-weapons-exposure-in-iraq-pentagon-acknowledges.html?ref=world


More than 600 American service members since 2003 have reported to military medical staff members that they believe they were exposed to chemical warfare agents in Iraq, but the Pentagon failed to recognize the scope of the reported cases or offer adequate tracking and treatment to those who may have been injured, defense officials say.



The Pentagon’s disclosure abruptly changed the scale and potential costs of the United States’ encounters with abandoned chemical weapons during the occupation of Iraq, episodes the military had for more than a decade kept from view.



This previously untold chapter of the occupation became public after an investigation by The New York Times revealed last month that although troops did not find an active weapons of mass destruction program, they did encounter degraded chemical weapons from the 1980s that had been hidden in caches or used in makeshift bombs.



The Times initially disclosed 17 cases of American service members who were injured by sarin or a sulfur mustard agent. And since the report was published last month, more service members have come forward, pushing the number who were exposed to chemical agents to more than 25. But an internal review of Pentagon records ordered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has now uncovered that hundreds of troops told the military they believe they were exposed, officials said.



The new and larger tally of potential cases suggests that there were more encounters with chemical weapons than the United States had acknowledged and that other people — including foreign soldiers, private contractors and Iraqi troops and civilians — may also have been at risk.



Having not acted for years on that data, the Pentagon says it will now expand outreach to veterans. One first step, officials said, includes a toll-free national telephone hotline for service members and veterans to report potential exposures and seek medical evaluation or care.



Phillip Carter, who leads veterans programs at the Center for a New American Security, called the Pentagon’s failure to organize and follow up on the information “a stunning oversight.” Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said the military must restore trust by sharing information.



“We need total transparency and absolute candor,” Mr. Rieckhoff said, and noted the military’s poor record in releasing information about its use in Vietnam of Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant linked to an array of health problems, and in sharing data about troops’ presumed chemical exposures and other medical and environmental risks during and soon after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.



Military officers said the previously unacknowledged data was discovered when, at Mr. Hagel’s prodding, the Army’s Public Health Command examined its collection of standardized medical-history surveys, known as post-deployment health assessments, which troops filled out as they completed combat tours.



The assessments included the following question: “Do you think you were exposed to any chemical, biological and radiological warfare agents during this deployment?” For those who answered “yes,” the forms provided a block for a brief narrative explanation.



Col. Jerome Buller, a spokesman for the Army surgeon general, said Thursday that the review showed that 629 people answered “yes” to that question and also filled in the block with information indicating chemical agent exposure.



Those who answered the questionnaire would have received medical consultations at the end of their combat tours, Colonel Buller said.



Why the military did not take further steps — including compiling the data as it accumulated over more than a decade, tracking veterans with related medical complaints, or circulating warnings about risks to soldiers and to the Department of Veterans Affairs — remained unclear.



Before post-deployment assessments were reviewed, Colonel Buller said, the Public Health Command had already expanded its search for potential victims and intended to examine the medical records of all troops assigned to units that the Army has belatedly acknowledged handled chemical weapons or were attacked with them.



These include three Army explosive ordnance disposal companies and B Company, First Battalion, 14th Infantry, he said.



Veterans said this unit list was incomplete and would inevitably grow as the military accounted for other high-risk troops, including those on route-clearance duties in areas where chemical roadside bombs were repeatedly found, or chemical warfare troops who served in so-called technical escort units, which were assigned to collect and analyze the old chemical weapons.



Nonetheless, the new data has prompted the Public Health Command to take further steps, Colonel Buller said.



These will include identifying all veterans who reported a possible chemical exposure, gathering their medical records, contacting them for a structured interview and perhaps inviting them for a medical exam.



He said the Department of Defense had also revived a telephone line, 1-800-497-6261, for veterans to notify the Pentagon that they may have been exposed. The phone line, he said, had previously been used for veterans reporting Gulf War-related illnesses.



Immediate reactions among exposed service members and veterans’ advocates mixed cautious appreciation with skepticism.



“It’s too little, too late,” said Jordan Zoeller, a former Army sergeant who served in a platoon that was exposed to a sulfur mustard agent as soldiers destroyed buried chemical artillery shells near Taji in 2008.



Mr. Zoeller was medically retired after developing a series of health problems, including asthma and psoriasis. He said his breathing trouble began within weeks of the chemical episode, though he is not sure its onset was related to a mustard agent because the Army denied that he had been exposed and did not examine his claims.



“No one ever believed me,” he said. “They were like, ‘Oh, that never happened.’ ”



He said at one point after he returned to the States and coughed up blood and lost consciousness, a regimental surgeon agreed to look into the episode. Nothing came of it, he said.



Another veteran, a Navy explosive-ordnance disposal technician who remains on active duty, said he was burned on the left forearm in December 2006 when handling 114 American-designed M110 mustard shells at a bomb makers’ weapons cache near Samarra.



He said that after the mustard agent splashed on his arm, he quickly rinsed it away by squirting it repeatedly with solution from IV bags. The mustard agent still caused a long patch of redness that took weeks to heal and left scarring, he said.



The sailor, who asked that his name be withheld, said when he sought treatment at Forward Operating Base Brassfield-Mora, the Army doctor was not interested.



An officer in the unit to which he was assigned — a battalion from the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, he said — issued what he called “a gag order” that forbade him to discuss that he had found chemical shells.



The sailor’s post-deployment health survey, which he provided to The Times, shows he reported the exposure again as he left Iraq in late 2007.The attending caregiver did not recommend further care, but noted the previous order prohibiting mention of the episode. The patient, he wrote, “was instructed not to discuss due to mission classification.”



Cmdr. Ryan Perry, a Navy spokesman, said that the sailor had discussed the exposure with the Navy in recent days and that any previous order of silence was unacceptable.



“We in no way condone the silencing of any of our service members,” he said, “and are greatly encouraged that this sailor took the step of reaching out to the Navy so we can get him the medical attention he needs.”



While exposure to nerve or blister agents can carry long-term health risks, veterans, medical officers and exposure victims said that it was impossible to analyze the new data immediately and predict how many troops who reported exposure would have suffered medical problems. They said it could also be difficult to establish how closely medical complaints might be linked to exposure.



They noted that many of the troops’ encounters with chemical agents could have been brief and minimal, as that of a turret gunner in a vehicle passing briefly through an area where a chemical shell had been used in a makeshift bomb.



Moreover, not all chemical agents were alike. The nerve agents found in Iraq after the United States invaded in 2003 were less potent than when manufactured decades ago, according to people involved in many of the chemical arms recoveries in Iraq. Iraqi mustard agents tended to be of higher quality and more stable, they said.



Nonetheless, Mr. Carter and Mr. Rieckhoff said that the latest number was probably understated, and that the military should not rely on people who reported chemical weapons exposures to determine the scope of the problem.



It should look deeper, Mr. Carter said, at symptoms, such as troops who reported rashes, breathing difficulties or tremors.



John Ismay contributed reporting.
























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4) A.C.L.U. in $50 Million Push to Reduce Jail Sentences

By ERIK ECKHOLM 

NOV. 6, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/us/aclu-in-dollar50-million-push-to-reduce-jail-sentences.html?ref=us


With a $50 million foundation grant, the largest in its history, the American Civil Liberties Union plans to mount an eight-year political campaign across the country to make a change of criminal justice policies a key issue in local, state and national elections.



The goal of the campaign, financed by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, is to slash an incarceration rate that has tripled since 1980. There are currently some 2.2 million prisoners in the United States.



The campaign aims to translate into state and federal policy a growing belief among many scholars, as well as of a coalition of liberal, conservative and libertarian political leaders, that the tough-on-crime policies of recent decades have become costly and counterproductive.In that view, widespread drug arrests and severe mandatory sentences are doing more to damage poor communities, especially African-American ones, than to prevent crime, and building ever more prisons that mostly turn out repeat offenders is a bad investment.



The campaign is likely to face strong opposition from some law enforcement officials, prosecutor groups and conservative experts who argue that tough sentencing policies have played an important role in driving down crime rates. The Republican electoral victories this week could also stiffen resistance to sweeping change.



The grant is going to the political arm of the A.C.L.U., which has far more leeway to lobby for laws, run ads on television and finance political action committees to promote candidates than the group’s larger, traditional branch, which relies more on litigation. As a result, the money is not tax-deductible.



While the A.C.L.U. has often been associated with liberal causes like ending the death penalty and promoting same-sex marriage, Anthony D. Romero, the group’s executive director, said the organization was building ties with conservative leaders promoting alternatives to incarceration and would not hesitate to aid Republican candidates who support needed steps.



“I think criminal justice reform is one of the few issues where you can break through the partisan gridlock,” Mr. Romero said, adding that the group would seek out Republican lobbying firms to help reach legislators.



In the latest example of converging views, conservatives including Newt Gingrich and B. Wayne Hughes Jr., a Christian philanthropist, joined the Soros-led foundation and the A.C.L.U. in support of Proposition 47, a California ballot measure to redefine many lower-level felonies, including possession for personal use of hard drugs, as misdemeanors. The change, which passed by a wide margin on Tuesday, is expected to keep tens of thousands of offenders out of prison and save the state hundreds of millions of dollars each year.



The Koch brothers, major funders of conservative causes and candidates, have joined in. Koch Industries recently gave a grant “of significant six figures” to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to support the defense of indigents, said Mark Holden, senior vice president and general counsel at Koch Industries.



“Whether the human cost or the societal cost, what we’re doing in the criminal justice system isn’t working,” Mr. Holden said. “We’re finding common ground with people with different political affiliations,” he said, praising the advocacy work of the A.C.L.U. in this field.



The A.C.L.U. campaign will be directed by Alison Holcomb, who led the effort in Washington State to legalize marijuana.



The group plans to use ads to insert issues like drug policy, mandatory sentences and prison re-entry into early primary states in the presidential elections, such as Iowa and New Hampshire, and then in key battlegrounds like Pennsylvania and Florida, Mr. Romero said.



It will also develop a state-by-state database describing who is in prison for what crimes and then target local politicians and prosecutors who promote what Mr. Romero called “overincarceration.”



Mr. Romero said the goal of the campaign was to reduce incarceration by 50 percent in eight years.



Todd R. Clear, a criminologist and the provost of Rutgers University-Newark, said he agreed that the time was right for a major shift in justice policies. Efforts to reduce probation revocations and to lighten sentences, especially for nonviolent crimes, have already brought reductions or headed off growth in prisoner numbers in a number of states, he noted, while the federal government is reducing penalties for some drug crimes, although bipartisan bills that would overhaul federal sentencing did not pass this year.



But he cautioned that to achieve a decline anywhere near as steep as that proposed by the A.C.L.U., far more politically contentious changes would be necessary.



“We’ll have to make sentencing reforms for violent crime, too,” he said, including major changes in drug laws and the multidecade sentences often imposed on violent or repeat offenders.



Mr. Soros and the Open Society Foundations have long promoted these kinds of changes in American criminal policies, investing roughly $175 million in them since 2004, plus an additional $62.5 million aimed at legalizing marijuana and reducing drug penalties.



“I think you see a growing consensus that the criminal justice system in America is broken and this is a time to try new approaches,” said Christopher Stone, president of the Open Society Foundations and a criminal justice expert, explaining why the group had made the large grant to the A.C.L.U. at this time.






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5) In a Mississippi Jail, Convictions and Counsel Appear Optional

By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON 

SEPT. 24, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/us/in-a-mississippi-jail-convictions-and-counsel-appear-optional.html?action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article


RALEIGH, Miss. — Sheila Burks has not seen her nephew Octavious much over the past few years.



Sitting in her house far out in the Mississippi countryside, she ticked off his stints in the Scott County jail: There was the 18-month stay that ended in 2011; the year that ended in June 2013; and a stretch that began with an arrest last November and is still going.



It is hard to figure out what all this jail time has actually been about. While the arrests that led to these jail stays have been on serious felony charges, Octavious Burks, 37, a poultry plant worker, has not been convicted of or even faced trial on any of the charges. For nearly all of his time in jail, including his current 10-month stay, Mr. Burks has not even had access to a lawyer.



“He’s always at the jailhouse,” Ms. Burks said. “And he don’t ever go to court.”



On Tuesday, civil liberties groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Burks and others in jail in Scott County, a rural area about a 45-minute drive east from Jackson, the state capital. The suit charges that inmates at the jail have been “indefinitely detained” and “indefinitely denied counsel,” in violation of their constitutional rights.



The suit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the MacArthur Justice Center, says that when Mr. Burks and others are arrested, steep and “arbitrary” bail amounts are set, with no consideration of a person’s ability to pay.



If a defendant applies for indigent defense, as Mr. Burks did on the day of his arrest in November, the senior circuit judge, Marcus D. Gordon, generally approves the request. But it is the judge’s policy not to appoint a public defense lawyer until a person is indicted. And there is no state law setting a time limit on detention before an indictment.



So Mr. Burks sits in jail and waits, with no lawyer and no end in sight.



Legal experts said such circumstances were widespread, even if this was an extreme example. Steep bail amounts and long jail stays without access to a lawyer are particularly common for those charged with misdemeanors, said Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.



It is somewhat less common for felony cases. But common or not, Professor Natapoff said, it is still wrong.



“This is clearly not what we mean by due process, and this is not what we mean by justice,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be unique to be absurd.”



In a brief interview, Judge Gordon said it was indeed his policy to appoint indigent defense only at indictment, even though he might approve a defendant’s request for counsel long before that.



“The reason is, that public defender would go out and spend his time and money and cost the county money in investigating the matter,” Judge Gordon said. “And then sometimes, the defendant is not indicted by the grand jury. So I wait until he’s been indicted.”



Judge Gordon then said that he did not have the jurisdiction to appoint a public defender at all until a defendant was indicted in his courtroom, even if someone were to request a preliminary hearing or a bail hearing. In those cases, the judge said, a defendant “can represent himself, or he can employ an attorney.”



This came as a surprise to those who are familiar with the courts in Scott County and in Mississippi generally. “A judge has the power to appoint a lawyer anytime,” said Robert B. McDuff, a criminal defense lawyer in the state. But he said he was not surprised by the allegations in the lawsuit.



“My sense is that this goes on in most places in Mississippi,” he said. “Poor people are sitting in jail for weeks and even months before they ever see a lawyer.”



The public defender system in the state is a patchwork, varying from county to county. Most public defenders work part-time or on contract. Mississippi and six other states do not contribute any money for indigent defense for trial-level, noncapital cases. Those costs are borne entirely by local governments, usually from court fines and fees.



In 2011, the legislature created the Office of State Public Defender and directed it to study the landscape and possibly lay the groundwork for a statewide system. The office, however, does not have any oversight over public defenders in counties across the state.



“We don’t know a lot of what’s going on in some of these counties,” said Leslie Lee, the state public defender. What appears to be going on Scott County, she said, is unconstitutional.



“If you don’t have an attorney, how is a defendant supposed to know what his rights are?” she asked. “He doesn’t realize that he can ask for a bond reduction or he can ask for a preliminary hearing to find out if there is enough evidence. He’s just at the mercy of the pace of the prosecution.”



According to Brandon Buskey, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U.’s Criminal Law Reform Project, 53 of the 129 inmates in the Scott County Detention Center have not been indicted.



Among them is Joshua Bassett, 31, the only other plaintiff named in the suit, along with Mr. Burks. Mr. Bassett is not a stranger to trouble, said his mother, Brenda, but he has never been through anything like this. “He was always going in the door of the jailhouse, but he was coming back out as soon as he went in,” she said.



In January, he went in and has not come back out. The police charged him with stealing a hitch trailer and possessing meth (burglary and petty larceny charges were added months later). Ms. Bassett said she had tried to see her son but had been told for weeks that he was in solitary confinement. When she did finally see him, he told her that his bail had been set at $100,000.



“I tried to help Joshua as much as I could, but I only draw a little over $600 a month,” said Ms. Bassett, 64, who worked as a janitor in a nursing home until she had a stroke last year. “I would give everything I have to get my son out of this mess. But I don’t have anything.”



It is still unclear what became of the felonies, including aggravated assault and armed robbery, that led to Mr. Burks’s stints in jail. The lawsuit, based on his recollection, says that he was indicted on some charges in 2010, though he never went to trial.



Mark Duncan, the district attorney and a defendant in the suit, said Wednesday that his office had not yet been able to find any case involving Mr. Burks. Mr. Duncan added that his office was still double-checking.



Sheila Burks does not remember any indictment. In the past, she said, after months of waiting, she would receive a phone call from her nephew out of the blue, asking her to come by the jail to pick him up.



“I told him, ‘You keep your nose clean in there,’ ” Ms. Burks said. “ ‘And when you get out this time, you better leave Mississippi.’ ”














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6) Trial on G.M. Safety Defects Set for 2016

By DANIELLE IVORY 

NOV. 6, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/business/trial-on-gm-safety-defects-set-for-2016.html?ref=us


A federal judge has scheduled early 2016 for a trial related to safety defects in General Motors cars, including an ignition switch flaw linked to more than 30 deaths and the recall of millions of vehicles.



The trial, which would involve a yet-to-be-chosen wrongful death or personal injury case, would begin Jan. 11, 2016. It is part of consolidated litigation involving more than 100 lawsuits against the automaker, some of which involve economic loss. Called a bellwether, the trial is meant to test how similar cases might play before a jury and to help predict the prospect for a settlement.



Lawyers representing the plaintiffs proposed an October 2015 date for the first trial. G.M. asked for June 2016.



United States District Judge Jesse M. Furman of the Southern District of New York picked a date in the middle, said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.“It sounds like the judge is splitting the baby in half,” Mr. Tobias said. “I think it’s a fair amount of time for both sides to prepare.”



Lawyers from both sides will have a hand in picking a pool of cases that could be used as bellwethers. Generally, Mr. Tobias said, the lawyers try to pick cases that are representative of the whole. The cases would involve only accidents that took place after G.M.’s bankruptcy on July 10, 2009, which shields the company from liability before that date.



On Wednesday, the company said in a filing in Manhattan bankruptcy court that it should not be held responsible for safety defects in vehicles that were manufactured before the bankruptcy deal — a challenge to lawyers for car owners who have argued that they were not aware of the safety problems at the time.



G.M. has recalled more than 30 million vehicles worldwide this year, including 2.6 million with the deadly ignition defect that the company knew about for more than a decade but failed to report to the public or regulators. The ignition defect can cause unexpected stalling in moving cars, and a sudden loss of power can disable the airbags and other safety systems like power steering and power brakes.



The company’s compensation program, run by Kenneth R. Feinberg, began sending payment offers to families that filed death and injury claims in September. Families that accept payment offers will have to agree to waive their rights to sue G.M.



The compensation program is accepting applications until the end of the year.








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7) Mexico: Burned remains probably are 43 missing

By JACOBO G. GARCIA, Associated Press

Updated 6:13 pm, Friday, November 7, 2014

http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Families-of-missing-students-told-of-new-remains-5878519.php



MEXICO CITY (AP) — Suspects in the disappearance of 43 college students have confessed to loading the youths onto dump trucks, murdering them at a landfill, then burning the bodies and dumping the ashen remains into a river, Mexican authorities said Friday.



In a somber, lengthy explanation of the investigation, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam played video showing hundreds of charred fragments of bone and teeth fished from the river and its banks. He said it will be very difficult to extract DNA to confirm that they are the students missing since Sept. 26 after an attack by police in the southern state of Guerrero.



"I know the enormous pain the information we've obtained causes the family members, a pain we all share," Murillo Karam said at a news conference. "The statements and information that we have gotten unfortunately point to the murder of a large number of people in the municipality of Cocula."



Some 74 people have been detained so far in a case. Authorities say it said started when police, under orders of the former Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and working with a drug gang, opened fire on students in the city of Iguala, where they were collecting donations and had commandeered public buses. Six people were killed in two confrontations before the 43 were taken away and handed over to members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel. Abarca and his wife are among those arrested.



Murillo Karam said authorities are searching for more suspects.



The parents, human rights groups and Mexicans in general have been appalled by the government's slow response to a case that has exposed in the worst way decades of collusion between officials and organized crime along with government inaction. There had been accusations for more than a year that Abarca was involved in killing and disappearing rivals but no investigation. When students who survived the Iguala confrontation sought help from the military the night of the attack, they said they were turned away.



Parents reacting to Murillo Karam's report Friday said they have lost trust in anything the government says.



"As long as there are no results, our sons are alive," Felipe de la Cruz, the father of one of the disappeared. "Today they're trying to close the case this way ... a blatant way to further our torture by the federal government."



In the most comprehensive accounting to date of the disappearances and the subsequent investigation, Murillo Karam showed videotaped confessions by those who testified they used dump trucks to carry the students to a landfill site in Cocula, a city near Iguala. About 15 of the students were already dead when they arrived at the site and the rest were shot there, according to the suspects.



They then built an enormous funeral pyre that burned from midnight until 2 or 3 p.m. along the River San Juan in Cocula. "They assigned guards in shifts to make sure the fire lasted for hours, throwing diesel, gasoline, tires, wood and plastic," Murillo Karam said.



The suspects even burned their own clothes to destroy evidence, they said.



It was about 5:30 p.m. when the ashes had cooled enough to be handled. Those who disposed of the bodies were told to break up the burned bones, place them in black plastic garbage bags and empty them into the river.



Murillo Karam said the teeth were so badly charred that they practically dissolved into dust at the touch.



"The high level of degradation caused by the fire in the remains we found make it very difficult to extract the DNA that will allow an identification," he said.



Murillo Karma had told relatives of the missing students earlier Friday that authorities believe their children are these charred remains, but have no DNA confirmation.



Murillo Karam also confirmed at the news conference that human remains found in mass graves discovered after the students went missing did not include any of the 43 young men enrolled at a radical rural teachers college. Those graves held women and men believed to have been killed in August, he said.



Among the bodies found in the course of the investigation were a father and son. By searching for reports of father-son disappearances, authorities were able to make a positive identification. Murillo Karam said the victims, whose names he did not use, apparently made a call before disappearing to say they were being detained by Iguala police.

___



Associated Press writer Christopher Sherman contributed to this report. 



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8) Pregnant, and No Civil Rights

By LYNN M. PALTROW and JEANNE FLAVIN 

NOV. 7, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/08/opinion/pregnant-and-no-civil-rights.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C{%221%22%3A%22RI%3A7%22}&_r=0


WITH the success of Republicans in the midterm elections and the passage of Tennessee’s anti-abortion amendment, we can expect ongoing efforts to ban abortion and advance the “personhood” rights of fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses.



But it is not just those who support abortion rights who have reason to worry. Anti-abortion measures pose a risk to all pregnant women, including those who want to be pregnant.



Such laws are increasingly being used as the basis for arresting women who have no intention of ending a pregnancy and for preventing women from making their own decisions about how they will give birth.



How does this play out? Based on the belief that he had an obligation to give a fetus a chance for life, a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered a critically ill 27-year-old woman who was 26 weeks pregnant to undergo a cesarean section, which he understood might kill her. Neither the woman nor her baby survived.



In Iowa, a pregnant woman who fell down a flight of stairs was reported to the police after seeking help at a hospital. She was arrested for “attempted fetal homicide.”



In Utah, a woman gave birth to twins; one was stillborn. Health care providers believed that the stillbirth was the result of the woman’s decision to delay having a cesarean. She was arrested on charges of fetal homicide.



In Louisiana, a woman who went to the hospital for unexplained vaginal bleeding was locked up for over a year on charges of second-degree murder before medical records revealed she had suffered a miscarriage at 11 to 15 weeks of pregnancy.



Florida has had a number of such cases. In one, a woman was held prisoner at a hospital to prevent her from going home while she appeared to be experiencing a miscarriage. She was forced to undergo a cesarean. Neither the detention nor the surgery prevented the pregnancy loss, but they did keep this mother from caring for her two small children at home. While a state court later found the detention unlawful, the opinion suggested that if the hospital had taken her prisoner later in her pregnancy, its actions might have been permissible.



In another case, a woman who had been in labor at home was picked up by a sheriff, strapped down in the back of an ambulance, taken to a hospital, and forced to have a cesarean she did not want. When this mother later protested what had happened, a court concluded that the woman’s personal constitutional rights “clearly did not outweigh the interests of the State of Florida in preserving the life of the unborn child.”



Anti-abortion reasoning has also provided the justification for arresting pregnant women who experience depression and have attempted suicide. A 22-year-old in South Carolina who was eight months pregnant attempted suicide by jumping out a window. She survived despite suffering severe injuries. Because she lost the pregnancy, she was arrested and jailed for the crime of homicide by child abuse.These are not isolated or rare cases. Last year, we published a peer-reviewed study documenting 413 arrests or equivalent actions depriving pregnant women of their physical liberty during the 32 years between 1973, when Roe v. Wade was decided, and 2005. In a majority of these cases, women who had no intention of ending a pregnancy went to term and gave birth to a healthy baby. This includes the many cases where the pregnant woman was alleged to have used some amount of alcohol or a criminalized drug.



Since 2005, we have identified an additional 380 cases, with more arrests occurring every week. This significant increase coincides with what the Guttmacher Institute describes as a “seismic shift” in the number of states with laws hostile to abortion rights.



The principle at the heart of contemporary efforts to end legal abortion is that fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses are persons or at least have separate rights that must be protected by the state. In each of the cases we identified, this same rationale provided the justification for the deprivation of pregnant women’s physical liberty, as well as of the right to medical decision making, medical privacy, bodily integrity and, in one case, the woman’s right to life.



Many of the pregnant women subjected to this mistreatment are themselves profoundly opposed to abortion. Yet it was precisely the legal arguments for recriminalizing abortion that were used to strip them of their rights to dignity and liberty in the context of labor and delivery. These cases, individually and collectively, highlight what is so often missed when the focus is on attacking or defending abortion, namely that all pregnant women are at risk of losing a wide range of fundamental rights that are at the core of constitutional personhood in the United States.



If we want to end these unjust and inhumane arrests and forced interventions on pregnant women, we need to stop focusing only on the abortion issue and start working to protect the personhood of pregnant women.



We should be able to work across the spectrum of opinion about abortion to unite in the defense of one basic principle: that at no point in her pregnancy should a woman lose her civil and human rights.



Lynn M. Paltrow is a lawyer and the executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, where Jeanne Flavin, a sociology professor at Fordham University, is the president of the board of directors.






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9) Video Captures NY Deputy Slapping, Cursing at Man

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

NOV. 9, 2014, 11:40 A.M. E.S.T.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/11/09/us/ap-us-deputy-suspended.html?ref=us


HALFMOON, N.Y. — A New York sheriff's deputy has been suspended after a video captured him cursing at a young man and apparently slapping him.



The Albany Times Union reports (http://bit.ly/1w1z6Vf ) that 48-year-old Sgt. Shawn Glans was suspended Saturday over the encounter Friday in the town of Halfmoon.



The young man's friend filmed the encounter.



It shows Glans cursing at the young man and insisting that he has a right to search a vehicle. The deputy also apparently slaps the young man; the strike can be heard but isn't seen. The deputy then tells the friend he could "rip your ... head off."



Glans told the newspaper he would handle the matter in the same way again — but not if he knew he was on camera.



Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo calls the video disturbing.



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10) Insights on Hummingbird Travel, Life Span Revealed

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

NOV. 9, 2014, 12:07 P.M. E.S.T.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/11/09/us/ap-us-hummingbird-secrets.html?ref=us


BOISE, Idaho — Hummingbirds are giving up some of their secrets.



The perfecting of placing tiny numbered bands on their legs in the last decade has led researchers to discover hummingbirds can live longer than 10 years as opposed to the two or three once thought likely.



And astonishing migrations have been found, with a Rufous hummingbird caught in Florida one winter showing up the following summer more than 3,500 miles away in southeast Alaska. Some birds have even been discovered wintering in areas where temperatures drop below zero degrees.



"We're learning a lot about hummingbirds through banding we never would have learned otherwise," said Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the bird banding laboratory for the U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland.



Federal and state permits are required to capture hummingbirds, which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.



In the United States, Peterjohn said, there are some 225 hummingbird banders. About 125 are considered master bird banders because of the years they have spent perfecting the technique. An additional 100 banders trained by a master bird bander have sub-permits, though they are allowed to capture hummingbirds unsupervised.



Despite the obstacles, the number of hummingbird banders has increased from about a dozen in the mid-1990s.



That's about when Fred Bassett started banding hummingbirds.



"They know exactly what's going on," said Bassett, 68, a master bird bander who caught 1,900 hummingbirds in Idaho last summer but spends much of the winter at his home in Alabama. "They know humans are supposed to put up the feeders. They consider us to be their personal servants."



Bassett flew fighter jets before retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 1988 and still finds hummingbird flight amazing.



"I envy them greatly for being able to fly like that — how they can maneuver, go from 0 to 50 miles per hour in about 10 feet," he said.



Besides advances in the tiny metal bands — which banders have to prepare themselves — breakthroughs have also been made in trapping equipment. Just as important, said Jessica Pollock, a research biologist with the Intermountain Bird Observatory at Boise State University, have been refinements in gathering information to give it greater relevance.



"You need to have a standardized protocol," she said. "You just can't be willy-nilly."



Her group last year caught a record 635 hummingbirds, including 105 recaptures, during nine capture days between May and August on private property located about a mile south of Idaho City. Key to capturing hummingbirds, she said, is to go where there is an established feeding site put up by humans that has had time to attract generations of hummingbirds.



"They'll bring their kids, and there baby hummingbirds will bring theirs the next year," Pollock said. "So you just get more and more every year."



Carl Rudeen, another hummingbird bander in Idaho, captured a record 768 hummingbirds in the state. He's discovered that a new species of hummingbird, the Anna's hummingbird, is starting to move into Idaho.



"This year we caught two juveniles in August," he said, "the first documentation of juveniles in Idaho."



His theory is that the species, which thrives in urban environments with human helpers, is moving from coastal areas to Idaho expecting to find hummingbird feeders at the ready.



All the new information has led to yet more questions.



For example, Peterjohn said, it's not clear if hummingbirds on their long migrations fly hundreds of miles at a time and make long layovers to refuel, or if they are making relatively short 30-mile flights. The longevity of hummingbirds is also unknown, with Peterjohn predicting birds in their teens will likely start showing as the banding program continues. A lack of banders in Mexico and central America is a problem though, he added.



And in Idaho, local banders are at a loss to explain why record numbers of hummingbirds were captured last summer. Some possibilities, Pollock said, range from a better breeding year to better migrating conditions. But researchers can only speculate.



"Our knowledge has increased and made us realize how little we know and how much there still is to learn about hummingbirds," Peterjohn said.






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11) States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F

By LIZETTE ALVAREZ 

NOV. 9, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/us/states-listen-as-parents-give-rampant-testing-an-f.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news
ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — Florida embraced the school accountability movement early and enthusiastically, but that was hard to remember at a parent meeting in a high school auditorium here not long ago.

Parents railed at a system that they said was overrun by new tests coming from all levels — district, state and federal. Some wept as they described teenagers who take Xanax to cope with test stress, children who refuse to go to school and teachers who retire rather than promote a culture that seems to value testing over learning.

“My third grader loves school, but I can’t get her out of the car this year,” Dawn LaBorde, who has three children in Palm Beach County schools, told the gathering, through tears. Her son, a junior, is so shaken, she said, “I have had to take him to his doctor.” She added: “He can’t sleep, but he’s tired. He can’t eat, but he’s hungry.”

One father broke down as he said he planned to pull his second grader from school. “Teaching to a test is destroying our society,” he said.

Where once these frustrations were voiced in murmurs, this year not only parents but also educators across Florida are rebelling. They have joined a national protest in which states have repealed their graduation test requirements, postponed the consequences of testing for the Common Core — national standards in more than 40 states — and rolled back the number of required exams.

In August, Education Secretary Arne Duncan added to the chorus when he wrote in a blog post that “testing issues today are sucking the oxygen out of the room in a lot of schools,” and that teachers needed more time to adapt to new standards and tests.

Last month, state school chiefs and the heads of large city districts were the latest to express their concerns by committing to review the panoply of tests students must take.

In Florida, which tests students more frequently than most other states, many schools this year will dedicate on average 60 to 80 days out of the 180-day school year to standardized testing. In a few districts, tests were scheduled to be given every day to at least some students.

The furor in Florida, which cuts across ideological, party and racial lines, is particularly striking for a state that helped pioneer accountability through former Gov. Jeb Bush. Mr. Bush, a possible presidential contender, was one of the first governors to introduce high-stakes testing and an A-to-F grading system for schools. He continues to advocate test-based accountability through his education foundation. Former President George W. Bush, his brother, introduced similar measures as governor of Texas and, as president, embraced No Child Left Behind, the law that required states to develop tests to measure progress.

The concerns reach well beyond first-year jitters over Florida’s version of Common Core, which is making standards tougher and tests harder. Frustrations also center on the increase this year in the number of tests ordered by the state to fulfill federal grant obligations on teacher evaluations and by districts to keep pace with the new standards. The state mandate that students use computers for standardized tests has made the situation worse because computers are scarce and easily crash.

“This is a spinning-plates act like the old ‘Ed Sullivan Show,’ ” said David Samore, the longtime principal at Okeeheelee Community Middle School in Palm Beach County. “What you are seeing now are the plates are starting to fall. Principals, superintendents, kids and teachers can only do so much. They never get to put any plates down.”

School districts across Florida have started to pare back the number of district-mandated tests. Palm Beach County announced recently that it would cut dozens of tests this year.

“This is the proverbial perfect storm of testing that has hit not only Florida but all the states,” said Alberto M. Carvalho, the influential superintendent of Miami-Dade County Schools, the fourth-largest district in the country, who was named the 2014 national superintendent of the year. “This is too much, too far, too fast, and it threatens the fabric of real accountability.”

Mr. Carvalho has joined other superintendents and school board members in the state in calling for a delay in the use of new tests, including the not yet validated Florida Standards Assessment — a Common Core variant, with tougher standards than the last assessment used — to grade the state’s schools, teachers and students.

Despite continued support in the Republican-dominated State Legislature for high-stakes testing, there are signs that Florida is headed for a showdown with opponents of an education system that many say is undermining its original mission: to improve student learning, help teachers and inform parents.

Responding to the growing outcry, Gov. Rick Scott in late August called for Education Commissioner Pam Stewart to investigate standardized tests, many of them state-mandated.

Robert A. Schaeffer, the public education director for FairTest, a standardized-test watchdog organization, said, “The numbers and consequences of these tests have driven public opinion over the edge, and politicians are scrambling to figure out how to deal with that.”Much has changed this year in Florida. As part of the federal Race to the Top grant obligation, the state will require end-of-the-year tests for every subject to help evaluate teachers whose pay and job will be tied to scores. In Miami-Dade County, there are 1,600 courses. School districts are obligated to write the course exams, but the Legislature did not give them money for the task, so districts are far behind in developing them.

On top of routine classroom tests, students face an increase in district-led diagnostic tests to keep tabs on student progress. Some teachers are testing children biweekly. This is in addition to high school Advanced Placement, SAT and ACT tests.

But there is another requirement that has made testing more difficult in Florida. The state ordered all students, including those in elementary school, to take standardized tests on computers as of this year. But again, the state did not give districts extra money for computers or technology help.

Because schools do not have computers for every student, tests are staggered throughout the day, which translates to more hours spent administering tests and less time teaching. Students who are not taking tests often occupy their time watching movies. The staggered test times also mean computer labs are not available for other students.

The overlay of this year’s tougher Common Core-like standards — which has led to drops in test scores in cities like New York — also has students in a panic over falling grades. Teachers, too, are worried about how the scores will affect their evaluations. In Florida, students who fail the test can be held back in third grade or fail to graduate from high school.

The frustration over testing has spilled across the state. The Lee County School Board led the charge in August when it voted to opt out of state-mandated standardized testing during an emotional meeting in Fort Myers. It rescinded the vote shortly after it learned of the penalties the district would face. Miami-Dade just canceled one set of district-ordered interim exams to allow teachers and students more time in the classroom.

In Gainesville, one kindergarten teacher, Susan Bowles, explained to parents on her Facebook page that she would refuse to give state-ordered diagnostic reading tests. The kindergartners were obligated to take the tests one by one on a computer. After the first go-round, Ms. Bowles calculated it would eat up three weeks of teaching time.

Her public stance galvanized even more parents and educators. Not long after her posting, Ms. Stewart, the education commissioner, suspended that particular test for younger pupils. Parents and teachers across the state began to air their grievances, detail by detail.

“The emotional effect on students, teachers and parents has been damaging; the manifestation of sadness and frustration is real,” Mr. Carvalho said of the headlong rush into more tests. “And the state should pay attention to it.”







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12) Police Use Department Wish List When Deciding Which Assets to Seize

By SHAILA DEWAN 

NOV. 9, 2014


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/us/police-use-department-wish-list-when-deciding-which-assets-to-seize.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news


The seminars offered police officers some useful tips on seizing property from suspected criminals. Don’t bother with jewelry (too hard to dispose of) and computers (“everybody’s got one already”), the experts counseled. Do go after flat screen TVs, cash and cars. Especially nice cars.

In one seminar, captured on video in September, Harry S. Connelly Jr., the city attorney of Las Cruces, N.M., called them “little goodies.” And then Mr. Connelly described how officers in his jurisdiction could not wait to seize one man’s “exotic vehicle” outside a local bar.

“A guy drives up in a 2008 Mercedes, brand new,” he explained. “Just so beautiful, I mean, the cops were undercover and they were just like ‘Ahhhh.’ And he gets out and he’s just reeking of alcohol. And it’s like, ‘Oh, my goodness, we can hardly wait.’ ”Mr. Connelly was talking about a practice known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows the government, without ever securing a conviction or even filing a criminal charge, to seize property suspected of having ties to crime. The practice, expanded during the war on drugs in the 1980s, has become a staple of law enforcement agencies because it helps finance their work. It is difficult to tell how much has been seized by state and local law enforcement, but under a Justice Department program, the value of assets seized has ballooned to $4.3 billion in the 2012 fiscal year from $407 million in 2001. Much of that money is shared with local police forces.

The practice of civil forfeiture has come under fire in recent months, amid a spate of negative press reports and growing outrage among civil rights advocates, libertarians and members of Congress who have raised serious questions about the fairness of the practice, which critics say runs roughshod over due process rights. In one oft-cited case, a Philadelphia couple’s home was seized after their son made $40 worth of drug sales on the porch. Despite that opposition, many cities and states are moving to expand civil seizures of cars and other assets. The seminars, some of which were captured on video, raise a curtain on how law enforcement officials view the practice.

From Orange County, N.Y., to Rio Rancho, N.M., forfeiture operations are being established or expanded. In September, Albuquerque, which has long seized the cars of suspected drunken drivers, began taking them from men suspected of trying to pick up prostitutes, landing seven cars during a one-night sting. Arkansas has expanded its seizure law to allow the police to take cash and assets with suspected connections to terrorism, and Illinois moved to make boats fair game under its D.W.I. laws, in addition to cars. In Mercer County, N.J., a prosecutor preaches the “gospel” that forfeiture is not just for drug arrests — cars can be seized in shoplifting and statutory rape cases as well.

“At the grass-roots level — cities, counties — they continue to be interested, perhaps increasingly so, in supplementing their budgets by engaging in the type of seizures that we’ve seen in Philadelphia and elsewhere,” said Lee McGrath, a lawyer for the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that has mounted a legal and public relations assault on civil forfeiture.

Much of the nuts-and-bolts how-to of civil forfeiture is passed on in continuing education seminars for local prosecutors and law enforcement officials, some of which have been captured on video. The Institute for Justice, which brought the videos to the attention of The Times, says they show how cynical the practice has become and how profit motives can outweigh public safety.

In the sessions, officials share tips on maximizing profits, defeating the objections of so-called “innocent owners” who were not present when the suspected offense occurred, and keeping the proceeds in the hands of law enforcement and out of general fund budgets. The Times reviewed three sessions, one in Santa Fe, N.M., that took place in September, one in New Jersey that was undated, and one in Georgia in September that was not videotaped.

Officials offered advice on dealing with skeptical judges, mocked Hispanics whose cars were seized, and made comments that, the Institute for Justice said, gave weight to the argument that civil forfeiture encourages decisions based on the value of the assets to be seized rather than public safety. In the Georgia session, the prosecutor leading the talk boasted that he had helped roll back a Republican-led effort to reform civil forfeiture in Georgia, where seized money has been used by the authorities, according to news reports, to pay for sports tickets, office parties, a home security system and a $90,000 sports car.

In defense of the practice, Gary Bergman, a prosecutor with the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, said civil forfeiture had been distorted in news reports. “All they hear is the woman was left on the side of the road and the police drove off with her car and her money, no connection to drugs,” he told other prosecutors at the session.

“I’m not saying that that doesn’t happen — it does. It should not. But they never hear about all the people that get stopped with the drugs in their cars, in their houses, the manufacturing operations we see, all the useful things we do with the money, the equipment, vehicles. They don’t hear about that.”

In an interview, Mr. Connelly said that the Las Cruces ordinance does only what the State Supreme Court has said is permissible.

Sean D. McMurtry, the chief of the forfeiture unit in the Mercer County, N.J., prosecutor’s office, said forfeiture contributes to only a small percentage of local budgets but it is a good deterrent and works especially well against repeat offenders, such as domestic violence perpetrators who repeatedly violate a restraining order. “We’re very proud of our forfeiture operation,” he said in an interview.

But in the video, Mr. McMurtry made it clear that forfeitures were highly contingent on the needs of law enforcement. In New Jersey, the police and prosecutors are allowed to use cars, cash and other seized goods; the rest must be sold at auction. Cellphones and jewelry, Mr. McMurtry said, are not worth the bother. Flat screen televisions, however, “are very popular with the police departments,” he said.

Prosecutors boasted in the sessions that seizure cases were rarely contested or appealed. But civil forfeiture places the burden on owners, who must pay court fees and legal costs to get their property back. Many seizures go uncontested because the property is not worth the expense.

And often the first hearing is presided over not by a judge but by the prosecutor whose office benefits from the proceeds, and who has wide discretion in deciding whether to forfeit the property or return it, sometimes in exchange for a steep fine.

Mr. McMurtry said his handling of a case is sometimes determined by department wish lists. “If you want the car, and you really want to put it in your fleet, let me know — I’ll fight for it,” Mr. McMurtry said, addressing law enforcement officials on the video. “If you don’t let me know that, I’ll try and resolve it real quick through a settlement and get cash for the car, get the tow fee paid off, get some money for it.”

One criticism of civil forfeiture is that it results in widely varied penalties — one drunken driver could lose a $100,000 luxury car, while another forfeits a $2,000 clunker.

In an interview, Mr. McMurtry acknowledged that he exercises a great deal of discretion. “The first offense, if it’s not anything too serious, we’ll come up with a dollar amount, depending on the value of the car and the seriousness of the offense,” he said. “I try to come up with a dollar amount that’s not so high that they can’t afford it, but not so low that it doesn’t have an impact. If it’s a second offense, they don’t get it back.”

Prosecutors estimated that between 50 to 80 percent of the cars seized were driven by someone other than the owner, which sometimes means a parent or grandparent loses their car. In the Santa Fe video, a police officer acknowledged that the law can affect families, but expressed skepticism of owners who say they did not know their relative was running afoul of the law.

“I can’t tell you how many people have come in and said, ‘Oh, my hijito would never do that,’ ” he said, mimicking a female voice with a Spanish accent.

Clay Bolton contributed reporting from Georgia.


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