Thursday, November 27, 2014




Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:








Benefit Concert

at El Rio Bar

with important update on


(3158 Mission St., at Precita St.)

Tues., December 2nd, 8-11pm

Who is Marissa Alexander?
On August 1, 2010, just nine days after giving birth to her daughter, Marissa Alexander was attacked by her abusive, estranged husband, at their shared home. As Marissa explained, “In an unprovoked jealous rage, my husband violently confronted me while using the restroom. He assaulted me, shoving, strangling and holding me against my will, preventing me from fleeing all while I begged for him to leave.” Marissa retrieved her lawfully registered gun and fired a warning shot upwards into a wall to prevent him from beating her. No one was injured by her warning shot.

Even though Marissa was acting in self-defense, she was arrested by Jacksonville police and charged with aggravated assault. She rejected a three year plea bargain in order to maintain her innocence and the right to defend her life. After only 12 minutes of deliberation, a jury of six convicted Marissa of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with no intent to harm. Her sentence was set at 20 years.

Recent plea deal.

On Monday, Nov. 25, Marissa Alexander accepted a plea deal in Florida court that will allow her to return home after serving 65 more days, in addition to a period of monitoring at home after her release. She will be freed from prison in January 2015.

We in WORD and Marissa's supporters in Florida and across the U.S. have demanded her complete exoneration. She was acting in self-defense but the Florida prosecutor Angela Corey was aggressively pursuing up to a 60-year sentence if Marissa were to be found guilty in a new trial.

Given the possibility of an unjust conviction and lengthy sentence, Marissa's choice to accept a plea bargain is completely understandable. Most importantly, we stand with our sister and her decision that will allow her to return to her life and family.

Get involved. The struggle continues!

And yet, her case is not over. There is still the possibility the judge could impose a 5-year sentence for a second charge of aggravated assault.

All along this struggle for justice, it has taken the mobilizations, education and legal fight on Marissa Alexander's behalf that overturned her original conviction, won her a new trial and allowed her to accept a much lower sentence, even if unfair.

Let's not stop here! Come to the El Rio fundraiser and help us raise funds to send to Marissa Alexander's support campaign in Florida. She will need our solidarity until she is home free.

El Rio bar is at 3158 Mission. We'll enjoy the music of Heart of Orion, Vixen Noir, and Rebel Allianz  as we socialize and raise a glass to Marissa Alexander and WORD's work!

See you there!

Women Organized to Resist and Defend

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Chicago: 773-828-9205 or
Connecticut: 203-787-8232 or
Los Angeles: 323-394-3611 or
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New Action- write letters to DoD officials requesting clemency for Chelsea!

November 24, 2014 by the Chelsea Manning Support Network
Secretary of the Army John McHugh
President Obama has delegated review of Chelsea Manning’s clemency appeal to individuals within the Department of Defense.
Please write them to express your support for heroic WikiLeaks’ whistle-blower former US Army intelligence analyst PFC Chelsea Manning’s release from military prison.
It is important that each of these authorities realize the wide support that Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning enjoys worldwide. They need to be reminded that millions understand that Manning is a political prisoner, imprisoned for following her conscience. While it is highly unlikely that any of these individuals would independently move to release Manning, a reduction in Manning’s outrageous 35-year prison sentence is a possibility at this stage.
Take action TODAY – Write letters supporting Chelsea’s clemency petition to the following DoD authorities:
Secretary of the Army John McHugh
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0101
The Judge Advocate General
2200 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-2200
Army Clemency and Parole Board
251 18th St, Suite 385
Arlington, VA 22202-3532
Directorate of Inmate Administration
Attn: Boards Branch
U.S. Disciplinary Barracks
1301 N. Warehouse Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-2304
Suggestions for letters send to DoD officials:
  • The letter should focus on your support for Chelsea Manning, and especially why you believe justice will be served if Chelsea Manning’s sentence is reduced.  The letter should NOT be anti-military as this will be unlikely to help
  • A suggested message: “Chelsea Manning has been punished enough for violating military regulations in the course of being true to her conscience.  I urge you to use your authorityto reduce Pvt. Manning’s sentence to time served.”  Beyond that general message, feel free to personalize the details as to why you believe Chelsea deserves clemency.
  • Consider composing your letter on personalized letterhead -you can create this yourself (here are templates and some tips for doing that).
  • A comment on this post will NOT be seen by DoD authorities–please send your letters to the addresses above
This clemency petition is separate from Chelsea Manning’s upcoming appeal before the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals next year, where Manning’s new attorney Nancy Hollander will have an opportunity to highlight the prosecution’s—and the trial judge’s—misconduct during last year’s trial at Ft. Meade, Maryland.
Help us continue to cover 100% of Chelsea’s legal fees at this critical stage!
> > > Please donate today! < < <

War resister Sara Beining court martial set for Dec. 9 at Fort Carson, Colorado

sara beiningClick here to contribute to Sara Beining’s legal defense and prison fund
November 11, 2014. Courage to Resist and the Nuclear Resister
Facing a lengthy prison sentence, Army war resister Sara Beining is scheduled to be court martialed at Fort Carson, Colorado at 9am, December 9th, on two counts of desertion.
Supporters are encouraged to attend the trial, contribute to her legal and prison fund, and send her letters letter of support to: Sara Beining, A0305918 / Criminal Justice Center / 2739 E. Las Vegas St / Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Sara is a single mother and Iraq war veteran. She is being held in the civilian county jail prior to her military trial. Sara went AWOL a second time last summer after a nearly year-long delay in resolving the original charge that resulted when she left her unit at Ft. Hood in January, 2007.
Just over one year ago, September 14, 2013, Beining was stopped for a traffic offense and held on an outstanding military warrant, more than six years after she and her newlywed husband had together walked away from war service. She was briefly jailed, then given a plane ticket and orders to report back to Fort Carson, Colorado, where, she said, “I tried for another year to play the game” and be quietly processed out of the army as many other recent military refusers have been. But in her absence without leave, Beining had given birth to a daughter in September, 2008 and become an outspoken opponent of war.

Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
 Oakland, CA 94610



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. and
Donate to Rasmea! today

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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



Urban Dreams Restored!

A Victory, but More Struggle Ahead

20 November 2014 — In an unexpected announcement, the new Superintendent of Oakland Schools, Antwan Wilson, announced yesterday that the Urban Dreams website, taken down in April of this year by Oakland School officials, would be restored. This teacher-generated, social issues site had been singled out by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and Fox News as a target, because it included a curriculum which focussed on a comparison between Martin Luther King and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mumia has been a target of the FOP ever since police and prosecutors framed him up for the shooting death of a police officer in 1981 in Philadelphia.

The Oakland School Board could have defied this police attack on free speech and academic freedom months ago, but chose instead to capitulate under a Fox News onslaught without a whimper. Now, let’s make sure they stick to their word to restore the site!

The main credit for this victory goes to Oakland Teachers for Mumia, who have worked tirelessly for this restoration, and to Johanna Fernandez of Educators For Mumia, who valiantly combatted Fox News in an on-air interview on this subject earlier this year. It also goes to Pulitzer Prize-wining author Alice Walker, who wrote a firm letter to the School Board opposing the censorship of Urban Dreams. (We send out her letter again, reproduced below.)

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal is ecstatic that this victory has been achieved, and we salute all those involved in this struggle. But we remind everyone that we need to see the actual restoration without censorship of the Urban Dreams site (promised for the “next week or so”), and we need to keep struggling to combat the other attacks of cops against free speech, chiefly the new “gag” law just passed in Pennsylvania.

PA Gag Law Punishes Prisoners for Speech

Although Mumia Abu-Jamal has been shown to be innocent, having been victimized by (now discredited) “witness” allegations and other prosecutorial fabrications, the FOP, having failed to get him executed, continues to seek to “shut him up.”  This is precisely the purpose of a new law, just passed and signed in Pennsylvania, which punishes any felony convict for speech which causes “mental anguish” to the crime victim(s). Clearly unconstitutional, this law threatens not just prisoners, but non-profit organizations which distribute their speech and writings, such as Prison Radio and the Pacifica Radio Network, both of which publish and air Mumia’s prolific commentaries.

Save the Date — 05 December

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, together with Prison Radio and Oakland Teachers for Mumia, will hold a public forum, Cops vs Free Speech, on December 5th at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley.  Please join us for this important event!

Cops vs Free Speech

How police are threatening the right
of free speech of convicts, dissidents,
and All of Us!

Speakers: Keith Cook (Mumia’s brother),
Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson,
Mumia’s recorded comments,
and other Speakers.

Film showing: “Manufacturing Guilt,”
an expose of the frame-up of Mumia Abu-Jamal

7 pm Friday Dec. 5th 2014
La Pena Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Av. Berkeley CA

$5 - $!0 sliding scale
All donations benefit the
defense suit against the PA Gag Law

- The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222  •  Oakland CA  •  510.763.2347
_  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _


November 8, 2014

I am dismayed to learn that the Oakland School Board has dismantled a website of Social Justice lesson plans because the police objected to it.  The Board has a duty to defend students’ right to learn against police interference.  I am asking the Oakland School District to repost the Urban Dreams website.

The police attack on Urban Dreams is part of a long campaign to injure and defame political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, a brilliant journalist and author who is innocent of all charges against him.  In October the police obtained a state gag law in Pennsylvania specifically intended to silence Mumia Abu-Jamal.  One lesson on the Urban Dreams website in Oakland asked students to compare media suppression of Mumia’s writings with suppression of the radical thoughts of Martin Luther King, and the police call for censorship was meant to shut out the words of both these defenders of freedom.

I hope that the educators of the Oakland School Board will defend free speech and academic freedom by restoring the Urban Dreams website.

In Peace,
Alice Walker

CC:  Antwan Wilson, Superintendent
David Kakishiba, School Board President
Oakland Teachers for Mumia
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

— This message is from: Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222  •  Oakland CA 94610  •   510 763-2347
18 November 2014



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.


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” (, 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:

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!

This message brought to you by:

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

PO Box 16222, Oakland CA 94610 • • 510.762.2347

November 2014


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


P.O. Box 411074 San Francisco, CA 94141 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

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:



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


September 23, 2014

CONTACT: Crystal Cooper, ACLU National, 212-549-2666;

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:

The motion for preliminary injunction is available at:

This press release is available at:

—Free Chelsea Manning, September 24, 2014

Write to Chelsea Manning:

Mail must be addressed exactly as follows:















1) Brooklyn Man Fatally Shot by Police Was Unarmed, Bratton Says

A rookie New York City police officer shot and killed an unarmed 28-year-old man in a darkened stairwell in Brooklyn late Thursday night, according to the police.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the shooting appeared to be unprovoked.

“We don’t know enough yet, but it does appear to be an accident,” the mayor said at a news conference on Friday. “This is a tragedy.”

The victim was identified as Akai Gurley, and the officer, Peter Liang, has been placed on modified assignment and was relieved of both his badge and gun.

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton called the shooting “an unfortunate accident.”

Mr. Gurley “was a total innocent,” Mr. Bratton said. He was not engaged in any activity other than trying to walk down the stairs, Mr. Bratton said.

Officer Liang, who was on the job less than 18 months, and his partner were patrolling the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York when they encountered Mr. Gurley inside a nearly pitch-black stairwell shortly before midnight, Mr. Bratton said.

Officer Liang drew his flashlight and his gun as he entered the stairwell on the eighth floor.

At the same time, Mr. Gurley and his girlfriend had just entered the stairwell on the seventh floor.

“One officer discharged one round from his service weapon, striking the male in the chest,” according to a statement from the police.

Mr. Gurley was taken to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Janice Butler, whose sister was with Mr. Gurley at the time of the shooting, said that the victim had been in an apartment on the eighth floor getting his hair braided for several hours Thursday night.

Mr. Gurley did not live in the building and left the apartment with his girlfriend shortly after 11 p.m. The two initially went to the elevator but it was taking too long, so they decided to take the stairs.

The girlfriend entered the stairwell first and heard a door open nearby. The next sound she heard was a shot echoing through the stairwell. Then she saw her boyfriend, shot in the chest, staggering down two flights of stairs.

Ms. Butler said that, according to her sister, the police did not identify themselves, or give any commands.

“The cop didn’t present himself, he just shot him in the chest,” Ms. Butler said. “They didn’t see their face or nothing.”

She added, “They didn’t say anything.”

Ms. Butler, whose cheeks were streaked with tears, said her sister was in the building and grieving and was unable to speak to reporters.

The stairwell at the housing projects is so dark at night that anyone standing in it appears as a silhouette, according to residents.

The stairwells are fitted with fluorescent lights, they said, but the burned out bulbs are seldom replaced, and the few that work are dim.

Mattie Dubose, a resident, yelled at the building superintendent Friday morning, as employees of the New York City Housing Authority furiously worked on the stairwells.

“You see how dark our staircases are? This is ridiculous,” she said. “The staircases from eight down are dark. If you want to walk in them, you need an escort.”

The Police Department is still dealing with the fallout over the death of Eric Garner, who died after a confrontation with the police on Staten Island in July.

Mr. Garner, who was unarmed and being arrested on charges of illegally selling cigarettes on a street corner, died after being placed in a chokehold by a police officer trying to wrestle him to the ground.

A grand jury on Staten Island is deciding whether or not charges should be brought against any of the officers involved.

But the episode has raised questions about the use of force by the police and led the commissioner to call for sweeping reforms.

About a month after Mr. Garner’s death, the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., sparked violent protests and prompted a national discussion over police tactics. With a grand jury expected to decide in coming days whether to indict the officer in that shooting, residents there remain on edge, so much so that the National Guard has already been called in to quell any unrest.

“I think when people see a tragedy, of course it pains them and it reminds us that we have a lot of work to do,” Mr. de Blasio said. Still, he said each of the recent deaths involving the police, from Staten Island to Ferguson, had its own dynamics and he warned against linking them all together.

The shooting on Thursday in Brooklyn, he said, appeared to be a “tragic mistake.”

Charles Barron, a former New York City councilman who was recently elected to the State Assembly, arrived at the Brooklyn building Friday morning to speak with residents, and said it would take more than apology to ease the concerns of the community.

“People are outraged, this is happening all over the country, people have no respect for black life,” he said. “I want to hear the justification for this one. We’re going to fight for justice with this one just like they are in Ferguson.”



2) University of California to Raise Tuition Despite Protests



3) Virginia Death Row Inmates Seek More Privileges

NOV. 21, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. — Five Virginia death row inmates have filed a lawsuit challenging their solitary confinement.

The plaintiffs want the same expanded privileges won by another death row inmate who successfully challenged his solitary confinement on due process grounds. The new complaint says that inmate Alfredo Prieto is allowed to exercise in the prison gymnasium and have contact visits with members of his immediate family and that other death row inmates are entitled to the same treatment.

The state has appealed the ruling in Prieto's case. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond heard oral arguments last month.

A spokesman for Attorney General Mark Herring, said that after officials receive the lawsuit, they will review it with their clients and respond appropriately.



4) Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class



5)  Police Union Official: Darren Wilson Doesn't Expect to Be Charged
By CBS News
November 21, 2014

he suburban St. Louis police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown does not appear to expect criminal charges from a Missouri grand jury that has been investigating the case for several months, a police union official said Thursday.

Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers' Association, said he met Thursday with Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who has remained secluded from the public eye since the Aug. 9 shooting that sparked tense and occasionally violent protests and drew national attention.

Wilson has been under a lot of pressure and stress but appeared confident in the outcome of the grand jury investigation, Roorda said.

"It's fair to say that neither he nor his defense team expect an indictment," Roorda said, offering his impression of the situation based on the meeting with Wilson.

Roorda later told the AP in a text message that he was only speaking for himself.

"Wilson seems confident that justice will be served, but neither he nor his attorneys shared any expectations with me," he said in the text.

One of Wilson's attorneys, who also attended Thursday's meeting, said there was no specific discussion of expectations.

"We have absolutely no idea - no more than anyone else - what may or may not happen," attorney Neil Bruntrager said. "The only expectation that we would have is that the grand jury would be thorough and fair."

If he is indicted, Wilson will immediately turn himself in to authorities, Bruntrager said.

Wilson has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

A 12-person St. Louis County grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case as it weighs whether to issue charges against the white officer for the black 18-year-old's death. A decision could come soon, though authorities have not publicized any specific date for an announcement.

Roorda said St. Louis city police have been notified that they are switching to 12-hour shifts starting Saturday, a preparation for a potential uptick in protests.

The St. Louis County Police Department has not yet decided whether to switch to longer work shifts, spokesman Brian Schellman said.

For weeks, local and state police have been preparing for a grand jury announcement in anticipation that it will result in renewed protests. Earlier this week, Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to help with security.

Authorities have said Wilson shot Brown, who was unarmed, following some sort of physical confrontation that occurred after Wilson told Brown and a friend to stop walking down the center of a street.

Wilson told authorities that the shooting happened after Brown struggled with him for his gun, according to reports by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York Times that cited unnamed sources. But some witnesses have said Brown had his arms raised - as if to surrender - when the fatal shot was fired.

Riots and looting occurred a day after the shooting, and protesters filled the streets for weeks. Police responded by firing tear gas and smoke canisters into crowds of demonstrators after some people threw rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Protests have been nearly constant since the shooting. The vast majority of protesters want to see the officer charged with murder. Many are also pushing for changes in the way police and the courts interact with minorities. A handful of demonstrations have been in support of Wilson.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Brown's family, described the investigation as an "emotional roller-coaster" for his clients. Even if Wilson is indicted, there's no guarantee of a conviction. And if he isn't charged, Crump said Thursday, "they get no chance of justice for their child."

Crump said he had no insight into the timing of the grand jury's decision, but that he expected to be notified ahead of any public announcement.

Wilson has incurred significant legal, medical and relocation expenses, and a police charity has raised close to $500,000 for him, Roorda said.



6) Four Decades of Solitary in Louisiana



7) Student protest over tuition fees ends in scuffles with police
Organisers say 10,000 joined march, which saw NUS offices daubed with paint after it refused to back protest
By Matthew Taylor
November 19, 2014

A student protest that attracted thousands of people on to the streets of London has ended with a series of scuffles and accusations of police violence.

Organisers said the demonstration against tuition fees and wider cuts to education was the biggest mobilisation of students since 2010 when demonstrators occupied Tory party offices at Millbank.

Wednesday’s protest saw the National Union of Students (NUS) headquarters in London daubed with paint after it decided not to back the demonstration due to “an unacceptable level of risk” to its members. That provoked anger among those who took part in the march. “We did not organise what happened at the NUS but we do know students are very angry about being let down by the NUS,” said Beth Redmond from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, one of the groups that organised the demonstration. “When you see the numbers here today, they are in danger of becoming an irrelevance.”

Organisers claimed that up to 10,000 protesters took part in the march with university students joining those from further education colleges and sixth forms.

The protest passed off peacefully until demonstrators arrived at Parliament Square. A breakaway group of several hundred, including many who were wearing masks, pulled down fences blocking off the square, provoking minor scuffles with the police.

They then occupied the area in front of parliament as the main body of the march continued to the final rally point.

For the next two hours smaller groups of a few hundred protesters played cat and mouse with police, staging impromptu protests outside government departments, high street chains accused of not paying their tax and Conservative party headquarters, where at least one arrest was made.

Police officers tried to keep up with the fluid groups of demonstrators as they wound their way through backstreets between Westminster and Victoria. Paint bombs were thrown at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and a nearby Starbucks. Later police “snatch squads” picked out people in the crowd and made several arrests, provoking an angry reaction from the crowd.

At one point a protester was wrestled to the ground and dragged away. His friends said he was a Turkish Kurdish student in his late 20s studying at Birkbeck University.

“He was just walking outside John Lewis and they attacked him,” said a fellow student who did not want to be named. “He hadn’t done anything. We were just here to protest … It was really violent and he looked like he was unconscious for a while.”

The Metropolitan police said three officers had suffered minor injuries and 11 arrests were made.

“Various missiles were thrown at the officers and protesters pulled down protective fencing around the grass area in Parliament Square,” the force said in a statement.

Students from as far afield as Glasgow and Cornwall travelled to London for the demonstration, which organisers hope will kickstart a wider campaign in favour of free education.

Jacob Furedi, a student at University College London, said: “We’re marching for free education. We think it’s unreasonable to pay for something which is a right. The atmosphere is buzzing. I’ve been speaking to people from Aberdeen and Stirling – it’s not just London students but students from all around the UK.”

Aaron Kiely, from the Student Assembly Against Austerity and a member of the NUS national executive, said their message was very simple: a return to free education and an alternative to tuition fees.

He added: “We want to end the lifetime of debt which is a massive burden for students.

“Students are really angry because we go to university and then at the end of it we get an average of £40,000-worth of debt. That puts you in a hell of a difficult position when you start to think about a mortgage and a family. We need an alternative.”

Student organisers said the protest marked the start of a wave of action that will run up to next year’s general election.

Deborah Hermanns, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, said organisers were delighted with the scale of Wednesday’s demonstration. “I really do think today was the start of a wider movement calling for free education rather than against something. There were lots of people here on their first demonstration and I think they were inspired and will be back.”



8) In Ferguson, Preparation and Anticipation as Grand Jury Decision Nears



9) Boy, 12, Shot and Wounded by Cleveland Police Officer



10) Community Leaders Criticize Police Over Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Brooklyn Man



11) Will Texas Kill an Insane Man?



12)  A Quiet Wedding for Darren Wilson

FERGUSON, Mo. — Darren Wilson, the officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in August, has been out of public sight ever since. Yet last month, he stepped into a St. Louis County office building, gave his name and applied for a marriage license.

Several days later, Officer Wilson married Barbara Spradling, a fellow officer in the Ferguson Police Department, public records show.

The couple obtained their marriage license in Clayton, Mo., outside St. Louis, in the recorder of deeds office on the fourth floor of the Lawrence K. Roos administrative building, steps away from the courthouse where the grand jury has been meeting.

While security guards question people going in and out of the building, the deeds office itself is a blandly bureaucratic place where clerks sit in open cubicles. A clerk at the marriage license desk said on Monday that she was surprised that Officer Wilson went there, as opposed to another county or state — possibly Las Vegas, she said — where he could have filled out paperwork with a greater guarantee of privacy.

Records show that Officer Wilson, 28, and Officer Spradling, 37, were married on Oct. 24. One of the two witnesses at the ceremony was Greg Kloeppel, one of Officer Wilson’s lawyers. Christopher B. Graville, a municipal judge in Oakland, Mo., performed the ceremony.

Officer Wilson has been on paid administrative leave from the police department since August, when he fatally shot Mr. Brown on a Ferguson street, setting off months of angry demonstrations. A grand jury is currently meeting to determine whether there is probable cause that Officer Wilson committed a crime when he killed Mr. Brown. A decision from the grand jury is expected any day.

Both Officer Wilson and Officer Spradling were previously married, public records indicate. His divorce was finalized on Nov. 10, 2013.

Officer Wilson and Officer Spradling own a home together on Manda Lane in Crestwood, Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a half-hour drive from Ferguson.

They have scarcely been seen there since Mr. Brown was killed on Aug. 9. Neighbors said that within a few days of the shooting, Officer Wilson and Officer Spradling abruptly left their home.

Officer Spradling received a medal of valor award in 2012 for her work as a police officer. Officer Wilson received a commendation earlier this year for his arrest of a suspect in a drug case.



13) Woman Cleared in Death Caused by G.M.’s Faulty Ignition Switch



14) In Brooklyn, 2 Young Men, a Dark Stairwell and a Gunshot



15) More Troops Ordered to Ferguson After Night of Chaos



16) Ferguson Grand Jury Faced Mass of Evidence, Much of It Conflicting



17) Fury After Ferguson

The reaction to the failure of the grand jury to indict in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, touched something deep and ancient and anguished in the black community.

Yes, on one level, the reaction was about the particulars of this case.

It was about whether Wilson’s use of force was appropriate or excessive that summer day when he fired a shot through Brown’s head and ended his life.

It was about whether police officers’ attitudes towards the people they serve are tainted. Why was Wilson’s description of Brown in his testimony so laced with dehumanizing rhetoric, the superhuman predator and subhuman evil, “Hulk Hogan” and the “demon”?

It was about whether the prosecutor performed his role well or woefully inadequately in pursuit of an indictment. Why did he take this course of action? Why didn’t he aggressively question Wilson when Wilson presented testimony before the grand jury? Why did he sound eerily like a defense attorney when announcing the results?

And yet the reaction was also about more than Wilson and Brown. It was about faith in fundamental fairness. It was about whether a population of people with an already tenuous relationship with the justice system — a system not established to recognize them, a system used for generations to deny and subjugate them, a system still rife with imbalances toward them — would have their fragile and fraying faith in that system further shredded.

As President Obama put it: “The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color. Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country.”

He continued, “There are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up.”

No, they are not. An October analysis by ProPublica of police shootings from 2010 to 2012 found that young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police officers than their white counterparts.

And yet, people like the former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani want to blame the victims. On “Meet the Press,” he dodged the issue of white police forces policing black populations, and raised another: intra-racial murder statistics in the black community. After proclaiming that “93 percent of blacks are killed by other blacks,” he asked a fellow panelist, Michael Eric Dyson, a black Georgetown University professor, “why don’t you cut it down so so many white police officers don’t have to be in black areas?”

Classic blame-the-victims deflection and context-free spouting of facts. What Giuliani failed to mention, what most people who pay attention to murder statistics understand, is that murder is for the most part a crime of intimacy. People kill people close to them. Most blacks are killed by other blacks, and most whites are killed by other whites.

In fact, it is so intimate that one study has found that people likely to be involved in murder cases can be predicted by their social networks. A Yale study last year examining “police and gun homicide records from 2006 to 2011 for residents living within a six-square-mile area that had some of the highest rates for homicide in Chicago” found that “6% of the population was involved in 70% of the murders, and that nearly all of those in the 6% already had some contact with the criminal justice or public health systems.”

As a co-author of the study put it, the relationship among killers and those killed was like a virus: “It’s not unlike needle sharing or unprotected sex in the spread of H.I.V.”

So, what are we saying to the vast majority that are not involved: that they must accept the unconscionable racial imbalance in the police shooting numbers as some sort of collateral damage in a war on crime? No!

It’s an unfathomable, utterly immoral argument, and let’s not give Giuliani a pass for making it. After all, New York’s obscenely race-biased stop-and-frisk program was introduced under Giuliani, and some of the most notorious police violations of black men in recent history happened on his watch. As The New York Times recounted in a lengthy 2001 profile:

“In the summer of 1997, a police officer brutalized a Haitian immigrant named Abner Louima in a bathroom of a Brooklyn station house. In the winter of 1999, four members of the Police Department’s Street Crime Unit, searching the Bronx streets for a rapist, shot and killed an unarmed African immigrant named Amadou Diallo; they had mistaken his wallet for a gun. And in the winter of 2000, just as Mr. Giuliani was gearing up his candidacy for the United States Senate, an undercover officer shot and killed an unarmed black security guard named Patrick Dorismond after a brief struggle in Midtown; the victim had been offended by the undercover officer’s inquiries about buying some drugs.”

Also, race is not the best lens through which to consider criminality. Concentrated poverty may be a better lens. According to a July Brookings report:

“Poor individuals and families are not evenly distributed across communities or throughout the country. Instead, they tend to live near one another, clustering in certain neighborhoods and regions. This concentration of poverty results in higher crime rates, underperforming public schools, poor housing and health conditions, as well as limited access to private services and job opportunities.”If we are serious about fighting crime, we must seriously consider the reason— on both an individual and systemic level — these pockets of concentrated poverty developed, are maintained, and have in fact grown and spread.

But this is not about Giuliani and the police aggression apologists. This is about whether black boys and men, as well as the people who love them, must fear both the criminal and the cop.

Sadly, for many, the Ferguson case reaffirmed a most unsettling sense that they are under siege from all sides.

So people took to the streets. Who could really blame them?

Some simply saw protests marred by senseless violence. I saw that, to be sure, and my heart hurt seeing it. But I also saw decades, generations, centuries of pain and frustration erupting once more into view. I saw hearts crying and souls demanding to be heard, to be seen, to be valued.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” King, a great champion of nonviolence, wasn’t advocating rioting, but rather honoring hearing.

Even long-suffering people will not suffer forever. Patience expires. The heart can be broken only so many times before peace is broken. And the absence of peace doesn’t predicate the presence of violence. It does, however, demand the troubling of the comfortable. When the voice goes unheard, sometimes it must be raised. Sometimes when calls for justice go unmet, feet must meet pavement. Sometimes when you are unseen, you can no longer remain seated. Sometimes you must stand and make a stand.

No one of good character and conscience condones rioting or looting or any destruction of property. Those enterprises aren’t only criminal, they’re fruitless and counterproductive and rob one’s own neighborhood of needed services and facilities and unfairly punish the people who saw fit to follow a dream and an entrepreneurial spirit, and invest in themselves and those communities in the first place.

But people absolutely have a right to their feelings — including anger and frustration. Only the energies must be channeled into productive efforts aimed at delivering the changes desired. That is the hard work. That is where stamina is required. That is where the long game is played.

As the old Negro spiritual proclaims: “Walk together children/Don’t you get weary/Oh, talk together children/Don’t you get weary.”



18) Mass Imprisonment and Public Health



19) Video Shows Cleveland Officer Shot Boy in 2 Seconds















































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