Friday, January 16, 2015


Petitioning San Francisco Planning Department
This petition will be delivered to:
San Francisco Planning Department

Refuse Lennar Urban Developers a Permit to Demolish Candlestick Stadium Through Implosion.

Imploding Candlestick Park will further exaserbate the environmental health problems of this community. Extensive medical research backs up the connection between particulate matter exposure and many of the diseases Bayview Hunters Point residents already suffer from at the highest rates in this city - asthma and ischemic heart disease. Medical literature says particulate matter is also associated with risks of premature deaths, especially in the elderly and people with pre-existing cardiopulmonary disease. In children particulate matter exposre means reduced lung function, a condition that may plague them for the rest of their lives.

Also, concerns exist about brief exposure to implosion dust clouds as far as 6 to 12 miles from the implosion site, potentially affecting over two million lives.

To prevent further endangering this community with the dust from an implosion, we are demanding that Lenar is held to the mechanical dismantling that they put forward in their initial EIR application in 2010 that was approved by all city agencies and the community.

This is a disenfranchised Bayview neighborhood in San Francisco. Similar work has been done all over the city during the last twelve months in more affluent neighborhoods and numerus buildings have been deconstructed using mechanical dismantling. It is only in this Southeast corner of the city that politicians and developers feel they can act with impunity towards the health and safety of the community.

Our community has been left out of the conversation, permits have been applied for without the knowledge of promninent community organizations. This is why we're asking for your help. We need to get our voices heard. We need the city to know that our lives matter.

Letter to

San Francisco Planning Department
Refuse Lennar Urban De



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:








Protest and Resistance on Jan. 15-19 Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

Honor the Real Legacy of Dr. King!
Take to the streets to stop racist police terror
Saturday, January 17
Speak-out at 12:00 Noon at 24th & Mission
Then hit the buses & BART at 1:00 p.m.
Share the Facebook event

Contingent at MLK Day Parade
Monday, January 19, 11:00 a.m
CalTrain Station -- south of the Lefty O'Doul Bridge near AT&T Park

More info: 415-821-6545 or



Protest "Walk for Life" abortion rights opponents!

Defend a woman's right to choose!

Saturday, Jan. 24, at 1pm
(Steuart and Market right near Embarcadero)

(chanting and picket signs on the sidewalk when they march down Market Street from Civic Center)




Mass Mobilization to Stop Drone Wars!

A Convergence For Peace in the Nevada Desert

Join us March 4-6, 2015 at Creech Air Force Base, Indian Springs, Nevada, for a national mobilization of nonviolent resistance to shut down killer drone operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan,Yemen, Somalia, and everywhere. Sponsored by CODEPINK: Women for Peace, Nevada Desert Experience , Veterans For Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and Voices for Creative Nonviolence. CODEPINK will also hold vigils daily on March 2nd and 3rd, prior to the official beginning of this Creech Convergence For Peace, and welcomes everyone to join them.

In 2005, Creech Air Force Base secretly became the first U.S. base in the country to carry out illegal, remotely controlled assassinations using the MQ-1 Predator drones, and in 2006, the more advanced Reaper drones were added to its arsenal.  Creech drone personnel sit behind computers in the desert north of Las Vegas and kill "suspects" thousands of miles away.  Recent independent research indicates that the identity of only one out of 28 victims of U.S. drone strikes is known beforehand. Though officials deny it, the majority of those killed by drones are civilians. In 2014, it was leaked that the CIA's criminal drone assassination program, officially a separate operation from the Air Force's, has been piloted all along by Creech's super-secret Squadron 17. 

Since 2009 dozens of activists have been arrested for allegedly trespassing at Creech, in attempts to stop the indiscriminate killing and burning of innocent people by drones.  At the trial of the "Creech 14," the first Americans prosecuted for trespass at a drone base, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark testified that "to have a baby burn to death because of a 'no trespass'  sign would be poor public policy, to put it mildly."  In a time of burning children, the "no trespass" signs attached to the fences that protect the crimes perpetrated with drones are not legitimate, and they do not command our obedience.  After all, it is the U.S. military that is guilty of lethal trespassing.

The US drone program is rapidly proliferating as air bases are being converted to drone bases across the U.S. and abroad, but Creech remains the primary air base in U.S. state-sponsored global terrorism. Creech is where the killer drone program started--it is where we shall end it.

We must put an end to this desecration of our Mother Earth and all creatures who inhabit it.

We must put an end to the dehumanization of lives from Ferguson to Palestine to Pakistan.

We must close all foreign U.S. military bases.  Money for human needs. 

We must put an end to drone warfare, drone surveillance, and global militarization.

We must...

More details to come soon!

Sign up on facebook

Or contact:

Toby Blomé of Code Pink, 510-215-5974 (h)

Brian Terrell of VCNV and NDE,   773-853-1886



Justice for Rasmea: All out for March 12!
Letters for Leniency requested by Feb. 4.

On March 12, Rasmea is set to appear once again in the Detroit courtroom of Judge Gershwin Drain, this time for a sentencing hearing. We are seeking letters to the judge requesting leniency.

For this round of letters, we are NOT looking for a mountain of individual statements, but rather letters from prominent individuals who represent broader constituencies. We need you to work with leaders of faith-based, labor, and community organizations, as well as student governments, student organizations (national), prominent professors, and legislators in your area to draft and submit letters.

Below you will find an outline you can use to draft these letters, but it is important for the authors to write them in their own voices. Letters should be submitted by February 4 to

Stay tuned! Keep sharing Rasmea’s story and organizing fundraisers. Watch for calls for your support as we prepare for sentencing and appeal. Our organizing is key to winning #Justice4Rasmea.


Honorable Judge Gershwin Drain,

I am writing to request leniency from you in the March 12 sentencing of Rasmea Odeh, who I know as .

-In November 2014, Rasmea was convicted of Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization. Compassion in her sentencing will serve justice in this case. She was detained for a month immediately following the verdict, including almost 3 weeks in solitary confinement, which was extremely difficult for her.
As a survivor of torture, engagement for the betterment of her community in Chicago is critical to her emotional health; the isolation she endured while incarcerated was a great hardship and may have retriggered her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

-As a 67-year old woman, her health suffered under the cold, damp, and uncomfortable conditions in the St. Clair County Jail, as they surely would in any facility lacking medical services and accommodations to provide for senior citizens.

-If Rasmea loses her appeal, she will likely lose her citizenship and face deportation. This will end life as she knows it, cutting all her ties with family and community in Chicago. This punishment alone is so devastating, it should not be compounded by adding a prison term.

-Since there is a possibility of her conviction being overturned on appeal, keeping her out of prison would allow her to continue as a contributing and productive person, doing the work that is so critical to hundreds of immigrant and refugee women in Chicago’s Arab and Muslim community.

-Rasmea is an award-winning leader of Chicago’s immigrant community who has dedicated 50 years of her life to serving refugees wherever she has lived. In Chicago, she built the Arab Women’s Committee, with some 600 members. Because of Rasmea’s work, immigrant and refugee women who came to the US from countries facing war and political crises – like Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Syria, and beyond – now have a place to seek support, gain empowerment and community, and call their home.

Respectfully yours,

 follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to a friend
Copyright © 2015 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



Save the Date - UNAC National Conference, May 8 - 10, 2015

UNAC is the major national antiwar coalition in the U.S. today.  The existence of a United National Antiwar Coalition is vital and we need your financial support to continue our work and to expand.

With U.S. wars today accelerating and expanding globally in various forms – from drone attacks on Yemen and Pakistan, never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support to neo-fascists in Ukraine, and proliferating Africom forces to threats of war for regime change in Syria – we have an obligation to do whatever is possible to educate the public and to take action to stop the carnage.

The wars abroad are connected to global warming with most wars fought over energy resources with the U.S. war machine as the largest polluter.

At home, we see hugely growing income inequality, a militarized and racist police force, mass incarceration of Blacks and Latinos, and a massive police state apparatus that includes global surveillance and laws to quell dissent.

In spite of the trillions spent by the U.S. corporate war government and its controlled media propaganda machine to keep us in check, the people are fighting back.  We’ve been inspired and strengthened by the hundreds of thousands of new activists taking to the streets of this country to stop police brutality, to build Occupy encampments, to fight for decent wages, to demand full rights for immigrants, to win marriage equality, to end global warming, to demonstrate solidarity with the besieged people of Gaza, and to protest unending U.S. wars.

UNAC has played an active, often leadership role, in all of the antiwar and social justice movements of our time.  While most activists are focused on their particular issues, the most vital role we can play is to connect the issues to their source.  All of the injustices and crimes we protest, stem from the imperialist insatiable drive for expanding profit and control – and the U.S. is the largest imperialist power militarily and economically.  When there should be plenty for all, only the obscenely wealthy benefit while the rest of the 99% struggle just to survive.

Some of our recent major accomplishments:
·       Initiated protest against NATO and 15,000 marched in Chicago in 2012.
·        Called for immediate actions against threats of war and coups directed at Libya, Iran, No. Korea, Africa, Latin America,    Ukraine, and maintaining the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
·        Organized a national tour for Afghan leader Malalai Joya.
·        Sent representatives to international NATO protests and conferences.
·        Serve on the Board of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms to act against Islamophobia , racist attacks on Muslims, and attacks on our civil liberties.
·        Participated in national efforts to organize anti-drone actions.
·        Campaigned to defend victims of government repression who speak out and expose Washington’s crimes, including Rasmea Odeh, Mumia abu Jamal, Lynne Stewart, Chelsea Manning, and the Midwest activists targeted by the FBI.
·        Produced national educational conference calls featuring experts on topics such as U.S. intervention in Africa, the destruction of Libya, the developing wars in Syria, and others.
·        Built an antiwar contingent in the massive New York City Climate Change march and built Climate Change action in other cities around the country.
·        Helped organize protests against Israel’s attack on Gaza
·        Helped organize protests against the murder of Blacks by white police and the militarization of the police forces in the U.S.

UNAC has a history of bringing hundreds of activists together at large national conferences to learn about the issues of the day, to discuss the way forward and to vote on an Action Program for the coming period.

The UNAC conference next May will bring activists from all the movements in motion to cross-fertilize these struggles.  We are particularly dedicated to bringing young activists together to support and learn from each other.  For this, we need your help to offer subsidies to leaders from Ferguson, from the border wars in the southwest, from the Native Americans who are fighting against the pipelines ruining their lands, from the Students for Justice in Palestine, and many others.

Please give generously so that we can continue our work to bring harmony and justice to the peoples of this earth.

You can send a check to UNAC at PO Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054 or click the button below to contribute on-line with your credit or debit card.



On Behalf of Wadiya Jamal and
Mumia Abu-Jamal,
A Contribution Request

The message following is a forward from:
Rachel Wolkenstein
Sister, Advocate and Friend of the Extended Family

Samiya “Goldii” Abdullah, a daughter of Wadiya Jamal and Mumia Abu-Jamal died on December 17, 2014 after years of battle with breast cancer. Samiya would have been 37 this January 9 and is survived by two young daughters, Aiyanah and Aaiyah, affectionately known as Dolly and Puddy, ages eleven and four.

Samiya was a remarkable woman. She was accomplished as a musician, an activist and rapper on social justice, particularly in the struggle for Mumia’s freedom. She devoured books and education. During her long, often debilitating illness, Samiya finished her Masters Degree in School and Mental Health Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania with honors. She was dedicated to her young daughters and wanted them to grow up loving each other as much as she did her brothers and sisters. And she wanted her daughters to see Mumia (called “Pop Pop” by them) walk out of prison and home with their grandmother, Wadiya.

Samiya's active fight for Mumia's freedom, began at the young age of four. Mumia wrote about this in “The Visit” printed in Live from Death Row in 1994. This was recreated in the movie "Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary."

"My father is still considered to be a dangerous individual … his mind is what they fear, there is over- whelming evidence that would exonerate him of his conviction.
"He is an innocent man and the commonwealth has always known this, but being too Black, too smart, and too strong … The government will silence anyone that possesses the power to open the minds of the people."   

Samiya’s strength, character and spirit were nurtured by Wadiya and Mumia and are being passed on to her daughters.

On behalf of Wadiya Jamal and Mumia Abu-Jamal, this is a request for funds to assist Wadiya for care of her granddaughters, Dolly and Puddy.

A financial contribution of any amount will be greatly appreciated.

Please send checks or money orders, made payable to Wadiya Jamal:

Wadiya Jamal
P.O. Box 19404
Kingsessing Postal Station
Philadelphia, PA 19143-9998

In loving memory of Samiya and in tribute to her fierce fight for life,

Rachel Wolkenstein
Sister, Advocate and Friend of the Extended Family

Hear Mumia’s Words (and Song) played before the Janazah for Samiya on December 20, 2014: “Samiya Abdullah Makes Transition”:

 - This fwd message is from:
The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal,
PO Box 16222, Oakland CA 94610.


Keith Cook, Mumia’s Brother, Addresses the
“Cops vs Free Speech” Meeting in the Bay Area

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Prison Radio, and Oakland Teachers for Mumia held a public meeting on December 5th of last year titled "Cops vs Free Speech," to discuss and protest violations of free speech, which were initiated by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The meeting focussed on Pennsylvania’s new “gag” law, which criminalized Mumia, other convicts, and anyone who disseminates the speech or writings of convicts; and the suppression of the Urban Dreams web site by the Oakland School Board, an act which also targeted Mumia. (While the Oakland School Board has now restored the Urban Dreams site, the struggle against the “gag” law in PA continues.)

Speakers included Cephus Johnson, Oscar Grant’s “Uncle Bobby”; Eliot Grossman, former lawyer for Mumia; and Keith Cook, brother of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Funds were raised to support the struggle against the Pennsylvania “gag” law.

•  •  •  •  •

While the initial campaign to support the lawsuit against the Pennsylvania “gag” law has now been successfully concluded, your help is still needed with the on-going legal action against this anti-free speech law, as well as for the work of Prison Radio, the publishers of Mumia’s commentaries. If you haven’t already, please donate now at…

•  •  •  •  •

The following are the remarks of speaker Keith Cook, brother of Mumia, on December 5th, 2014. (Brother Keith’s remarks, seen here, were first published by the SF Bay View, at:

Cops vs the First Amendment

by Keith Cook
Thank you for inviting me again to be a part of this essential, timely discussion that we should be having across our nation. Free speech – for most of us who are activists, what does the Fraternal Order of Police, commonly known as the FOP, have to do with it? Thus the name of this forum, “Cops vs. Free Speech.”

As most of you know, back on Oct. 5 this year, Pennsylvania passed a law that allows judges to prohibit and punish those who amplify Mumia’s voice. This new law was written in direct response to the pre-recorded commencement address at his alma mater, Goddard College in Vermont. This law is another example of the long standing vendetta by the state of Pennsylvania and the FOP against Mumia.

You all here know something about free speech because the Free Speech Movement was started here during the 1964-65 academic year on the campus of UC at Berkeley. It was a student protest that was unprecedented in scope. This is the 50th anniversary of the protest.

So, my friends, if you do nothing during this time in history, eventually, if you are an activist or a person of color, they are going to come after you in some way. Now we are at this place where we must stand up. We are only at the beginning of where the FOP bad cops are trying to take away the right to free speech and dissent, the right to assemble, the right to protect yourself, even take away your camera and threaten you. There is a breakdown in trust and the rights of every American.

Since when did the United States of America change the rules – change to the point where free speech, freedom to disagree, freedom to think differently become a violation of the Constitution of the United States? When did America change?

The FOP has only 325,000 members spread out over 2,100 chapters. Who gave them the power to change America? It has been changing over time because we have blindly given the federal government, state government, police departments and the FOP carte blanche to keep us feeling safe “by any means necessary.”

Because it didn’t harm you at the time, we accept even the militarization of our police and drones to “help” watch over us. So now we are where we are, a very scared, divided, paranoid country with no trust. We don’t even believe that our children will have a better life than we do.

Back on Oct. 5 this year, Pennsylvania passed a law that allows judges to prohibit and punish those who amplify Mumia’s voice. This law is another example of the long standing vendetta by the state of Pennsylvania and the FOP against Mumia.
We are not going to allow these people, the real hoodlums, the police, peace officers, the FOP to destroy the foundation of America just because they carry a gun and take rights they don’t have. The hoodlums are indeed the rogue cops who are out there pulling political strings of certain elected officials.

The hoodlums are the rogue cops who are hiding behind their shields their true racist passion. The hoodlums are the cops who use chokeholds, on camera, and get away with it. The hoodlums are the police who bully and throw 70-year-old women to the ground. The hoodlums are the cops who set my brother Mumia up in the first place.

Why are we so adamant about fighting this? You have to stand for something. We all do. The First Amendment clearly states it prohibits the making of any law that disallows freedom of speech.

Stand up with us. We have a right to protest.

You see, there is a delusion of power. The cops believe they have all power – so much power that they believe they can take away your freedom of speech. That they can violate the Constitution or even rewrite it the way they want it to be read.

Every one of the key persons on the prosecution team who were involved in Mumia’s case was controlled by the FOP, got promoted and in some cases still are there. Every DA in Philadelphia since 1981 was elected with the help of the FOP and ran openly on the platform that if elected they would murder Mumia.

The First Amendment clearly states it prohibits the making of any law that disallows freedom of speech. Stand up with us. We have a right to protest.

One of the big problems is that there is not an independent body policing the cops. They investigate themselves. It is nearly impossible to indict a policeman. It is a clear conflict of interest to allow them to investigate themselves.

The relationship between the prosecutors and the police is too cozy. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. We have to break up some of these relationships. We need independent reviews, independent grand juries. The DA has too much control of the outcomes. We need the government to represent the people, all the people.

Be clear. This isn’t only about Mumia or offenders. This is about you. This is about what your child can read in school. This is about Urban Dreams, the curriculum that the Oakland School District just reinstated.

This is about protests we see around the country led by Black Lives Matter and other small groups around the country like in New York and Ferguson. There was a protest in 140 cities last week in support of Mike Brown. This is about Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice – only 12 years old – all disenfranchised people, Black, White and Brown people; it is about all of us.

Be clear. This isn’t only about Mumia or offenders. This is about you.
Don’t be totally discouraged. We are seeing some progress, some wins. The FOP did not get the NFL to penalize the St. Louis Rams players who put their “hands up, don’t shoot” as they entered the field. An infuriated spokesman for the St. Louis Police Officers Association told the NFL and the Rams: “I know that there are those who say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well, I got news for people who think that way. Cops have First Amendment rights, too, and we plan to exercise ours.”

This man is a former cop and a current member of the Missouri state House of Representatives. Did that sound vaguely like a threatening tone? Here it is. It’s a governmental agent who seeks to punish someone for expressing certain views. Arrogance. It is also clear he did not understand what the First Amendment says.

The FOP did not get Goddard College staff and students to cancel Mumia’s planned commencement speech. The Oakland School district is reinstating the Urban Dreams curriculum over the objections of the FOP. Thank goodness for Oakland Teachers for Mumia, the unions and others. They said NO and didn’t let it go until it was reversed.

In discussing the recent protests about the killing of Black men and boys across the U.S., Congressmen Jeffries said: “Hands up, don’t shoot” is a rallying cry of people across America who are fed up with police violence.” President Obama called it “unfair policies that violate my belief in what America can be.” Lastly, Rep. Green from Texas said it was a John Carlos moment because this has become a new symbol, a new statement where people around the country now are calling to the attention of those who don’t quite understand that this is a movement – a movement that will get stronger as more people join in.

The nation has seen the murder of Eric Garner, the nation has seen the police roll up on Tamir Rice, age 12, with a toy pistol and within seconds shoot him dead. We and they did not have to take the police’s word of what happened; we saw. So the question becomes, “How many more lies have they told and we believed?”

Congressmen Jeffries said: “Hands up, don’t shoot” is a rallying cry of people across America who are fed up with police violence.”
Just maybe we need to ask more questions, which open up this large can of worms. Just look at how many lies the police have been caught at in the last couple of weeks. There is a better chance now that the larger community can believe the possibility Mumia was framed and innocent as we do.

In closing, I am asking you to do three things:

1) Educate yourself and five other people about the injustices that we are speaking about tonight.
2) Stand up where you are – in your neighborhood, in your city, in Sacramento, on social media, everywhere you can – to let your voices be heard to stop this madness
3) And work with other like-minded organizations who want the same thing. Whether it is the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia, Stop the Death Penalty, Veterans for Peace or Stop Mass Incarceration.

My friends, what I am asking you to do is to understand that you have to have the power, because there are more of you than there are members of the FOP. There are more of you than the staff at Fox News. It is a matter of your desire to stick together until we get the change we are asking for.

My brother Mumia said in response to the Mumia Gag Law:

“I welcome Gov. Corbett’s signature on an unconstitutional bill that is proof that the executive and the legislative don’t give one whit about their own Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States Constitution. I welcome that as proof that they are the outlaws.”

Hands up, don’t shoot!

Free Mumia and all political prisoners!

Keith Cook delivered this speech on Dec. 5 at “Cops vs. Free Speech,” a public forum organized by the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia, Prison Radio, and Oakland Teachers for Mumia, and held at La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. He can be reached at:

This message has been sent to you by:

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

Donate Now
to fight the “gag” law!
go to:


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



Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

Lorenzo Speaks Concerning Prosecution's Brief:
JANUARY 1, 2015—The prosecutor has run away from (almost) every issue raised in my PCRA by begging the Court to dismiss everything as “untimely”. When they don’t do this, they suggest that me and my lawyers were “defamatory” towards either my former prosecutor Christopher Abruzzo or Detective Kevin Duffin, in our claims they withheld, misused or hid evidence of my Innocence, in order to secure an unjust conviction in this case. If I charged, a year ago, that about a dozen AGs (attorneys general) were involved in circulating porno via their office computers, people would’ve laughed at me, and seen me as crazy.

But, guess what? During 2014, we learned that this was the truth. How can it be defamatory to speak the truth? Notice the OAG (Office of Attorney General), never said the obvious: That AG Abruzzo didn’t inform the Defense about the relationship between his Motive Witness and his head detective (Victoria Doubs and Det. Duffin); that Det. Duffin doesn’t deny Doubs was his god-sister, and that she lived in his family home, or that he assisted her whenever she got into trouble.

Why not? Because it is true. How can you defame someone who defames himself? Mr. Christopher Abruzzo, Esq., when a member of the higher ranks of the OAG, sent and/or received copious amounts of porno to other attorneys general and beyond. What does this say about his sense of judgment? He thought enough about his behavior to resign from his post in the Governor’s Cabinet. If he thought that his behavior was okay, he’d still be sitting in the Governor’s cabinet, right? The OAG cannot honestly oppose anything we’ve argued, but they try by seeking to get the Court to do their dirty work, how? By denying an Evidentiary Hearing to prove every point we’ve claimed.

The prosecution is trying desperately to avoid dealing with the substance of my claims in Com. v. Lorenzo Johnson. So, they slander my Legal Team and blame them for defaming the good AG’s and Cops involved with this case. They try to do what is undeniable, to deny that they hid evidence from the Defense for years. They blamed me for daring to protest the hidden evidence of their malfeasance and other acts to sabotage the defense. They claim that they had an “Open File” policy with my trial counsel. But “Open File” is more than letting an attorney read something in their office. If it’s a search for the truth it must include what is turned over to the attorney, for how do we really know what was shown to her?

They say it is inconceivable that an attorney would read a file, beginning on page nine (9), and not ask for the preceding eight (8) pages. Yet, it is conceivable if trial counsel was ineffective for not demanding the record of the first eight pages. Pages that identify the State’s only witness as a “SUSPECT” in the murder for which her client was charged! How could such an attorney fail to recognize the relevance of such an issue, barring their sheer Ineffectiveness and frankly, Incompetence.

By seeking to avoid an evidentiary hearing, the prosecution seeks to avoid evidence of their wrongdoing being made plain, for all to see. If they believe I’m wrong, why not prove it? They can’t. So they shout I filed my appeal untimely, as if there can ever justly be a rule that precludes an innocent from proving his innocence! Not to mention the fact that the prosecution has failed to even mention the positive finger prints that ay my trial they said none existed. Don’t try to hide it with a lame argument about time. When isn’t there a time for truth? The prosecution should be ashamed of itself for taking this road. It is unworthy of an office that claims to seek justice.

After the trial verdict The Patriot-News (March 18, 1997) reported, “Deputy Attorney General Christopher Abruzzo admitted there were some serious concerns about the strength of the evidence against Johnson and praised the jury for doing a thorough job.” I guess he forgot to mention all of the evidence he left out to show Innocence.

Now, more than ever, Lorenzo Johnson needs your support.
Publicize his case; bring it to your friends, clubs, religious
and social organizations. 



Write: Lorenzo Johnson
            DF 1036
            SCI Mahanoy
            301 Morea Rd.
            Frackville, PA 17932

 Email: Lorenzo Johnson through code:
              Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC




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!

Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
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1) Oklahoma: Request to Delay Four Executions Is Denied



2) Despite Scrutiny, Police Chokeholds Persist in New York City



3) In a Safer Age, U.S. Rethinks Its ‘Tough on Crime’ System

Bullets were flying in the cities. Crack wars trapped people in their homes. The year was 1994, and President Bill Clinton captured the grim national mood, declaring “gangs and drugs have taken over our streets” as he signed the most far-reaching crime bill in history.

The new law expanded the death penalty, and offered the states billions of dollars to hire more police officers and to build more prisons. But what was not clear at the time was that violent crime had already peaked in the early ’90s, starting a decline that has cut the nation’s rates of murder, robbery and assault by half.

Perhaps nowhere has the drop been more stunning than in New York City, which reported only 328 homicides for 2014, compared with 2,245 in 1990. The homicide rate in some cities has fluctuated more — Washington ticked up to 104 in 2014, after a modern low of 88 in 2012. But that still is a drastic fall from a peak of 474 in 1990.

Now, Democrats and Republicans alike are rethinking the vast, costly infrastructure of crime control and incarceration that was born of the earlier crime wave.

“The judicial system has been a critical element in keeping violent criminals off the street,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who is co-sponsor of a bill to reduce some federal drug sentences. “But now we’re stepping back, and I think it’s about time, to ask whether the dramatic increase in incarceration was warranted.”

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opposed broad reductions in sentences. But he still agreed, in an interview, that “there are a lot of ideas — prison reform, policing, sentencing — being discussed now that wouldn’t be if we hadn’t had this drop in the crime statistics.”

Yet even as law enforcement and the political establishment look toward a new era, the reasons for the broad drop in crime remain elusive. It has confounded both those from the right who had predicted that waves of young predators would terrorize communities and those on the left who watched crime fall even through ups and downs in poverty and unemployment.

There are some areas of consensus. The closing of open-air drug markets drove down shootings in many urban areas. Credit is also given to a revolution in urban policing, in which officers concentrate on crime “hot spots,” as small as a block or a bar, that are responsible for outsize mayhem.

The major increases in drug and gun sentences in the 1980s and ’90s played some role but only a modest one, most experts say, with soaring incarceration rates bringing diminishing returns while disproportionately hitting minorities.

Various experts have also linked the fall in violence to the aging of the population, low inflation rates and even the decline in early-childhood lead exposure.

But in the end, none of these factors fully explain a drop that occurred, in tandem, in much of the world.“Canada, with practically none of the policy changes we point to here, had a comparable decline in crime over the same period,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a law professor and an expert in criminal justice at the University of California, Berkeley. He described the quest for an explanation as “criminological astrology.”

The fall in serious crime was accompanied by declines in other social ills such as teenage pregnancy, child abuse and juvenile delinquency, emphasizing the role of cultural shifts beyond the ken of the justice system.

“Young people are growing up in a safer environment and behaving more responsibly,” said Jeremy Travis, president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and co-editor of a 2014 report by the National Academy of Sciences on the consequences of mass incarceration.

Along with uncertainty about the sources of lower crime are contentious debates about what should come next. How far can incarceration be reduced without endangering safety? Where is the proper line between aggressive, preventive policing and intrusive measures that alienate the law-abiding?

The rise in incarceration has been even more striking than the decline in crime, leading to growing agreement on both the right and the left that it has gone too far. From the early 1970s to 2009, mainly because of changes in sentencing, the share of American residents in state or federal prison multiplied fourfold, reaching 1.5 million on any given day, with hundreds of thousands more held in local jails, although the rate has tapered off somewhat since 2009.

The social and economic costs are now the subject of intense study. Some conservatives such as William G. Otis, a former federal prosecutor and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, argue that while many factors account for falling crime, harsher justice surely played a significant role.

“When people are incarcerated they are not out on the street to ransack your home or sell drugs to your high school kid,” he said.

But many criminologists say the impact has been limited.

“The policy decisions to make long sentences longer and to impose mandatory minimums have had minimal effect on crime,” said Mr. Travis, of John Jay College. “The research on this is quite clear.”

Higher imprisonment might explain from 10 percent to, at most, 25 percent of the crime drop since the early 1990s, said Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. But it brought diminishing returns, he said, as those committing less severe crimes also received lengthy sentences.

Many states, led by Republicans as well as by Democrats, have acted to reduce sentences for low-level and nonviolent crimes and to improve drug and other treatment services, while still bringing down crime rates.In the Congress, figures as varied as Senator Durbin and Republican senators including Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky have supported cuts in federal sentencing.

Police methods entered the spotlight after the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York led to mass protests, followed by the murderous targeting of two officers in New York.

Combined at its best with close public cooperation, the concentration of police resources on crime hot spots has been shown, in several studies, to reduce crime without simply pushing it elsewhere, said Daniel S. Nagin, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University.

Methods used with success in New York City in the mid-1990s under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and his police commissioner William J. Bratton have been widely imitated, including the mapping of crime and concentration of forces in trouble spots and use of “CompStat” data and meetings to hold local commanders accountable for crime in their precincts.

John F. Timoney, who was No. 2 in the New York Police Department at the time and later headed police departments in Philadelphia and Miami, said new attention to seemingly minor crimes like public drunkenness and vandalism is also vital.

“It’s the quality-of-life issues that dominate community meetings,” he said. Pushing street officers to respond, under the so-called broken windows theory, won public support and sometimes headed off more serious criminal behavior, he said.

But some say the tactics too often devolved into overly aggressive policing and the “stop and frisk” policy at the center of controversy in New York, in which officers search young men, mainly black and Hispanic, on little pretext.

In the wake of the police killings of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York, President Obama established a task force of police officials and experts that is expected to recommend increases in community policing, which has declined since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and other changes intended to repair the gulf between law enforcers and minorities as well as improve crime prevention.

Given how poorly trends in crime were foreseen in the past, and the role of deeper social forces, there is no guarantee that crime rates will not rise again.

But there is wide agreement on measures outside the scope of the criminal justice system that could foster further declines or blunt any rise, Dr. Nagin said. Enriching the early childhoods of high-risk children, expanding drug treatment programs and offering more mental health services are prime examples.

“One clearly bad option,” Dr. Nagin said, “is turning prisons into substitutes for mental hospitals.”



4) Study Finds Local Taxes Hit Lower Wage Earners Harder



5) Freedom Rider: Charlie Hebdo: “Je Suis White People"
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
January 15, 2015
“The group photo should have been a perp walk to the Hague instead of a photo opportunity for the seriously blood thirsty.”
Don’t kill white people. After all is said and done, the Charlie Hebdo outrage, the hashtags, and the million person marches amount to that simple but very powerful dictum. In the eyes of the governments that do most of the killing on the planet and the corporate media who act as their scribes, there is nothing worse than targeting even a handful of white people for death.

Charlie Hebdo is a supposedly satirical magazine published in Paris, France. It was little known to Americans until January 7, 2015 when two gunmen attacked its offices and killed twelve staff members. Charlie Hebdo was well known for intentionally violating the Islamic prohibition of depicting the prophet. According to survivors, the killers announced themselves as members of al-Qaeda and said they were avenging the prophet Muhammad. A policewoman and four more people were killed the following day when another gunman took hostages in a kosher supermarket.

One look at Charlie Hebdo cartoons shows that the word satire is being used very loosely. The depictions of cabinet minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey, and the kidnapped Nigerian school girls as pregnant welfare recipients make a mockery of the world satirical. Regardless of how many French politicians are skewered in its pages, it must be pointed out that Charlie Hebdo indulges in racist hate speech.

Their reputation for insult and offense was quickly forgotten and the call to unquestioningly identify with the victims was immediate. Within a few days, #Jesuischarlie was tweeted more than one million times. The propaganda onslaught created an awkward example of hypocrisy for world leaders who are always the worst killers of all.
“Regardless of how many French politicians are skewered in its pages, it must be pointed out that Charlie Hebdo indulges in racist hate speech.
Barack Obama trotted out tired denunciations, calling the attacks “cowardly” as he claimed to stand up for the rights of a free press. These were strange words coming from a man who on seven occasions has used the discredited Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who leak to the media.

Americans were not alone in hypocritically condemning murder. The convenient selective amnesia of the French people is as stunning as their sense of feeling more aggrieved than anyone else in the world.

France was a party to every atrocity and genocide committed by Europeans in history. France played a major role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, kidnapping approximately 1,250,000 Africans and sending them to work under barbaric conditions in their American territories.

After being forced out of Haiti by the world’s most successful slave rebellion, France then held that nation hostage under threat of re-enslavement and demanded a payment of $60 million francs which were paid from 1838 to 1947. Haiti remains poverty stricken to this day as a result.

France was at the table during the 1884 Berlin Conference which chopped Africa up into European spheres of influence. France engaged in mass slaughter again and again as it attempted to prevent colonies such as Vietnam and Algeria from gaining independence.

After NATO murdered Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, French president Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Libya to personally gloat over the country he helped to destroy. He was joined by UK prime minister David Cameron, who was also among the killers-in-chief who arrived in Paris looking solemn. France and the UK are part of the NATO effort to destroy Syria and turn it into a chaotic ruin as they have done to Libya.

The corporate media determines who is and who isn’t a worthy victim and people with dark skin rarely make the cut. The thousands of Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza included members of the press. Seventeen journalists were killed in Gaza in 2014 alone, yet Israeli president Netanyahu was allowed to join the “unity march” in Paris as if he too were an innocent.
“France and the UK are part of the NATO effort to destroy Syria and turn it into a chaotic ruin as they have done to Libya.”
There is enough horror in the world to cause outrage but the level of outrage seems to depend on who is being treated horribly and who is carrying out the atrocity. The worst acts of terror are committed by heads of state who don’t kill seventeen people as these attackers did in Paris. They kill in the thousands yet are still treated with respect.

It doesn’t say much for the state of human advancement that killings committed by individuals still create so much more concern than those committed by governments. They get away with mass murder because the same corporate media which saturated coverage of Charlie Hebdo say little or nothing about Gaza or Libya or Somalia or Syria or Iraq or Haiti. Instead of pointing out that Barack Obama is a killer too, the pundits criticize him for not being among the sanctimonious liars who gathered in Paris. The group photo should have been a perp walk to the Hague instead of a photo opportunity for the seriously blood thirsty.

Murder is wrong when committed by individual gunmen with grudges and it is still wrong when it comes from a drone strike. A unity march should denounce human rights abuses, of which warfare is the worst. The next time 1 million gather to denounce terror, the anger should be directed at those people who carry it out the most.



6) Yes, All White People Are Racists -- Now Let's Do Something About It
The first step to ending racism is acknowledging that most of us harbor "implicit bias," whether we realize it or not.

As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as a forgiving people. We've enshrined the assumption of innocence in our legal code; we take pride in giving second chances to those who misstep. And when it comes to questions of bias, we follow a similar script. In American life, no one is presumed racist without cause. People generally become racists in our minds by engaging in actions or deeds we've deemed as such (paging Steve Scalise). But what if that perception is inherently wrong? What if Americans — of all races, but especially white Americans — don't deserve the benefit of our doubt?

It's an admittedly uncomfortable question, as it puts all of us — me as I write this, you reading it, our friends, our relatives, our colleagues — under a type of scrutiny to which we're unaccustomed. But a growing body of research suggests that this idea holds merit: Implicit racial bias undergirds our culture's relationship with race, even as explicit displays are increasingly uncommon.

So what is "implicit bias," and how is it different from the more overt bias we typically focus on when discussing racism in this country?

The most comprehensive study of implicit bias to date comes from "Project Implicit," a nonprofit organization founded by researchers from Harvard, the University of Washington and the University of Virginia in 1998. Project Implicit uses a novel technique to test the hidden biases we hold toward certain demographics, employing a short online test that brings the results of their findings right into your living room. (I highly recommend you take their test here.)

In the Implicit Bias module on race, for instance, "positive" and "negative" words are paired with computer-generated images of Black African faces and White European faces. The test instructs you to match the categories by quickly pressing a button on the left or right side of your keyboard, so that you're connecting "good" words with black faces and "bad" words with white faces — and vice versa. The test measures how quickly you're able to successfully follow the exam's instructions; if you're better at pairing "good" words with white faces than with black faces, you probably have some measure of implicit bias against black people. (As I did when I took the test.) Other modules explore one's potential gender bias, age bias, religious bias, and so forth.

The results are as disturbing as they are instructive, and they're buttressed by an increasingly robust body of research. The overwhelming majority of white people who've taken the test exhibit a preference for whiteness; for blacks, respondents are split nearly down the middle, with about half favoring black faces and half favoring white faces. (Because, the study's authors speculate, the assumptions embedded in our culture that lead to this implicit bias can affect people of any race.)

Other recent research — using markedly different methods — has uncovered similarly disturbing patterns in our private, often subconscious thoughts. Indeed, more than anything else, a wide range of recent studies seem to show that while white Americans are getting better at not using certain language or voicing certain opinions, deep currents of racism remain. For example, a recent study showed that people have a considerably higher opinion of job applicants who self-identify as "African American" than "black."

We are very good at shaming the likes of Donald Sterling or Clive Bundy when they say overtly racist things, but we're not very good at confronting the deeper structural racism that we, ourselves, inhabit. We have changed the language, but have we fixed our culture? Or did we just hide our society's most odious assumptions under the rug of political correctness? And will it be easier, or more difficult, to conquer racism's legacy in a country that's so unwilling to even admit its own ugly biases?

In 2013, a group at the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) set out to explore the potential for hidden bias among whites. The researchers asked white Americans whether they agreed with the statement: "The idea of an America where most people are not white bothers me." (An overtly racist sentiment to be sure.) Perhaps unsurprisingly, only 13% of respondents were willing to agree. But then the researchers did something interesting: they created two sets of respondents and asked them each a set of questions about the changes in American culture that do trouble them. One group was given the option to pick "an America where most people are not white," while the other group didn't have that choice. These groups were demographically identical, so any gap between the two groups' responses should, at least hypothetically, reveal an "indirect response" among whites against a more ethnically diverse nation. The results are not encouraging.
In the Atlanticarticle that originally reported this research, PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones notes:
[T]he racial anxiety differences between white Republicans and white Democrats are significant on the direct question, with white Republicans more likely than white Democrats to say a majority non-white country bothers them (18 percent versus 11 percent). But this apparent difference disappears with the indirect measure; when white Democrats are given the opportunity to register this opinion indirectly, those expressing concern over racial changes jumps from 11 percent to 33 percent, while white Republicans expressing concern rises from 18 percent to 30 percent.
That's right: white Democrats are less likely to express racism explicitly, but their discomfort with a more racially diverse nation is just as large (or perhaps slightly larger!) than their Republican peers. Similarly, the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center has found that Americans are more likely to consider blacks and Hispanics "lazy," "unintelligent," and welfare-dependent than whites. A summary of this research notes that, "One startling finding of this study is that so many people are willing and able to rate group members on the basis of their race and/or ethnicity at all. Survey non-response was very low." Which is to say, when asked abstract questions about the makeup of our society, whites know what to say to signal one's Seriousness and Liberalism. Of course it's okay that America is growing more diverse! But when whites are asked specific questions about the intellect and work ethic of blacks and Hispanics, they enthusiastically resort to the laziest and ugliest of stereotypes.

Personally, I find this evidence extremely compelling, particularly when considering the wider culture. It's no secret that black Americans face disproportionate harassment from cops, longer sentences for drug convictions, and are far likelier to face criminal prosecution for low-level offenses like drug possession and use — despite engaging in those illicit activities at the same rate (or lower) than whites.

Like it or not, it's dishonest to pretend that white people (in general or in particular) don't carry implicit bias. Does this mean that most white people are overt, capital-R Racists? Of course not! Indeed, many of these studies only strengthen the notion that modern whites are highly unlikely to voice racist sentiments. But the deeper, implicit bias remains.

Americans are a forgiving people, and that's generally an admirable attribute we share. But here, it seems dangerously counterproductive. What if Americans changed the way they talk about race? What if white people tried to confront their own shortcomings, and accepted that the default presumption should probably be "implicitly racist"?

Maybe then, whites would start to work harder, collectively and individually, to show their alliance with (and acceptance of) people of color — through their words, their actions, and their deeds.

After all, wouldn't it be better to live in a world where white people made a constant, concerted effort to overcome implicit racism? Particularly when it lurks within themselves.



7)  Record 346 inmates die, dozens of guards fired in Florida prisons
by Shaun King
Jan 14, 2015 11:20am PST

The United States has a prison crisis of epic proportions. With just five percent of the world population, but 25 percent of the world's prisoners, the United States has, far and away, the highest incarceration rate, the largest number of prisoners, and the largest percentage of citizens with a criminal record of any country in the world.

The highly respected Prison Policy Initiative breaks it down:

The U.S. incarcerates 716 people for every 100,000 residents, more than any other country. In fact, our rate of incarceration is more than five times higher than most of the countries in the world. Although our level of crime is comparable to those of other stable, internally secure, industrialized nations, the United States has an incarceration rate far higher than any other country.

Nearly all of the countries with relatively high incarceration rates share the experience of recent large-scale internal conflict. But the United States, which has enjoyed a long history of political stability and hasn’t had a civil war in nearly a century and a half, tops the list.

If we compare the incarceration rates of individual U.S. states and territories with that of other nations, for example, we see that 36 states and the District of Columbia have incarceration rates higher than that of Cuba, which is the nation with the second highest incarceration rate in the world.
Now, what we are learning is that the United States is not just imprisoning people at an outrageous pace, but that men and women are dying in these prisons at all-time highs, often at the hands of guards, in the most awful and brutal ways imaginable. The state of Florida, it appears, is ground zero for the deaths of prisoners, and the crisis is so deeply corrupt and out of hand that it needs immediate national intervention.

In 2014, Florida recorded at least 346 deaths inside of their prison system, an all-time high for the state in spite of the fact that its overall prison population has hovered around 100,000 people for the five previous years. Hundreds of these deaths from 2014 and from previous years are now under investigation by the DOJ because of the almost unimaginable role law enforcement officers are playing in them.

Below the fold I will highlight some of the most egregious stories.

Jerry Washington filed a sexual harassment complaint against two officers in the Santa Rosa Correctional Institute. A few days later, after the officers learned of the complaint, they threatened to kill Jerry. Jerry filed another complaint with the prison about the death threats. Afraid for his safety, he wrote his sister a letter and included copies of both of the grievances he had filed. You can read the letter and copies of the complaints here. In the letter he tells her very clearly that if anything happens to him, she should know that it wasn't an accident.

Seven days later, Jerry Washington was killed in prison. According to the Miami Herald:
In letters to the family, two of Washington’s fellow inmates claimed that several corrections officers warned the inmate that they were going to “f--- him up,” when they returned to the prison for their weekend shift.

“They were going to get him that weekend, which would have been on pick-a-nigga Friday,” one wrote Washington’s family, using a slang version of the n-word. “It’s a saying that the officers have ... that comes from slavery when the master goes to the slave quarters on Friday to pick a nigger to hang.”

In detail, the inmate, whose name is being withheld by the Miami Herald, claimed that one of the sergeants placed drugs in Washington’s food that day and an orderly served the 5-foot-8 inmate his poisoned meal that afternoon.

By dinnertime, Washington was seriously ill, inmates told DOC inspectors. He was found sprawled in his cell at 9:20 p.m. on Sept. 16, but he was still alive, and officers and other staff reported he was able to sit up and talk.

Jerry died a few hours later and the family has been given few details on what happened after 9:20 PM until he was pronounced dead at 6 AM the following day.

What isn’t redacted from the report is the bulk of statements provided to the DOC’s investigator by seven inmates — most of whom told the same story: that Washington feared for his life and that Sgt. Marcus Stokes, Officer Pugh and Officer Charles Asbel were conspiring to harm him because he had filed complaints against them.

One inmate, Aaron Porter, went further — stating to inspectors that he overheard Stokes, Pugh and Asbel planning their revenge on Sept. 16.

Before we move on to the next case of the murder of Randall Jordan-Aparo, Jerry Washington and his fellow inmates in Santa Rosa mentioned in their letters to Jerry's family that they were being "gassed" by the guards. Jerry thought it might actually cause him to die.  Jerry and a fellow inmate both mention it here,

“I just want you to know how they are playing,” Washington wrote. “I got real, real, real bad blood pressure, and if they gas me and jump on me [and] I happen to have a stroke or a heart attack ... don’t ya’ll believe nothing they try to tell y’all.”

He enclosed copies of the grievances he had sent to the inspector general’s office and told them to call several sexual violence groups, including one in Florida.

At the same time, the fellow inmate was also writing the Washington family about alleged prison abuses and said he had been sexually harassed like Washington. He claimed corrections officers were watching them and making sexual remarks to them in the showers, gassing them for no reason and refusing to feed them.

I had actually never heard of inmates being gassed before until the death of Randall Jordan-Aparo. He died, completely covered in the gas, his body a tinted orange, with stains of it on the wall of his cell as shown in the picture below.

According to the Miami Herald:

Randall Jordan-Aparo died weeping and gasping for breath on the concrete floor of his prison isolation cell, naked except for his white boxer shorts.

Incensed that he had cursed at a nurse, guards at Franklin Correctional Institution in the Panhandle fired nine blasts of noxious gas into his 13-by-8 cell through a slot in the door and, ultimately, left him there, sobbing.

“I can’t breathe, I can’t take it no more, please help me,’’ he pleaded.

Five hours later, the 27-year-old was found lifeless, face-down on the bare slab. His mouth and nose were pressed to the bottom of the door, as if trying to gulp fresh air through the thin crack. His hair, legs, toes, torso and mouth were dusted with a faint orange residue, a byproduct of the gas. A paperback Bible was under his shoulder.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement sent two investigators, Michael Kennedy and Michael DeVaney, to look into what had occurred. Their conclusion, summarized in one paragraph: The “disciplinary actions” taken by guards had no bearing on the death.

“They just said he got sick,’’ Jordan-Aparo’s father, Thomas Aparo, recalled being told by corrections officials.

Hearing these claims, inspectors from the state began looking into the case right away. After reporting their findings, they began suffering retaliation themselves almost immediately.

They interviewed inmates, studied the use-of-force report, the video captured by surveillance cameras, audio of the incident and photographs of Jordan-Aparo’s body. Among their findings:

•  A claim by prison staffers that Jordan-Aparo was being “disorderly” before his death was false.

•  Initial reports downplayed the fact that Jordan-Aparo was complaining about experiencing extreme pain and simply wanted medical attention, preferably in a hospital.

•  Contrary to claims that his cell had been decontaminated after the gassing, photos clearly showed residue everywhere — orange smears on the floor, in the sink and in the toilet bowl. There was a dense orange cloud above the bunk where Jordan-Aparo would have sat.

•  Although reports said Jordan-Aparo was issued a fresh set of clothing after the gassing, he was dressed only in dirty, orange-stained boxers.

•  Nobody assigned to investigate the matter administratively from the Department of Corrections watched the “use of force” video showing Jordan-Aparo being gassed.

Their conclusion: Jordan-Aparo died as a result of medical negligence and the “sadistic, retaliatory” use of chemical agents on a sick and helpless inmate who did nothing wrong. And that staff reports following the death contained inconsistencies, errors, omissions and outright lies.

Less than a year away from being released, Latandra Ellington wrote a disturbing letter to her aunt detailing that an officer in the prison was threatening to beat and murder her. Neal Colgrass from Newser details the short time frame between Latandra writing her aunt the letter, her aunt calling the prison, and Latandra being found beaten to death.

On Sept. 21, Latandra Ellington wrote her aunt about prison officer "Sgt. Q" who, she says, threatened to beat and murder her. Further, he would flip his badge around to obscure his name.

Wrote Ellington, "Auntie, no one knows how to spell or say this man’s name. But he goes by Sgt. Q and he works the B Shift a.m." Her concerned aunt called the Lowell Correctional Institution on Sept. 30 and talked to an officer who said he would "look after" Ellington. The next day, the 36-year-old was dead. A private autopsy paid for by the family shows that Ellington—who had seven months left to serve—died of blunt-force trauma to her stomach consistent with kicking and punching, according to the family's lawyer.

While Reuters reports that 32 prison guards and officers were fired across the state this past September related to dozens of cases of abuse, corruption, and death, one should lose a lot more than their job for poisoning, gassing, or beating inmates to death. This is not enough. It's not even close to being enough. These officers should be indicted and convicted of murder and given the stiffest penalty allowed under law. They've not only abused their power, but they've abused it at the expense of citizens who are virtually defenseless in our country. It's unacceptable.

With the hope that it motivates you to push the cause of prison reform and justice for the officers who murdered these men and women, I'd like to tell you the story of Darren Rainey.

Fifty years old, battling mental illness, and serving two years in the psychiatric ward of the Dade County prison for the victimless nonviolent offense of cocaine possession without the intent to distribute, Darren Rainey would soon experience a death so cruel and so violent and so unthinkably heinous that we would expect such a thing to happen only in a country governed by a so-called evil dictator. It's almost too ugly to type.

After allegedly defecating in his cell, Rainey was handcuffed and locked into a tight shower cell
Begging for his life, screaming apologies and remorse so loud that other inmates could hear them, the officers kept the water so hot and forceful that the steam began to melt off Darren Rainey's skin.

Video shows Rainey forced into the shower at 7:38 PM and he was pronounced dead at 9:30 PM.
Mark Joiner, a prisoner in Dade County, was called in to clean up the chunks of skin left behind. He detailed it for the Miami Herald:

Mark Joiner was roused from his cell earlier than usual on June 24, 2012.
He was handed a bottle of Clorox and was told it was clean-up time.

Joiner was used to cleaning up cells in Dade Correctional Institution’s psychiatric ward, and many of them were frequently brimming with feces and urine, insect-infested food and other filth.

Joiner thought he pretty much had seen it all, from guards nearly starving prisoners to death, to taunting and beating them unconscious while handcuffed for sport. He recalls one inmate was paid a pack of cigarettes to attack one sick inmate whose only offense was to ask if their mail could be delivered before bedtime.

On the floor of a small shower stall he was ordered to clean, he saw a single blue canvas shoe and what he later realized was large chunks of human skin.

The skin belonged to Darren Rainey, a 50-year-old mentally-ill prisoner whom the guards had handcuffed and locked in the cell the night before. Witnesses and DOC reports indicate Rainey was left in the scalding hot water for hours, allegedly as punishment for defecating in his cell.

Rainey's official cause of death, in a clear case of a coverup, was listed a heart attack, but Mark Joiner and other officials, know otherwise.

Joiner remembered and said he also later made a written record of what he saw and heard the night Rainey died.

He had a view of some of what happened and was ordered to clean up the shower the following morning. He said he placed all the skin he found in Rainey’s shoe.

“I heard them lock the shower door, and they were mocking him,” Joiner said, as the guards turned on their retrofitted shower full blast and steam began to fill the ward.

“He was crying, please stop, please stop,” Joiner said. And they just said “Enjoy your shower, and left.”

Joiner went to sleep, not knowing that it would be the last time he would see or hear Rainey alive. Witnesses would later say that after two hours, at temperatures of 180 degrees, Rainey collapsed, with his skin peeling from his body. Rainey, who was serving a two-year term for possession of drugs, was carried to the prison’s infirmary where a nurse later said his body temperature was so high it couldn’t be measured with a thermometer.

Darren Rainey, tragically, had only one month to go in his sentence.
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8) France Arrests a Comedian For His Facebook Comments, Showing the Sham of the West’s “Free Speech” Celebration
By Glenn Greenwald
January 14, 2015

Forty-eight hours after hosting a massive march under the banner of free expression, France opened a criminal investigation of a controversial French comedian for a Facebook post he wrote about the Charlie Hebdo attack, and then this morning, arrested him for that post on charges of “defending terrorism.” The comedian, Dieudonné (above), previously sought elective office in France on what he called an “anti-Zionist” platform, has had his show banned by numerous government officials in cities throughout France, and has been criminally prosecuted several times before for expressing ideas banned in that country.

The apparently criminal viewpoint he posted on Facebook declared: “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly.” Investigators concluded that this was intended to mock the “Je Suis Charlie” slogan and express support for the perpetrator of the Paris supermarket killings (whose last name was “Coulibaly”). Expressing that opinion is evidently a crime in the Republic of Liberté, which prides itself on a line of 20th Century intellectuals – from Sartre and Genet to Foucault and Derrida – whose hallmark was leaving no orthodoxy or convention unmolested, no matter how sacred.

Since that glorious “free speech” march, France has reportedly opened 54 criminal cases for “condoning terrorism.” AP reported this morning that “France ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism.”

As pernicious as this arrest and related “crackdown” on some speech obviously is, it provides a critical value: namely, it underscores the utter scam that was this week’s celebration of free speech in the west. The day before the Charlie Hebdo attack, I coincidentally documented the multiple cases in the west – including in the U.S. – where Muslims have been prosecuted and even imprisoned for their political speech. Vanishingly few of this week’s bold free expression mavens have ever uttered a peep of protest about any of those cases – either before the Charlie Hebdo attack or since. That’s because “free speech,” in the hands of many westerners, actually means: it is vital that the ideas I like be protected, and the right to offend groups I dislike be cherished; anything else is fair game.

It is certainly true that many of Dieudonné’s views and statements are noxious, although he and his supporters insist that they are “satire” and all in good humor. In that regard, the controversy they provoke is similar to the now-much-beloved Charlie Hebdo cartoons (one French leftist insists the cartoonists were mocking rather than adopting racism and bigotry, but Olivier Cyran, a former writer at the magazine who resigned in 2001, wrote a powerful 2013 letter with ample documentation condemning Charlie Hebdo for descending in the post-9/11 era into full-scale, obsessive anti-Muslim bigotry).

Despite the obvious threat to free speech posed by this arrest, it is inconceivable that any mainstream western media figures would start tweeting “#JeSuisDieudonné” or would upload photographs of themselves performing his ugly Nazi-evoking arm gesture in “solidarity” with his free speech rights. That’s true even if he were murdered for his ideas rather than “merely” arrested and prosecuted for them. That’s because last week’s celebration of the Hebdo cartoonists (well beyond mourning their horrifically unjust murders) was at least as much about approval for their anti-Muslim messages as it was about the free speech rights that were invoked in their support - at least as much.

The vast bulk of the stirring “free speech” tributes over the last week have been little more than an attempt to protect and venerate speech that degrades disfavored groups while rendering off-limits speech that does the same to favored groups, all deceitfully masquerading as lofty principles of liberty. In response to my article containing anti-Jewish cartoons on Monday - which I posted to demonstrate the utter selectivity and inauthenticity of this newfound adoration of offensive speech - I was subjected to endless contortions justifying why anti-Muslim speech is perfectly great and noble while anti-Jewish speech is hideously offensive and evil (the most frequently invoked distinction – “Jews are a race/ethnicity while Muslims aren’t” – would come as a huge surprise to the world’s Asian, black, Latino and white Jews, as well as to those who identify as “Muslim” as part of their cultural identity even though they don’t pray five times a day). As always: it’s free speech if it involves ideas I like or attacks groups I dislike, but it’s something different when I’m the one who is offended.

Think about the “defending terrorism” criminal offense for which Dieudonné has been arrested. Should it really be a criminal offense – causing someone to be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned – to say something along these lines: western countries like France have been bringing violence for so long to Muslims in their countries that I now believe it’s justifiable to bring violence to France as a means of making them stop? If you want “terrorism defenses” like that to be criminally prosecuted (as opposed to societally shunned), how about those who justify, cheer for and glorify the invasion and destruction of Iraq, with its “Shock and Awe” slogan signifying an intent to terrorize the civilian population into submission and its monstrous tactics in Fallujah? Or how about the psychotic calls from a Fox News host, when discussing Muslims radicals, to “kill them ALL.” Why is one view permissible and the other criminally barred – other than because the force of law is being used to control political discourse and one form of terrorism (violence in the Muslim world) is done by, rather than to, the west?

For those interested, my comprehensive argument against all “hate speech” laws and other attempts to exploit the law to police political discourse is here. That essay, notably, was written to denounce a proposal by a French minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, to force Twitter to work with the French government to delete tweets which officials like this minister (and future unknown ministers) deem “hateful.” France is about as legitimate a symbol of free expression as Charlie Hebdo, which fired one of its writers in 2009 for a single supposedly anti-Semitic sentence in the midst of publishing an orgy of anti-Muslim (not just anti-Islam) content. This week’s celebration of France – and the gaggle of tyrannical leaders who joined it – had little to do with free speech and much to do with suppressing ideas they dislike while venerating ideas they prefer.

Perhaps the most intellectually corrupted figure in this regard is, unsurprisingly, France’s most celebrated (and easily the world’s most overrated) public intellectual, the philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. He demands criminal suppression of anything smacking of anti-Jewish views (he called for Dieudonné’s shows to be banned (“I don’t understand why anyone even sees the need for debate”) and supported the 2009 firing of the Charlie Hebdo writer for a speech offense against Jews), while shamelessly parading around all last week as the Churchillian champion of free expression when it comes to anti-Muslim cartoons.

But that, inevitably, is precisely the goal, and the effect, of laws that criminalize certain ideas and those who support such laws: to codify a system where the views they like are sanctified and the groups to which they belong protected. The views and groups they most dislike – and only them – are fair game for oppression and degradation.

The arrest of this French comedian so soon after the epic Paris free speech march underscores this point more powerfully than anything I could have written about the selectivity and fraud of this week’s “free speech” parade. It also shows – yet again – why those who want to criminalize the ideas they most dislike are at least as dangerous and tyrannical as the ideas they target: at least.



9) French Rein In Speech Backing Acts of Terror



10) Terrorism Suspects Detained in Police Sweeps Across Europe

BRUSSELS — European investigators moved on a broad front Friday to sweep up suspected militants, with the police announcing that 13 Belgians had been detained in this country and two in France, a day after two other Belgians believed to be planning an attack on police officers were killed in a shootout.

In an action that the authorities said was unrelated to events in Belgium, investigators in Paris said 12 people had been detained overnight. Investigators said they might have belonged to a previously undetected cell that supported one of the gunmen in the terrorist attacks that left 17 people dead in and near Paris. And in Berlin, investigators said they had seized two suspected militants in a series of raids.

The scope and breadth of the police actions across much of Western Europe dramatized the diffuse challenges facing a region far from the battlefields of Syria, Iraq and elsewhere as it becomes a reluctant front against Islamic militancy.The threat sometimes seems hydra-headed. European investigators and counterterrorism forces face a threat from hundreds of citizens returning from jihad in the Middle East with the skills and determination to transpose their war on the West to the cosseted boulevards and suburbs of major European centers.

The authorities are struggling to understand how their hidden adversaries operate. Sometimes they work as so-called lone wolves. Sometimes they work in secretive cells. And in some cases they are inspired by — or directly linked to — militant groups such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or the Islamic State.

It is battle without clear-cut victories.

“Let’s say we have arrested already the people that we wanted to arrest,” said Eric Van Der Sypt of the office of the Belgian federal prosecutor on Friday, referring to the latest detentions. “But I cannot confirm that we have arrested everybody from this group, of course — that’s for the investigation to show,”

Mr. Van Der Sypt said, “I have no idea if we diminished” the terrorist threat in Belgium. But he said the Belgian authorities had thwarted attacks on Thursday that might have been only hours away. “I think we gave an important blow to terrorism in Belgium,” he said.

In Verviers, the eastern Belgian town where two suspects died in a police shootout on Thursday, the authorities found several police uniforms, walkie-talkies, radios, falsified documents and weapons including four AK-47s. In Molenbeek, on the outskirts of Brussels, the authorities found a firearm, ammunition and a knife.

Mr. Van Der Sypt confirmed “plans to assassinate a policemen in the street,” or at a police station, but could he could not confirm reports in the Belgian media of plans by the suspects to abduct and behead a Belgian law enforcement officer.

He would not comment on links between the suspects with Al Qaeda or with other terrorist groups. Most of the suspects were Belgian citizens, he said, but did not identify them by name. Two of the suspects, also Belgian citizens, were arrested in France after fleeing the raids on Thursday.

Mr. Van Der Sypt said several of the people arrested in Belgium had been in Syria, but he declined to say whether they included the two people shot to death on Thursday.

In Quimper, France, the prime minister, Manuel Valls, said he did not believe there was a direct connection between the events in Belgium and the carnage in France last week, when gunmen conducted a three-day onslaught that left 17 people dead. “There doesn’t seem to be a link, but we must always remain cautious,” he said. “France must protect itself against this jihadist terrorism, this radical Islam.”

He spoke after prosecutors questioned a dozen people held overnight.

Agnès Thibault-Lecuivre, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor, said 12 people detained in Paris overnight belonged to the “entourage” of Amedy Coulibaly, one of the three gunmen involved in the attacks in and near Paris.

“We believe that they provided logistical support,” Ms. Thibaut-Lecuivre said. She did not give further details about the suspects, eight men and four women.

Mr. Coulibaly was accused of killing a police officer on Jan. 8 and taking hostages at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris the next day, killing four of them.

Two other attackers, the brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, began the onslaught on Jan. 7 with an attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The three gunmen were killed in virtually simultaneous police operations.

In Germany, the police have arrested two Turkish men suspected of having links to an organization supporting the militant group Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and other radical groups fighting in Syria. In a statement, prosecutors in Berlin said they had no indication that the men had immediate plans to stage an attack.

It was not immediately clear whether the arrests in Berlin were linked to other investigations in Europe. But the sudden flurry of activity seemed to reflect heightened alarm after last week’s assaults in Paris, where, on Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and then with President François Hollande.

In Belgium, Thierry Werts, a representative of the federal prosecutor, said that the targets of several raids on Thursday had been plotting “imminent” attacks on a substantial scale in the country.

The raids were said to have been aimed at people who had joined Islamic extremist groups in Syria or other battle zones, and then returned to Europe — a category of militants that has troubled intelligence and security services since well before the Paris attacks.

In Germany, prosecutors said that 250 officers had raided 11 apartments after months of tracking a group that was said to support the Islamic State with money and the recruitment of combatants. Both of the arrested men were Turkish citizens.

One of the detained men, identified only as Ismet D., 41, in keeping with German privacy laws, is suspected of serving as an “emir,” or leader, of a radical Islamist group that was not identified by name. “He is suspected of radicalizing this extremist group through ‘Islam lessons’ he held, and encouraging participation in jihad against ‘unbelievers’ in the war in Syria,” prosecutors said.

The other man, identified only as Ermin F., 43, is suspected of providing financial support to members of the group and of helping them prepare for travel to Syria.

As the waves of alarm spread, the only Orthodox Jewish school in the Netherlands was closed on Friday, Reuters reported, even though there was no specific threat against it. In Belgium, Jewish schools in Antwerp and Brussels were also closed temporarily, Reuters said.

Rabbi Avraham Gigi, a leader of the umbrella organization of Belgian Jewry, said that Jewish schools and synagogues were closed on Friday and that the Jewish radio station in Brussels did not broadcast for the first time in 35 years.

“I think this is a big mistake,” Rabbi Gigi said in an interview with Israel Radio. “For all this time, despite all the problems that we had, we were proud that all the Jewish institutions were open and working. We were not deterred by events.”

“Today we closed synagogues and schools. This shows that there is fear,” he added. “It’s as if we’ve submitted to what’s happening.”

The attacks last week provoked alarm, not simply about terrorism but also about a wider range of issues relating to the balance between liberty and security, the limits of free speech and fears among European leaders of a surge in both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Charlie Hebdo, whose staff took the heaviest casualties, is known for its readiness to lampoon the Prophet Muhammad in caricatures that many Muslims consider blasphemous. Its first cover since the attack, indeed, featured a cartoon showing a weeping Muhammad holding a placard with the slogan that has become the token of support for the newspaper: “Je Suis Charlie,” or “I Am Charlie.”

Despite a vastly increased print run, the newspaper has been selling out at Paris newsstands and, in London, where a version was to be distributed on Friday, lines of people wanting to buy a copy formed before daybreak.

Such is the concern about a spike in anti-Muslim sentiments that the Muslim Council of Britain, seen as an anti-extremist organization, said it would hold interfaith prayer meetings on Friday — the Muslim holy day — with prayers to evoke the “beautiful qualities of patience, peace and tolerance of the Prophet Muhammad.”

The editorial director of Charlie Hebdo, Stéphane Charbonnier, who signed his drawings “Charb,” was buried on Friday in Pontoise, near Paris, where he lived as a child.

Several left-wing politicians including Pierre Laurent, the national secretary of the Communist Party, paid tribute to a man many called their “comrade.” The speeches were punctuated by the Communist anthem “The Internationale,” and “Amazing Grace,” performed by a bagpipe player. The guests at the funeral included several members of the French government, including the education minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.



11) Oklahoma Executes First Inmate Since Slipshod Injection in April



12) Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says



13) Judge’s Ruling on Gulf Oil Spill Lowers Ceiling on the Fine BP Is Facing



14) Times and Other News Organizations to Test Use of Drones



15) Major Health Study: Long-Time Pot Smokers Face Little Damage to Their Lungs
Some coughing, maybe; but serious issues, no.

The inhalation of one marijuana cigarette per day over a 20-year period is not associated with adverse changes in lung health, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Investigators at Emory University in Atlanta assessed marijuana smoke exposure and lung health in a large representative sample of US adults age 18 to 59. Researchers reported that cannabis exposure was not associated with FEV1 (forced expiratory volume) decline or deleterious change in spirometric values of small airways disease.

Authors further reported that marijuana smoke exposure may even be associated with some protective lung effects among long-term smokers of tobacco. Investigators acknowledged, “[T]he pattern of marijuana’s effects seems to be distinctly different when compared to that of tobacco use.”

Researchers also acknowledged that habitual cannabis consumers were more likely to self-report increased symptoms of bronchitis, a finding that is consistent with previous literature. Separate studies indicate that subjects who vaporize cannabis report fewer adverse respiratory symptoms than do those who inhale combustive marijuana smoke.

Authors concluded, “[I]n a large representative sample of US adults, ongoing use of marijuana is associated with increased respiratory symptoms of bronchitis without a significant functional abnormality in spirometry, and cumulative marijuana use under 20 joint-years is not associated significant effects on lung function.”

This study is the largest cross-sectional analysis to date examining the relationship between marijuana use and spirometric parameters of lung health.

A separate study published in 2012 in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) similarly reported that cumulative marijuana smoke exposure over a period of up to 7 joint-years (the equivalent of up to one marijuana cigarette per day for seven years) was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function.

A 2013 review also published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society acknowledged that marijuana a smoke exposure was not positively associated with the development of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, or bullous lung disease. It concluded: “[H]abitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function. Findings from a limited number of well-designed epidemiological studies do not suggest an increased risk of either lung or upper airway cancer from light or moderate use. … Overall, the risks of pulmonary complications of regular use of marijuana appear to be relatively small and far lower than those of tobacco smoking.”

You may view an abstract of this latest study, “Effects of marijuana exposure on expiratory airflow: A study of adults who participated in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Study,” here.



16) How Israel Covers Up Its Ugly Racial Holy War
As the incitement to violence by Israeli leaders ramped up, so did racist attacks by Israeli citizens.
" A survey published earlier this month by The Brookings Institution found that a third of all Americans want Israel and Palestine to be a single state with equal rights for all, regardless of race or religion."



















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