Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15, 2015



CANCEL ALL STUDENT DEBT!
Sign the Petition:

http://cancelallstudentdebt.com/?code=kos

Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:
 
Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families. 

I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private. 

American Federation of Teachers
Campaign for America's Future
Courage Campaign
Daily Kos
Democracy for America
LeftAction
Project Springboard
RH Reality Check
RootsAction
Student Debt Crisis
The Nation
Working Families 



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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:

A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

B. ARTICLES IN FULL




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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS



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Fight for $15

HISTORIC RALLIES ON APRIL 15

San Francisco Labor Council
Wednesday, April 15, 2015



  • We Need YOU There
  • The Fight for $15 Needs YOU There 
  • Low-Wage Workers Need YOU  There

On April 15 Join the Largest Low-Wage Worker Protests in History
Working people and students will stand together for a national day of action to call for higher wages, union rights, and better jobs. We can strengthen the economy for everybody, not just the wealthy.


****Updated Times and Locations!****


East Bay: 9:00 AM ~ Meet at Park Street & Shoreline Dr in Alameda


Berkeley: 3:00 PM - 5:30 PM ~ Meet at the intersection of Telegraph & Bancroft
     
For more information contact Horacio at Horacio.Viveros@seiu1021.org


Boosting pay for working moms and dads helps ALL of us – not just the rich. It's time for $15.

BIG NEWS: On April 15, fast food cooks and cashiers will be STRIKING across the country – and thousands and thousands of Americans will be rallying alongside them.


In just two years, the Fight for $15 has grown from a few dozen striking fast food workers in New York City to a historic international movement.


Thousands of people working in a TON of new industries have joined the fight – from home care workers to gas station attendants, Wal-Mart workers to airport employees.


And now I'm asking: Will you join, too?


YES! I believe every working American deserves fair pay and I pledge to show up at the Fight for $15 rally on April 15.


This is your chance to stand with the striking low wage workers fighting for $15 an hour and union rights at MASSIVE national rallies across the country.


Big companies like McDonald's are making billions – while middle class and working Americans struggle to pay our rent and support our families. Frankly, it's wrong.


That's why, in just two weeks, we're standing up for fair pay for all.


Sign up here to join the rallies for $15 an hour on April 15. Together, we can make history.
When we come together, we win. It's that simple.


Dozens of cities and states across the country have raised the minimum wage since this fight began. In fact, more than 9 million workers have higher wages today – thanks to voter action, collective bargaining and direct public pressure on companies like Wal-Mart.


It's time for McDonald's and poverty-pay companies across the country to guarantee good pay for every hard-working employee. Help send the message loud and clear on April 15.


Thanks for joining the fight.
Beth Schaffer
McDonald's Employee, Charleston, SC
Fight for $15


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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.

 https://www.unacpeace.org/

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Here’s an update for you from the ‘Mumia Abu-Jamal Needs Medical Care NOW!’ team:

We are keeping our “Eyes on Mumia”. Your support has enabled his family see him. On Thursday Mumia's wife Wadiya Jamal visited him. She shared with us that his weakened state continues, and she is deeply concerned that he still has not had the appropriate care and diagnosis--  and in fact has been returned to the environment that allowed his chronic but treatable conditions to nearly kill him. 

We demand that:

1) Mumia’s chosen private physician has immediate regular phone access to Mumia in the infirmary. Phone access is limited in the infirmary, and Mumia and his physician need to be in conversation throughout each week.

2) His doctor be allowed to communicate freely and regularly with the prison infirmary physicians who are currently overseeing Mumia’s care.

3) The PA Department of Corrections (DOC) allow Mumia’s doctor to schedule animmediate Independent Medical Examination in an examination room with a table and medical instruments.

4) The PA DOC develop a diagnostic and treatment plan adequate to understand any underlying conditions that have contributed to his current ongoing crisis, and that consultation with appropriate specialists be arranged in a timely fashion and be used to assist in this effort. We need a mass mobilization of calls and letters to:

Tom Wolf, PA Governor
717-787-2500
governor@PA.gov
508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg PA 17120

John Wetzel, PA Department of Corrections
717-728-4109
1920 Technology Pkwy, Mechanicsburg PA 17050

John Kerestes, Superintendent- SCI Mahanoy
570-773-2158 x8102
Fax: 570-783-2008

On Saturday from his wheelchair in the visiting room, Mumia discussed the steps necessary that both he and his outside doctors and supporters have to take for him get the care he needs. His attorney, Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center, discussed the ongoing efforts to pursue immediate diagnosis and adequate treatment for his medical conditions.

On Monday Mumia met with Suzanne Ross, again in a wheelchair, in the visiting room and only for an hour to preserve his strength. She noted that although he remained very sick, his mind was sharp and focused.

Please know that it is your calls, faxes, emails, and letters that have literally kept Mumia with us.

The next few weeks are crucial to making sure that he receives appropriate care. Pleasecontinue calling. Continuing rising up. Stay involved. 

_______________________________________________
Mumia-alerts mailing list
Mumia-alerts@mailman.lmi.net
http://mailman.lmi.net/mailman/listinfo/mumia-alerts

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For Immediate Release: March 30, 2015

Attn: News Desk

Prisoners and Advocacy Groups Win Right to a Trial On Constitutionality of the Silencing Act (PA SB508)

This morning, Chief Judge for the federal court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Christopher Conner, will hear the cases Abu-Jamal v. Kane and Prison Legal News v. Kane in a trial that willl determine the constitutionality of PA SB508 "the Silencing Act".  Defendant PA Attorney General Kane will be hard pressed to argue the constitutionality of the Silencing Act, a censorship law targeted at Mumia Abu-Jamal and other currently and formerly incarcerated people.

Defendant Seth Williams was dismissed from the case based on his explicit disavowal of enforcing the act until a court of competent jurisdiction rules on the constitutionality of the statute. His dismissal does not hinder Plaintiffs ability to obtain the relief of invalidating this law, as a favorable ruling on the First Amendment issue against Defendant Kane will achieve the same result. Williams' disavowal of enforcement is a far cry from his political grandstanding in support of this bill's passage in the fall.

The judge has ordered that this trial will include Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction merged with a trial on the merits, meaning that if we win we will be granted a permanent injunction against the statute, and the statue will be invalidated.

“Silencing prisoners is one more way of dehumanizing them,” said Amistad Law Project Policy Director Nikki Grant. “We need the voices of the marginalized to shed light on injustice.”

The trial is set for this morning March 30 in Harrisburg, PA approximately 5 months since former Governor Corbett signed this ill-fated bill into law.

 The Abolitionist Law Center, Amistad Law Project, and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law filed the lawsuit on Nov. 10th to stop enforcement of the law. The law firms represent Mumia Abu-Jamal, Prison Radio, Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal, Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall, Robert L. Holbrook, Donnell Palmer, Anthony Chance, and Human Rights Coalition.

The Silencing Act, also known as 18 P.S. § 11.1304, allows the Attorney General, county District Attorneys, and victims of personal injury crimes to bring a lawsuit in civil court against the person convicted of the personal injury crime to enjoin conduct that “perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim”. The actions that could prompt a lawsuit include “conduct which causes a temporary or permanent state of mental anguish.”

“This law is unconstitutional,” said David Shapiro of MacArthur Justice Center. “The facts are on our side and the law is on our side. The Silencing Act targets a huge amount of constitutionally protected speech based on who is speaking.”

After a prerecorded commencement speech by journalist and prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal was played for graduates at Goddard College in Vermont, the Pennsylvania legislature passed and outgoing Governor Corbett signed into law the Silencing Act on October 21st, 16 days after the commencement speech.

Abu-Jamal has spent 33 years in prison, 29 of which were in solitary confinement on death row after being convicted at a 1982 trial that Amnesty International said “failed to meet minimum international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings.”

Robert L. Holbrook, who is serving a death by incarceration, life without parole, sentence he received as a child, had this to say about the law: “there are people in prison who will stop writing, stop publishing, stop speaking out because of this law.”

Bret Grote       bretgrote@abolitionistlawcenter.org    412-654-9070
Ashley Henderson ashley@amistadlaw.org          215-310-0424
Noelle Hanrahan info@prisonradio.org         415-706-5222
David Shapiro david.shapiro@law.northwestern.edu        312-503-0711

Amistad Law Project is a West Philadelphia-based public interest law center.
Our mission is to fight for the human rights of all people by providing
legal services to people incarcerated in Pennsylvania’s prisons.
www.amistadlaw.org | @amistadlaw | 267-225-5884

The Abolitionist Law Center is a public interest law firm inspired by the struggle of political and politicized prisoners, and organized for the purpose of abolishing class and race based mass incarceration in the United States.   412-654-9070

Prison Radio has recorded Mumia and other political prisoners for over 25 years, and we are pulling out all the stops to keep these voices on the air.   415-706-5222

Please donate today to amplify prisoners' voices far and wide beyond the bars:
     Support Prison Radio: prisonradio.org/donate
     Defeat SB 508: bit.ly/defendfreespeech

Copyright © Prison Radio
www,prisonradio.org 415-706-5222
Our mailing address is:
Prison Radio PO Box 411074, SF CA 94141

http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=247585f092e945ff55b9a1bb2&id=e113d0b6d0&e=0107d76ccd

Donate Now
to fight the “gag” law!
go to:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/protect-freedom-of-speech-keep-mumia-on-the-air

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Support Prison Radio

$35 is the yearly membership.

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

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

$300 will bring one essay to the airwaves.

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

Luchando por la justicia y la libertad,

Noelle Hanrahan, Director, Prison Radio

PRISON RADIO

P.O. Box 411074 San Francisco, CA 94141

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


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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. 


SIGN LORENZO JOHNSON'S FREEDOM PETITION

http://www.freelorenzojohnson.org/sign-the-petition.html

CONTRIBUTE TO LORENZO'S CAMPAIGN FOR FREEDOM!
http://www.freelorenzojohnson.org/how-can-i-help.html


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

 Email: Lorenzo Johnson through JPAY.com code:
              Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC



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Click HERE to view in browser
http://www.iacenter.org/prisoners/freepinkney-1-28-15/
       
Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

On December 15, 2014 the Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan was thrown into prison for 2.5 to 10 years. This 66-year-old leading African American activist was tried and convicted in front of an all-white jury and racist white judge and prosecutor for supposedly altering 5 dates on a recall petition against the mayor of Benton Harbor.

The prosecutor, with the judge’s approval, repeatedly told the jury “you don’t need evidence to convict Mr. Pinkney.” And ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE WAS EVER PRESENTED THAT TIED REV. PINKNEY TO THE ‘ALTERED’ PETITIONS. Rev. Pinkney was immediately led away in handcuffs and thrown into Jackson Prison.

This is an outrageous charge. It is an outrageous conviction. It is an even more outrageous sentence! It must be appealed.

With your help supporters need to raise $20,000 for Rev. Pinkney’s appeal.

Checks can be made out to BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization). This is the organization founded by Rev. Pinkney.  Mail them to: Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.

Donations can be accepted on-line at bhbanco.org – press the donate button.

For information on the decade long campaign to destroy Rev. Pinkney go to bhbanco.org and workers.org(search “Pinkney”).

We urge your support to the efforts to Free Rev. Pinkney!Ramsey Clark – Former U.S. attorney general,
Cynthia McKinney – Former member of U.S. Congress,
Lynne Stewart – Former political prisoner and human rights attorney
Ralph Poynter – New Abolitionist Movement,
Abayomi Azikiwe – Editor, Pan-African News Wire<
Larry Holmes – Peoples Power Assembly,
David Sole – Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
Sara Flounders – International Action Center


MESSAGE FROM REV. PINKNEY

I am now in Marquette prison over 15 hours from wife and family, sitting in prison for a crime that was never committed. Judge Schrock and Mike Sepic both admitted there was no evidence against me but now I sit in prison facing 30 months. Schrock actually stated that he wanted to make an example out of me. (to scare Benton Harbor residents even more...) ONLY IN AMERICA. I now have an army to help fight Berrien County. When I arrived at Jackson state prison on Dec. 15, I met several hundred people from Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. Some people recognized me. There was an outstanding amount of support given by the prison inmates. When I was transported to Marquette Prison it took 2 days. The prisoners knew who I was. One of the guards looked me up on the internet and said, "who would believe Berrien County is this racist."  

New Court Date on 4 Motions for Rev. Pinkney 

TUES, FEB. 24 1pm Berrien County Court 

Background to Campaign to free Rev. Pinkney

Michigan political prisoner the Rev. Edward Pinkney is a victim of racist injustice. He was sentenced to 30 months to 10 years for supposedly changing the dates on 5 signatures on a petition to recall Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower.

No material or circumstantial evidence was presented at the trial that would implicate Pinkney in the purported5 felonies. Many believe that Pinkney, a Berrien County activist and leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), is being punished by local authorities for opposing the corporate plans of Whirlpool Corp, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

In 2012, Pinkney and BANCO led an “Occupy the PGA [Professional Golfers’ Association of America]” demonstration against a world-renowned golf tournament held at the newly created Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The course was carved out of Jean Klock Park, which had been donated to the city of Benton Harbor decades ago.

Berrien County officials were determined to defeat the recall campaign against Mayor Hightower, who opposed a program that would have taxed local corporations in order to create jobs and improve conditions in Benton Harbor, a majority African-American municipality. Like other Michigan cities, it has been devastated by widespread poverty and unemployment. 

The Benton Harbor corporate power structure has used similar fraudulent charges to stop past efforts to recall or vote out of office the racist white officials, from mayor, judges, prosecutors in a majority Black city. Rev Pinkney who always quotes scripture, as many Christian ministers do, was even convicted for quoting scripture in a newspaper column. This outrageous conviction was overturned on appeal. We must do this again!

To sign the petition in support of the Rev. Edward Pinkney, log on to: tinyurl.com/ps4lwyn.

Contributions for Rev. Pinkney’s defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.

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COURAGE TO RESIST
http://couragetoresist.org/

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
 Oakland, CA 94610
510-488-3559
couragetoresist.org

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B. ARTICLES IN FULL




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1) Judge Cites Prison Guard’s Letter in Granting New Trial in Death of Nashville Inmate


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2) Study Warns of Diet Supplement Dangers Kept Quiet by F.D.A.



Popular weight-loss and workout supplements on sale in hundreds of vitamin shops across the nation contain a chemical nearly identical to amphetamine, the powerful stimulant, and pose dangers to the health of those who take them, according to a new study. The Canadian health authorities in December called the chemical, BMPEA, “a serious health risk,” and pulled supplements that contain it from store shelves.

The Food and Drug Administration documented two years ago that nine such supplements contained the same chemical, but never made public the names of the products or the companies that made them. Neither has it recalled the products nor issued a health alert to consumers as it has done with other tainted supplements. The F.D.A. said in a statement that its review of supplements containing the stimulant “does not identify a specific safety concern at this time.”

But public health experts contend that the F.D.A.’s reluctance to act in this case is symptomatic of a broader problem. The agency is not effectively policing the $33 billion-a-year supplements industry in part because top agency regulators themselves come from the industry and have conflicts of interest, they say. In recent years, two of the agency’s top officials overseeing supplements — including one currently on the job — were former leaders of the largest supplement industry trade and lobbying group.

Daniel Fabricant, who ran the agency’s division of dietary supplement programs from 2011 to 2014, had been a senior executive at that trade group, the Natural Products Association, which has spent millions of dollars lobbying to block new laws that would hold supplement makers to stricter standards. He left the F.D.A. last year and returned to the association as its chief executive. His current replacement at the F.D.A.’s supplement division also comes from the trade group.

“To have former officials in the supplement industry become the chief regulators of that industry at the F.D.A. is like the fox guarding the hen house,” said Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group.

Dr. Fabricant disagreed, saying in an interview that having industry officials run the F.D.A.’s supplement division was “an incredible benefit to the agency.” He said that during his tenure, the division worked to get unsafe products off the market and issued a mandatory recall of a supplement involved in a deadly multistate outbreak of liver disease. “I did more there in three and a half years than was done in the 16 years prior,” he said.

The controversy comes at a time when the supplement industry is under increased scrutiny. Last week, 14 state attorneys general, led by Eric T. Schneiderman of New York, called on Congress to provide the F.D.A. with more power to regulate supplements. Mr. Schneiderman’s office in February accused four major retailers of selling contaminated herbal supplements, and one of the companies, GNC, has agreed to extensive new testing and quality control procedures for its store-brand herbal products.

The F.D.A. was the first to begin investigating products that turned out to contain BMPEA. As early as 2013, scientists at the agency said in an article published last year that they noticed many popular supplements listed among their ingredients a little-known plant called acacia rigidula, a shrub native to Mexico and southern Texas.

The plant’s presence in so many supplements was a red flag, said Dr. Pieter A. Cohen, the lead author of the new study published Tuesday and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. He said it is not uncommon for companies to spike weight-loss and exercise supplements with amphetamine-like chemicals, then hide them on their labels under the names of obscure plants to give the impression they are natural botanical extracts.

The F.D.A. tested 21 popular supplements that listed acacia rigidula on their labels and found nine of them tested positive for varying amounts of BMPEA, the agency reported last year in The Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis. F.D.A. officials did not, however, name the specific products.

Although BMPEA was first synthesized in the 1930s as a replacement for amphetamine, it was never introduced as a pharmaceutical drug and its side effects were never studied in humans.

Under federal law, dietary supplements — with some exceptions — can contain only ingredients that are part of the food supply or that were already on the market before 1994. Dr. Cohen said that BMPEA has never been sold as a food or supplement, and as a result any product that contains it is considered adulterated, which would give the F.D.A. the authority to send warning letters to companies that add it to their supplements.

It was only after trying unsuccessfully to find out from the F.D.A. which supplements contained BMPEA that Dr. Cohen and academics at other universities conducted their own tests, identifying the stimulant in 11 of 21 products. Their findings were published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis.

In December, the Canadian health authorities said they forced a recall of a supplement that lists acacia rigidula as an ingredient — JetFuel Superburn — after the product was found to contain BMPEA and another amphetamine-like stimulant. The Canadian government issued a public health alert about BMPEA to consumers: “Amphetamine stimulants can increase blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature; lead to serious cardiovascular complications (including stroke) at high doses; suppress sleep and appetite, and be addictive.”

As of Tuesday morning, three of the supplements — JetFuel Superburn, JetFuel T-300 and MX-LS7 — found in Dr. Cohen’s study to contain BMPEA were for sale at Vitamin Shoppe, one of the country’s largest retailers of supplements, with hundreds of locations. None list BMPEA as an ingredient. One of the products is the same one that the Canadian health authorities pulled from stores. Vitamin Shoppe did not respond to a request for comment.

The other supplements the study listed as containing BMPEA were Aro Black Series Burn, Black Widow, Dexaprine XR, Fastin-XR, Lipodrene Hardcore, Lipodrene Xtreme, Stimerex-ES and Yellow Scorpion.

But on Tuesday, one of the leading supplement industry trade groups, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, called on the F.D.A. “to enforce the law” and remove products containing BMPEA from the market “before there are serious health consequences.”

Bastiaan Venhuis, a scientist who studies tainted supplements at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, said that the physiological effects of BMPEA are most likely very similar to those of DMAA, an amphetamine-like stimulant that can cause heart attacks and strokes.

Supplements containing DMAA were banned from military bases by the Department of Defense in 2011 after they were implicated in the deaths of two soldiers. The F.D.A. issued a health alert warning consumers about DMAA 16 months later — long after Australia, Britain, Canada and Sweden had banned it.

“I think health authorities should be concerned,” Dr. Venhuis said of BMPEA.

Dr. Cohen said the F.D.A. appeared to be waiting for evidence that BMPEA was harming consumers. “If they wait long enough,” he said, “I suspect they will have that level of evidence to remove it from the market.”

Regulation of the supplements industry has long been contentious. Under a 1994 law, supplements are exempt from the rigorous oversight applied to prescription drugs and medical devices. They do not have to undergo federal reviews of their safety or effectiveness before they are sold to the public, and as a result tainted supplements are usually pulled from the market only after consumers are harmed.

The Natural Products Association played a crucial role in the passage of that law — the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act — which was sponsored by Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, where many supplement companies are headquartered. Mr. Hatch has long been a top recipient of campaign contributions from the Natural Products Association, and his son, Scott Hatch, is a founding partner at a Washington firm that lobbies for the organization.

In 2013 and 2014, the Natural Products Association spent nearly $1.5 million lobbying the Food and Drug Administration, members of the House and Senate, and the Federal Trade Commission, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The trade association has lobbied against the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act, a bill that would require supplement labels to carry basic information about side effects and ingredients that could be harmful to children and pregnant women.

Both the F.D.A. officials with industry ties came to the agency from senior positions at the Natural Products Association. Shortly before Dr. Fabricant left the F.D.A. in 2014 to return to the association, the F.D.A. hired another official from the group, Cara Welch. She is now the acting director of the agency’s supplement division. Dr. Cohen, who is also an internist at the Cambridge Health Alliance, said he repeatedly wrote to Dr. Welch asking what the agency was going to do about BMPEA, and that she did not respond.

Dr. Welch declined repeated requests for interviews. In a statement, Juli Putnam, an F.D.A. spokeswoman, said that the agency “has found that hiring experienced leaders with diverse backgrounds in public health, industry, academia, and science enriches the professional environment and leads to the best health policy outcomes for the American public.”

Before joining the F.D.A., Dr. Welch was the vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the Natural Products Association, where she was a staunch defender of the supplement industry. When JAMA, a leading medical journal, raised concerns in a 2011 editorial that the federal law allowed the supplements industry to police itself, Dr. Welch responded that the industry had “an excellent safety record.”

“The industry itself supports and has implemented strong self-regulatory mechanisms,” she said in an industry news release at the time.

Ethicists disagree. “There are just too many other people who could have that job who don’t have these conflicts,” said Arthur L. Caplan, the head of the division of medical ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center.

Public health experts said that the agency has moved too slowly when alerted to dangerous supplements. In February 2013, Dr. Kenneth R. Spaeth, the division chief of occupational and environmental medicine at North Shore University Hospital in New York, reported to the F.D.A. that 20 of his patients developed muscle aches, fatigue and liver damage after using a brand of B vitamins. Some female patients had stopped having their periods and started growing facial hair. He said he told the F.D.A. he suspected the vitamins were contaminated with anabolic steroids.

Dr. Spaeth said he got no response for weeks and called the agency numerous times. He also sent multiple emails to Dr. Fabricant and other F.D.A. officials, pleading with them to get the vitamins off the market.

In response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, the F.D.A. said it was “unable to locate” any records of Dr. Spaeth’s communications. Dr. Spaeth provided The New York Times with the emails.

“I am hoping you folks are taking this seriously,” Dr. Spaeth wrote to Dr. Fabricant and other F.D.A. officials in an email on April 17, 2013. “I have 20 very worried patients and I have little to offer them. Particularly about what they’ve been exposed to and the possible long term risks.”

On July 26 of that year — nearly six months after Dr. Spaeth first contacted the F.D.A. — the agency issued a public health alert warning consumers not to take the vitamins and saying it had asked the company that made them, Purity First Health Products, to recall them.

“The bottom line is that I feel the F.D.A. did not do everything they could to protect the health of my patients and anyone else taking these supplements,” Dr. Spaeth said.

Dr. Fabricant said that the agency needed time to build a case against the vitamins because it had a legal burden to prove that they were dangerous before it could seek to have them recalled.

“I understand his frustration,” Dr. Fabricant said of Dr. Spaeth. “But at the same time, I don’t think you can say anything about the agency not taking the case seriously. We acted very swiftly.”





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3) South Carolina Police Shooting Seen as Crime Strategy Gone Awry


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4) For Mentally Ill Inmates, a Cycle of Jail and Hospitals



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5) Justices’ Ruling Allows Illinois Man, Jailed at 14, to Reconsider His Future


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6) Georgia Says It Will Allow Hormones for Transgender Inmates


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7) Restraint of Pregnant Inmates Is Said to Persist in New York Despite Ban
By



If you go by the official records of the New York State prison system, Tina Tinen’s account of being shackled right before and immediately after the birth of her son is fiction.

But the real world has never lived just in official records, no more than it dwells only in anecdotes.

First, her story.

Ms. Tinen was doing a year for selling drugs, and had arrived in prison halfway through her pregnancy. On her due date in November 2011, the labor came on so fast that guards called for an ambulance to take her to the hospital from the women’s prison in Bedford Hills.

“Earth-stopping pain,” she said. “The ambulance arrived. I was handcuffed to the gurney.”

At the hospital, she said, she remained cuffed to the gurney as the contractions accelerated. “It was about one minute apart, just blinding pain,” she said. “I remember the clock on the wall of the room. I would see the minute hand, the second hand, and the hand would barely go around the clock and I would be screaming: ‘No! No! No!’ ”

The handcuff was unlocked when she was moved to a hospital bed. Her son, Blake, her only child, was born 19 minutes after she arrived. Later, she said, when she was permitted to go from a locked ward to the nursery, the corrections officers shackled her legs and her wrists. “They said, ‘We’re going to do you a little favor, and put a towel on your wrists,’ ” Ms. Tinen said. She was uncuffed, she said, long enough to give the baby a bottle.

There is no dispute that this kind of restraint is almost never supposed to happen.

In 2009, the State Legislature passed a bill banning the shackling of pregnant women just before, during or after childbirth, and it was signed into law by Gov. David A. Paterson. At the time, the state’s official policy for nine years had forbidden the practice, but so many women had come forward to tell of being shackled and or handcuffed as they were being taken to the hospital from prison or jail to give birth that the Legislature acted.

Yet in a survey done since the ban became law, 23 of the 27 pregnant women who were interviewed reported that they were restrained in violation of its provisions, according to a report issued in February by the Correctional Association of New York, a private organization that has had permission for more than 150 years to inspect the state’s prisons.

The acting commissioner of the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Anthony J. Annucci, said he was astounded by the accounts, which, if true, violated both the law and explicit policy.

“I have not heard one iota of complaint along these lines until that report came out,” Mr. Annucci said. But he wondered how it was possible that no word of such actions had reached him, since female prisoners in Bedford Hills have a broad range of contacts with people not employed by the state — community organizations that provide support and education for new mothers, for instance.

In an interview this week, a second woman, Maria Caraballo, said that she remained handcuffed on Feb. 15, 2010, as she delivered her daughter and the placenta. “It was hard for me to give birth because I couldn’t hardly lift myself up,” she said. “The doctors told the officers to uncuff my hands, I was in labor, I wasn’t going anywhere — they said no.”

Officials in the corrections department said the accounts of Ms. Tinen and Ms. Caraballo were inconsistent with their records. They provided trip itineraries that they said showed it was unlikely the women were restrained. These listed three officers going to the hospital, an extra person to make up for the lack of restraints. “Pregnant,” the form for Ms. Tinen states. “No cuffs. Extra coverage required.”

The form was filled out 20 minutes before the ambulance picked her up. For both women, the forms included “special instructions,” which listed the gear the guards signed out, including: two sets each of handcuffs, leg irons and waist chains.

If the women’s accounts are inconsistent with the records, they are remarkably similar to those of 21 other women interviewed for the report.

“This paperwork does nothing to disprove Tina and Maria’s experiences with being shackled in violation of the law,” said Tamar Kraft-Stolar, who wrote the report for the Correctional Association. “Given the specificity and consistency of the women’s experiences, we’re confident that the law is being violated.”

Determined to ensure that the women were treated humanely and safely, Mr. Annucci said he would investigate. “I don’t want to leave any stone unturned,” he said.


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8) Middle Class, but Feeling Economically Insecure


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9) Terrorism Case Renews Debate Over Drone Hits


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10) States Tighten Conditions for Receiving Food Stamps as the Economy Improves


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11) Working, but Needing Public Assistance Anyway


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12) Atlanta School Workers Sentenced in Test Score Cheating Case


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13) With Driver’s License Suspensions, a Cycle of Debt


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14) Volunteer for Sheriff Is Charged in Killing After Mistaking Handgun for Taser


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