Wednesday, November 11, 2015




Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:








International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity


Featuring Kenia Serrano Puig, President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP)  

Friday November 13, 7:30pm

East Bay Center for the Performing Arts

339 11th Street, Richmond CA 94801-3105

Doors Open 6:30pm

$10-20 Donation at the Door

(nobody turned away for lack of funds)

Students and children free admission

This will be a unique opportunity to hear from the Cuban perspective about the new stage of U.S.-Cuba relations and the role that the U.S. Cuba solidarity movement can play in ending the U.S. blockade.


Keynote Speaker, Kenia Serrano Puig, President of ICAP

Welcome by Gayle McLaughlin, Richmond City Council Member
Dr. Laura Gomez, recently graduated from the Latin America School of Medicine (ELAM)
Leima Martinez, ICAP North America Division
Walter Turner, KPFA Host of Africa Today 

Musical performance by a local group

ICAP is a social organization founded on December 30, 1960 for the purpose of promoting and explaining to the peoples of the world the relations of solidarity that sparked the Cuban Revolution. ICAP is the vehicle to reach around the globe to people who are in solidarity with Cuba. ICAP is that interface that strengthens the network of solidarity, while representing the Cuban people, and delivering a strong message that solidarity not only benefits Cuba but the peoples of the world who are aspiring to promote the idea that a better world is possible for all.

Initiated by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity

Co-sponsors: Global Exchange, Richmond-Regla Sister City Association, Berkeley-Palma Soriano Sister City Association.




SIGN CALL for Nov. 15 “Say No to Capitalism and Racism Day” to Protest G20 Summit


November 15   A People’s Response to the G20 Summit
NYC PROTEST 4PMSUNDAY, NOV.15 @ CNN, 59 Street and Columbus Circle
Facebook Event Page:
  On November 15 and 16  the heads of governments of the G20 — the world’s 20 largest economies — along with the heads of their central banks, as well as the top bankers of the world, will be holding their annual summit meeting, which is taking place this year in Turkey.
Please support this call to make November 15, the first day of the G20 Summit – A SAY NO TO CAPITALISM AND RACISM DAY. Endorse this call and help to build the protest in NYC (and elsewhere)
The next G20 summit will be the most important G20 meeting since the global financial crash of 2008. The current volatility in global financial markets is a sign that the world capitalist system is entering a new, more intractable and more violent crisis.
No matter what the official G20 meeting agenda says, the question on the next G20 summit’s agenda (which in reality is dominated by the super-rich of the U.S. and the West) will be:  What must be done to rescue world capitalism and the 1% that profit from its perpetuation?
Ultimately, this means that the people of the world will be subjected to more unbearable inequality, poverty, hunger, homelessness, gentrification, neo-liberalism, austerity, more joblessness, more low wages, more war and occupation and the even greater prospect of a planet that is rapidly exhausting its capacity to sustain life.
JUST AS OMINOUS AND DANGEROUS, the deepening world economic and political crisis will create an even greater opportunity for the manifestation of racism and fascism.
The police war against Black people in the United States that has given rise to the powerful Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the war against Arab, African, Asian, Muslim, Indigenous and Latino/a migrants from the borders of Europe to the U.S.-Mexican border are examples of the intersection between capitalism and racism.
The time has come for progressive forces across the world to stand up and say that capitalism can’t be reformed and should not be saved.
We will no longer tolerate the system killing, oppressing, marginalizing, or scapegoating people of Color, migrants, poor people, women, lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people, people with disabilities, young people and all working people.
Sponsors Include:
Peoples Power Assembly
May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights
International Working Womens Coalition



Northern California Climate Mobilization


  Saturday, November 21, 2015, 10:30 A.M.

What will happen at the event?

10:30 am - Gather at Lake Merritt Amphitheatre
12:00 noon - March
1:00 pm - Rally at Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland, CA

This event is part of the Global Climate March. On November 30th, world leaders meet in Paris to start negotiating the next global climate deal. That’s why, the day before, people around the world will take to the streets and push leaders at every level of government to commit to 100% clean energy. Together, we can push the world towards a climate deal that gets us off dirty energy and unleashes clean energy for all. Let's make history -- RSVP on the right for this Global Climate March event!



Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

Sign the Petition:

Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.

"The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case

Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.

In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.

Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.

Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.

Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."

Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.

Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.

In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.

In solidarity,

James Clark
Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
Amnesty International USA

News Updates

  • Death Row Stories
    Kevin Cooper's case will be the subject of a new episode of CNN's "Death Row Stories" airing on Sunday, July 26 at 7 p.m. PDT. The program will be repeated at 10 p.m. PDT. The episode, created by executive producers Robert Redford and Alex Gibney, will explore how Kevin Cooper was framed by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and District Attorney.Viewers on the east coast can see the program at 10 p.m. EDT and it will be rebroadcast at 1 a.m. EDT on July 27. Viewers in the Central Time zone can see it at 9 p.m. and midnight CDT. Viewers in the Mountain Time zone can see it at 8 p.m. and ll p.m MDT. It will be aired on CNN again during the following week and will also be able to be viewed on CNN's "Death Row Stories" website.
Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at:
Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.

Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin.  He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence.  In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.

There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:

  The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?

  The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."

  Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.

  These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.

  The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.

Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.

The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.

The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited…         (Continue reading this document at:

     This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015



For Immediate Release – Thursday, October 29, 2015 
Solitary Prisoners’ Lawyers Slam CDCR for Sleep Deprivation

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

SAN FRANCISCO – Yesterday, lawyers for prisoners in the class action case Ashker v. Brown submitted a letter condemning Pelican Bay prison guards’ “wellness checks,” which have widely been viewed as sleep deprivation. The letter was submitted to United States Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas, and calls on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to put an end to the checks.

Last month, prisoners achieved a historic victory in the settlement of Ashker v. Brown where the indefinite long term solitary confinement was effectively ended in California, with Magistrate Judge Vadas currently monitoring implementation of the settlement terms.

The guards at Pelican bay Security Housing Units have been conducting disruptive cell checks every 30 minutes around the clock for three months, causing prisoners widespread sleep disruption. The process is loud and according to prisoners, “the method and noise from the checks is torture.”

Attorneys representing Pelican Bay SHU prisoners have just completed extensive interviews with prisoners who demand that “the every 30-minute checks have to be stopped or people are going to get sick or worse.” In addition, they report that regular prison programs have been negatively impacted.

“To sleep is a fundamental human right,” said Anne Weills, a member of the prisoners’ legal team and one of the attorneys who conducted the interviews with prisoners in Pelican Bay. “To take away such a basic human right amounts to severe torture, adding to the already torturous conditions of being in solitary confinement.”

Most prisoners report low energy, exhaustion and fatigue. Most state that they have trouble concentrating. They try to read, but they nod off and/or can’t remember what they have read. Their writing is much slower (“I can’t think to write”), and describe the constant welfare checks as having a negative impact on their mental state.

While this recent attorney survey was specifically focusing on sleep deprivation and its effects, prisoners volunteered information about the negative impact of these frequent checks: yard policy and practice has reduced access to recreation, access to showers has been reduced, programs and meals are being delayed, and property for those newly transferred to Pelican Bay is still being delayed and withheld.

Sleep deprivation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Prisoners and their attorneys are demanding that these checks be halted.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977




Albert Woodfox, Angola Inmate, Can Be Tried 3rd Time, Court Rules

Free Albert Woodfox!

On June 8, 2015 a federal judge granted Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox unconditional release. Albert's conviction had already been overturned three times - most recently in 2013 - yet every time the state has appealed.

Today, Albert is still behind bars after spending four decades in cruel, unjust solitary confinement. He believes that he and fellow prisoners, Herman Wallace and Robert King, were first placed in solitary confinement in retaliation for their activism. All three men were members of the Black Panther Party. Together, they came to be known as the Angola 3.

It is time for the State of Louisiana to stop standing in the way of justice. Call on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to ensure Albert's cruel and unjust confinement is not his legacy. Learn more



Amnesty for all those arrested demanding justice for Freddie Gray!


Amnesty for ALL those arrested
demanding justice for Freddie Gray!

Sign and distribute the petition to drop the charges!
Spread this effort with #Amnesty4Baltimore

"A riot is the language of the unheard"
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

An estimated 300 people have been arrested in Baltimore in the last two weeks. Many have been brutalized, beaten and pepper-sprayed by police in the streets, and held for days in inhumane conditions. Those arrested include journalists, medics and legal observers.

One individual arrested for property destruction of a police vehicle is now facing life in prison and is being held on $500,000 bail. That's $150,000 more than the officer charged with the murder of Freddie Gray.  

The legal system has made it clear that they care more about broken windows than broken necks; more about a CVS than the lives of Baltimore's Black residents.

They showed no hesitation in arresting Baltimore's protesters and rebels, and sending in the National Guard, but took 19 days to put a single one of the killer cops in handcuffs. This was the outrageous double standard that led to the Baltimore Uprising.

 Sign the petition to drop the charges on all who have been arrested.

Petition to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Download PDF of Petition

Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake
City Hall, Room 250,
100 North Holliday St.,
Baltimore, MD 21202

Dear Mayor Rawlings-Blake:

I stand in solidarity with those in Baltimore who are demanding that all charges be dropped against those who rose up against racism, police brutality, oppressive social conditions and delay of justice in the case of Freddie Gray. The whole world now recognizes that were it not for this powerful grassroots movement, in all its forms, there would be no indictment.

It is an outrage that peaceful protesters have been brutalized, beaten and pepper-sprayed by police in the streets, and held for days in inhumane conditions. Those arrested include journalists and legal observers.

Even the youth who are charged with property destruction and looting should be given an amnesty. There is no reason a teenager -- provoked by racists and justifiably angry -- should be facing life in prison for breaking the windows of a police car.

The City of Baltimore should work to rectify the conditions that led to this Uprising, rather than criminalizing those who took action in response to those conditions. Drop the charges now!

[add your name below]




Sign the Petition:

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
Project Springboard
RH Reality Check
Student Debt Crisis
The Nation
Working Families






Sometime yesterday Major Tillery, a 65 year-old man, was rushed to the hospital from SCI Frackville. Since hearing this yesterday evening through the prison grapevine, family and attorney have tried to learn more.

Today, the only thing we have been told by Superintendent Brenda Tritt is that this was “a routine admission” and Major is “receiving the appropriate medical attention.” Nothing more to to Major Tillery’s daughter, Kamilah Iddeen--not the hospital, the reason for rushing Major to the hospital, no agreement for family and legal visits.
Major Tillery has liver disease and a liver shunt, arthritis with chronic back and hip pain, and a festering skin rash and open sores. Major Tillery has filed grievance after grievance objecting to the lack of medical treatment and refusal to renew needed medical devices.

Major Tillery has been imprisoned for 30 years, 25 in the hole and in the most severe super max prisons in the country. For prison officials his crime is his advocacy for other prisoners and leadership capabilities, including challenging abusive prison conditions and inadequate medical treatment. He has been subject to retaliation by prison authorities since he began his successful legal effort to stop the overcrowding and curb the inhumane conditions in SCI Pittsburgh over 25 years ago. See, Tillery v. Owens (1990)

In early 2015, Major complained about the spreading skin disease at SCI Mahanoy, where he was then imprisoned. He stood up for Mumia Abu-Jamal and other prisoners who were suffering from this. For his acts of solidarity, Major Tillery was transferred to SCI Frackville and then put in the hole on falsified charges. After four months with limited food rations, deprived of commissary, contact visits and allowed less than one-hour a day of exercise, Major was released into general population. This was two months less than his prison sentence of six months in the hole – the prison’s response to an international campaign for Major!

Now Major is in the hospital. He is not being allowed contact with his family or attorney. They are not being given any real information on his condition.

Call prison officials and demand:
Visits with Major Tillery by his family and lawyer. Full medical information and treatment should be provided to his family and lawyer.
Stop the Retaliation Against Major Tillery. He should be exonerated for the false charges of drug possession and this misconduct removed from his record.
Transfer Major Tillery from SCI Frackville back to SCI Mahanoy or to another facility in eastern Pennsylvania to remain near his family.

Dept. Of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel           (717) 728-4109
Superintendent Brenda Tritt, SCI Frackville           (570) 874-4516

Write to
Major Tillery AM 9786
SCI Frackville
1111 Altamont Blvd.
Frackville, Pa. 17931

For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot
Kamilah Iddeen (Major Tillery’s daughter) (717) 379-9009,
Nancy Lockhart (843) 412-2035,
Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009,





Last night Mumia got notice that the final appeal of his PA Department of Corrections grievance was denied. Listen to his reaction here.

This denial comes on top of the magistrate Judge’s proposal to deny Mumia's right to treatment last week.

Remember-- one of the reasons the Judge gave was her claim that Mumia had not "exhausted his administrative remedies" or received a final denial of his request for care. Now he has received that denial.

We know that withholding Mumia’s care is immoral and illegal. We are confident that we will win this battle in court- but we can’t do it alone.

We have 3 days left to raise $2,948 to support Mumia’s legal team in securing his right to hepatitis C treatment!

If you have already joined us, we’re inviting you to ask one friend to match your gift. We need about 50 more freedom fighters to join us to reach our goal— and we want you to make that happen with us!

If you haven’t given yet- now is the time to make a contribution for Mumia. Will you join us?

Health care is a human right- for Mumia, and for all prisoners. Let's prove it.‪ #freemumia #fight4mumia

Reply directly to this email to respond to the campaign owner, Prison Radio . Visit the campaign page to view all comments and updates for this project.

Help spread the word about the campaign!



Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson
Updates from the New "Team Free Lorenzo Johnson":
Thank you all for your relentless effort in the fight against wrongful convictions and your determination to stand behind Lorenzo.

To garner even more support for Lorenzo Johnson, we have been hard at work updating the website and developing an even more formidable and dedicated team. Please take a moment to visit the new site here.

During the month of July, Lorenzo wrote two new articles for The Huffington Post titled "When Prosecutors Deny Justice for the Innocent," and "Hurry Up and Wait for Justice: The Struggle of Innocent Prisoners." In these articles, Lorenzo discusses the flaws in the criminal justice system, which he deems is a "serious problem in this country."

Lastly, Lorenzo has a message to you all.

A Letter from Lorenzo:

July 23, 2015
Dauphin County Prison
Harrisburg, PA

Dear Supporters,

I hope all is well with everyone and your families. As for myself, I'm still on my journey in pursuit of my vindication. Sorry for my website being shut down for a couple of weeks. It was being transferred to a new provider and management. I'm back and will do my best to keep everything up to speed with what's taking place.

I would like to thank ALL of my loyal supporters in the U.S. and in the MANY different counties that have signed on to support my innocence. Thanks for all of the letters, emails, photos, etc. Like I always say, I get energy to carry on and inspiration hearing form you, please stay engaged in my struggle.

As of this moment, nothing has changed, but – the continued delay tactics are constantly being used by my prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General William Stoycos. With the mounting of evidence that supports my innocence and police and prosecution misconduct claims that is steadily piling up, you would think that I would be having a couple of evidentiary hearings on my actual innocence appeal that have been pending since August 5, 2013.

At the time of this writing, I've been moved from SCI-Mahanoy to Dauphin County Prison and locked down for 23 hours and 40 minutes a day. In the 20 minutes I get to come out, I get to take a shower and make a short call. Prosecutor Stoycos had me moved so I can be a witness in his attempt to have my codefendant Corey Walker's attorney removed from representing him. How dare he call into question an attorney who is seeking justice for her client, when prosecutor Stoycos himself violated multiple constitutional rights of mine and Mr. Walker, that led to us being in prison for 20 years and counting.

Prosecutor Stoycos is continuously abusing his power and his endless resources he has at his disposal. He is not tough on crime, he's tough on Innocent Prisoners. Prosecutor Stoycos is doing everything in his power to prevent justice from taking place. I encourage everyone to continue to speak out against my nightmare, invite others to get involved by going to my website and signing my Freedom Petition and whatever else they're willing to do.

On a positive note, I just enrolled in warehouse management trade and started on July 13th. Unfortunately, you're only allowed to miss a couple of days and Prosecutor Stoycos had me temporarily transferred on July 14th … It's extremely hard on Lifers to get into these trades due to the fact that Lifers are placed at the back of the list of ALL vocational classes. I try to further my education every chance I get, so when I do come home, I will be certified in different work.

The month of the hearing has come and left, without me being brought to the courthouse … I'm one of MANY innocent prisoners who endures this non-stop madness in our pursuit of Justice and Freedom. Now that my webpage is almost caught up to speed, I promise prompt updates and as everyone knows that contacted me directly, I personally reply to those in the states and out of the country. For those who can make a financial contribution, everything counts. Take care and let's continue to fight until we achieve Freedom, Justice, and Equality for all innocent prisoners.

"The Pain Within"

Free the Innocent
Lorenzo "Cat" Johnson

[Note: Lorenzo has since been transferred back to SCI Mahanoy and can be reached at his usual address.]

Thank you all for reading this message and please take the time to visit the new website and contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!

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

 Email: Through JPay using the code:
              Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC
              Directly at

Have a wonderful day!
- The Team to Free Lorenzo Johnson


Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

Click HERE to view in browser

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 – press the donate button.

For information on the decade long campaign to destroy Rev. Pinkney go to and "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


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."

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:

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




New Action--write letters to DoD officials requesting clemency for Chelsea!

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











1) Volkswagen Says Whistle-Blower Pushed It to Admit Broader Cheating



2) University of Missouri Football Players Exercise Power in Racism Protest

The news out of Columbia, Mo., this weekend is disturbing yet also exhilarating.Dozens of black University of Missouri football players said Saturday that they would boycott all football-related activities — including games — until the university’s president, Timothy M. Wolfe, steps down or is removed. At issue, the players and other student activists say, are recent instances of racism directed at black students and a lack of action from administrators that the students contend have combined to create an intolerable atmosphere on campus.

The reports of racial episodes are disturbing. But the players’ protest is exhilarating because it is the most high-profile example to date in a continuing revolution in which the athletes who drive the multibillion-dollar college sports machine have begun to use their visibility to demand change.What makes the Missouri team’s protest stand out even more is that it is not about the business of sports: compensation, image rights, labor issues or N.C.A.A. rules. It was initiated by black players showing solidarity with fellow black students who felt their concerns had not been adequately addressed by university administrators. It was athletes lending their standing to a fight that, on its face, did not involve them.Football teams have stood their ground before and paid the consequences. Two seasons ago, Grambling football players forfeited a game at Jackson State after they refused to travel in protest over poor facilities, transportation problems and other things they considered examples of mistreatment at their university.

Although Grambling, a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, would never be confused with a major conference athletic program like Missouri, the Grambling players showed the power of athletes at any level to get an administration’s attention. Missouri’s players, who competed in one of the so-called Power 5 conferences, the Southeastern Conference, are positioned to do even more.

Their white teammates, and their coaches, completed the circle of support by joining the protest Sunday. It’s unclear if other Missouri athletes, notably the basketball team, scheduled to open its season Friday, will follow suit. But even if it does not, it is important — essential, in fact — to point out that the athletes on the football team, by lending their support to what might have been an easily marginalized campus protest, are breaking out of a cocoon that in the past has separated African-American athletes on campus from their less visible peers.

At the top of the college sports ladder, black athletes, especially those who work in the football and basketball factories, are often seduced and coddled but also isolated — intellectually if not physically — from “ordinary” black students who lack visibility and voice.

The Missouri players have declared, “We are one,” and it is hard to overstate the significance of that.

The athletes are displaying a newfound understanding of their power in a system that relies on their gratitude and their unquestioning labor, but they are also demonstrating their willingness to bring that leverage to bear.

At the country’s most prominent football and basketball programs, the ones that bring in a majority of the revenue in college sports, the largest percentage of star athletes are African-American.

At Missouri, 60 of the 124 football players are black, The Columbia Missourian reported. About 7 percent of the student population of 35,000 is African-American.

In the past, the ability of mostly white head coaches and administrators to get their mostly black athletes to see themselves as separate from the larger university community often kept wider issues that affect black Americans from disrupting the system.

But from time to time, black athletes have broken out of the bubble to take social stands.

The image of the sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos demonstrating on the victory stand, fists raised high, at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City is an icon of athletic protest. As a student at U.C.L.A., Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) joined black student protests on campus.More recently, on the professional level, black players on the St. Louis Rams and the Cleveland Browns showed solidarity with protesters in their communities after separate shootings by the police, and N.B.A. players lent their voices to the campaigns for the ouster of Donald Sterling, the former Los Angeles Clippers owner, after he was recorded making racist comments.

Derrick Rose was the first N.B.A. player to wear an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt during warm-ups last season, a reference to the words spoken by Eric Garner, who died after police officers on Staten Island used a chokehold to subdue him. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and other players around the league followed suit.

During a recent conversation, Abdul-Jabbar suggested that many contemporary black athletes now recognized that they were protected from the vagaries of racism that earlier generations had to face. That, he said, has emboldened them to respond to incidents affecting the black public at large.

“They had something to say about it because they were parents of boys, and they realized that their sons can get killed just like that in the same circumstances,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

There are complicating issues at Missouri that will come into play. Are the athletes violating their scholarships’ terms by refusing to practice and play? And what discipline could await Coach Gary Pinkel, who wrote on Twitter in support of the players, effectively backing them in a stand against the university?

I am not ready to say that this will catch on. With a 4-5 record and not about to play in any of the most prominent bowls, Missouri’s football team has little to lose this season.

But the players there have made it clear that they believe this is a human rights issue, and that they are in a position to affect the outcome. Therein lies their power.

Good for them.



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9) Poll Watch: Overseas Elections Offer Warnings for U.S. Pollsters
By Giovanni Russonello
November 10, 2015

Pre-election polls in numerous countries this year have widely missed their marks, often by underestimating support for candidates on the ideological fringes. The polling failures in countries like Britain, Poland and Israel point to technical issues that could well foreshadow polling problems in the United States, many analysts believe.

“The industry has a collective failure problem,” said John Curtice, the president of the British Polling Council and a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Partly this is the result of changing methodologies. “It’s now a mix of random-digit dialing — that is, telephone polls — and Internet-based polls based on recruited panels,” he said. Both modes present potential problems.

Opinion polls in advance of Britain’s general election in May severely underestimated the number of seats that Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party would win. After the election, the polling council called for an independent inquiry into what had caused the error. The council plans to release its findings in mid-January, a report that will be closely read by pollsters in Britain and around the globe.

Days after the British election, Polish voters elected Andrzej Duda of the far-right Law and Justice Party as president; no major poll had given him a lead. Poland’s Association of Market and Opinion Research Organizations is investigating what led to the collective flop. Similar slip-ups occurred in the Greek referendum on austerity, the national elections in Israel and Turkey, and elsewhere.

The British and Polish post-mortems are unlikely to yield a satisfactory answer, said Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center. “It’s not clear that there’s any single, consistent story running through this,” he said.

To some degree, conventional method explanations can help understand what has gone wrong in Europe. Frustration with the political process has recently given rise to more populist and anti-establishment candidates — and survey respondents sometimes shy away from acknowledging support for candidates seen as outside the mainstream. In addition, as people grow more distrustful of the political process, predicting turnout has grown increasingly difficult.

“The people who refuse to tell you what they’re going to do are disproportionately likely to vote Conservative,” Mr. Curtice said.

Most of the flubbed European polls seemed to misconstrue voters’ allegiances within conservative voting blocs. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party won decisively in March’s legislative election in Israel, despite polls showing a dead heat with the center-left Zionist Union — largely because Mr. Netanyahu was able to draw voters expected to go to other right-wing parties. And in Poland in May, the hard-line Mr. Duda pulled votes away from the center-right incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski, finishing ahead of him in the preliminary election and edging him out in a runoff.

General election polling in the United States typically doesn’t fall victim to factional conflicts, because in most cases only two major candidates and parties are represented on the ballot. But in the Republican nominating contest, where turnout is uncertain and a dozen candidates are vying for conservatives’ hearts, strong parallels abound.

“I think it’s like it is in Israel: It’s a within-the-bloc primary,” said Stanley Greenberg, who runs the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. At the moment, Ben Carson is the candidate with the most appeal among evangelical voters, “but it has all the makings of being able to shift to Cruz,” he said, referring to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. “And I do think it can break late.”

Another issue has been turnout. In the British election, Labour Party supporters proved “markedly less likely to turn out and vote” than they had suggested in polls, Mr. Curtice said. In the United States, the 2014 election saw the lowest voting percentage since World War II, favoring the Republican Party.

Unexpectedly low turnout only compounds creeping methodological issues that are bred by changes in communications technology and causing consternation across the polling world. Random-sample telephone polls have become increasingly fallible, partly because finding cellphone users willing to answer lengthy political surveys is difficult and costly.

After years of rejecting online polls as inherently nonscientific, researchers are beginning to embrace so-called panel surveys, which have produced some of the more accurate results in recent years. These studies rely on a large swath of voters who participate repeatedly over a course of months or years, allowing pollsters to read trends and predict voter likelihood based on respondents’ personal histories.

This could be particularly promising among young people, whose voting habits are notoriously capricious.

In 2016, “the uncertainty will be with the millennials,” Mr. Greenberg said. “Compared to young people at an earlier time, they marry later, they have fewer kids, they’re living on their own, fewer are attending church — the things that are correlated with voting.” 



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