Friday, December 18, 2015

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, MONDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2015




 
 
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Happy Winter Solstice and Happy New Year!
The whole world is in turmoil suffering the capitalist descent into barbarism. At the same time, there is a great awakening of consciousness among the masses of working people that we are all in the same sinking boat. Across the globe, we are all facing the economic reality of austerity for us, and untold accumulation of wealth for the ruling elite. Democratic rights are being decimated. Police brutality and murder is rampant. And while the corporations can kill, mutilate and rob with impunity, the poor are locked up for the crime of being impoverished. We are reaching a tipping point both in our climate crisis and our overwhelming social crisis of unending war, poverty and criminalization of the poor.
The only solution is world socialist revolution under the democratic control of the whole working class and in defense of all life on Earth!
Peace and solidarity for a better tomorrow,
Bonnie
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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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Chelsea Manning Support Network

What does Chelsea want for her
28th birthday this week?

This Thursday, December 17th, is heroic WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning's 28th birthday-- the sixth year she'll have spent her birthday behind bars for exposing war crimes, and other information that should never have been secret in the first place.

Here are three important ways you can support Chelsea on her birthday:

1. Give the gift of a donation to the Chelsea Manning Defense Fund

Attorneys Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward are well into the process of preparing for Chelsea's first legal appeal next year. The appeals process has the potential to take decades off Chelsea's 35 year prison sentence. Donate Today!

2. Send her a birthday message:

CHELSEA E. MANNING 89289
1300 N Warehouse Rd
Ft Leavenworth KS 66027-2304

3. Join or create a birthday action in celebration of Chelsea's birthday

Currently, birthday actions are planned all over the world to celebrate Chelsea Manning's Birthday from Dec 17th-Dec 19th. Join candlelight vigils, card-writing meetups, and tabling events in London, Berlin, Oakland, Boston, Bucharest, Vancouver, and even Chelsea's hometown in Oklahoma! Click here for a list of actions world-wide.

Super secret insider info: Not only are Chelsea Manning shirts and stuff already 50% off in our online store, if you use discount code "chelsea" during check out, you'll get an additional 50% off. That is insane, so please don't tell anyone else, as we can't afford for this news to get out too broadly. Here's the link to the store, just for you Bonnie.

Chelsea honored in Advocate's 40 under 40!

"In blogs, tweets, and handwritten letters from prison, the former Army intelligence specialist is still trying to change the world."
"I often hear and read that many people all over the world consider me a ‘whistleblower’ or a ‘heroine.’ This experience can be a little intimidating at times," she tells The Advocate. "That’s an idea that would be a lot to live up to! I don’t feel like I can live up to the expectations of being a ‘heroine.’ I don’t have any special powers or abilities like a comic book super hero. I actually feel a lot more vulnerable than that. In fact, I am very vulnerable. I just try to be myself, and that’s all I aspire to be.” Read more...

Help us continue to cover
100% of Chelsea's legal fees
!

Please donate today!





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Friday, Dec. 18, 11am
Press Conference and Action
Justice for Mario Woods, Executed by SFPD
850 Bryant St, Hall of Injustice, SF





BLM
Sponsored by the Justice for Mario Woods Coalition. Endorsed by the ANSWER Coalition and many community organizations.

Friday, Dec. 18, 2pm
Press Conference and Rally
Stand with Arabs & Muslims Against Racist Violence
SF City Hall (Polk St. steps)

In recent weeks, we have witnessed a new wave of racist violence against Arabs, Muslims and perceived Muslim communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the country. Join us in challenging scapegoating and xenophobia, and demonstrating our commitment to upholding the dignity of all communities.

Endorsed by: Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), Asian Law Caucus-Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Bay Area Women in Black, Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent, ANSWER – Act Not to Stop War & End Racism Coalition, Council on American Islamic Relations, World Can’t Wait, Bay Area Jewish Voice for Peace, Queers Undermining Israeli Terror, International Socialist Organization

ANSWER SF · United States
This email was sent to caroleseligman@sbcglobal.net.
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-->Holiday Call-In Day to the White House: Peace for Colombia! Free Simon Trinidad
Tuesday, December 22, 2015, 8AM to 5PM Eastern
Call President Obama at 202-456-1111


Say:
“I want Peace for Colombia and to ask President Obama to free Simon Trinidad for the holidays! Trinidad belongs at the peace talks, not in solitary confinement at the Florence Colorado Supermax prison. Peace on Earth and goodwill to all!”

Peace for Colombia!
The peace process between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government is moving forward in Havana, Cuba. Freeing Simon Trinidad to take part in peace talks would be a concrete action the Obama White House could take to show it supports the Colombian peace process. The holidays are a perfect time to make it happen.

We support peace with justice in Colombia as six points are being negotiated—land reform, drug crop eradication, transitional justice, political participation, end of armed conflict, and implementation. The outcome of these peace negotiations will determine the future of Colombia. It is important at this crucial time of peace talks to support the people’s movements in Colombia and demand the right-wing death squads stop killing leaders and activists.

Plan Colombia, the U.S. war of the past 15 years, brought poverty, misery and death to the Colombian people. It cost over $9 billion. With its fumigation of poor peasants crops and death squads targeting trade unionists, teachers, and activists, it is a massive failure.

Today the White House is supporting the peace talks, realizing Plan Colombia is a failure and that it cannot defeat the FARC. The Pentagon says the war will go past 2050 at current levels of fighting. Wall Street wants a peace process in Colombia because oil, mining, and mineral corporations want access to large no-go areas under the leadership of FARC or ELN.

Free Simon Trinidad for the holidays!

Simon Trinidad, also known as Ricardo Palmera, is a FARC negotiator and political prisoner of the U.S. government. Trinidad is being tortured in solitary confinement in the Florence, Colorado Supermax prison. A few months ago, on Sept. 21, thirty-five protesters marched and rallied in the mountains of Colorado chanting “Peace for Colombia, Free Simon Trinidad!” Now it is time to spread that message across the country and deliver it to the White House.

As the Colombian peace negotiations continue, the FARC says Simon Trinidad is needed in Havana. Trinidad played an important role in past negotiations and he represents the people’s movement history. For a lasting peace with justice in Colombia, ask President Obama to free Simon Trinidad now!

info@stopfbi.net

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

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FREE RICARDO PALMERA

We demand the U.S. government free Colombian revolutionary Ricardo Palmera, a political leader and negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Professor Palmera has done nothing wrong. To the contrary, he consistently defends the sovereignty of his country, Colombia's independence, and the rights of the Colombian people.
U.S. WAR IN COLOMBIA - PLAN COLOMBIA
Imposing "Plan Colombia", the U.S. government is intervening directly in Colombia's civil war -- arming, training, and commanding the Colombian Military and backing the corrupt government of a small wealthy elite. The Pentagon's Southern Command gives orders to Colombia's generals. President Bush has doubled U.S. military advisors to 800 and contract mercenaries to 600. The U.S. government's dirty war in Colombia costs over $5 billion in taxpayers' money. It goes to the Colombian Military and its death squads who torture and kill trade unionists, students, and peasants. The paramilitary death squads are part and parcel of the Colombian state, serving the interests of U.S. corporations like Occidental Oil, Chiquita Banana, Drummond Coal, and Coca-Cola. Plan Colombia is a plan for poverty, misery and death. It rains down terror upon Colombia's poor.

THE FARC

The imprisonment of Ricardo Palmera is a direct result of U.S. intervention in Colombia's civil war. The FARC formed in 1964 after Colombia's elites and their U.S. allies violently attacked an independent peasants' movement. Ricardo Palmera joined the FARC in 1989 after seeing most of his friends and comrades of the Patriotic Union political party murdered or exiled. The Colombian Military and their death squads murdered more than 4000 candidates, members, and elected officials of the Patriotic Union. Today, the FARC is a rebel army of 28,000 fighting for national liberation. It consists mainly of peasants and one-third of its fighters are women. However, FARC members come from all walks of life, including leaders like Professor Palmera. The FARC fight for social justice, seeking democratic social and economic change, organizing the poor to overthrow the rich and become the rulers of society. The FARC opposes the U.S. Empire -- where U.S. corporations steal the oil, coal, minerals, gems, and agricultural products that belong to the Colombian people. The FARC appeals to the American people to demand peace, not war, from Bush and other leaders.
Ricardo Palmera's extradition, imprisonment, and trials are part of the U.S. Pentagon's counter-insurgency war. Palmera is the latest victim of the Bush Administration's so-called "War on Terror"; an unending war that respects no national boundaries and leads to repression and death around the world.
Ricardo Palmera is held in solitary confinement -- no family, no friends, no reporters, not even his own Colombian lawyer can visit. However, by speaking the truth in court, FARC leader Palmera has consistently beaten the Bush administration. Palmera won a victory when the first trial ended in a hung jury. American jurors could not find Palmera guilty on the three "terrorism" charges and the two "kidnapping" charges. It was supposed to be a "slam-dunk" for the U.S. prosecutors, but turned into a big loss on their home turf.

Next the U.S. government re-tried Palmera on the same exact charges. However before the 2nd trial could even begin, Judge Hogan was caught cheating with U.S. prosecutor Ken Kohl and had to step down, to recuse himself. Hogan's replacement, Judge Lamberth refused to allow Palmera any witnesses. The U.S. prosecutor had dozens of witnesses -- paid informants, lying convicted drug runners, and corrupt Colombian government officials. At the end of the 2nd trial, the jury could not find Palmera guilty of "terrorism" charges or the actual kidnapping charge related to three U.S. military contractors captured and held by the FARC. Unfortunately, based upon the FARC capturing its enemies in combat, the jury convicted Palmera of "belonging to a conspiracy to kidnap". Judge Lamberth added every year of time the U.S. Prosecutor asked for, producing a 60-year sentence while emphasizing his "judicial independence and impartiality". At his sentencing Ricardo Palmera gave a moving and heroic speech, defending himself and his principles, the FARC and its leadership, and the revolution of the Colombian people. Ricardo Palmera's speech will one day appear in history books across Latin America.
The third and fourth trials of Ricardo Palmera involved "drug" charges, claiming Professor Palmera is part of a vast conspiracy to import cocaine to the U.S. This claim is like the "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq. It is the big lie with no evidence. The FARC are simply not involved in the production or trafficking of drugs. This time, seven American jurors declared Ricardo Palmera "not guilty". Another hung jury, another mistrial, but the U.S. Prosecutor put Ricardo Palmera on trial again. For the same charges! Another million-dollar trial with no evidence, only paid informants and corrupt government officials. In this fourth trial, Palmera won another hung jury and the U.S. State Department finally gave up and requested that the charges be dropped.
FREE RICARDO PALMERA
--
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org

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When Drone Whistleblowers are Under Attack,

What Do We Do?

STAND UP, FIGHT BACK!



 We honor Stephan, Michael, Brandon and Cian!

These four former ex-drone pilots have courageously spoken out publicly against the U.S. drone assassination program.  They have not been charged with any crime, yet the U.S. government is retaliating against these truth-tellers by freezing all of their bank and credit card accounts.  WE MUST BACK THEM UP!
Listen to them here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43z6EMy8T28

PLEASE HELP THEM:

1.  Sign up on this support network:
         www.facebook.com/events/1502272456740302/

2.  Sign this petition  NOW:
               https://www.change.org/p/barack-obama-congress-attorney-general-loretta-lynch-protect-the-drone-assassination-program-whistleblowers?recruiter=436431670&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

3.  Call and email officials TODAY, listed below and on FB site.

4.  Ask your organization if they would join our network.


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Statement of Support for Drone Whistleblowers
(Code Pink Women for Peace: East Bay, Golden Gate, and S.F. Chapters 11.28.15)

Code Pink Women for Peace support the very courageous actions of four former US drone operators, Michael Haas, Brandon Bryant, Cian Westmoreland, and Stephan Lewis, who have come under increasing attack for disclosing information about “widespread corruption and institutionalized indifference to civilian casualties that characterize the drone program.” As truth tellers, they stated in a public letter to President Obama that the killing of innocent civilians has been one of the most “devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”* These public disclosures come only after repeated attempts to work privately within official channels failed.

Despite the fact that none of the four has been charged with criminal activity, all had their bank accounts and credit cards frozen. This retaliatory response by our government is consistent with the extrajudicial nature of US drone strikes.

We must support these former drone operators who have taken great risks to stop the drone killing. Write or call your US Senators, your US Representatives, President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and CIA Director John Brennan demanding that Michael Haas, Brandon Bryant, Cian Westmoreland, and Stephan Lewis be applauded, not punished, for revealing the criminal and extrajudicial nature of drone strikes that has led to so many civilian deaths.

Petition

URGENT: Sign and Share NOW! Drone Whistleblower Protection Petition
https://www.change.org/p/barack-obama-congress-attorney-general-loretta-lynch-protect-the-drone-assassination-program-whistleblowers?recruiter=436431670&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

Contacting your Government
- White House comment line: 202-456-1111
 
- Email President Obama: president@whitehouse.gov and cc info@whitehouse.gov
 
- White House switchboard: 202-456-1414 for telephone numbers of your Senators and Representatives.

- Email your Senators and Representatives:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/
http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/


-Contact Ashton Carter Secretary of Defense: Go to http://www.defense.gov/About-DoD/Biographies/BiographyView/Article/602689 and select appropriate icon.

- Contact John Brennan, CIA Director: Go to
https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/leadership/john-o-brennan.html and select appropriate icon.

For more information on the 4 Drone Whistleblowers:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1502272456740302/
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43z6EMy8T28

(Must see Democracy Now interview with the 4 drone operators)

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/18/life-as-a-drone-pilot-creech-air-force-base-nevada

*http://thefreethoughtproject.com/drone-pilots-bank-accounts-credit-cards-frozen-feds-exposing-murder/#fqt0crLvckG2OdbD.99

Code Pink Women for Peace: eastbaycodepink@gmail.com








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Save Ashraf Fayadh

Palestinian poet sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.

Ashraf Fayadh, Palestinian refugee poet and artist living in Saudi Arabia, has been sentenced to death by a Saudi court, on charges of apostasy or abandoning his faith in Islam. The charges appear to be based on his poetry and writing and also maybe a form of retaliation for posting an online video showing Saudi religious police lashing a man in public.

Fayadh is a Palestinian refugee who was born in Saudi Arabia and has become a leading member of the young Saudi art scene. He was arrested in January 2014, his identity documents confiscated, and held for a lengthy period without charge. He was then sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes; after he appealed; he was re-tried last month and sentenced to death. He did not have legal representation.

Fayadh is being sentenced to death after having been jailed for more than 22 months in the Saudi city of Abha without clear legal charges beyond “insulting the Godly self” and having “ideas that do not suit the Saudi society.” These charges are based on the complaint of a reader’s interpretation of Fayadh's 2008 poetry collection titled, Instructions Within.

“According to Fayadh’s friends, when the police failed to prove that his poetry was atheist propaganda, they began berating him for smoking and having long hair,” reported the Guardian. Fayadh said his poetry book, Instructions Within, is “just about me being [a] Palestinian refugee…about cultural and philosophical issues. But the religious extremists explained it as destructive ideas against God.”

This is not the first time that Saudi authorities have arrested Ashraf Fayadh. The poet was detained before after a Saudi citizen filed a complaint with the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice accusing Fayadh of having “misguided and misguiding thoughts.” Fayadh was bailed out of jail at the time, only to get arrested again. According to sources close to Fayadh, the poet has been denied both visitation and legal representation rights.

Amnesty international stated, “We condemn these acts of intimidation targeting Ashraf Fayadh as part of a wider campaign inciting hate against writers and using Islam to justify oppression and to crush free speech. We express our solidarity with Fayadh, hoping to increase support for the poet as well as pressure to release him. Our efforts should come together to ensure the proliferation of free speech and personal freedoms. We specifically call on Saudi intellectuals to express solidarity with Fayadh against Takfiris’ intimidation practices meant to silence poets, writers, and artists like him. Let the flag of creativity fly free and remain innovative. Remaining silent towards Fayadh’s detention is an insult to knowledge, literature, culture, and thought as well as to freedom and human rights.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins the call for the immediate freedom of Ashraf Fayadh. His imprisonment, persecution and death sentence by the Saudi regime reflects the deeply reactionary and far-right role played by the Saudi regime in the region—alongside its close imperial partners in the United States, Canada and Europe—that threatens Palestinian and Arab culture, life, and movements and works to block and suppress any struggle for liberation.

One hundred Arab intellectuals have called for Fayadh’s release and so far over 10, 000 people have signed an AI petition to save his life. Please sign and share the petition. https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Amnesty_international_Save_the_palestinian_poet_and_artist_Ashraf_Fayadh/?tUPvwdb

To take further action:

1. Call the Saudi Embassy in your area and demand freedom for Ashraf Fayadh. In the United States, call 202-342-3800. In Canada, call 613-237-4100. Find the embassy in your country here: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/saudi-arabia

2. Protest at the Saudi Embassy in your area for freedom for Ashraf Fayadh. Print signs and materials, and gather outside the Saudi embassy with Palestine rights activists, artists and others to demand his freedom. See the list of Saudi embassies here: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/saudi-arabia

3. Contact your government officials. The Saudi regime is a close partner of the United States, Canadian and various European governments. Demand that your government pressure the Saudi regime to release Fayadh. In Canada, Call the office of the Foreign Minister, Stéphane Dion, at 613-996-5789 and demand Canada pressure Saudi Arabia to release Fayadh, or email: stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca. In the U.S., call the White House (202-456-1111) and the U.S. State Department (202-647-9572); demand the U.S. pressure Saudi Arabia to release Fayadh. In the EU, contact your Member of the European Parliament—you can find your MEP here:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html

Please also write letters, Facebook posts, emails or send Facebook messages to your local politicians, newspapers and friends to publicize this dire case and spread the information about the situation of Ashraf Fayadh.

—Steven Katsineris

Information from Amnesty International, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and AVAAZ.

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Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

Sign the Petition:
http://www.savekevincooper.org/pages/petition.php


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: www.freekevincooper.org
 
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: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)

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

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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 www.freedomarchives.org


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UPDATE:

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

http://act.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1839&ea.campaign.id=35593&ea.tracking.id=Country_USA~MessagingCategory_PrisonersandPeopleatRisk&ac=W1506EAIAR2&ea.url.id=414689&forwarded=true

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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 

http://www.answercoalition.org/amnesty_for_all_those_arrested_demanding_justice_for_freddie_gray?utm_campaign=baltimore_amn1&utm_medium=email&utm_source=answercoalition

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!

Sincerely,
[add your name below]

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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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URGENT ALERT

MAJOR TILLERY IN 

HOSPITAL!







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
Call/Write:
Kamilah Iddeen (Major Tillery's daughter) (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
Nancy Lockhart (843) 412-2035, thewrongfulconviction@gmail.com
Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com


Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot





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Support Mumia in Court on Dec. 18
Demand that Mumia and 10,000 other PA Prisoners Receive Lifesaving HCV Treatment

Your support is needed once again for renowned political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, this time to demand immediate treatment for the hepatitis C virus (HCV).

In the wake of thousands of signed petitions, phone calls, emails plus meetings, street actions and pressure from sympathetic state officials, Federal Court Judge Robert Mariani has ordered a full evidentiary hearing on Friday, Dec. 18 to determine if the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) must provide, as Abu-Jamal's legal team requests, the new, direct-acting, anti-viral medication with a 95 percent cure rate for HCV .

The DOC currently has no standard of care for treating prisoners with HCV. Prison authorities willfully ignored Mumia's health crisis until supporters initiated a campaign which eventually revealed medical proof that his ailments stem from untreated HCV he contacted via a blood transfusion when he was shot by police 34 years ago. The DOC is denying the lifesaving treatment "until the final stages of the condition" - when it would be too late to save Mumia's life!

Abu-Jamal's legal team will make a strong case during the hearing on why Mumia and the other 10,000 HCV-infected prisoners in Pennsylvania need immediate treatment.  Most leading hep C specialists and national HCV organizations now recommend immediate treatment with this drug. Abu-Jamal will testify via videoconferencing - the first time in decades he will be given the opportunity to testify in court   If he is successful in winning the new hep C treatment, it will set a precedent that can potentially help infected prisoners throughout Pennsylvania and other states.

Statistics show that HCV, if left untreated, is spread when prisoners return home, creating a public health crisis which has a disproportionate impact on people of color and impoverished communities who are also impacted negatively by the outrageously high prices charged by Gilead Sciences for this lifesaving medicine.

Join activists from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City and other East Coast cities in a rally outside the courthouse in Scranton and perhaps witness the court proceedings inside (seating is very limited).  Your participation on Dec. 18 can prove once again that people's power can successfully force the capitalist state to consent to the right to proper health care for Abu-Jamal and all prisoners with HCV.

International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC), Educators for Mumia, Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, International Action Center and Mundo Obrero-Workers World Party are all organizing to attend. 

9:30 am Friday, December 18,
U.S. Court House
235 N. Washington Ave, Scranton, PA 18501

There's a chance the proceedings may continue into a second day,
Monday, Dec 21.

If you need a ride or can offer a ride from Philadelphia to Scranton,
contact 484.343.2172,  215.724.1618
or HepCcure4Mumiaallprisoners@gmx.com.

From NYC, call 212.330.8029 to reserve a seat on the bus.

If you cannot be in Scranton please call the following officials on Dec. 18 to demand immediate anti-viral HCV medication for Mumia
and the other prisoners:

 Gov. Tom Wolf, 717.787.2500
John Wetzel, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, 717.728.4109
John Kerestes, Superintendent SCI Mahanoy,
570.773.2158 ext. 8102







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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
                                     or
              Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com

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


freelorenzojohnson.org

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Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

Click HERE to view in browser

http://www.iacenter.org/prisoners/freepinkney-1-28-15/


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."

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!

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) Indianapolis Police Kill Man Who Had Knife


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2) LA Sheriff's Office Responds to Video of Deputies Shooting Man As He Crawls Away
December 13, 2015
https://news.vice.com/article/lynwood-police-shooting-nicholas-robertson-los-angeles-county-sheriff?utm_source=vicenewsemail

Police in Southern California are facing scrutiny after dramatic video footage emerged that appears to show two white officers repeatedly shooting a black man as he attempted to crawl away from them.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office held a press conference on Sunday afternoon to address the video and shooting incident, which occurred Saturday morning outside a gas station in Lynwood, about 15 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. The sheriff's office identified the victim as Nicholas Robertson, 28, from Compton. He was reportedly a father of three.

The deputies involved in the shooting initially said that Robertson was armed and refused to drop his weapon, but video recorded by a bystander in a building across the street seems to contradict those claims. It appears to show two officers standing a short distance away from Robertson as he walks away from them with his back turned. The officers suddenly open fire and continue shooting as Robertson falls to the ground and attempts to crawl away.

The footage has prompted outrage in a city that is already sore from a number of controversial officer-involved shootings over the last two years. Crowds of protesters gathered at the site of the incident on Saturday night.

Ahead of Sunday's press conference on the shooting, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell urged the public to avoid drawing conclusions about the incident based on what the video shows.

"In this modern age of cellphone video and instant analysis on the Internet, I would ask that we keep in mind that a thorough and comprehensive investigation is detailed and time-intensive," McDonnell said in a statement "It will involve not just one source of information but numerous sources, potentially including multiple videos, physical evidence and eyewitness accounts."

Speaking at Sunday's press conference, Captain Steve Katz of the sheriff's office said that deputies received numerous reports before 11am on Saturday of an individual toting a handgun in the vicinity of a busy intersection in Lynwood, and that shots were fired in the area around that time. Katz shared video footage and photographs from a business overlooking the intersection by the gas station that he said showed Robertson "behaving erratically" and carrying a handgun.

Katz said Robertson was "yelling out expletives," and that a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun was found at the scene of the incident. It wasn't loaded, Katz said, but Robertson had additional rounds on his person. Katz said they had no evidence that Robertson fired at police deputies, but that they were certain it had been fired "multiple times" earlier in the day. The police official suggested a marital dispute or a "drug nexus" had made Robertson agitated.

Katz said the deputies fired 15 and 16 shots, respectively, during the encounter. He said the number of shots wasn't necessarily unusual, but that it would be evaluated as part of the investigation into the incident. He also described one of the officers involved as veteran, but when pressed on how he defined "veteran," he acknowledged the man had only been in the field for a year. Both officers involved will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The sheriff's office stressed their understanding of the "significant community concern" and "strong emotions" about the shooting, underscoring the fact that the investigation is in very early stages. Katz pleaded for patience, and said that "facts may change" as the investigation proceeds.




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3) In Talks Over Seized U.S. Property, Havana Counters With Own Claim


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4) Inquiry Into Egypt Plane Crash Hasn’t Found Evidence of Terrorism


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5)  In Powerful Warning to City Officials, Chicago Teachers Vote for Mass Strike
By Nadia Prupis
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/12/14/powerful-warning-city-officials-chicago-teachers-vote-mass-strike

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) on Monday voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if contract disputes are not resolved, paving the way for members' second mass walkout since 2012 as city officials threaten further cuts and layoffs.

"Chicago Teachers Union members do not want to strike, but we do demand that you listen to us," said CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey. "Do not cut our schools, do not lay off educators or balance the budget on our backs."

CTU's 24,752 members voted over the course of three days, with a 91 percent turnout. Overall, 88 percent voted in favor of authorizing a strike.

A strike can only take place after mediation between teachers and city officials, so it would not happen before March 2016, Sharkey told the Chicago Tribune on Monday.

His statement following the vote specifically addressed Chicago Public Schools chief executive Forrest Claypool as well as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who faces a growing call for resignation from grassroots groups demanding racial, social, and economic justice.

"Rahm, Forrest Claypool—listen to what teachers and educators are trying to tell you: do not cut the schools anymore, do not make the layoffs that you have threatened; instead, respect educators and give us the tools we need to do our jobs," Sharkey said.

As CTU outlined in its statement following the vote, educators' demands are to: 

--Improve the teaching and learning conditions by reducing standardized testing, eliminate time-sucking compliance paperwork, and restore professional respect and autonomy to teachers on matters like grades. These improvements cost nothing;

--Staff our schools at an adequate level. We deserve reasonable class sizes, instruction in art, music, science and technology, a library with a librarian, a nurse;

--Help our schools and our communities address the social crisis in large swaths of our city. While we do not expect the schools to fix homelessness, broken immigration policy, crisis-level unemployment, and racism, we must address the undeniable fact that these problems spill over into our schools and devastate the lives of our children. We have modest demands to address these problems—allow our counselors to counsel, approve restorative justice programs in targeted schools, help with translation and bilingual services.

The contracts reached during the 2012 strike, which saw Chicago public schools come to a halt for a full week before city officials met teachers' demands, expired in June. More recent negotiations stalled over disputes about salaries, teacher evaluations, and standardized testing, among other contentious issues. School administrators have threatened mass layoffs and pay cuts to address the system's shortfall, which is estimated to hit $1 billion next year.


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6) Bowe Bergdahl to Face Court-Martial on Desertion Charges


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7) 120 Multistate Outbreaks: Tip of Iceberg in Food-borne Infection


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8) Underlying U.S. Inflation Creeps Higher


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9) California: Civil Rights Suit Filed Over Man Shot to Death by Police


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10) Thousands March in South Africa to Call for President’s Resignation



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11) Mexico: Bodies Discovered Dumped in Southern State


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12) Physicists in Europe Find Tantalizing Hints of a Mysterious New Particle


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13) New York Prisons Take an Unsavory Punishment Off the Table


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14) A Secret Weapon to Fight Climate Change: Dirt
By Michael Pollan and Debbie Barker, The Washington Post
17 December 15
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/34101-a-secret-weapon-to-fight-climate-change-dirt


hen Will Allen is asked to name the most beautiful part of his Vermont farm, he doesn’t talk about the verdant, rolling hills or easy access to the Connecticut River. Though the space is a picturesque postcard of the agrarian idyll, Allen points down, to the dirt. “This precious resource not only grows food,” he says, “but is one of the best methods we have for sequestering carbon.”

We think of climate change as a consequence of burning fossil fuels. But a third of the carbon in the atmosphere today used to be in the soil, and modern farming is largely to blame. Practices such as the overuse of chemicals, excessive tilling and the use of heavy machinery disturb the soil’s organic matter, exposing carbon molecules to the air, where they combine with oxygen to create carbon dioxide. Put another way: Human activity has turned the living and fertile carbon system in our dirt into a toxic atmospheric gas.

It’s possible to halt and even reverse this process through better agricultural policies and practices. Unfortunately, the world leaders who gathered in Paris this past week have paid little attention to the critical links between climate change and agriculture. That’s a huge mistake and a missed opportunity. Our unsustainable farming methods are a central contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change, quite simply, cannot be halted without fixing agriculture.

The industrialization of farming has allowed farmers to grow more crops more quickly. But modern techniques have also wreaked havoc on the earth, water and atmosphere. Intense plowing, for example, has introduced more oxygen into the soil, boosting the microbes that convert organic matter into carbon dioxide. The quest to wring every last dollar out of fields has put pressure on farmers to rely on chemical fertilizers. This often leaves fields more bare between growing seasons, allowing carbon to escape into the air. Scientists estimate that cultivated soil has lost 50 to 70 percent of its carbon, speeding up climate change.

That loss has significantly degraded soil health, reducing our ability to grow food. Median crop yields are likely to decline by about 2 percent per decade through 2100, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. At the same time, the world’s population is projected to jump from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050.

Water availability is also at risk. Currently, 1.6 billion people live in regions facing severe water scarcity; that number is expected to rise to 2.8 billion by 2025. Agriculture accounts for a whopping 70 percent of all water consumption. That’s in large part because degraded soil doesn’t absorb water efficiently. Instead, water sits on top of the ground and runs off (along with farm chemicals) into nearby waterways, creating toxic nitrogen “dead zones.”

Remarkably, though, restoring carbon to the soil is not nearly as complicated as rethinking our transportation systems or replacing coal with renewable energy. Innovative farmers such as Allen already know the recipe.

He and his team place “cover crops” in their fields, planting things like oats, rye and beans between rows of vegetables. This practice keeps carbon, nitrogen and other organic nutrients in the soil. “Keeping as much ground covered with plants as long as possible allows photosynthesis to draw down atmospheric carbon into soils,” Allen says. A bare field, in contrast, represents a waste of photosynthetic potential. Allen also composts, limits plowing and avoids synthetic chemicals like nitrogen fertilizers. In combination, these efforts have increased soil organic matter by 3 to 4 percent in just three years. Allen also sells some of his cover crops, adding farm income.

Allen’s results are not unusual. Studies have shown that cover cropping, crop rotation and no-till farming could restore global soil health while significantly decreasing farms’ carbon footprint. Some scientists project that 75 to 100 parts per million of CO2 could be drawn out of the atmosphere over the next century if existing farms, pastures and forestry systems were managed to maximize carbon sequestration. That’s significant when you consider that CO2 levels passed 400 ppm this spring. Scientists agree that the safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 ppm.

Regenerative farming would also increase the fertility of the land, making it more productive and better able to absorb and hold water, a critical function especially in times of climate-related floods and droughts. Carbon-rich fields require less synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and generate more productive crops, cutting farmer expenses.

So why aren’t we instituting policies to encourage this kind of “carbon farming”? For one thing, the science is new and not yet widely disseminated. Additionally, most of the incentives built into America’s agricultural policies are based on maximizing yield, often at the expense of soil health.

Current federal policy, for example, limits the growing season for cover crops on the theory that they waste farmers’ time and resources on products that can’t be sold. Thus, farmers are denied full crop insurance, price supports and subsidies if they grow cover crops beyond a specified period of time. But viewing cover crops as a benefit instead of an impediment to cash crops would be the kind of climate-smart policy we need. And, as farmers such as Allen have learned, some cover crops can also be commercialized.

Giving farmers incentives to switch from synthetic nitrogen fertilizers to organic fertilizers could also lead to healthier soil. Scientists at the University of California at Berkeley working with Marin County ranchers have found that applying a single layer of compost, less than an inch thick, to rangelands stimulates a burst of microbial and plant growth that sequesters dramatic amounts of carbon in the soil — more than 1.5 tons per acre. And research has shown that this happens not just once, but year after year. This is a win-win strategy, both for the climate and the food system, since the additional carbon in the soil means more grass for cattle and more profit for ranchers. If the practice were replicated on half the rangeland area of California, it would sequester enough carbon to offset 42 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.

The possibilities are endless. What if our farmers received federal subsidies not just for bushels per acre, but for carbon sequestered or acres of cover crops planted? Many such changes could be made tomorrow at the agency level; they would not require congressional action. Incentives for carbon farming could also bridge the political chasm between ranchers, farmers and environmentalists. Even those farmers and ranchers who don’t believe in climate change desire healthy soil, high productivity and lush grasslands. There is a rich opportunity here to completely realign the politics of agricultural and environmental policy.

America is not there quite yet, but other countries are pointing the way. This year, the French government launched the 4 Per 1000 initiative, the first international effort to restore carbon to the soil. Under the proposal, nations would commit to increasing the carbon in their cultivated lands by 0.4 percent per year. The French calculate that this would halt the annual increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Some emerging soil science estimates that we could store 50 to 75 percent of current global carbon emissions in the soil.

In the United States, when the Dust Bowl crisis of the 1930s literally blew soil across the country, our government responded by implementing agriculture policies to ameliorate the problem. With the stakes even higher today, our politicians can once again enact policies to reward practices that rebuild soil carbon.



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15) Chicago Pays Millions but Punishes Few in Killings by Police
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16) New York City to Pay $2.75 Million in Wrongful-Conviction Settlement


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