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Posts: 8,423
Reply with quote  #51 
Matt Damon's mom



Posts: 8,423
Reply with quote  #52 
Robert Shetterly | Americans who tell the truth
in Essays, memoirs


Robert-Shetterly-for-webI’M AN ARTIST; a self-taught painter. But now I am also a writer, a teacher, a public speaker and an activist. I paint portraits of American citizens who courageously speak out to address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness. I include narratives, and now I also travel and teach. All of these roles combine to help me be, hopefully, a better citizen of the world.

My work grew out of the sense of desperation I felt to find a meaningful and moral way to live in the wake of 9/11, when this country began the relentless drumbeat for war against Iraq. How to respond to this outrageous use of fear, jingoism, propaganda, racism and hypocrisy in any useful way? How to use the deep and justified anger against our government and media in a positive way? How to feel less alienated from my own country? How to live here and not feel complicit in crimes against humanity? How to get a voice?

In response to these questions I knew that if I used my talent as an artist to rant about our “leaders,” I would accomplish nothing good. In fact, I knew that to indulge that anger in that way could prove very destructive to myself, both physically and mentally. I had to find a way to use the energy of my anger in the service of love; to do something positive. I needed to combine defiance with compassion, resistance with respect.

I found my answer in the sense of shame I felt both for and about this country’s behavior. Instead of feeling oppressed and shamed by leaders I thought criminal and allowing them to have so much control over my life, why not begin to surround myself with figures from our history who inspire me with admiration for their courage, their perseverance, their insistence that we live up to our own ideals? My method of surrounding myself was to paint portraits and scratch quotes from the subjects into the surface of the portraits. I began with a goal of 50 portraits, with the total awareness that they might all end up in my basement, where only I would see them and feel better. I painted Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Mother Jones, Jane Addams, Sojourner Truth — and many other 19th Century figures who had demanded that we walk our own talk. I felt great. I was filled with admiration. They took on for me a far greater reality and presence than Cheney, Bush, Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, Tenet, et cetera.

In order to paint the portraits, I had to learn a great deal about the lives and history of the people I was painting. I was thrilled with what I was learning. One portrait led me to another. It was clear that the issues of war, exploitation, racism, sexism, greed and environmental destruction were driven by the same forces 150 years ago as they are today. At first I thought, “I will paint these portraits for a while then go back to my real career as a surrealist painter, the career that had supported my family.” But after a couple of years I realized that this work was my career—not in the sense of a job but a calling. Now I mostly paint contemporary activists.

The main challenge facing me in embarking upon this work was that I had never before painted a portrait. I had to learn how to do it in a way that was about the subject, not about me as an artist. Also, the portraits had to be good art. I knew that the real ability of the paintings to communicate would depend on the quality of the art. Good art authenticates its message—a testament to the integrity of the effort. It demands to be taken seriously even if one disagrees with the message. For instance, if I paint an honest and respectful portrait of Wendell Berry with his words scratched into it, The most alarming sign of the state of our society now is that our leaders have the courage to sacrifice the lives of young people in war but have not the courage to tell us that we must be less greedy and wasteful, some people are going to take that seriously, even if they don’t agree. If I had sketched a magic marker cartoon of Berry and scrawled out his words, people might not take it seriously, or feel any obligation to respond.

Another challenge that has been with me since the beginning and is the same today—whom to paint? Whose stories are most likely to resonate with an audience today and inspire them to be engaged, to be good citizens, to give them permission to leave behind apathy, cynicism, denial and consumption to embrace action for the common good?

I have also had to learn to be a teacher and a public speaker. I have to study constantly to learn biography and history. I don’t have to know everything but enough to tell a good story and pose serious questions.

There’s another serious challenge that is the dark side of all this work. That is, the wars go on, the victims mount, the ramifications of global warming multiply, the grip of money on policy is unrelenting, denial is endemic, power everywhere has contempt for democracy, hypocrisy is saluted. How does one deal with the despair induced by that knowledge? Keep working. We can’t predict outcomes, or, at least, all of the outcomes.

A typical work day is more likely to be reading and writing than painting now, or traveling to speak in a school or give a presentation. The first few years I painted over 20 portraits a year. Now it’s more like ten. I’ve painted over 200 portraits and the logistics of moving them around is very time-consuming.

When I go to speak at a school, I stress to the students how important it is for each person to find the intersection of what he/she does best with what he/she cares most about. That intersection affords each of us our most meaningful and passionate learning and most persuasive form of communication. The portrait work is that place for me.

The most personally satisfying aspect of my work is that it allows me to think that I am doing something useful. It allows me to use what skills I have to the best of my ability. It brings me into contact with people I admire and allows me to work with them and then carry their messages to many others. It allows me to live with joy, gratitude and courage.

Its larger impact is hard to say. I hear constantly from people all over the world who are moved by the portraits. Many people tell me they now want to be like the people whose portraits I’ve painted—or will paint. They want a life dedicated to justice and meaning. But I am not really the right person to assess the impact. I’m simply one person doing what he can. The impact will be found in how my efforts become–or don’t—part of a much larger effort.

I’m 67 years old now; I was 55 when I began this. I will continue as long as I can. I hope at some point to take stock, write a book about all that this process has taught me. I talk a lot about the importance of local community-building. This work has given me less time for my own community. I would like to re-dedicate myself to my own community. I love to garden. I will keep doing that.

I would advise anyone who was inspired to follow in my footsteps to take the time to discover his or her own footsteps. The repertoire of actions necessary for resisting injustice and creating just alternatives is boundless—or only bound by the imagination of each individual. I would remind anyone that our deepest joys and meanings are found in community, in giving and creating, not in exploitation and greed and competition. And, it just so happens, our only chance of survival as a species on this planet depends on living for the common good of ourselves and all other species.

Editor’s Note: Portraits from Shetterly’s collection, “Americans Who Tell the Truth, can be seen in this month’s Gallery, and on Shetterly’s website. In the photo above, Shetterly begins a mural on a recent trip to Palestine.

Posts: 8,423
Reply with quote  #53 
Charles Bowden Has Died, But His Voice Is Louder Than Ever
September 15, 2014

By Bill Conroy via Narco News

When I heard that he had passed, my eyes welled with tears. I’m of stoic Irish stock, so I don’t shed tears easily, but the news of Charles Bowden’s death (1945-2014) was not an easy thing to bear. He had been a mentor and a friend to me for a decade, and his leaving hurts.

He died peacefully, in his bed at his home in Las Cruces, N.M., after complaining of persistent flu-like symptoms that started in early August, according to his long-time companion and colleague Molly Molloy, a Latin American researcher, writer and librarian at New Mexico State University. A recent EKG also showed he had an irregular heartbeat, and he had an appointment scheduled with a cardiologist, she said.

But he never made that appointment. Molly found him at 5:15 p.m. after returning from work this past Saturday, Aug. 30, his life energy gone from his body.

“He was in bed and seemed sleeping, but I could not wake him.,” Molloy recounted in an email sent on Sunday informing Chuck’s friends and colleagues of his death. “I called 911 and did CPR until the police got here. There was nothing we could do.”

But in my mind and heart, Chuck can’t die, not in the eternal world of ideas. He accomplished what every writer dreams of, even if they are too humble, as he was in this sense, to admit it. His words, his reporting, his truth-telling, lives on, rippling through time on the pages of history. His name belongs among the ranks of the great American writers, certainly those yet to be christened in the 21st Century.

Bowden, 69 at the time of his death, was the author of dozens of books and essays, among them seminal works focused on the drug war, such as “Down by the River,” as well as more experimental projects like the graphic nonfiction “Dreamland: The Way out of Juarez.” To those who knew him, he was a genuine human being, who was loyal to those he trusted and open-hearted to those who demonstrated the same inclination.

For me, that meant he was there when I walked away from my mainstream editor’s job after 20 years when changes in management threatened my integrity. Chuck offered his services as a reference and previously wrote a letter of recommendation when I applied for a journalism fellowship. And he was a supporter of the Narco News project, and a regular reader who behind the scenes helped to inform a number of the stories published by the online newspaper about the drug war. He didn’t have to do that. He was extremely busy with his own projects, and there was no money in it for him. But that’s just the way Chuck was when he believed in something, or someone.

Chuck wielded a fierce weapon against the enemies of justice: The unflinching ability to tell the truth in unadorned, piercing prose. He used words like paint mixed on a master’s brush and no scene was beyond his reach. That talent, coupled with his keen reporting sense, made him a force to be reckoned with in the halls of power and a voice that commanded respect among his journalistic colleagues.

My first introduction to Chuck is marked with irony. I interviewed him by phone 10 years ago in reporting a story about the death of another journalism Bigfoot, Gary Webb (1953-2004). Chuck wrote a story for Esquire magazine in 1998 that supported the findings of Webb’s 1996 San Jose Mercury News exposé on the CIA/Nicaraguan Contra crack-cocaine connection. Chuck was one of the few journalists in Gary’s corner when he was assaulted by a media smear campaign in the wake of his investigative series — a feeding frenzy that ultimately led to Webb being blackballed by the mainstream media and arguably was a contributing factor in his decision to exit this world.

“In a daily newspaper sense, Gary was the best investigative reporter in the country,” Bowden said during our phone interview at the time. “And he was unemployable.

“That tells me all I need to know about this business I’m in. You can get a paycheck every two weeks, as long as you don’t draw blood.”

Gary Webb’s story will be told in the major motion picture, Killing the Messenger, played by Jeremy Renner, coming to theaters this October.

Chuck and I stayed in contact ever since that interview for the story on Webb via frequent email conversations centered on journalism and the drug war. Chuck would occasionally send me links to news articles, story leads or source contacts, saying I should “save them for my files.” I would return the favor when I could, but his reservoir was far deeper than mine. The best I can do now is to continue to follow the paths he pointed out to me.

Unfortunately, like Webb — a supporter of Narco News who also was a mentor to me — I never got the chance to meet Chuck in person, despite several attempts. Our schedules just didn’t line up when I was in his neck of the woods along the border. He was often on the move, chasing the story.

I will miss Chuck greatly. He’s not replaceable in my world, or the world at large. And I will always owe a great debt to him for what he taught me about journalism and life. In that sense, the best tribute I can make to Chuck is to let him speak one more time to you, to tell his truth.

Following are some excerpts from the many emails Chuck has sent me over the past 10 years. For those who know his work, you’ll recognize many of the themes, but his words are still to be cherished and lessons learned from them.

There are many things I can’t share now, because those stories are yet to be finished. Like I said, Chuck lives on in that sense and others.

But for now, take in what can be savored. Chuck would expect nothing less.

The Drug War

One last bit of worthless advice from me: Things in Mexico … make more sense if you realize no one can wear a white hat and survive.


Frankly I wish Mrs. Clinton and her fucking squeeze had inhaled. I suppose my anger comes from thirty thousand new corpses in Mexico but listening to this policy jargon bullshit is more than I can or will tolerate. Our policies are a death machine in Mexico, period.


Every time in a speech I explain that border security is a system for recruiting small town Americans and corrupting them by placing them in a hopeless situation where tidal waves of money wash over their lives, I am met with blank faces.


One of the realities of Mexico is that there a very few facts one can believe, except maybe one’s own death. Juarez now is well past seven hundred dead on the year [2008], and the pace is not slackening. 146 murdered in July, and a torrent of death so far this August….


You are right about shifting cards, etc., in the drug world. The Federation thing is an invention of DEA. We have a need for our enemies to be like us and so we create charts on the border….

In the case of Mexico, the structure is affinity groups constantly joining on deals and then shifting into other arrangements. … Actually, the structure DEA imagines was never that solid, but since the death of [“Juarez Cartel” leader] Amado Carrillo Fuentes, it has been a lot looser, just as the destruction of the Cali and Medellin cartels in Colombia led to sowing dragon’s teeth as many smaller outfits were able then to emerge.

… At any given moment, things happen based on internal shifts that are not readily apparent. The House of Death I think is best seen as a window into a criminal culture where cops, lawyers and members of the Juarez Cartel come into view and then vanish, but at any given moment in the house it is not clear whose deal is going down and for what reason. … So I guess I’m saying here is what I learned from listening to DEA: The organization of life in the drug world is never as clean and tidy as DEA thinks, and the people in the drug world are never as dumb as DEA imagines. I think the largest failure of DEA is racism — they could not imagine any ignorant brown guy ever being as sharp as Amado Carrillo. And this weakness persists to this day. When I was hanging around EPIC [the El Paso Intelligence Center] and looking at their giant computer, I told [then-DEA supervisory agent] Phil Jordan, “You know, none of this can see a thirteen-year-old boy crossing a K-Mart parking lot with a gun.”


I think I must smell the roses or something before I go toxic on my government. I was charmed to hear Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton use the word insurgency today in discussing Mexico. This is like lighting a match in a powder room. I can hear the boys in the Pentagon planning their new playground for a war game.


Mexican history is corruption (see Paul J. Vanderwoods work, especially “Disorder and Progress”) and US history is intervention in Mexico. What matters now I think is we are at a boiling point in Mexico. NAFTA failed. Shipping surplus humans to the US has hit a wall. And drugs keep creating and owning more of the infrastructure of the economy and of the state. Last weekend, I watched La Ley de Herodes on YouTube. It’s there in thirteen parts with subtitles. It was a massive hit in Mexico in ’99, and I think captures the mindset that is still Mexico.


Bill, I am not sure. I have a hunch there is no machine at the moment but many competing machines. As for price, well, the drug flow to the US by all reports (see yet one more story in the LA Times this morning) has not been impeded, nor is production under control. In short, no real cartel function is apparent. But I agree it is a new day in Mexico. It was about three years ago that [Mexican photographer] Julian Cardona told me what had changed: There was no one to call and there always had been. And he did not mean the mayor. I think everyone should back off from explaining the violence and first look at a few missing facts. We don’t know who is dying. We don’t know how many are dying. And we will never know because it is clear that Mexican agencies putting out the numbers keep no records, zero. What we do know is that each day the federal government controls less of the country.


I am weary of people confusing the income flow of a drug organization with the idea that it is organized like a US corporation. It is a kind of set of affinity cells … and his point about the poor (meaning independents rushing in to make money) I think is in part behind the rise in US home invasions and the violence in Juarez (and also the forbidden subject: the massive increase in Mexican consumption of drugs). The independents lack the reputation and muscle to insure payment and so must make a show of force. Of course, home invasions will always be part of the business since you cannot go to court for recovery.


Thanks for the kind words about “Down by the River,” but we both know it describes a kind of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Mexico, one that now looks safe and sound compared to the present…. The very idea that the Mexican Army was a clean element thrust into the drug war was foolish, but I think now in a bid to centralize power and establish his dominance [Mexican President] Felipe Calderon has functionally decentralized power. The army becomes a set of regional gangs, the cartels continue to splinter (a fact that began with Carrillo’s death in July 1997) and violence grows.

But I have a hunch there no longer is an army in the old sense. It was always run as a set of baronies, but now I think the barons are rising. And also the units under their command are doing more and more freelancing.


I think it is in “Siren’s of Titan” [a Kurt Vonnegut novel] that much of human history results from a broken spaceship sending messages home and using the Earth as blank paper — think Great Wall of China, for example. …Sometimes, late at night, I think I am trying to understand a charade. Ah, well, the sun is out. And the day promises to get warm.

Ciudad Juarez

The email-conversation excerpts in this section took place, for the most part, around 2007 and 2008, just as the killings in Juarez were ramping up, the Mexican military then sent in, and as the US mainstream media was suddenly discovering the city.

You have wonder about a cartel war that does not kill cartel people, or about a war between the army and the cartel in which neither cartel people or army people die. If you go over the dead this year in Juarez, they are almost all nobodies. Clearly this is a war for drugs. …


I understand the problem and I share it, and I think it is this: What we are seeing in Juarez does not fit our old models (for one example, the model of cartels in “Down by the River”). It is something new and what makes us blind to it and what makes us terrified of it is simply that no one is really in control. Think Baghdad where all sides flounder in explaining the killing, including Al Qaeda with its vision of restoring an older world.


In the case of Juarez, one has to be struck by what the press says is a cartel war and yet one that does not touch federal and state police, one that kills hundreds in a few months and yet leaves the army unscathed while city cops die and flee.


One of the fantasies of Juarez is that the killings come and go. I don’t think they do. Bodies in public come and go. The death houses … operate all the time. But I did go over the dead list up to about 180, and it was striking who most of these people were…. They were local folk, guys with corner and little stores. The government estimates sixty percent of this killing spree is narco related. I don’t know, but there are a helluva lot of head-shot executions and the like.

But somehow I think something has changed, that the feel of the city under an Amado Carrillo is gone and that a new kind of order, one without a center, is emerging — a place where government pretends to govern at the same time it erodes. And what is emerging is ignored since it fails to sustain early notions of power and structure.

The gangs, the corners, all that, well hell, that is in New Orleans right now, and many other places. But something is changing in Juarez and thinking about the cartels is almost a barrier to seeing this change. And I don’t see how or why this uptick in violence will end. It seems a condition of a drug market without a real center. You know a recent study estimated 20,000 retail outlets in Tijuana for drugs. Juarez I think has more.

I was looking at murders in poor barrios where all the people were Maquila workers, and there were guys selling coke all around. Heroin, according the Azteca [gang member] I had a long lunch with, is now twenty-five pesos a hit.

Here is what I decided in February: If you had an explanation for what I was seeing, then you were likely to blind yourself to events and facts that did not fit that explanation, because none of the explanations seemed to cover a lot of the territory. But the reality is of violence woven into the fabric of a city. It is a comfort to think someone is in control, however evil they might be. But I lack the confidence to believe that at the moment.

Look into the schoolteacher woman wacked the other day. She is easy to explain away given her family (a couple killed in the last year or two, in executions) but somehow that explanation does not solve the questions in my head. As I understand here, her husband was taken from the car and children survived with these new memories.

Well, I am tired. Keep the faith. The New York Times does not seem to, or the El Paso Times and on and on.


Just as it is essential for major media for drug lords, etc., to be controlling this violence, the notion that the violence can come from many groups and have no real on-and-off button is, well, not conceivable to them. But it is to me. And what no one seems to talk about is the domestic drug consumption in Mexico. It is now large and worth a lot, and it hardly concerns major players since whoever sells on the corner is buying their product anyway. And the Mexican Army has been terrorizing cops in Juarez — they were in court I think two weeks ago asking the judge to stop the army from torturing them. But in the end, I don’t think the violence in Juarez can be understood unless it is seen as two-pronged — a battle for market share, and at least on the army’s part, it is also a demo, a piece of theater for the US in order to get that billion and a half of Plan Mexico.

But I don’t think any of it is about ending the drug business nor is it a threat to the cartels. As for cartels fighting for turf, I’m sure that happens, but it is difficult to go down the lists of dead in Juarez since January one and see much indication of such a battle. After all, when the Arellano Felix brother [from the Tijuana Cartel] was released this winter and crossed the bridge, he did not seem to be worried about a cartel war.


Does anyone go to Juarez? I doubt we will ever know the reason for the murders. We will get statements

Posts: 8,423
Reply with quote  #54 


“Dying to Know” is an intimate portrait celebrating two very complex, controversial characters in an epic friendship that shaped a generation. In the early 1960s Harvard psychology professors Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert began probing the edges of consciousness through their experiments with psychedelics. Leary became the LSD guru, challenging convention, questioning authority and as a result spawned a global counter culture movement landing in prison after Nixon called him “the most dangerous man in America”. Alpert journeyed to the East becoming Ram Dass, a spiritual teacher for an entire generation who continues in his 80’s teaching service through compassion. With interviews spanning 50 years the film invites us into the future encouraging us to ponder questions about life, drugs & the biggest mystery of all: death.

In 1995 after years of estrangement Leary found out that he was dying of cancer. The first person he called was Ram Dass. In the 60s they had collaborated on a book entitled, ‘The Psychedelic Experience‘ which was based on The Tibetan Book of The Dead and explored the similarities of the psychedelic experience and the dying process. Each holding a remarkably different point of view about death they share their thoughts/perspectives and rekindle the love they have always felt for one another.

In this provocative film the viewer is a fly on the wall, observing an intimate conversation between Leary and Ram Dass just a few months before Leary’s death. It is a genuine exploration and an emotional respectful goodbye between two life long companions. We include subsequent interviews with Leary as he shares his dying process with us. Ram Dass who suffered a stroke himself not long after Tim’s passing shares his own perspective on death and dying. This story is much larger than a simple conversation between two old friends. It embraces the arcs of their entire lives helping us understand how two Harvard professors became counter – culture icons. We will explore their upbringing, early life and their fateful meeting at Harvard where together they ran fully sanctioned experiments into the nature and use of psilocybin and LSD before being fired in 1963. We follow them from Harvard to Millbrook where their experimentation continued and
ultimately their friendship was tested and fractured. They both went their own way becoming legends in their own right. These chapters are highlighted using archival footage and stills. This tale of taboos: sex, drugs and death includes interviews in 2012 with Dr. Andrew Weil, Huston Smith, Roshi Joan Halifax, Ralph Metzner, Joanna Harcourt-Smith, Lama Tsultrim Allione, John Perry Barlow, Peggy Hitchcock and Zach Leary.

Robert Redford’s iconic voice as narrator gives a classic American feel and tone. Dillingham, the Producer/Director has contributed on & off 17 years of her life to this labor of love. She uncovers the wisdom these two men have as they continue to guide us on the next revolution – a right to access our own consciousnesses and our own death.

Posts: 8,423
Reply with quote  #55 

see link for full story


Last unknown 1971 Media FBI burglar goes public

Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 8:58 PM

Meet Judi Feingold. She's 63, lives in Oregon and currently volunteers as a hospice worker after a lifetime of moving around -- much of it necessitated by what happened one memorable night in March 1971, right here in Delaware County. You've surely never heard of Feingold, and I never heard of her before yesterday, but she is an American hero nonetheless.

You may remember that back in January, most of the surviving members of a team of anti-war activists who burglarized a small FBI office in the Delco county seat of Media (in the building pictured at top) and stole a treasure trove of documents some 43 years ago decided to go public with their identities. The group featured a couple of prominent Philadelphia-area academics, including Temple University prof John Raines, his wife Bonnie, and leader William Davidon, a Haverford College physics professor who died last year.

As I noted when I blogged about the revelations earlier this year, this type of burglary could be called an extreme act of civil disobedience, the kind of thing that could only be morally justified in extreme times. But that was the time that Judi Feingold and her cohorts found herselves in -- America in the Vietnam era. The FBI -- and other government agencies -- were engaged in their own massive campaign of unlawful surveillance, break-ins, and efforts to disrupt peaceful and legitimate dissent against the war, racial discrimination, and other types of injustice. The documents that the Media FBI burglars stole and funneled to journalists revealed the existence of the agency's illegal spying program called COINTELPRO, even an FBI effort to convince Dr. Martin Luther King to commit suicide.

But journalist Betty Medsger, who revealed the story behind the break-in in her best-selling book The Burglary (it's also subject of a newish documentary called, simply, 1971), was unable to find or divulge the identity of the last of the eight burglars, a woman who at age 19 had been the youngest of the group and who disappeared into the radical underground immediately afterward.

Feingold, remarkably, only learned that the others had gone public in a Google search related to her first planned visit to Philadelphia in four decades earlier this year. She decided to tell her story to Medsger after seeing the largely positive response for the others.

The article in The Nation notes of her 1971 actions:

Remaining in Philadelphia seemed dangerous, so she left town and headed west, moved into the underground and lived under an assumed name, moving from place to place west of the Rockies for years, owning only a sleeping bag and what she could carry in her knapsack. As she was about to detach herself from her past geography and her personal connections, she called her parents and told them she had committed a nonviolent direct action “and was possibly being pursued by the federal government. I told them I could not be in touch by phone, and I would do my best to let them know how I was, but not where I was.”

Feingold had grown up in New York City but she came to Philadelphia to work with the Quakers' American Friends Service Committee to advise current or would-be soldiers and ways to avoid military service, as the war still raged. She met Davidon and was taken with the idea of the FBI break-in:

To avoid harsh consequences from the government, she imposed harsh consequences on herself—going underground, cutting herself off from everyone she knew. Looking back, she says she has no regrets. She sees the burglary as a success that was more than worth the risk, and she sees her life in hiding afterward as involving nothing she did not choose to do. In fact, she regards parts of her post-Media decade in the underground as quite wonderful despite the difficult aspects.

Still, it was a remarkably bold decision, knowing this lone act would change her life forever. She moved constantly, and kept her secret even from those close to her. She lived what she came to realize was "a horizontal life" -- not driven by any plan but moving from one thing to another. But, like the other members of her team, she takes great pride in the knowledge that what they did closed the book on one dark period in American history. "I had made the right decision for me," she told Medsger. "My heart was breaking then over the deaths in Southeast Asia.”

I think a story like Feingold's resonates in 2014 because it's so rare in America that someone would risk everything for a belief (so rare that one man who did, Edward Snowden, is up this week for a Nobel Peace Prize). Back then, the threats were more immediate -- you or your next-door neighbor might die in an unjust war. Today, society's problems -- bought-and-paid-for legislators who perpetuate income inequality, for example -- are just as toxic but also a little

Posts: 8,423
Reply with quote  #56 

Thanks to the many of you who contacted me with suggestions about the Dissent NewsWire I appreciate your input. We continue to make improvements to the website, and are constantly adding new articles.

"Here's a look at a few of the articles posted this week:"

*Ferguson Protests Inspire Innovative Legal Support* [ http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/news/ferguson-protests-inspire-innovative-legal-support/]
The Black youth-led protests have led to 150 arrests. They have also inspired innovative legal support work by lawyers, activists, and local residents. As organizers prepare for a weekend of actions against police violence, they have the support of established groups such as the National Lawyers Guild, ArchCity Defenders, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, and the ACLU, but also two new activist-led groups.

*Cops Testify Against Occupy Activist* [ http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/news/cops-testify-against-occupy-activist/]
To avoid being convicted on charges that could send her back to the city's Rikers Island prison for a year, Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan will likely have to prove her innocence. She was arrested earlier this year for filming the police in the act of arresting a Latino couple, and for telling them they had the right to remain silent.

*Federal Judge Enjoins Cops' '5-Second Rule' in Ferguson* [ http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/news/federal-judge-enjoins-cops-5-second-rule-in-ferguson/]
Police in Ferguson, Missouri can't order protesters to keep moving, a federal judge rules, saying the (unpublished) rule violates rights to freedom of assembly and due process of law.

*Political Protest or Jury Tampering?* [ http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/political-protest-or-jury-tampering/]
Prosecutors ask for jury anonymity, accuse supporters of jury tampering in the politically charged case of Rasmea Odeh. Supporters say the charges against Odeh are politically motivated and have demonstrated outside the courthouse and organized call-in campaigns (DDF participate in these campaigns). Prosecutors have named one of the protest organizers, Hatem Abudayyeh of "almost certainly criminal" in their motion asking for an anonymous jury.

*U.N. Will Hear Testimony on Chicago Police Violence [ http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/news/u-n-will-hear-testimony-on-chicago-police-violence/]*
Young activists with the police accountability group We Charge Genocide will fly to Geneva to tell their stories to a U.N. commission that is reviewing U.S. compliance with anti-torture treaties.

*Twitter Sues DOJ on Transparency * [ http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/twitter-sues-doj-on-transparency/]
Says the company's First Amendment rights are being violated because they are not allowed to tell us how many surveillance orders they get from the FBI.

"*Take Action:*"* USA Freedom Act, It's Now or Never * [ http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/news/usa-freedom-its-now-or-never/]
Time is running out for Congress to pass legislation to protect us from mass surveillance. We've engaged in street demonstrations, mass internet actions and meetings with members of Congress to push them toward reform. Earlier this week, the Defending Dissent Foundation joined with a diverse array of organizations in calling on Congress to pass the USA Freedom Act and immediately "and then immediately turn your attention to more meaningful and comprehensive reform of the [NSA's] overreaching and unconstitutional surveillance practices." Now it's your turn: send an email to your Senators telling them to pass the bill now. [ http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/news/usa-freedom-its-now-or-never/]

There is much more news in the pipeline, and new blogs in development, so be sure to check back often! Thank you for your support,

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Meryl Mass MD lives in Maine.
She had her home burnt down
by FBI agents in Freeport Maine
after exposing the dangers of Anthrax Vaccine
Ebola Alert

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see link for full story
Decriminalizing all drugs on the ballot in California


The George Soros-sponsored Yes on 47 committee and four other supporting campaigns reported collecting nearly $9 million by early Friday. That compares with $445,000 brought in by opponents, largely money from state police officer unions.

Spending follows the same unequal pattern: $459,000 by opponents while the supporting campaigns report writing checks for $4 million.

Prop. 47 would cut penalties for 1 in 5 criminals in Californi
Sahat is just what is on the main books now. In addition, the Yes on 47 campaigns report $70,000 in salaries for field workers from more than a dozen community organizing groups, churches and foundations across Southern California. There is more than $1 million in "accrued" expenses yet to be paid, or paid on behalf of the Yes on 47 campaign by others.

Proposition 47 would make possession of most drugs, including heroin and cocaine, a misdemeanor. It also would reduce petty theft, forgery and bad check and shoplifting charges to misdemeanors if the value of the goods stolen is $950 or less.

State Department of Justice records show the measure could potentially affect one out of five felony convictions in California, though under state laws that went into effect in 2011, most of those offenders already d

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New Smartphone App Creates Community Response Service

People are beginning to look to technology as a possible solution. We previously reported on an app called Sidekik, which was designed to make it as easy as possible to record the police and upload that recording offsite, also putting you in immediate contact with legal representation to help you navigate the encounter ... in real-time.

Now a new app called Peacekeeper goes even a step further, encouraging connectivity with your neighbors, family and friends in order to establish a response network filled with people who already have earned your trust. Please read their press release and see their video below. Tell us what you think - is this a viable decentralized solution that can restore self-reliance and community strength? Please leave your comments.

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Brooklyn Prosecutor Could Be Nominated Attorney General In Coming Day
Loretta Lynch has handled or supervised a wide range of cases including New York police brutality against a Haitian immigrant, a $45 million cybertheft involving ATMs and the ongoing fraud prosecution of Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York.

Loretta Lynch has handled or supervised a wide range of cases including New York police brutality against a Haitian[b][/b] immigrant, a $45 million cybertheft involving ATMs and the ongoing fraud prosecution of Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York.
see link for full story


November 6, 2014 — 5:10 PM

Two sources familiar with the process tell NPR that Loretta Lynch, the top prosecutor in Brooklyn, could be nominated by President Obama as attorney general in the coming days.

Lynch is the lead federal prosecutor in a district that serves 8 million people. But outside of law enforcement circles, this daughter of a preacher is not widely known. Friends say that's because Lynch prefers to let her cases speak for themselves.

And let's start with this one: a violent sexual assault against Haitian immigrant Abner Louima back in 1997. Prosecutors called that case one of the worst acts of police brutality in New York City history, and a central figure in the attack, Justin Volpe, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Lynch, a graduate of Harvard Law School, worked her way up the ladder in Brooklyn, a huge office that handles everything from old-school Mafia busts to new forms of cybercrime.

Here's Lynch talking last year about a $45 million ATM robbery. "This was a 21st century bank heist. But instead of guns and masks this cybercrime organization used laptops and malware," she said.

More recently, Lynch made a splash for indicting a Republican congressman from Staten Island on fraud charges. That lawmaker, Rep. Michael Grimm, once worked as an undercover FBI agent — an irony Lynch pointed out at a news conference.

"Michael Grimm made the choice to go from upholding the law to breaking it," she said.

Grimm, who was re-elected Tuesday, has pleaded not guilty.

That's not the only politically sensitive case on her docket. Brooklyn prosecutors are also investigating money-laundering allegations against an ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the Wall Street Journal reported.

If she's selected by President Obama to lead the Justice Department, Lynch would become the first African-American woman to serve as attorney general. She was born in Greensboro, N.C., in 1959, a year before black students there sat down at a whites-only lunch counter and helped catalyze protests around the country.

Students like Ezell Blair Jr., who remembered that era with NPR.

"But I was prepared that if I was going to die, then I'm going to die here taking my stand for what I believe to be right and true," Blair told NPR's Tell Me More.

In a speech two years ago, Lynch said her father opened his church to students as they planned their boycotts. He carried her, a toddler, to those meetings "riding on his shoulders."

One of Lynch's brothers is a minister, carrying on a sort of family tradition. Another, she told the audience in New York in 2012, is a Navy SEAL "like no other."

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see link for full story

​Internet hacktivists hold global ‘hackathon’ in honor of Aaron Swartz’s birthday

Published time: November 08, 2014 21:55
Online hacktivists are holding a “hackathon” spanning two days to honor the would-have-been birthday of dead computer programmer and hacktivist Aaron Swartz.

The hackathon will be a global phenomenon, spanning 11 cities including Berlin, Boston, New York, Buenos Aires and Oxford, according to its affiliated website. However, its main location will be in San Francisco where programmers, developers, artists, researchers, and activists gather together, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

This year’s hackathon theme is “setting the record straight,” it announced. The day will feature seven speakers sharing recent developments in many Aaron-related projects and issues. On Saturday, a film is being shown – “the Internet’s Own Boy” – documenting his life.

A hackathon is an event in which computer programmers come together for a shared purpose to engage in intensive collaboration on software projects.

The hackathon will start Saturday and Sunday at 11am in the Great Room of the Internet Archive. Anything created in the time span will be considered completely open source.

“We’re excited that SecureDrop is one of the many projects being hacked on over the weekend. SecureDrop is an open-source whistleblower submission system managed by Freedom of the Press Foundation that media organizations use to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. The project was originally coded by Aaron,” the EFF website announced.

Swartz was a 26 year-old information transparency activist, who took his own life nearly two years ago, having faced a standoff with the government.

When he was just 14, tech prodigy Swartz helped launch the first RSS feeds. By the time he turned 19, his company had merged with Reddit, which would become one of the most popular websites in the world.

But instead of living a happy life of a Silicon Valley genius, Swartz went on to champion a free internet, becoming a political activist calling for others to join.

Swartz drew the FBI’s attention in 2008, when he downloaded and released about 2.7 million federal court documents from a restricted service. The government did not press charges because the documents were, in fact, public.

He was arrested in 2011, for downloading academic articles from a subscription-based research website JSTOR – at his university – with the intention of making them available to the public. Although, none of what he downloaded was classified, prosecutors wanted to put him in jail for 35 years.

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Mumia Abu-Jamal sues Pennsylvania over gag law

see link for full story


American political prisoner Mumia Abu-JamalAmerican political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal
American political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal
Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:0PM
American political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has filed a lawsuit on the grounds that a new Pennsylvania law is aimed at silencing prisoners.

The Pennsylvania legislature rushed a bill last month that gives unlimited powers to district attorneys and crime victims to silence prisoner speech by claiming that such statements cause victims’ families “mental anguish.”

The "Revictimization Relief Act" was passed after Abu-Jamal delivered a pre-recorded speech to students at Vermont’s Goddard College, his alma mater, which calls him as "an award winning journalist who chronicles the human condition."

On Monday, 60-year-old Abu-Jamal and prisoner-rights groups filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the law, asking a judge to declare it unconstitutional.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican, signed the measure into law on October 16 saying it's designed to curb the "obscene celebrity" cultivated by convicts like Abu-Jamal, who has drawn international support for claims he's the victim of a racist justice system.

Civil rights experts will challenge the law in court. “If the First Amendment means anything, it’s that government officials can’t silence people they don’t like,” Vic Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, told the Christian Science Monitor.

He added that the law would even apply to people who have served their sentence and been freed from prison.

“We think this law is pretty clearly unconstitutional and is just a result of election-year pandering,” Walczak noted.

Abu-Jamal was arrested and charged with murdering white police officer Daniel Faulkner in Philadelphia in December 1981. One year later, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. But he was resentenced to life in prison in 2012.

Abu-Jamal, who was formerly a radio announcer and the president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, maintains that he is innocent and has submitted numerous appeal requests based on allegations of judicial bias, police brutality, and an inadequate defense during his arrest and trial 32 years ago.

After his controversial trial drew international attention, late South African leader Nelson Mandela, Amnesty International, the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, several members of Congress, and a number of celebrities expressed support for Abu-Jamal.

The African-American activist, who graduated from Goddard in 1996, said that his studies at the college provided him an opportunity to learn about important figures in far-off places.

Before his arrest, Abu-Jamal was known for his outspoken political views and commentary on racial injustice and police brutality.

Abu-Jamal joined the Black Panther Party at the age of 15 in May 1969 and helped form the Philadelphia branch of the party. He was a member of the Black Panther Party until October 1970 and was subject to FBI COINTELPRO surveillance from 1969 until about 1974.

The civil rights activist has written several books during his years in prison and continues to protest against his conviction on prisonradio.org

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FBI recruitment panel disrupted by FSU students
By Zachary Schultz | November 15, 2014

Participants in protest against FBI repression (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Tallahassee, FL - On Nov. 12, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) disrupted a FBI recruitment panel at Florida State University. Students distributed informational flyers outside of the event detailing the role of the FBI in repression against activists and violations of civil rights.

Shortly into the FBI talk, a determined group of FSU students disrupted the speaker by announcing their opposition to the FBI presence on campus. The students educated those present about the FBI use of intimidation, spying and raids to repress activism. Their signs read, “End illegal spying” and “No FBI on campus.”

The students continued their protest, chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the FBI has got to go!” They got up and spoke in detail of the 2010 FBI raids on the homes and offices of anti-war and international solidarity activists in the Midwest. They also educated other students about the FBI spying and repression of the African American civil rights movement. Then the student activists chanted, “Justice for Rasmea!” in solidarity with the 67-year-old Palestinian activist who was jailed in Detroit earlier this week. After 15 minutes of continuous disruption, campus police officers removed the students from the event.

Regina Joseph, a leader in FSU Dream Defenders explains, “The FBI is a tool used to attack anyone who wants to raise political dissent. Its aim is not national security but upholding white supremacy.”

When questioned about the disruptive tactics used by the protestors, Maressa Simmons, an SDS member and leader in the F-Word, a feminist group on campus, answered, “There is no gray area as far as the FBI is concerned, you either are a murderer and support genocide and white supremacy, or you fight for the end of oppression.”

Asked about what she hoped the protest accomplished, SDS member Abby Cazel said, “I can only hope that these students will look more thoroughly into the literature that we gave out and begin to seek truth.” She added, “While I consider it a success to agitate the easily agitated, I consider it even more of a success to ignite questions in the minds of the curious. This is what I hope we achieved by shutting down this meeting.”

The disruption was recorded by a participant and is available at

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If you're on this page to get all the latest about Andrew Vachss,
you should know there are ways to receive that information directly.
Click here for more information.

Protect: America's first political lobby for child protectionIf, like us, you want to see lobbyists stalking the halls of Congress, pressuring politicians to practice crime prevention through child protection, then you'll want to be a part of the National Association to Protect Children. PROTECT, America's first political lobby for child protection, was founded in 2002. The organization has members in 50 states and nine nations, and can boast of achieving significant changes in the "child protective" laws in North Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, Virginia, Tennessee, California, and New York. But there's a lot more work to be done. If, like us, you believe that blogging isn't behavior, and only behavior is the truth, and you live for the day when children have as strong a lobby as whales, or guns, or the oil industry, how about giving up dinner–and–a–movie once a year and joining us in the only "Holy War" truly worthy of the name?!?


The latest Vachss graphic novel -- Underground -- has just been released. It features an essay by PROTECT advisor and HERO Corps counselor, Zak Mucha, in which he eloquently explains the connection between the Underground stories and transcending child abuse.

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New Video: Charlie and Pauline Sullivan of C.U.R.E.
October 18, 2011 by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella 1 Comment
CURE–Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants–is an international organization that was founded in Texas in 1972, and became a national organization in 1985. Now nearly 40 years old, CURE has remained loyal to its original ideals, even as the politics of punishment brought about a shift in ideology and resources away from rehabilitation and toward retribution.
Working out of a small office in the belfry of St. Aloysius, a few blocks from the Capitol, Charlie and Pauline Sullivan, the husband-and-wife team who are the co-founders and co-directors of International CURE, run an inclusive group devoted to prison reform and prisoner support. It has chapters all over the country and worldwide: In 2001, the first International Conference took place; last February, the fifth such global conference was held in Nigeria.
CURE’s goals are described in its mission statement:

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Alice Rothchild in Blue Hill

Robert Shetterly to Unveil Portrait of Author-Activist

Alice Rothchild, physician, author, activist, and filmmaker, will be in Maine for the unveiling of her portrait by Rob Shetterly at 7pm, Sunday evening, December 7th, at the Blue Hill Library in Blue Hill. Dr. Rothchild will become the latest of over 200 prominent citizens whom Maine’s celebrated artist has selected for his gallery collection of “Americans Who Tell the Truth”.

Following Mr. Shetterly’s introduction, Rothchild will speak of her life’s journey and how it has shaped her perspectives on the Israel/Palestine conflict. As she writes in her book, On the Brink, a compilation of first-person experiences in Gaza and the West Bank, Rothchild was, “born in Boston and grew up in a Jewish family with a deep love of Israel and a profound understanding of the horrors of the Holocaust.” Through her student years in the 60’s and 70’s she developed an interest in progressive politics, beginning with the campus opposition to the Vietnam War and continuing with a commitment to the feminist and health reform movements while in medical school and through her residency in obstetrics.

Since 1997, a focus on understanding Israel and its relationship to U.S. foreign policy has led to her leading delegations to Israel and Palestine. She co-founded and co-chairs American Jews for a Just Peace Boston and co-organizes the AJJP Health and Human Rights Project and is on the coordinating committee of Jewish Voice for Peace Boston.

Dr. Rothchild also has written Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience and directed and produced the documentary film, Voices Across the Divide, an exploration of the Israeli/Palestinian dynamic and personal histories of those who live it.

A Q and A session will follow Dr. Rothchild’s presentation.

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New high school course: ‘How to deal with cops’
By Kate Briquelet
November 23, 2014 | 2:14am


New high school course: ‘How to deal with cops’
East Side Community High School is teaching its

It’s Cops 101.
The principal of East Side Community HS invited the New York Civil Liberties Union to give a two-day training session last week on interacting with police.
The 450 kids were coached on staying calm during NYPD encounters and given a “What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police” pamphlet.
NYCLU representatives told kids to be polite and to keep their hands out of their pockets. But they also told students they don’t have to show ID or consent to searches, that it’s best to remain silent, and how to file a complaint against an officer.
Principal Mark Federman said he brought in the NYCLU because students told teachers they had bad experiences with being stopped by police. He said the training also was relevant to history classes studying the Ferguson, Mo., shooting.
“We’re not going to candy-coat things — we have a problem in our city that’s affecting young men of color and all of our students,” Federman told The Post.

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St. Louis police officers angered by Rams' 'hands up, don't shoot' pose

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The Myth of Accountability and the Death of Michael Brown

Submitted by robert shetterly on 29 November 2014 - 6:32pm
"The law will never make men free; it is men who have got to make the law free."

-- Henry David Thoreau

I remember the hilarity of popping birthday balloons when I was a kid -- that tiny, anxious hiatus between pressing some sharp object against the balloon’s skin and the sudden, irreversible explosion. Then racing around and retrieving the balloon scraps, stretching them out tightly in front of our eyes, and seeing the world and each other as pink, blue, yellow, green. It was all so funny and compelling. Each tinted lens offered a new explanation of the world. Another way to see.

The explosion in Ferguson has left us a lot of scraps of American culture through which to view what happened and what it means. It’s hard to see all the pieces at once, to make them fit into one narrative. One lens sees racism -- individual, historical, structural. Another sees police brutality and the militarization of the police. Another focuses on our gun culture and how for a large segment of this country to condemn any gun violence, no matter how outrageous, is to somehow restrict our freedoms. Another turns the killing inside out and treats Darren Wilson as the victim. Another sees power disparities, class disparities and economic disparities. Another sees media delight in all the titillating violence breeding more violence that stimulates product sales. Another promotes fear -- a different fear depending what race you are, but fear of the other, nevertheless. And another simply sees the grief of Michael Brown’s parents.

Race, power, violence, profit, fear, grief. What a flammable brew to fuel America’s fearsome engine! And if it keeps the motor humming, why substitute alternative energies?

However, the lens I want to look through is Accountability. President Obama has counselled us to let the legal system work. We are a nation of laws, he says. The intended implication is that whether you are (were) Michael Brown, or Darren Wilson, the President, the CEO of CitiGroup, the head of the NSA, the CIA, or Exxon-Mobil, or in any position that either has or protects wealth and power, the law is the same for you as it is for everyone else. Sadly, no more disingenuous remark could be made about this country. Could we find an adult in this country who believes we are a nation of equal laws? And yet, that notion of equal laws is one of the pillars that supports any pipe dream of democracy. Even while they work tirelessly to undermine it, people in power have to keep pretending equal accountability exists. Otherwise, they couldn’t pretend democracy exists.

We will probably never know what really happened between Darren Wilson and Michael Brown. Neither of the two would tell the same story, and, with one dead, it’s certainly not in the other’s interest to tell anything except what excuses his action. It’s the oldest technique in the world to demonize the victim to justify the violence that destroys him. It’s the oldest because it plays on fear and prejudice and creates just enough doubt that maybe the victim had it coming. However, I also remember as a kid, when I wasn’t popping balloons, watching the cowboy movies where the good cowboy defeated the bad guy by shooting the gun out of his hand, or shooting him in the shoulder, the leg, the foot. There was no need to kill him. The good cowboy was an expert at protecting people, even his opponent. When did the role of cop change from protector to killer?

But more importantly, if I were Darren Wilson and thinking about a nation of laws, I would be asking by what right should anyone hold me accountable? If a president can lie his country into war and be honored for it, if top CIA officers can lie about torture and be given raises, if Wall Street tycoons can defraud the nation, nearly destroy the economy, erase the savings of millions of people and be handed million dollar bonuses, if top executives at Exxon can lie about Global Warming, if it’s legal for political candidates to lie to voters in television ads, if the head of the NSA can lie to Congress, why should I, Darren Wilson, suffer for shooting a Black teenager? That would be hypocritical, wouldn’t it? Think of the massive violence inherent in those other lies! And, I, Darren, just did what lots of cops have done & paid no price.

When a country embraces a culture of unequal laws, to prosecute any person in a position of power is hypocritical. When people have fewer & fewer rights, rights belongto power. And power’s most exalted right is hypocrisy with impunity. So, whether Darren Wilson is guilty or not, his association with power will protect him. Justice is not an abstract, ideal concept, it’s what’s defined by those who own it.

And, of course, Darren Wilson can say he has a clean conscience! If Dick Cheney can say that, why can’t he?

Marian Wright Edelman, one of this country’s tireless advocates for poor, marginalized and neglected children, asks rhetorically, "What’s wrong with our children? Adults telling children to be honest while lying and cheating. Adults telling children to not be violent while marketing and glorifying violence… I believe that adult hypocrisy is the biggest problem children face in America." It’s not only the biggest problem children face in America, it’s the biggest problem America faces. Hidden behind that mask of righteous hypocrisy is a refusal to see who we are, what we have become, and where we are going.

A balloon has popped in Ferguson. Until they are cleaned up and hidden away, the scraps are everywhere. Each one provides a lens to help understand what happened there and why. Pick one up, stretch it tight, take a look.

When power chooses to hold no one accountable, it’s up to the people. As Thoreau said, only we can make the law free.

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couple of years ago I traveled to San Fransisco
with the artist Robert Shetterly to conduct interviews with people he has painted for his Americans Who Tell the Truth series

Ms Simon was one of the people interviewed


also see


Lateefah Simon: Youth advocate nominated as Visionary of the Year

Monday, January 5, 2015

Juvenile Hall on Friday Jan. 02, 2015 in San Francisco, Calif. Simon is being recognized as a visionary of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Fierce debates over race, class, police and inequality may be raging across the U.S., but for Lateefah Simon, the discussion is all rather simple.
“Everyone’s talking about social justice. What is it? What does it look like? Well, it looks like less crime, less poverty, good schools, jobs we love. ... It looks like peace,” the civil rights advocate said last week at her office in San Francisco. “I think everyone wants the same things. It’s really pretty basic.”
Simon, 37, has been championing those principles since she was a teenager in San Francisco’s Western Addition housing projects. She’s fought for job training and child care for young women caught up in the criminal justice system, education and housing for parolees, and second chances for those least likely to get them.

And, colleagues say, she’s done it all with a smile that could melt even the harshest probation officer.
“People sometimes associate social justice with angry protests, but she does it with warmth, with depth, with love,” said Olis Simmons, director of Youth Uprising community center in East Oakland. “She’s consistently down-to-earth and humble. She’s truly a peaceful warrior.”
Simon’s work, which has led her to the top of numerous Bay Area civil rights organizations, has earned her a slew of accolades, including a MacArthur Foundation grant when she was just 26, a Levi Strauss Pioneer Award and a spot on O magazine’s first Power List.
But for her, the awards and fancy job titles are secondary to the rewards she reaps by helping the Bay Area’s young men and women who are trapped in a seemingly endless labyrinth of unemployment, jail, drug use and despair, she said.
Simon knows a bit about that cycle herself. A high-school dropout, she was working full time at Taco Bell as a teenager, had a baby at age 19 and was on probation for shoplifting before things started to turn around.
“I was the worst student at George Washington High. I was every teacher’s nightmare,” she said with a laugh at her office on San Francisco’s Embarcadero, with views of Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge and passing ferries. “I really had no idea what I was doing.”
What is Visionary of the Year?
New Chronicle award will honor top Bay Area visionary
James Kass: Visionary of the Year nominee takes poetry to schools
While on probation, she was referred to a nonprofit called the Center for Young Women’s Development, which provided jobs, training, classes, books and other services to girls and young women on the streets and in the criminal justice system.
Troubled young women
There, Simon met girls who were involved in sex trafficking, drug sales and myriad other problems, and, as part of the program, learned how to help them. As a teen not far from the streets herself, she would walk around the Western Addition and Tenderloin and hand out condoms, needles, bleach, candy bars, sandwiches and information about getting help.
“I saw a resilience in these young women,” she said. “These were people who had absolutely nothing, but were somehow able to make it through the day. And the next day. And the next. We developed real friendships and wonderful camaraderie.”
Simon became so involved and motivated by the plight of San Francisco’s struggling young women that she started going to Board of Supervisors meetings every Tuesday to ask what the city was doing to help young women on the fringes. Her passion and intelligence caught the attention of city leaders, including then-Supervisor Tom Ammiano and Kamala Harris, who at the time was a young attorney for the city.
The center’s board was so impressed by Simon’s efforts they named her executive director when Simon was just 19 years old. She was suddenly in charge of a staff of 10 and a $750,000 annual budget.
Harris helped guide her through those years, Simon said.
“She just changed my life. She was tough as nails. She said to me, 'You need to be excellent. ... So first off, you need to go to college,’ “ Simon recalled.
Getting education
Simon enrolled at Mills College in Oakland, taking classes nights and weekends while working full time at the center and raising her daughter. She eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public policy.
Meanwhile, Harris — who by then had become San Francisco’s district attorney — asked Simon to help start a program to help nonviolent, first-time, low-level drug offenders get jobs, enroll in school, attend parenting classes and otherwise improve their lives before they became embroiled in the revolving door of the criminal justice system.
“Our goal was to get people off the street. How do you do that? Turned out it was easy — you just ask them what they need,” Simon said. “Housing? A bank account? A job? Therapy? A gym membership, so you can take better care of yourself? We could help them get those things.”
Simon and her colleagues would go to court hearings and try to intercept young men and women as they met with a judge. In the one-year program, offered as an alternative to jail, offenders would take mandatory parenting classes, regular drug tests, job training workshops and other steps designed to help them “transition to a crime-free life,” Harris wrote in the Huffington Post.
If they completed the program, their felony charges would be dropped.
The program, called Back on Track, was immediately successful. Those who graduated from Back on Track had only a 10 percent recidivism rate, compared with 70 percent for those not enrolled in the program. It was also a bargain for taxpayers: The public pays about $5,000 for each participant, compared with the $50,000 or so it costs to keep a person incarcerated for a year.
The program has since been adopted in cities across the U.S., and was hailed as a model by outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Harris credited the program’s success to Simon’s energy and imagination.
“Lateefah Simon has devoted her life’s work to helping the poor, the disadvantaged, and those trapped in the cycle of our criminal justice system,” Harris said in an e-mail. “While working with me during my tenure as district attorney of San Francisco, she led my office’s work to create 'Back on Track,’ nationally recognized program that helped divert low-level offenders away from lives of crime and toward productive futures. She is a tremendous asset to the state of California and a champion for justice, equality and dignity.”
Civil rights causes
After several years with the city, Simon left to head the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the group formed at the request of President John F. Kennedy to push forward civil rights issues through the legal system. Simon was among the youngest heads of the group, and one of the only non-attorneys.
There, she worked on “ban the box” legislation to remove employment barriers for ex-prisoners, and helped formed a legal clinic to help ex-convicts find housing and jobs.
Since 2011, Simon has served as director of the Rosenberg Foundation’s California Future Initiative, which, among other things, gives grants to organizations helping formerly incarcerated women and children who’ve been exposed to violence and trauma.
But she still finds time to visit young women in jail, to help them find the services they need and serve as a personal role model when she can.
“I want people to know that a better life is possible,” she said. “This city is my soil. I know these people. I love these people. I want them to know that no matter who you are or what you’ve done, you are due a process of transformation. You deserve another chance.”
Simon’s personal life has seen some transformations, as well. Her older daughter is now in college, and Simon has a 3-year-old daughter. She has also moved from San Francisco to North Oakland, where she hopes to be involved with the incoming Libby Schaaf mayoral administration and other East Bay undertakings.
But the biggest change was the death in June of her husband, Kevin Weston, 45, a journalist who headed New American Media, Yo! Youth Outlook and other news outlets focusing on young people, people of color and others sometimes overlooked by the mainstream media.
Weston, who was also a Knight Fellow at Stanford, died of leukemia at their home after the couple launched a nationwide campaign to increase the number of African American bone marrow donors.
“Do I get sad? Yes. We all get sad,” Simon said. “I have friends still dying of AIDS. My dad lives in the Tenderloin. Trust me, it’s not all peachy. ... But what can I do? I keep going. There’s a lot to do, still.”
Colleagues say that Simon’s biggest contribution has been as a role model. Her warmth, optimism and resolve lift up everyone around her, from teenage girls selling drugs in the projects to the leaders in Sacramento, said Zachary Norris, director of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland.
“She’s helped make policies at the very top, and been a role model for those at the very bottom,” he said. “And for me, personally, she’s been an amazing mentor. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel she was a friend.”
Daniel Lee, executive director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, called Simon “one of the truly prophetic people in the Bay Area.”
“You look at what’s happening now in the youth justice system — she was doing that in her teens,” he said. “She’s accomplished so much, it’s like she’s lived six lifetimes. ... She’s so respected and loved and admired, she’s like a grandmother, and she’s not even 40.”
Wide-ranging impact
Simon’s approach has impacted almost every civil rights and social justice group in the region, colleagues said. Not only has she helped change policies, but she’s been personally involved with leaders as well as clients.
“She’s been a pioneer in flipping the youth justice system on its head,” Norris said. “She tells people, 'The people with fancy titles and degrees are not the experts on what your needs are. You are the expert on what you need.’ That approach has really changed everything, for the better.”
For all her accolades, Simon remains approachable and unpretentious. During an interview, she’s as interested in listening and having a conversation as she is in answering questions. Her stories are filled with smiles and laughter, and her enthusiasm never flags.
“My goal is to create a Bay Area that’s good to its people,” she said. “I figure I have 70 more years to pound the pavement and get that done. I know we can do it.”
Carolyn Jones is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: carolynjones@sfchronicle.com

Visionary of the Year award
This is one of 13 profiles of nominees for The Chronicle’s inaugural Visionary of the Year award, which is presented in collaboration with St. Mary’s College’s School of Economics and Business Administration. The honor salutes leaders who strive to make the world a better place and drive social and economic change by employing new, innovative business models and practices. Twelve of the finalists were selected by Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and chair of Emerson Collective and widow of Steve Jobs; Daniel Lurie, founder of the poverty-fighting organization Tipping Point; Ronnie Lott, the 49ers Hall of Fame cornerback; Anne Wilson, the chief executive officer of United Way Bay Area; and Zhan Li, the dean of the business school at St. Mary’s. The Chronicle will ask readers to nominate a 13th finalist.
Chronicle Publisher Jeff Johnson, President Kristine Shine, Managing Editor Audrey Cooper and Editorial Page Editor John Diaz will select the winner, who will receive a $10,000 grant. Additionally, a $10,000 scholarship will be established in his or her honor at St. Mary’s College for a graduate business student. The award will be presented during a ceremony in March.
To read more, go to http://www.sfgate.com/visionaryoftheyear.

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Hackers are now for hire online
Bend Bulletin-22 hours ago
Hacker's List began its website several months after federal prosecutors and FBI agents in Los Angeles completed a two-year crackdown on the hacker-for-hire ...

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see link for full story


Protesters invoke MLK in early-morning rally at Oakland mayor's home
Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Bay Area
Protests in the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday invoked Martin Luther King Jr. on the holiday honoring his memory. (Karen Bleier
Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Day
Protesters gathered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day outside the home of Oakland's new mayor, asking her to put an end to police violence in the city.

The demonstrators sang “happy birthday” to the late civil rights leader as they stood outside Mayor Libby Schaaf’s house at about 5 a.m. as part of the #BlackLivesMatter and #ReclaimMLK campaigns.

“Dr. King made the connections between oppression in America and the imperialist wars carried out abroad. We follow in his footsteps,” activist Sarah O’Neal tweeted.

The group erected a lighted “Dream” sign, drew a chalk outline of a body in a neighborhood street and projected on the mayor's garage door an image of King, with the quote, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

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also see


also see


General Information
For 25 years, the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons (JPP) has been a prisoner written, academically oriented and peer reviewed, non-profit journal, based on the tradition of the penal press. It brings the knowledge produced by prison writers together with academic arguments to enlighten public discourse about the current state of carceral institutions. This is particularly important because with few exceptions, definitions of deviance and constructions of those participating in these defined acts are incompletely created by social scientists, media representatives, politicians and those in the legal community. These analyses most often promote self-serving interests, omit the voices of those most affected, and facilitate repressive and reactionary penal policies and practices. As a result, the JPP attempts to acknowledge the accounts, experiences, and criticisms of the criminalized by providing an educational forum that allows women and men to participate in the development of research that concerns them directly. In an age where `crime` has become lucrative and exploitable, the JPP exists as an important alternate source of information that competes with popularly held stereotypes and misconceptions about those who are currently, or those who have in the past, faced the deprivation of liberty

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Dissent And The King Paradox
Dave Zirin , January 21, 2015, In : Features & Interviews

If there is one thing we can say about the United States, it is that this is a country that adores, celebrates, even luxuriates in our rich history of dissenters—as long as they are dead, silenced, or “brought to you by McDonald’s.”
Call it “the King Kool-Aid.” People in power love Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr as long as they can cherry-pick or decontextualize certain quotes so his words sound as gooey and inoffensive as a Hallmark card. The King who says “I have a dream” and little more is fine. The King who said, “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered” is less quoted.
For corporate America, D

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An Artist’s Pioneering Masks Shield Us from Future Surveillance
Zach Blas explains why we should all be wary of the coming wave of biometric technology

see link for full story


January 26, 2015
The ninth annual Biometrics for Government and Law Enforcement conference kicks off today in Arlington, Virginia, where the F.B.I., Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Army, California Border Patrol, and more gather to plot the future of snagging bad guys. This year’s festivities showcase the F.B.I.’s new $1.2 billion “Next Generation Identification” system (N.G.I.)—taken fully operational last September—a massive database and suite of tools (accessible by 18,000 federal, state, local, tribal, and international agencies) for capturing, storing, and analyzing fingerprints, palm prints, faces, and iris biometrics. The bureau calls it “a significant step forward for the criminal justice community in utilizing biometrics as an investigative enabler.” In other words, the robocops are coming.

Biometrics, or ways of identifying individuals based on singular physical characteristics, have been used for criminal investigation since ancient imperial China began tracking citizens' fingerprints, but recent advancements have taken body and face quantification mainstream. Your thumb unlocks your iPhone, Japanese and Polish A.T.M.s come equipped with fingertip vein pattern recognition, Dubai police officers wear Google Glass with facial recognition software, and, as part of the N.G.I. rollout, 62 U.S. police departments are currently field-testing handheld iris and facial recognition devices. But how will this information be compiled, and what can these agencies presume to know about an individual from biometric identification? Critics point to experiments like gay face studies, and other data-driven attempts to standardize how we see large groups of people, as proof that biometrics can ultimately be as pseudoscientific as the 19th century pursuits of phrenology and anthropometry, which attempted to read into a person’s identity based on say, the length of one’s left foot or the shape of an individual’s skull.

19th century phrenological chart
Concern for a world beyond the watch of government, free from systematically monitored and restricted public visibility, is the broad civil rights challenge tackled by artist and University of Buffalo Professor Zach Blas’s work. Blas’s mask projects, designed to visualize the way computers mathematically understand and read human faces, reject the safety of surveillance and propose a rebellion in the form of public opacity. These masks, built from facial biometric data, cast the insidious growth of visual surveillance’s technological capacity in stark relief. Some of the masks, like Blas’ lumpy Facial Weaponization Suite series, are shaped so that they can't be identified as faces by biometric software, providing opacity to the wearer. Others, like his metal face cage masks, are made intentionally painful to wear, illustrating the discomfort in imposing quantified, presumptuous data onto the face of a specific individual.

Such are the capabilities of modern biometric technology that the New Yorker recently predicted an “emotion economy.” Through the detailed, instant detection of human emotion, powered by camer

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After assassinating Martin Luther King Huffington Post wants to remove Hoovers name for him committing murder.

go figure eh?

2 stories



see link for full story

Isn't It Time to Take Hoover's Name Down From FBI Headquarters?

Posted: 01/27/2015 4:36 pm EST
Why does the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation still bear the name of J. Edgar Hoover?
Those who continue to hold Hoover in high esteem are a diminishing lot of so-called "true believers." Any merits of his more than 40 years of service are outweighed by a legacy marred by power run amok.
Hoover amassed power that extended well beyond presidential authority. In his position as FBI Director, he was allowed to place a premium on his personal feelings to, at times, circumvent the Constitution.
There are many examples of why Hoover deserves persona non grata status in the annals of American history; perhaps the most egregious was his treatment of Martin Luther King Jr.
The FBI file on King exceeds 17,000 pages. Numerous documents have been censored, with many pages redacted. Moreover, because of a court order, any information resulting from FBI wiretaps has been removed and will not be released until 2027, and that information comprises an extensive record of King's day-to-day activities.
Hoover's obsessive resentment toward the civil-rights movement in general, and King in particular, made President Richard Nixon's infamous "dirty tricks" look like child's play.
As the life of King and others in the movement became increasingly in danger, Hoover maintained that the Bureau was "not a protection agency." He ordered agents to avoid direct intervention, limiting their activities to observation at any civil-rights demonstrations.
During the Freedom Riders campaign in 1961, Hoover did not pass along intelligence received from a Klansman informant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy about the planned May 14 riot at the bus-station terminal in Birmingham. The result? A Klan-led mob brutally attacked unarmed civil-rights protesters unfettered.
Though Bureau surveillance of King began in 1958, it intensified on Aug. 28, 1963, when he was the keynote speaker at the March on Washington. As King was telling the nation about his "dream," top Hoover aide William Sullivan sent a memo stating:
[I]n the light of King's powerful demagogic speech ... [w]e must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.
In October, Attorney General Robert Kennedy approved Hoover's request granting him carte blanche surveillance on King that lasted until his assassination on April 4, 1968.
In June 1963, after President John F. Kennedy called for civil-rights legislation, operating on information provided by Hoover, he was concerned about communist infiltration within King's organization. Kennedy took King into the Rose Garden and demanded that he fire suspected communists Stanley Levison and Jack O'Dell before Kennedy would send any civil-rights legislation to Congress.
Though the threat of communism during the height of the Cold War justified Hoover's actions, no evidence was ever found to substantiate such charges against King. What Hoover did uncover was King's extramarital affairs, which the FBI, under Hoover's leadership, graciously sent to King's wife, Coretta.
Yale professor Beverly Gage, who is writing a book on Hoover, recently stumbled across a letter in Hoover's confidential files. It was the unredacted version of a 1964 letter sent to King, calling him an "evil, abnormal beast," suggesting that the civil-rights leader should commit suicide before receiving his Nobel Prize for Peace.
It is a macabre and paradoxical narrative, where the civil-rights movement, endowed by the 14th Amendment, was forced to confront local municipalities that had the support of state governments, while receiving tepid support from the Kennedy administration and more support from the Johnson administration, all while garnering ongoing hostility from the Hoover-led FBI.
In 1956 in a closed session of the Communist Party, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev denounced former dictator Joseph Stalin. Among other charges, Khrushchev accused Stalin of executing, torturing and imprisoning loyal party members on false charges.
Is it not time for America to follow Khrushchev's example? Doesn't Hoover's legacy deserve a proper burial?
He remains the embodimen


Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Wikipedia, the free ...
Jump to FBI investigation - [edit]. The Federal Bureau of Investigation took responsibility for investigating King's death. J. Edgar Hoover, who had ...
‎James Earl Ray - ‎Loyd Jowers - ‎Model 760 - ‎Robert F. Kennedy's speech
Findings on MLK Assassination
http://www.archives.gov › ... › House Select Committee on Assassinations Report
The question of FBI complicity lingered, nonetheless, and alleged deficiencies in the FBI assassination investigation raised the possibility of a coverup after the ...
US Gov't Found Guilty In Conspiracy To Assassinate MLK | News One
newsone.com › Nation
Jan 20, 2014 - Those who are responsible for the assassination were not held to account for their .... J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI, hated Dr. King.
Martin Luther King Assassination Conspiracy Exposed in Memphis ...
There Police and Fire Director Frank Holloman (formerly an FBI agent for 25 years, ... Philip Melanson, author of The Martin Luther King Assassination (1991), ...
The F.B.I.'s Role — James Earl Ray: The Man Who Killed Dr. Martin ...
James Earl Ray Assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968 in Memphis , Tennessee, but many believe that he did not act alone.
James Earl Ray: The Man Who Killed Dr. Martin Luther King ...
James Earl Ray Assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968 in Memphis , ... "I've always thought the FBI might be involved in some way," he said.
How the Government Killed Martin Luther King, Jr.
Apr 3, 2013 - At the time of his death, he was gearing up for the Poor People's Campaign, .... Memphis PD and the FBI also suppressed the statements of Ray ...

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Eve and Nashua Stand Trial in Columbus, Georgia and Celebrate Victory for SOA Watch!

Yesterday morning, Eve Tetaz and Nashua Chantal stood trial before US District Judge Stephen Hyles in Columbus, Georgia. The prosecution called for Eve, an 83 year-old retired public school teacher and longtime peace activist, and Nashua, a 62 year-old longtime SOA Watch activist, to be incarcerated for the six-month maximum for illegal entry onto Ft. Benning on November 23, 2014. Ft. Benning is home of the School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001 (SOA/WHINSEC).

During their sentencing by judge Stephen Hyles, the courtroom, as well as the JAG attorneys were surprised when Nashua was sentenced to a 5 year probation, and Eve was sentenced to a $5,000 fine. Neither of them was sentenced to prison, something that judge Hyles has been notorious for imposing on nonviolent activists since beginning his tenure in 2010. Represented by Anna Lellelid and Bill Quigley, of the SOA Watch Legal Collective, Eve and Nashua were accompanied by Fr. Roy, Coleman Smith of the Pupetistas, SOA Watch Council Member Ken Hayes, Irene Rodriguez of the SOA Watch Communications Collective, Anton Flores of Georgia Detention Watch/AlternCommunity, members of Nashua's community in Americus, and SOA Watch Field Organizer Maria Luisa Rosal.

During the press conference before entering the courtroom, Anna Lellelid stated, "Eve is planning to plea not guilty. Nashua crossed over a fence, and he was protesting the violations of human rights committed by graduates of the School of the Americas, and he will be peading guilty, and hoping to serve community service with Habitat for Humanity in his community and continue to serve the people that he loves." Bill Quigley stated, "We hope we are going to be walking out with both of these people today."

During their trial, both Eve and Nashua addressed the court and spoke truth to power, highlighting the horrors of the School of the Americas:

Nashua stated, "I did cross the fence to protest the human rights violations in Latin America. I am totally supportive of the work of School of the Americas Watch, particularly the work to release the names of the gradautes. If they are proud of the school, they should be proud of their graduates." After pleading guilty and requesting community service instead of prison, Nashua also said, "I have made my point. I have stood up for human rights."

Similarly, Eve put the SOA on trial, as well as a US culture of militarism when she affirmed, "torture is "not "a political tool. My own President asks "'is this who we are?'". All of us would like to say no, but if the School of the Americas is kept open, then I am afraid the answer is yes. This "is "who we are."

Thursday's trial was a victory for the SOA Watch movement. Through their actions, Eve and Nashua continued to denounce the SOA, and in doing so, were still able to walk out of a courtroom that has historically seen harsh prison sentences handed down to others within the movement that have crossed the line in the past. To date, over 300 people have collectively served over 100 years of prison sentences for their nonviolent acts of civil disobedience to call attention to the SOA/WHINSEC. SOA Watch maintains that those responsible for the SOA torture manuals and for the training of repressive foreign militaries, are the ones who should stand trial and be held accountable. Nashua and Eve are to be commended for speaking truth to power. They continue the long tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience

Our work to close the SOA and to change oppressive US foreign policy towards Latin America continues. In the face of "more "violence against our brothers and sisters in Latin America - the 43 disappeared students in Ayotzinapa, the continued violence and repression in Honduras, the impunity in Guatemala - we continue to organize and to come up with creative forms of resistance.

"La lucha sigue", the struggle continues.

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I have been on the HKF mailing listlist since 1979


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February 6, 2015

The Husband And Wife Who Burgled The FBI

John and Bonnie http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/02/06/fbi-1971-documentaryare pictured with their three children in Glen Lake, Michigan circa August 1969. (1971film.com)
John and Bonnie Raines are pictured with their three children in Glen Lake, Michigan circa August 1969. (1971film.com)
Before Edward Snowden, there was the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI. In 1971, eight anti-war activists broke into the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. Among them were John and Bonnie Raines frequent anti-war protesters and the parents of three kids.
They were looking for proof that the FBI was involved in surveillance and harassment of civil rights and anti-war groups. And they found it in the over 1,000 documents that they stole and sent to three major newspaper: The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post.
“The story almost never got published,” John told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “Whistle-blowers depend on courageous investigative reporters” And those journalists, it seemed, were scarce.
At the time, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was so powerful that even presidents feared him. Finally, only The Washington Post published copies of the documents. The response was enormous. The public was outraged.
“When the law becomes the instrument of the crime, then the only way you can stop that crime is to break that law.”

– John Raines
In a world where personal phones are locked with finger scans, it’s hard to imagine that these eight ordinary people could pull off such a major heist, especially considering they couldn’t even pick the lock on the first door they tried.
But other than that initial setback, the novice burglars succeeded.
“We had prepared so meticulously,” said Bonnie, who posed as a student from Swarthmore College exploring opportunities for women in the FBI in order to get inside the building during business hours to scout out security measures and the layout of the offices.
“We were very careful in our preparations,” John added. “We were not Don Quixotes, we were not martyrs, we were interested in doing the job we thought we had to do because nobody in Washington was doing that job, namely supervising and holding J.Edgar Hoover of the FBI accountable.”
Their actions led directly to the Church Committee hearings, the country’s first congressional investigation of American intelligence agencies. And later, the discovery of Cointellpro, short for Counterintelligence Program, which Hoover ran to secretly collect information on civil rights activists and groups the FBI deemed potentially disruptive to the bureau.
When the job was done, the commission disbanded and the eight members rarely spoke.
“We had to go into hiding of course,” said John. “J. Edgar Hoover sent 200 agents to try and find the Citizens Commission and they flooded the city of Philadelphia. So we knew we needed to go deep underground and the best place to go underground, of course, is in plain sight and we were able to do that here in Philadelphia because there were thousands of resistors back then. I mean our country was in fire in 1970 and 1971. So we decided as a group, the eight of us, that we needed to disappear from the public discourse and return to our private lives and we did that.”
The couple remained active, had a fourth child and raised their family, never revealing what they had done. “We did tell our children when they were older teenagers,” said Bonnie. Accustomed to their parent’s activism, they weren’t shocked. Actually, Bonnie recalls, “they were quite proud.” She hopes that among her four children and seven grandchildren there is a legacy of activism.
Does this include breaking the law? “Yes,” both parents say. “When the law becomes the instrument of the crime, then the only way you can stop that crime is to break that law. We found that out in the civil rights movement in the laws of segregation,” said John.
“A people that would sacrifice liberty to gain security, deserve neither.”

– John Adams
Now, 43 years later, their story is being told in the new documentary “1971,” which opens in New York today.
While the Commission’s goal was not to be “Don Quixotes,” the film’s trailer suggests an element of heroism in their act. And while some may argue the Commission’s burglary was similar to Snowden’s, other’s say it’s a different time. Some say, in a post-9/11 world, we need to be more protective of the nation’s security.
“I believe our nation is driven by an excessive fear,” John said. “Yes, we have to worry about the terrorists, but even more we have to worry about how to protect the values of our nation that make our nation worth valuing and worth securing. The second president of the United States, John Adams, said something very wise in his time and it’s still true in our time. He said, ‘A people that would sacrifice liberty to gain security, deserve neither

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Net neutrality activists bodyslammed, dragged from Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai’s press conference for holding up this banner: “85% of Republican Voters Support Net Neutrality”

February 10, 2015

Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457
Email: press@fightforthefuture.org

WASHINGTON, DC––Net neutrality activists who support strong free speech protections through Title II reclassification crashed a press conference organized by Republican FCC Commissioner––and former Verizon lawyer––Ajit Pai this morning when they attempted to unfurl a large banner reading “85% of Republican Voters Support Net Neutrality,” a reference to a University of Delaware poll from November, reported in the Washington Post.

Scroll to the bottom of this press release to see more PHOTOS and video.

FCC security violently attacked the demonstrators, knocking them to the ground. As they were dragged from the room, internet activists Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese of the group PopularResistance.org said, “Commissioner Pai, don’t you see Republicans love net neutrality? Stop being a mouthpiece for the Telecoms–your job is to represent the public interest. Title II now! The Internet should be a level playing field for all not one rigged for Comcast and Verizon. No crony capitalism for Comcast and Verizon. Equal access for all.”

After the activists left the building, FCC security continued to harass them, threatening them with arrest for standing on a public sidewalk offering an interview to a camera crew.

The action was organized by grassroots activists from the group PopularResistance.org with support from the digital rights group Fight for the Future. These two groups previously coordinated on the Occupy the FCC encampment last year that helped put Title II reclassification on the table at the FCC. Fight for the Future were also lead organizers of the September 10th Internet Slowdown protest along with Demand Progress, and the coalition website they helped build, BattleForTheNet.com was responsible for more than 1/4 of all the comments the FCC received about net neutrality last year. PopularResistance.org has also organized a series of protests and direct actions on this issue, including a civil disobedience action where they blockaded FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s driveway.

Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said, “Net neutrality is not a partisan issue, but corrupt politicians in Washington DC whose campaigns are funded by the Telecom industry are desperate to make it one.” She added, “Given that Republican voters overwhelmingly oppose Internet fast lanes and support the principles of net neutrality, it’s clear that officials like Ajit Pai, who is a former high ranking lawyer for Verizon, are ignoring the public will and working for the industries they’re supposed to be holding accountable.”

While the action unfolded in Washington, DC today, the battle for the net continued to rage online. Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Free Press and other groups are organizing a sustained effort called the Internet Countdown, keeping up a constant barrage of online protest between now and the FCC’s vote on February 26th. More than 2,500 sites have joined the effort so far including Bluehost, BoingBoing, Th

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In 2012, the US DOJ found a "pattern and practice" of excessive force by the PPB.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 9:00 AM, Federal Courthouse, 1000 SW 3rd
Dozens testified whether the DOJ Settlement Agreement is "fair, adequate and reasonable"
Read the court transcript

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Portland Copwatch's testimony to the federal court
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mohamed mohamud: Pioneer Courthouse 1/11/13]

End FBI Stings!
The Sentencing of Mohamed Mohamud set for Thursday, June 27
December 18, 2013. on hold!
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Mr. Mohamud was set up by the FBI in a sting operation similar to many
others around the nation. His January trial ended in a guilty verdict.
The sentencing originally set for June 27 then delayed to December 18, 2013
has been canceled while the revelation that the US used warrantles wiretaps is examined.
Download and read our background fact sheet on FBI stings
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Changes to Portland's Civilian Oversight system
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Police Review Division (IPR)'s Citizen Review Committee (CRC), Council voted in
only 4 significant changes to the ordinance on December 14, 2011, one of which
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Read more on our page about the police oversight system including:

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Portland Copwatch participated in the Mayor's Racial Profiling Committee
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Other Portland Police Accountability Stuff
NEW! Analysis of the January 2015 Police Review Board Report
Analysis of the July 2014 Police Review Board Report
Analysis of the Auditor's Report on Tasers
Analysis of the City's 2009 Use of Force Report
(3 pages, 7/20/09)
Includes links to the report and to omitted Bureau statistics
Analysis of the City's 2007 Use of Force Report
(3 pages, 4/25/07)
Background on the Independent Police Review Division (IPR)

Portland Copwatch analyzes the IPR's Annual Reports:
* IPR 2013 Annual Report , More Details Expose System Failure
(10 pages, 10/31/14)
* IPR 2012 Annual Report , Draws Attention Away from Shortcomings of System
(7 pages, 5/31/13)
* IPR 2011 Annual Report , Shares Little Analysis, Uses New Statistics but Old Examples
(5 pages, 7/30/12)
Read previous years' annual report analyses.
Read an analysis of the Auditor's "Independent Police Review Division",
showing that it acts to shield police from scrutiny (5/21/01)
Chief Foxworth replies to eight questions from Portland Copwatch (June, 2005)
Portland Votes to Withdraw Officers
from Joint Terrorism Task Force (April 28, 2005)
Report and background information on historic 2005 vote
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Read a report on the Joint Terrorism Task Force (1/11/01)
Background on the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (PJTTF)

City Council passes "Terrorism Task Force" ordinance (11/22/00)
Read the Majority Report of the Mayor's PIIAC work group,
proposing a strong police review board (Oct. 30, 2000)
Read our (1993- 1996) Proposal for an Effective Civilian Police Review Board
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See a list of the top 25 settlements for police misconduct cases,
1993-2012 (REVISED 3/17/12)
Portland Copwatch sent a respresentative to the first International
Copwatch Conference in Oakland July 13-15, 2007.
Report back on the National Conference on Police Accountability
held at Portland State University, October 15-17, 2004.
Read the Bike Rider's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
(also available in .pdf format.)
Print the Oregon Homeless Rights guide
by Oregon Law Center (.pdf)
Look at our Glossary NEWLY! updated 2/3/15
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Portland, OR 97242
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Page last updated February 3, 2015

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Reply with quote  #84 

See link for a full story


Denver and the West
Protesters dump paint on memorial to fallen police officers

Posted: 02/14/2015 04:53:02 PM MST26 Comments

Protesters make their way towards their destination Saturday, February 14, 2015 along 14th Street in Denver, Colorado. Close to 150 protesters marched in
Protesters make their way towards their destination Saturday, February 14, 2015 along 14th Street in Denver, Colorado. Close to 150 protesters marched in the streets of Denver rallying against the police involved shootings which have taken the lives of several individuals including Jessica Hernandez and wounded others like Sherod Kindell. The protest went past police headquarters and then continued down 14th Street. (Brent Lewis, The Denver Post)
Red paint and sStickers and red paint cover the police memorial.
Red paint and sStickers and red paint cover the police memorial. (Brent Lewis, The Denver Post)

Protesters dumped red paint on a memorial honoring more than 70 fallen police officers Saturday afternoon. They also plastered stickers on the memorial and nearby pillars.

"Some of these people were my friends," Police Cmdr. Matt Murray said, gesturing to the memorial. "This is disrespectful and I don't think it displays the values of this community. We're extremely disappointed."

Denver police said two males were arrested for criminal mischief after the protest ended. Firefighters assisted in quickly cleaning the memorial.

Between 100 and 150 people marched along West Colfax Avenue from Mariposa Street, arriving at police headquarters, 1331 Cherokee St., around 4 p.m.
A protester watches a police helicopter overhead Saturday, February 14, 2015 along 14th Street in Denver, Colorado. Close to 150 protesters marched in the
A protester watches a police helicopter overhead Saturday, February 14, 2015 along 14th Street in Denver, Colorado. Close to 150 protesters marched in the streets of Denver rallying against the police involved shootings which have taken the lives of several individuals including Jessica Hernandez and wounded others like Sherod Kindell. The protest went past police headquarters and then continued down 14th Street. (Brent Lewis, The Denver Post)

Some protesters held signs in support of Jessica Hernandez, a 17-year-old who was fatally shot by police last month while she was driving a stolen car toward officers. Others carried signs with the message, "Free Sharod," referencing a 23-year-old man shot by a Denver police officer last month during a traffic stop.

"We demand justice for Ryan (Ronquillo). We demand justice for Jessie. We demand justice for Carlos (Jurado). We demand justice for Sharod (Kindell) and Joel (Jurado). We demand justice for every single person who has been killed, maimed, kidnapped, and wounded by Denver police," the protesters said in a flier.

As they marched, the protesters chanted about justice and police brutality. A group of men described by marchers as "security" kept the protesters in a tight group. Each wore a mask made of black bandanas printed with AK-47s on them.

People in apartments and buildings along the route came outside and joined in the cheers. Police cars blocked off roads surrounding the route, preventing traffic from interfering with the march.

"It's important for the public to realize that we're out there pro

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February 10, 2015 | By Nadia Kayyali
Oakland Considers a Privacy Policy for its Domain Awareness (Surveillance) Center

Update, February 11: Last night, the Public Safety Committee, led by Councilmember Desley Brooks, "approved in concept the work that has been done so far" by the Ad Hoc Privacy Policy Committee.1The Public Safety Committee indicated that it felt small changes were needed, but their response was overall positive. The policy and additional recommendations will be posted online in order to give the public a chance to comment, and will be in front of the Public Safety Committee at the first meeting in April. However, it turns out that the Port of Oakland decided at a Port Commission meeting (without talking to the City Council, apparently) not to fund 24/7 monitoring of the Domain Awareness Center, meaning that although it has already been built, it will not be staffed unless the City of Oakland decides to pay for staff. With such a scaled-down DAC, the public now has an opportunity to indicate that it wants to tackle the bigger issue of surveillance in Oakland. It wasn't entirely clear from the Councilmember's comments where they fall on the recommendation to pass a city-wide policy, so commenting on the policy and attending the next meeting could make a big difference.

It’s been nearly a year since the Oakland City Council, in response to intense community pressure, voted to scale down its original plan for a broad, citywide surveillance system. Oakland’s Domain Awareness Center (DAC) would aggregate information from multiple sources, creating a visual feed that could be easily monitored. In a city that is no stranger to civil liberties violations by the police, it was hotly debated last year. The tension focused on the dangers of a DAC that could aggregate data from sources both at the Port of Oakland and throughout the city. Ultimately, the city council passed a resolution that removed most of the city components—most importantly “shot-spotter” and city cameras—leaving a “port-only” DAC. It also created an ad-hoc "Privacy Policy Committee" tasked with creating a privacy policy for the DAC.

EFF participated as part of the DAC Privacy Policy Committee. (Fellow committee member Phil Wolff did a great job of collecting meeting minutes and notes here.) We played a very cautious role on the committee, understanding that some who criticized the DAC as it was originally proposed were still very concerned that it was moving forward at all.

That being said, we participated in the creation of the privacy policy because we wanted it to be as strong as possible. And when it comes to the Committee’s final product, we think this is a good start. It’s a one-of-a-kind policy that affirmatively seeks to protect privacy, provides people with the ability to sue for damages when the policy is violated, and has detailed data use, retention, and auditing requirements. If the policy passes, it’s likely that it will be used as a model in other cities—hopefully before new technology is ever purchased.

The Good

The proposed policy is 12 pages long, so we won’t go in to every single detail. But overall, the policy now is much improved from the original framework because it:

Specifically lists the “allowable uses” for the DAC and who has access to DAC data;
Defines important terms throughout to try to close loopholes; and
Clearly defines the Domain Awareness Center and its component parts, making it clear that it is restricted to the Port of Oakland.

Part of what makes the policy unique is that it starts off with an affirmative statement about privacy in the “Policy Purpose” section:

This Policy is designed to promote a "presumption of privacy" which simply means that individuals do not relinquish their right to privacy when they leave private spaces and that as a general rule, people do not expect or desire for law enforcement to monitor, record, and/or aggregate their activities without cause or as consequence of participating in modern society.

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Reply with quote  #86 
Pete Lee is a State Representative in Colorado

He has taken a leadership role in creating models
of restorative justice.


Pete Lee

Thu, Feb 19, 2015 9:05 AM PST
View full HTML message
An update from State Representative Pete Lee

View this email in your browser (http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=a2f462a4666bc7e895b800191&id=fef39cd287&e=584b49b718

Pete's Bills

Modifications to Economic Gardening Pilot Project (http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2015a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/A4D0A8AA33A7A6B887257DA40002D25E?Open&file=1002_01.pdf

HB15-1094 Restorative Justice Council Pilot and Changes (http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2015a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/834352222353756C87257DA20062703C?Open&file=1094_01.pdf

HB15-1131 Release Critical Incident Information Juvenile (http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2015a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/C809F8445E5E8FC887257DB100669C39?Open&file=1131_01.pdf

HB15-1230 Innovative Industries Workforce Development Program (http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2015a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/D7B129A16FF7C8AB87257DA40002CFB5?Open&file=1230_01.pdf

SB15-102 Sunset Securities Board (http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2015a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/2AD495887FA0868487257D90007806E2?Open&file=102_01.pdf

SB15-104 Sunset CO Division of Securities (http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2015a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/EE1512A75DCC5F1587257D9000783132?Open&file=104_01.pdf

SB15-124 Reduce Parole Revocations For Technical Violations (http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2015a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/0FBB07461F36BEFB87257DB10065DA22?Open&file=124_01.pdf

Search for Pete's Bills on the General Assembly Website (http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2015A/csl.nsf/BillFoldersSponsor?OpenFrameSet .
https://www.facebook.com/peteleecoFacebook (https://www.facebook.com/peteleeco
https://twitter.com/PeteLeeColoradoTwitter (https://twitter.com/PeteLeeColorado
peteleecolorado.comWebsite (peteleecolorado.com)
Email (mailto:reppete@gmail.com)

** Town Hall Reminder
My Joint Town Hall Meeting with Senator Michael Merrifield will be this Saturay.

WHEN: February 21st at 10:00 AM
WHERE: Penrose Library, Carnegie Reading Room
20 North Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Restorative Justice Moves Forward

I am also happy to report that HB15-1094 (http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2015A/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/834352222353756C87257DA20062703C?Open&file=1094_eng.pdf Concerning Restorative Justice passed 3rd Readings in the House this morning with unanimous bi-partisan support and will now move on for consideration in the Senate. Research indicates that participation in restorative justice practice decreases recidivism which reduces cost and improves long-term outcomes. This year’s restorative justice bill adds three additional members to the state Restorative Justice Coordinating Council – the State Public Defender, a judge, and a law enforcement representative. The bill also expands which juveniles can be accepted into the pilot program, including juveniles who commit petty or municipal offenses. Restorative justice helps to break the cycle of crime by promoting accountability and responsibility. Keeping juveniles out of the criminal justice system and in school and out of
the system is the first step.

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Press Alert: Press Conference Wednesday to Launch Whistleblower Protection Caucus
Feb 24th, 2015 @ 12:00 pm › Mary Jane Wilmoth
↓ Skip to comments

Washington, D.C. February 24, 2015. On Wednesday, February 25, at 2:30 p.m. (ET), Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden will host a press conference to launch the Whistleblower Protection Caucus in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Sen. Grassley is the chairman of the caucus and Sen. Wyden is the vice-chairman.

A number of whistleblowers and whistleblower advocates will also be in attendance, including FBI crime lab whistleblower Dr. Frederic Whitehurst and Stephen M. Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center.

Senator Grassley, the leading champion of whistleblower protection on Capitol Hill, announced the formation of a Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus on the 25th Anniversary of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 this past April 10th.

Grassley said he created the caucus to build a coalition of like-minded Senators who can help bring attention to the need for ongoing whistleblower protections. Grassley stated that the goals of the Whistleblower Protection Caucus are to ensure “vigilant oversight” over whistleblower protection laws and to create “a culture of understanding and respecting the right to blow the whistle.”

“The creation of the Senate Whistleblower Caucus is a key step in ensuring that employees who risk their careers to serve the public interest will find a safe haven in Congress,” said Kohn.

The press conference will be held in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room, Dirksen 226.

For more information, contact: Mary Jane Wilmoth

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Reply with quote  #89 

couple of stories

Did you know how FBI agents assassinated
President Kennedy?


Thursday, Mar 5, 2015 03:10 PM EST
Pro-choice activists glitter bomb antiabortion congressman, spark FBI investigation
Glitter isn't a health threat or burden, just an inconvenience -- sort of like abortion restrictions, right?


Pro-choice activists glitter bomb antiabortion congressman, spark FBI inves
The viral meme has officially gone too far: A group of pro-choice activists inadvertently prompted an FBI investigation this week after mailing a “glitter bomb” to an antiabortion Nebraska legislator, protesting his opposition to reproductive healthcare funding. A hot pink package containing a bag of glitter arrived at the Lincoln office of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry on Wednesday, which might have doused the representative in sparkles had he been there to receive it. Instead, the Omaha World-Herlad reports, he was in Washington, and spared the fate of looking like a disco ball in a suit.

The package, which was delivered under a presumptively false name, also contained a message for Fortenberry printed on “Glitter Bombs for Choice” letterhead, explaining the prank. ”Congrats! You’ve earned this for trying to deny women their right to choice,” the letter read. “Mind your own uterus.”

The Men Who Killed Kennedy: Part 9 The Guilty Men - YouTube
Video for the guilty men YouTube jfk45:04

Apr 18, 2012 - Uploaded by Dogeffa
Cord Meyer was a career professional at CIA who hated JFK for committing adultery an doing ...
The Men Who Killed Kennedy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The third of these additional segments - "The Guilty Men" - was based substantially on the book Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K by Barr ...
Former CIA Man Latest To Connect LBJ To JFK Assassination
Jan 15, 2007 - Former CIA Man Latest To Connect LBJ To JFK Assassination ... subject of a subsequent History Channel documentary called The Guilty Men.
The Men Who Killed Kennedy: The Expurgated Episodes ...
Nov 20, 2012 -
The Men Who Killed ... The Men Who Killed Kennedy: Part 9 The Guilty Men .... Oswald & JFK Assassination with Judyth Vary Baker- Lee's Lover.
Censored Special, The Guilty Men, Points Finger at LBJ in JFK's Death
Jun 27, 2010 - The History Channel aired The Guilty Men, Part 9 of The Men Who Killed ... Moreover, I can watch the last 3 parts anytime I want to on YouTube.

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Reply with quote  #90 
This is some useful research for people who have been
Physically or Psychologically abused as a child.

Evidence indicates children develop Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
which complicates normal childhood development

Look at the symptoms of PTSD


All Blog EntriesAll Blog Entries
Primary Prevention of ACES and Fostering Resilience as an Antidote
January 5, 2012 4:25 PM
[Gladys Twombly Richardson] by Gladys Twombly Richardson Gladys Twombly Richardson is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.

The primary prevention of ACES and fostering of Resilience, an antidote to ACES, has been a top priority for my husband, Dr. Burtt Richardson (a retired pediatrician) and myself, after hearing Dr. Felitti's ACES presentation in Maine in 2005.

Since primary prevention of ACES begins no later than the first day of life and continues for 18 years, we have been developing a program that informs and engages parents and community members living in a locally defined geographic area, e.g., a kindergarten catchment area, to reach out to all parents of newborns and infants in their neighborhood.

We would love to hear about other similar efforts, and would like to be in touch with others who might be interested in this approach in their neighborhood or town. Regards, Gladys

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Reply with quote  #91 

Europe hints it will back Ireland's Microsoft stance

Published 12/03/2015 | 02:30


US courts should not be able to access personal data stored on Microsoft's

"The Commission's view is that personal data held by private companies in the EU should not, in principle, be directly accessed by or transferred to foreign enforcement authorities outside of formal channels of co-operation," said Ms Jourova.

The EU Commissioner's statement will be seen as support for the Government, which has joined with Microsoft in fighting a 2013 FBI warrant that seeks access to personal data on Microsoft's Irish servers as part of a case being investigated.

The warrant, issued by a New York judge, is being seen as a test of Europe's resolve to protect its citizens' and companies' data against police forces abroad acting outside existing international treaties. "The Commission has brought this point to the attention of the US authorities on several occasions and is resolute to further insist on finding a solution to this question," she said.

Ms Jourova was responding to a formal question on the issue by a Portuguese member of the European Parliament, Carlos Coelho.

Mr Coelho had asked whether the US legal warrant ordering Microsoft to hand over information stored in Ireland, violates EU data protection law. He also asked whether the the EU would "intervene".

However, it is not clear that Ms Jourova's statement will have any legal impact on the case, which is due to be heard later this year.

The case could have profound effects on the safety and privacy of data of European citizens, as many of the most-used internet services are US companies. Most European countries' data protection laws guarantee privacy from foreign governments seizing control.

However, if the US court action against Microsoft succeeds without a legal response from the EU, it could nullify legal protections currently relied on by European companies and citizens.

US companies and administrative bodies could access European corporations' data, as well as private information held by Irish and European citizens.

The Microsoft transatlantic legal battle is being fought ag

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Reply with quote  #92 

see link for full story


Student group demands California university rename building after convicted cop killer

March 19, 2015

Students demand UC Berkeley rename building after cop killer

A black student organization at the University of California at Berkeley is demanding the university rename a building on campus after Assata Shakur, a former Black Panther, convicted cop killer and the first woman named to the FBI's Most-Wanted Terrorist List.

A jury convicted Shakur of killing a New Jersey State Trooper in 1979. She escaped prison and fled to Cuba. The FBI calls her a domestic terrorist. In 2013, the agency added her to the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List, alongside several members of Al Qaeda, airline hijackers and bombers.

But to the Black Student Union at Berkeley, Shakur is an "icon of resistance within oppressed communities (who) represents black resilience in the face of state-sanctioned violence." They demanded the university rename Barrows Hall, named after former Chancellor David Barrows, "Shakur Hall." In 2013, Shakur declared her innocence and called her trial in 1979 a legal lynching by an all-white jury. Shakur, formerly known as Joann Chesimard, belonged to the Black Liberation Army at the time of the shooting.

"We want the renaming for someone -- Assata Shakur -- who we feel like represents us as black students," said Black Student Union spokesman Cori McGowens. "Black students on campus have a feeling of isolation, marginalization. We're at a crisis on campus."

The renaming of Barrows Hall is just one of 10 demands the Black Student Union delivered to Berkeley Chancellor Nick Dirks last month.

They're also demanding a meeting place solely for black students, $300,371 for two black admissions staff focused on black recruiting, $113,932 for another staffer to handle black retention, two black psychologists who understand the "racially hostile campus," two black advisers to mentor black athletes and a fully-funded 'Get into Graduate School' mentoring program.

"I came to Berkeley and I thought that it was a progressive liberal environment, but the N-word was written on the dorm wall and my white professors were openly using the N-word," said senior Blake Simons. "So that's part of my experience here is feeling marginalized."

University officials met with the groups last week. While not agreeing to honor Shakur, Chancellor Dirks did apologize, saying, "Too many (black) students have told us about being excluded from study groups, ignored during class discussions, verbally harassed at parties and social events, and feeling, in a general sense, vulnerable, isolated and invisible. This is something we deplore."

African-American students at Berkeley already have 33 campus organizations dedicated to their well-being, from fraternities and sororities, to a African Theme Program, an African American Studies Department, an African Arts Society, a Black Campus Ministries, Finance Guild and Pre-Law Society.

But that isn't the point, say students.

"We definitely need more resources for underrepresented minorities on campus," says senior Amanda Burke. "I know personally people who suffer micro-aggressions on a daily basis at Cal and it's something that's kind of gone ignored by a lot of people."

Some black students cite a mock lynching last year at one fraternity. However, a police investigation later revealed the hanging effigy on Halloween was meant to be a zombie, not an African-American.

Still, McGowens said it was difficult to succeed academically because of the anti-black atmosphere.

"There are a lot of black students that apply --get into Cal -- who don't want to come for that reason," he said. "Because the environment isn't welcoming. It isn't safe for black students. So we feel like as black students we are the most marginalized on campus."

After Chancellor Dirks "defaulted" on the group's March 6 deadline, the Black Student Union said it would "persevere" until they get what they "deserve."

Of UC Berkeley's 36,000 enrolled students, roughly 3 percent are black, 40 percent are Asian, 30 percent are

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Colorado Bill Would Impose Penalty On Police Interfering With Citizen Recording

In contrast to Texas legislation introduced by state representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) that would penalize a citizen for filming police activity within a proposed 15-foot area, lawmakers in Colorado have introduced a bill that would penalize police officers for obstructing, seizing or destroying citizen recording.

House Bill 15-1290 is one of several measures that have been introduced this month in Colorado in an effort to increase police oversight. HB 15-1290 “creates a private right of action against a peace officer’s employing law enforcement agency if a person records an incident involving a peace officer and a peace officer destroys the recording or seizes the recording without receiving consent or obtaining a warrant or if the peace officer intentionally interferes with the recording or retaliates against the person making the recording. The person who recorded the peace officer incident is entitled to actual damages, a civil penalty of $15,000, and attorney fees and costs.”

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Reply with quote  #95 
see link for full story


Agent of Change
Jack Ryan's Odyssey From the FBI to the Peace Movement

In 1970 Jack Ryan, a 32-year-old special agent for the FBI, was assigned to a stakeout set up to capture two of the nation's most notorious fugitives: antiwar activist priests Daniel and Philip Berrigan. The Berrigan brothers had gone underground after being sentenced to three years in prison for destroying draft-board records in Catonsville, Maryland. Their mother had been admitted to a hospital in Syracuse, New York, and there was suspicion that her sons might come to visit.

Ryan, a former seminarian, had "funny feelings" about the prospect of apprehending a pair of priests. "But I stereotyped them as not on my side. I thought, they certainly don't represent my church. The people I knew were in tune with me, including my pastor. I thought that if I did have to arrest them, I would be more respectful of the priesthood than they were." Ryan didn't get the chance to find out, because the Berrigans never showed up.

Two decades later, Ryan, now 53, relates this story from the crumbling front porch of a rambling old rectory nestled between an abandoned Catholic church and school in a run-down neighborhood of Peoria. This is the Catholic Worker house, an emergency shelter for homeless women and children where Ryan has worked as a volunteer for the last nine years and lived for the last year and a half. A tall, amiable man with a full crop of silvery hair and a round, unmistakably Irish mug, he speaks in soft, deliberate tones. He chuckles occasionally as he attempts to retrace the unlikely steps that brought his thinking more in line with the beliefs of the Berrigans than those of his erstwhile mentor J. Edgar Hoover.

After a 21-year FBI career in which he earned 55 letters of commendation and appreciation for his skill at cultivating Mafia informants, Ryan has put down his gun and adopted a philosophy of nonviolence. Like the Berrigans before him, he is now vigorously opposed to U.S. foreign policy. But while the Berrigans were once fugitives from justice, Ryan is a pursuer of it.

Five years ago, he challenged the wisdom of an FBI investigation, and since then he's been paying the price. In 1986 a group of peace activists vandalized military recruiting offices in Chicago to protest U.S. aid to the contras in Nicaragua. The FBI viewed the vandals as terrorists, but Ryan was convinced they were simply pacifists. In September 1987, less than a year before he was eligible to retire with a full pension, Ryan, a father of four, was fired for insubordination and for violating his oath of loyalty to the United States. Although he had put in more than the requisite 20 years of service to earn a full pension, he was nine months short of 50, the minimum retirement age.

Ryan thinks he deserves to be reinstated or at least to receive his pension. He filed a religious-discrimination suit against the Department of Justice, and any day now three federal appeals court judges will decide whether he is right.

In 1956 David Ryan, a Peoria physician, died of a heart attack at the age of 45. He left his wife and 11 children "next to nothing," according to Jack, his oldest son, who was then a senior at Peoria's Spalding High School, home of the Spalding Irish. "He had a monstrous practice, a 23-hour day, but a lot of people couldn't pay their bills. He did a lot of service in the South End, treating blacks and the Chinese community." Although he describes his father as "ideologically very conservative" and "staunchly anticommunist," Ryan says he was also "a real champion of the underdog. He had a tremendous influence on me. I often wonder where he would be today in his thinking."

Ryan says he was "shattered" but not angry about his father's death. "I just saw it in the grand plan of things that this is the way it's supposed to be. There was no question he had gone to heaven, so I knew I should be happy. In fact, I felt bad that I didn't feel happy." A few days after the funeral, Ryan made an announcement to his mother and ten younger brothers and sisters. "I felt bad I hadn't said anything sooner. I wished I had told my dad." It was an announcement that would have pleased him immensely. After graduation, Ryan planned to enter the seminary.

Four years later, after completing his undergraduate degree, Ryan came to the painful conclusion that he wasn't cut out for the priesthood. "It was 1959, before Vatican II. Looking back, it might just as well have been 1859 or 1759, because the same things were taught. Plus the celibacy thing was a big part of it." Ryan returned home, feeling like "a real failure." If his mother, who had begun working "dozens of jobs" to support the family, was disappointed in him, she didn't show it. "She's always been supportive of everything her kids do. She's also very good at any kind of denial."

Ryan says he didn't question the teachings of the church, only the strength of his own faith. He soon redeemed himself by getting a job with the Peoria Police Department. Over the next seven years he worked as a cop with an interruption for military service guarding nuclear missile sites in upstate New York. "Those were two dead, useless years," he says, but during that period he read books about Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had been a hero to his father, and solidified his conservative political and religious beliefs.

Ryan made an effort to keep in touch with friends from the seminary, but doing so proved to be difficult. "Gradually a rift appeared. This was the early 60s, when the whole church ripped in half. I was in the old half without knowing it. Although I had latched onto the progressive faction when I was in the seminary, after I left I got frozen in time. My own sister married an ex-priest. I thought that was scandalous. I still considered myself progressive, but it scared the hell out of me when I saw what some of my friends were doing--getting involved in the civil rights movement, labor issues, and then the peace movement. The ones who remained in the priesthood, who were locked into the old church, were the ones I didn't admire. My old friends, the ones I looked up to, were becoming leftists." Ryan now believes that had he stayed in the seminary, "I would have been one of them." Instead he became "a dyed-in-the-wool Barry Goldwater conservative. I more or less wore my religion on my sleeve."

In the mid-60s a priest told Ryan that his background made him an ideal candidate for the FBI. Ryan was surprised, because he believed the notion long fostered by J. Edgar Hoover that FBI agents had to be lawyers or accountants. He applied and was accepted. On February 28, 1966, Ryan became an FBI agent. It was, he says, "a dream fulfilled."

The dream of being an FBI agent quickly collided with the reality. Just as Ryan's time in the seminary preceded Vatican II, his first six years at the FBI coincided with Hoover's last days, when women were still prohibited from being agents and less than one-half of one percent of all agents were black. Ryan quickly became aware of Hoover's obsession with compiling dubious crime statistics, often at the expense of meaningful investigations. "All the bureau seemed to do when I came in was chase stolen cars. We had these menial crimes we chased after to justify our existence." He encountered an impenetrable bureaucracy with "ungodly job titles like 'the number-one assistant to the number-two man,'" and a dizzying blizzard of procedures and regulations, right down to having to account for every photocopy he made. For someone who had joined the nation's most elite law enforcement organization eager to fight crime, it could have been disillusioning.

But Ryan was not disillusioned. Although he regarded Hoover as "a petty thief," he found solace in the fact that "everyone made fun of him except the real hard core and the former clerks," a loyal breed of homebred agents who rise slowly through the bureaucracy to hold the majority of FBI management positions. For nine of his first ten years, Ryan was assigned to the Albany Division, working out of a "resident agency" in Utica. The FBI has 55 divisions, which oversee some 500 low-security resident agencies, usually staffed by a handful of agents who operate with little direct supervision and report to the special agent in charge (SAC) of the division or his assistant (ASAC). After handling general criminal matters his first two years, Ryan was assigned almost exclusively to organized crime, which for the FBI under Hoover had a decidedly low priority.

He says he loved the work, despite the frustrations of being pulled off mob investigations to handle what he considered trivial cases, including tracking down draft resisters. "I hated doing that. Not because I had any sympathy for them but because it was crummy work." Any reservations he had about the job were more than compensated for by the sense of power that comes with being an FBI agent. He and his wife, Peggy, bought a house in Utica and started a family. They socialized with other agents and their wives. Ryan dutifully attended mass and became president of his parish men's club.

In March 1971, on the night of the first Ali-Frazier fight, a group of people calling itself the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI broke into a resident agency in Media, Pennsylvania, and stole about 1,000 pages of files. The burglary amounted to a knockout blow for Hoover, who died a year later, and at least a temporary knockdown for the FBI. Over the next two months, the Media documents were sent piecemeal to the Washington Post and New York Times, both of which published them over the objections of Hoover and Attorney General John Mitchell. They provided unassailable evidence of what many people had long suspected: the FBI was conducting unwarranted surveillance of ordinary citizens. The papers also showed that the bureau was targeting black student organizations.

Evidence uncovered later in the 70s proved that the FBI, through its clandestine COINTELPRO and BLACKPRO campaigns, had conducted throughout the 60s a variety of illegal activities, including burglary, illegal wiretapping, false arrests, forgery, disinformation, fabrication of evidence, and creation of bogus political groups, to undermine the civil rights movement and stifle political dissent. Using paid informants with shady credentials to infiltrate groups and act as provocateurs, the FBI effectively neutralized groups such as the Socialist Workers Party. They decimated the Black Panther Party, even attempting to dupe rising Chicago gang leader Jeff Fort into killing Illinois Panther chairman Fred Hampton. (That effort failed, of course, but the job was later carried out by a special unit of the Chicago Police, working with a floor plan of Hampton's apartment provided by a paid FBI informant who infiltrated the Panthers and became Hampton's bodyguard.)

Although the Media-papers revelations were tame compared with subsequent disclosures of FBI malfeasance, they generated widespread outrage. Ryan was similarly outraged, but for entirely different reasons.

"My first reaction [to the burglary] was shock and anger that someone had invaded our space." His next reaction was fear that someone outside the FBI might see his files. Not because they were top secret, but because much of the information in them simply wasn't true.

Ryan and other agents in Utica regularly fabricated information, sometimes inventing fictional informants. "At that time every agent had to have a paid ghetto informant. So you'd get the first black person you could find. You'd get his birth date, address, license number and sign him up. I'm sure the janitor in that office building in Media was listed as an informant, because the janitor in our building certainly was, even though he didn't know it."

Intelligence obtained through illegal wiretaps was sometimes attributed to these fictitious informants. But in many cases, Ryan says, "There was nothing sinister about it. All we were trying to do was fool our inspectors." He explains at considerable length the constraints under which FBI agents operate, describing a Kafka-esque system wherein agents, pressured by their supervisors--who in turn are pressured by their supervisors--must temporarily suspend their investigations to write case reports.

"You'd find yourself in a bind every month of your career. In Utica, we used to laugh about our 'magic typewriter.' We'd all fight for it. You'd put the paper in, type the case heading, then close your eyes. Something would always come out. That would get you something on file or a lead to send to some other office." With agents at other offices busy writing their own reports, presumably replete with more flights of fancy, it might take two or three months to get a response. "The whole FBI was just flooded with this stuff," Ryan says. "It had nothing to do with anything."

Although Ryan sometimes became exasperated with the bureau, his misgivings had nothing to do with ideology or FBI tactics. "I had no problem with illegal wiretaps. We had illegal wiretaps galore. The lying didn't bother me, the spying didn't bother me. The whole Watergate thing didn't bother me--just the fact that they got caught."

The only thing that did bother him was "the games you had to play to justify your existence." These games, he says, limited the time he could spend doing the work he enjoyed--ha

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Posted Sep 6, 2015 at 12:01 AM

"Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword," by David Shipler. Knopf. 311 pages.

Every American loves freedom of speech. That is, until someone offends your sensibilities, “endangers” your children, expresses a political opinion you find abhorrent, or blows the whistle on wrongdoing in security agencies that are supposed to protect us. Pulitzer Prize-winner David K. Shipler has written a vibrant analysis of our ambivalent relationship with the single most important right we have under the U.S. Constitution. After all, if we can’t talk about what’s wrong with the country, what will be right with it?
A 22-year veteran of The New York Times and the author of six previous books, Shipler writes with crisp, concise earnestness as he illustrates the conflicts that constipate the national discourse today. In defense of their liberties, conservatives rail against government interference but object to certain kinds of speech on moral or political

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Security issues for Iowa caucus

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The New Ideas Forum to raise the level of Iowans’ understanding of current national security issues will be from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, at the St. Ambrose University Rogalski Center, 518 W. Locust St., Davenport.
The event is co-sponsored by the Quad-City Times, St. Ambrose University, and the Quad-City Chamber of Commerce.
Iowa has a unique status as the first presidential caucus state, and speakers will focus on questions Iowans should ask presidential candidates sweeping through the state.
Speakers include Ray McGovern, a retired CIA analyst turned political activist, who was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, and in the 1980s, chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the president's daily brief. Coleen Rowley, an Iowa native, is the retired FBI agent whistleblower after 9/11 on the FBI’s failures. Between them, they have over 51 years of service in different levels of the two best-known U.S. intelligence agencies. Since leaving the agencies, they have worked for new ideas for peace and justice.

The McGovern/Rowley Iowa speaking tour, dubbed "The Truth Shall Make You Free," is sponsored by the three Iowa chapters of Veterans for Peace and 31 other organizations. The itinerary includes nine cities and seven institutions of higher learning, starting Thursday, Sept. 24, in Dubuque and ending Wednesday, Sept. 30 in Des Moines.
For more information, contact Paul Foley at 563 333-6025 or at FoleyPaulJ@sau.edu or John Ivens 563-503-0564 or at bsnevister@gmail.com.

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