"Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.

But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…

If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn't have to draft me, I'd join tomorrow. But I either have to obey the laws of the land or the laws of Allah. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I'll go to jail. We've been in jail for four hundred years."

- See more at: http://alphahistory.com/vietnamwar/muhammad-ali-refuses-to-fight-1967/#sthash.aPijYzUd.dpuf





Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:














International Committee
      for Peace, Justice and Dignity 
June 20, 2016 International Day of Solidarity with Oscar López Rivera

The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity stands in solidarity with Oscar Lopez Rivera and joins others from around the world calling for his freedom. 

On June 20TH, Activists from 35+ Countries Will be Demanding;  

Freedom for Oscar!

Community organizer, Vietnam veteran, and political prisoner for 35 years.

Join the International Day of Solidarity with Oscar López Rivera taking place in 35+ countries and also in New York City a rally will follow the Decolonization Committee Hearings at the UN to demand Oscar's immediate release! 


At Lake Merritt, In front of the Lakeview Library, 550 El Embarcadero 
(we will then walk to be in front of the Grand Lake Theater)

Countries organizing events include: Argentina * Australia * Belgium * Brazil * Burundi * Canada * Chile *Colombia * Costa Rica * Cuba * Dominican Republic * East Timor * Ecuador * Mexico * Mozambique * Namibia * Netherlands * Nicaragua * Pakistan *Palestine * Panama * Peru * Philippines * Puerto Rico * Rwanda * South Africa * Spain * Sweden Turkey * United States * Venezuela * Vietnam *

New York

Message from the Campaign to Free Oscar López Rivera, National Boricua Human Rights Network

Dear Friends in Puerto Rico and the Diaspora,

This messages carries a warm greeting and the gratitude of the Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico for your constant support and work in the struggle for the release of Oscar López Rivera. June 20, 2016 will mark a new series of events before the United Nations Decolonization Committee in New York to demand that the colonial case of Puerto Rico be examined by the General Assembly and a true decolonization process for our homeland be initiated.

At present, when the executive branch of the United States government has admitted to its Supreme Court and the world that Puerto Rico is a non-incorporated territory subject to the plenary powers of the U.S. Congress, it is our duty and obligation to struggle against what the United Nations has defined as a crime against humanity: colonialism.

We invite you to support the release of political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, to contact the countries of the world which, as members of the United Nations, defend human rights and self-determination of the people, as well as the fundamental statutes of the United Nations. Our purpose is that peaceful activities be carried out in 35 countries (one for each year of Oscar's imprisonment) in an exercise of freedom of expression and a demand for justice. This will expose the public to the world-wide support for Oscar's release. We extend our gratitude and thank you for expressing your solidarity with Oscar. The message will be heard loud and clear throughout the world.

On June 20th at the United Nations in New York and throughout the world: Free Oscar López Rivera, a patriot of his Puerto Rican people!

Eduardo Villanueva Muñoz, CDHPR
Dr. José E. López, National Boricua Human Rights Network

For more information on the New York mobilization:

Ana López (646) 229-5133

To contribute contacts or for information on the international mobilizations:

In Puerto Rico:
Eduardo Villanueva
Olga Sanabria

In the US:
International Coordinating Committee
Ana López
Judith Mirkinson
L. Alejandro Molina
Matt Meyer
Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan

For more information:






"I Refuse to Support U.S. Armed Drone Policy": Army Chaplain reads resignation letter to Obama

Former Army Reserve Chaplain Captain Chris Antalresigned due to the US drone policy, and shares his moving resignation letter to President Obama on DemocracyNow.

"I resign because I refuse to support U.S. armed drone policy," Antal wrote.

"The Executive Branch continues to claim the right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth, at any time, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials. I refuse to support this policy of unaccountable killing."

>>Click here to read more

Support the Clearing Barrel: the only GI coffee house outside the US

By Roots Action, May 31st

It's worth remembering that World War II persists. Over 100,000 U.S. and British bombs remain in German soil and continue to kill. During the last 71 years, the U.S. has never ended the war taxes, left war footing, or ceased empire building. Some 50,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Germany to this day.

In fact, the United States has made Germany central to its wars today in western Asia and the Middle East, shipping troops via Germany into numerous wars, and bringing the wounded to a U.S. hospital (Landstuhl) in Germany. The United States has also made Ramstein Air Base in Germany central to its drone wars.

As at U.S. bases in the United States and around the world, U.S. troops in Germany often need help with PTSD and moral injury. They need accurate information on their rights, including how to conscientiously object, and including how to legally speak out against atrocities they have witnessed or committed.

Fortunately, they have Meike Capps-Schubert. She is co-founder and current manager of the Clearing Barrel GI-Coffeehouse in Kaiserslautern next to Ramstein. It's believed to be the only GI-coffeehouse outside the United States.

>>Click here to read more

Take PRIDE in Chelsea Manning

Show your support for our heroic WikiLeaks whistle-blower Chelsea Manning in your local 2016 Pride parade and celebration.

Chelsea Manning contingents have already been formed in San FranciscoSeattle, SalinaPhiladelphia, and BostonFind more info on the Pride contingent near you, or register your own upcoming event!

With her legal appeal now underway, Chelsea needs your support more than ever- Join us as we march for Chelsea, whistle-blowers, and government transparency!



Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)




Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

Click HERE to view in browser



Today is the 406th day that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan

languishes in prison doing felony time for a misdemeanor crime he did not

commit. Today is also the day that Robert McKay, a spokesperson for the

Free Rev. Pinkney campaign, gave testimony before United Nations

representatives about the plight of Rev. Pinkney at a hearing held in

Chicago. The hearing was called in order to shed light upon the

mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States and put it on an

international stage. And yet as the UN representatives and audience heard

of the injustices in the Pinkney case many gasped in disbelief and asked

with frowns on their faces, "how is this possible?" But disbelief quickly

disappeared when everyone realized these were the same feelings they had

when they first heard of Flint and we all know what happened in Flint. FREE


Please send letters to:

Marquette Branch Prison

Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671

1960 US Hwy 41 South

Marquette, MI 49855

Please donate at http://bhbanco.org (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:

c/o Dorothy Pinkney

1940 Union St.

Benton Harbor, MI 49022


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We urge your support to the efforts to Free Rev. Pinkney!Ramsey Clark – Former U.S. attorney general,

Cynthia McKinney – Former member of U.S. Congress,

Lynne Stewart – Former political prisoner and human rights attorney

Ralph Poynter – New Abolitionist Movement,

Abayomi Azikiwe – Editor, Pan-African News Wire<

Larry Holmes – Peoples Power Assembly,

David Sole – Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice

Sara Flounders – International Action Center


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

Background to Campaign to free Rev. Pinkney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



State Seeks to Remove Innocent PA Lifer's Attorney! Free Corey Walker!

The PA Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed legal action to remove Corey Walker's attorney, Rachel Wolkenstein, in November 2014. On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 the evidentiary hearing to terminate Wolkenstein as Corey Walker's pro hac vice lawyer continues before Judge Lawrence Clark of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas in Harrisburg, PA.

Walker, assisted by Wolkenstein, filed three sets of legal papers over five months in 2014 with new evidence of Walker's innocence and that the prosecution and police deliberately used false evidence to convict him of murder. Two weeks after Wolkenstein was granted pro hac vice status, the OAG moved against her and Walker.

The OAG claims that Wolkenstein's political views and prior legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal and courtroom arrest by the notorious Judge Albert Sabo makes it "intolerable" for her to represent Corey Walker in the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Over the past fifteen months the OAG has effectively stopped any judicial action on the legal challenges of Corey Walker and his former co-defendant, Lorenzo Johnson against their convictions and sentences to life imprisonment without parole while it proceeds in its attempts to remove Wolkenstein.

This is retaliation against Corey Walker who is innocent and framed. Walker and his attorney won't stop until they thoroughly expose the police corruption and deliberate presentation of false evidence to convict Corey Walker and win his freedom.

This outrageous attack on Corey Walker's fundamental right to his lawyer of choice and challenge his conviction must cease. The evidence of his innocence and deliberate prosecutorial frame up was suppressed for almost twenty years. Corey Walker must be freed!

Read: Jim Crow Justice – The Frame-up Of Corey Walker by Charles Brover

Go to FreeCoreyWalker.org to provide help and get more information.



TAKE ACTION: Mumia is sick

Judge Robert Mariani of the U.S. District Court has issued an order in Mumia's case, granting Mumia's lawyers Bret Grote and Robert Boyle's motion to supplement the record. 

New medical records documenting Mumia's deteriorated condition from February and March, will be presented June 6th. Judge Mariani has also instructed the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to provide any updates and changes in DOC hep C treatment and policies which affect the plaintiff's treatment.

Calling into Prison Radio, Mumia noted: 

"My friends, my brothers, it ain't over 'til it's over, but there is some motion. It means that we're moving closer to hopefully some real treatment not of my symptoms, but of my disease. I thank you all for being there. And freedom is a constant struggle. I love you all. From what used to be death row, this is Mumia, your brother."

Mumia remains quite ill. While stable, his curable hepatitis C is still active and progressive. The only treatment Mumia has received over the last 14 months to this day is skin ointment and photo therapy. He has not received the medically indicated treatment for hep C, the very condition that put him in the Intensive Care Unit in March 2015. 

Hepatitis C is a progressive disease that attacks Mumia's organs, skin and liver. Unless the court orders the new hepatitis C treatment - one pill a day for 12 weeks, with a 95% cure rate - Mumia's health will remain at serious risk.

Before the court is the preliminary injunction motion, which demands immediate medical care.

The exhaustion of administrative remedy and the procedural hurdles make it extremely difficult for people in prison to actually get their grievances heard through the review process. The Prison Litigation Reform Act was passed specifically to create these very almost insurmountable barriers to access to the courts.

Please read the New Yorker article, Why it is Nearly Impossible for Prisoners to Sue Prisons.

In Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes, one very telling point was when the DOC's Director of Medical Care, Dr. Paul Noel, took the stand. He said that he had never testified before in court! He has worked for the DOC for over a decade.   

That meant that no prisoner had access to adversarial cross examination. Before Mumia's day in court in late December 2015, no prisoner ever had the opportunity to expose the PA DOC's blatant lies. Lies so bold that Dr. Noel disavowed his own signed affidavit, and in court he stated that he "did not sign it and it was false and misleading". The knowingly false and fabricated document was put in the record by Laura Neal, Senior DOC attorney.

Take Action for Mumia

Call prison officials to demand immediate treatment!

Dr. Paul Noel-Director of Medical Care, DOC
717-728-5309 x 5312

John Wetzel- Secretary of DOC
717+728-2573 x 4109

Dr. Carl Keldie-Chief Medical Officer, Correct Care Solutions
800-592-2974 x 5783

Theresa DelBalso-Superintendent, SCI Mahanoy
570-773-2158 x 8101

    Tom Wolf, PA Governor 

    Phone  717-787-2500

    Fax 717-772-8284                                             

    Email governor@pa.gov

    Sign the Petition now to demand Mumia's right to life-saving hepatitis C care.

    Help Mumia's lawyers prepare to demand access to Mumia's medical records from court!

    Thank you for keeping Mumia in your heart and mind,

    Noelle Hanrahan

    Director, Prison Radio


    The Oasis Clinic in Oakland, CA, which treats patients with Hepatitis-C (HCV), demands an end to the outrageous price-gouging of Big Pharma corporations, like Gilead Sciences, which hike-up the cost for essential, life-saving medications such as the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, in order to reap huge profits. The Oasis Clinic's demand is:







    This message from:

    Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

    PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • www.laboractionmumia.org

    06 January 2016

    Mumia Is Innocent!  Free Mumia!




    Imam Jamil (H.Rap Brown) moved

    Some two weeks ago Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) was moved by bus from USP Canaan in Waymart, PA. to USP Tucson, Arizona.  His mailing address is:  USP Tucson United States Penitentiary P.O. Box Tucson, AZ. 85734  (BOP number 99974555)

    Sign the Petition:

    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE Bureau of Prisons, The Governor of Georgia

    We are aware of a review being launched of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted and or deserve a new trail because of flawed forensic evidence and or wrongly reported evidence. It was stated in the Washington Post in April of 2012 that Justice Department Officials had known for years that flawed forensic work led to convictions of innocent people. We seek to have included in the review of such cases that of Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. We understand that all cases reviewed will include the Innocence Project. We look forward to your immediate attention to these overdue wrongs.

    ASAP: The Forgotten Imam Project

    P.O. Box 373

    Four Oaks, NC 27524


    Luqman Abdullah-ibn Al-Sidiq






    Major Tillery was denied medical treatment, transferred and put in the hole "because of something prison administrators hate and fear among all things: prisoner unity, prisoner solidarity." -Mumia Abu-Jamal

    SCI Frackville prison officials put Major Tillery back in the hole!! This is more retaliation against Tillery who is now fighting to get Hepatitis C treatment. Tillery was able to get word out through another prisoner who told us that several guards in the "AC annex" have been verbally harassing and trying to provoke men with racist comments. The "AC annex" is a cell block that houses both general population and disciplinary prisoners together. We don't have the particulars of what falsified charges they put against Major. His daughter Kamilah Iddeen heard that he got 30 days and should be out of the RHU (restricted housing unit) on March 2.

    Last year Major Tillery stood up for Mumia, telling John Kerestes, the Superintendent at SCI Mahanoy, that Mumia is dying and needs to go to the hospital. Soon afterward, Mumia was rushed to the hospital in deadly diabetic shock. For that warning and refusing to remain silent in the face of medical neglect and mistreatment of all prisoners Major Tillery was put in the hole in another prison and denied medical care for his arthritis, liver problems and hepatitis C.  

    Major Tillery didn't stop fighting for medical treatment for himself and other prisoners. On February 11, Major Tillery filed a 40 page, 7-count civil rights lawsuit against the Department of Corrections, the superintendents of SCI Mahanoy and SCI Frackville and other prison guards for retaliation in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

    Major Tillery demands that the DOC stop its retaliation, remove the false misconduct from his record, provide medical treatment and transfer him out of SCI Frackville to a different prison in eastern Pennsylvania so he remains near his family.

    This lawsuit is just part of Major Tillery's fight for medical care and to protect himself and other prisoners who are standing up for justice. He has liver disease and chronic Hepatitis C that the DOC has known about for over a decade. Tillery is filing grievances against the prison and its medical staff to get the new antiviral medicine. This is part of the larger struggle to obtain Hep C treatment for the 10,000 prisoners in Pennsylvania and the estimated 700,000 prisoners nationally who have Hepatitis-C and could be cured.

    Major Tillery's daughter, Kamilah Iddeen appeals for our support:

    It is so important that my Dad filed this lawsuit– it shows what really goes on inside the prison. Prison officials act as if my father is their property, that his family doesn't exist, that he isn't a man with people who love him. They lied to us every time we called and said he needed treatment. They lied and said he hadn't told them, that he hadn't filed grievances. The DOC plays mind games and punishes prisoners who stand up for themselves and for others. But my Dad won't be broken.

    The DOC needs to learn they can't do this to a prisoner and his family. Justice has to be done. Justice has to be served. Please help.

    Major Tillery needs your calls to the DOC. He also needs help in covering the costs of the court filing fees, copying and mailing expenses amount of over $500.  Please help. Send money: Go to: www.JPay.com  Code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Demand the Department of Corrections:

    Stop the Retaliation Against Major Tillery.

    Exonerate Major Tillery for the false charges of drug possession.

    Remove the false misconduct from Major Tillery's record.

    Transfer Major Tillery from SCI Frackville to another facility in eastern Pennsylvania near his family.

    Provide decent medical care to Major Tillery and all prisoners!

    Call and Email:
    Brenda Tritt, Supt, SCI Frackville, (570)  874-4516, btritt@pa.gov
    John Wetzel, Secty of the PA DOC, (717) 728-4109, ra-contactdoc@pa.gov

    Send Letters of support to:
    Major Tillery AM9786
    SCI Frackville
    1111 Altamont Blvd.
    Frackville, PA 17931

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

    Contribute: Go to www.JPay.com Code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    For more information: www.Justice4MajorTillery.blogspot.com 

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

    For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Nancy Lockhart (843) 412-2035, thewrongfulconviction@gmail.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com

    Contribute: Go to JPay.com; code: Major Tillery AM 9786 PADOC






    In her own words:
    Listen to Chelsea's story in Amnesty podcast

    Whistleblower Chelsea Manning was the subject of Amnesty International's podcast, In Their Own Words, a brand new series featuring the stories of human rights activists around the world.

    One of the most trying aspects of Chelsea's imprisonment has been the inability for the public to hear or see her.

    "I feel like I've been stored away all this time without a voice," Chelsea has said.

    In this episode, Amnesty finally gives Chelsea a voice, employing actress Michelle Hendley to speak Chelsea's words. Through Michelle, we hear Chelsea tell us who she is as a person, what she's been through, and what she's going through now.

    "I have to say, I cried a few times listening to this," said Chelsea, after a Support Network volunteer played the podcast for her over the telephone. "Hearing her speak, and tell the story. She sounds like me. It sounds like the way I would tell my story."

    Since its release on Feb 5, the podcast has already been listened to over 10,000 times, passing up Amnesty's first episode voiced by actor Christian Bale by over 4,000 listens. It received attention from Vice's Broadley, BoingBoing, Pink News, Fight for the Future, the ACLU, the Advocate and numerous other online blogs and tweets.

    Listen to the podcast or read the full transcript here


     In her latest Guardian OpEd, Chelsea Manning shares about a rare and meaningful friendship she had while in the isolating environment of prison. "At the loneliest time of my life," explains Chelsea, "her friendship meant everything."

    Prison keeps us isolated. But sometimes, sisterhood can bring us together

    Chelsea Manning, Guardian OpEd

    Feb 8, 2016

    Prisons function by isolating those of us who are incarcerated from any means of support other than those charged with keeping us imprisoned: first, they physically isolate us from the outside world and those in it who love us; then they work to divide prisoners from one another by inculcating our distrust in one another.

    The insecurity that comes from being behind bars with, at best, imperfect oversight makes us all feel responsible only for ourselves. We end up either docile, apathetic and unwilling to engage with each other, or hostile, angry, violent and resentful. When we don't play by the written or unwritten rules – or, sometimes, because we do – we become targets...

    Read the complete op-ed here




    When Drone Whistleblowers are Under Attack, 

    What Do We Do?


     We honor Stephan, Michael, Brandon and Cian!

    These four former ex-drone pilots have courageously spoken out publicly against the U.S. drone assassination program.  They have not been charged with any crime, yet the U.S. government is retaliating against these truth-tellers by freezing all of their bank and credit card accounts.  WE MUST BACK THEM UP!

    Listen to them here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43z6EMy8T28


    1.  Sign up on this support network:


    2.  Sign this petition  NOW:


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

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


    Statement of Support for Drone Whistleblowers

    (Code Pink Women for Peace: East Bay, Golden Gate, and S.F. Chapters 11.28.15)

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

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

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


    URGENT: Sign and Share NOW! Drone Whistleblower Protection Petition


    Contacting your Government

    - White House comment line: 202-456-1111

    - Email President Obama: president@whitehouse.gov and cc info@whitehouse.gov

    - White House switchboard: 202-456-1414 for telephone numbers of your Senators and Representatives.

    - Email your Senators and Representatives:


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

    - Contact John Brennan, CIA Director: Go to

    https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/leadership/john-o-brennan.html and select appropriate icon. 

    For more information on the 4 Drone Whistleblowers:



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



    Code Pink Women for Peace: eastbaycodepink@gmail.com



    Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

    Sign the Petition:


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

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

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

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

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

    Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.

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

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

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

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

    In solidarity,

    James Clark
    Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
    Amnesty International USA

      Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org

      Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited…         (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)

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




      Sign the Petition:


      Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:

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

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

      American Federation of Teachers

      Campaign for America's Future

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      Project Springboard

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      Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

      Updates from Team Lorenzo Johnson

      Dear Supporters and Friends,

      Show your support for Lorenzo by wearing one of our beautiful new campaign t-shirts! If you donate $20 (or more!) to the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson, we will send you a t-shirt, while supplies last. Make sure to note your size and shipping address in the comment section on PayPal, or to include this information with a check.

      Here is a message from Lorenzo's wife, Tazza Salvatto:

      My husband is innocent, FREE HIM NOW!

      Lorenzo Johnson is a son, husband, father and brother. His injustice has been a continued nightmare for our family. Words cant explain our constant pain, I wish it on no one. Not even the people responsible for his injustice. 

      This is about an innocent man who has spent 20 years and counting in prison. The sad thing is Lorenzo's prosecution knew he was innocent from day one. These are the same people society relies on to protect us.

      Not only have these prosecutors withheld evidence of my husbands innocence by NEVER turning over crucial evidence to his defense prior to trial. Now that Lorenzo's innocence has been revealed, the prosecution refuses to do the right thing. Instead they are "slow walking" his appeal and continuing their malicious prosecution.

      When my husband or our family speak out about his injustice, he's labeled by his prosecutor as defaming a career cop and prosecutor. If they are responsible for Lorenzo's wrongful conviction, why keep it a secret??? This type of corruption and bullying of families of innocent prisoners to remain silent will not be tolerated.

      Our family is not looking for any form of leniency. Lorenzo is innocent, we want what is owed to him. JUSTICE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FREEDOM!!! 

                                Lorenzo's wife,

                                 Tazza Salvatto

      Lorenzo is continuing to fight for his freedom with the support of his lead counsel, Michael Wiseman, The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, and the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson.

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

      Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                  DF 1036

                  SCI Mahanoy

                  301 Morea Rd.

                  Frackville, PA 17932

       Email: Through JPay using the code:

                    Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                    Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com


                    Directly on ConnectNetwork -- instructions here

      Have a wonderful day!

      - The Team to Free Lorenzo Johnson

      Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                  DF 1036

                  SCI Mahanoy

                  301 Morea Rd.

                  Frackville, PA 17932

       Email: Through JPay using the code:

                    Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                    Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com













      1)  Supreme Court to Hear Two Death Penalty Cases

      JUNE 6, 2016




      WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear two death penalty cases from Texas raising questions about the roles intellectual disability and race may play in capital prosecutions.

      One of them, Moore v. Texas, No. 15-797, concerns Bobby J. Moore, who has been on death row since 1980 for shooting and killing an elderly Houston supermarket clerk, James McCarble, during a robbery. Mr. Moore's case also raises questions about whether Texas uses outdated standards in assessing whether a defendant's intellectual disability was severe enough to bar his execution.

      The second case, Buck v. Stephens, No. 15-8049, concerns the role race may play in capital sentencing. Duane Buck was convicted of the 1995 murders of a former girlfriend and another man. Texas law allows death sentences only if prosecutors can show the defendant poses a future danger to society.

      During the trial's sentencing phase, Mr. Buck's lawyer presented testimony from a psychologist who said that race is one of the factors associated with future dangerousness. In their petition seeking Supreme Court review, Mr. Buck's new lawyers said his trial lawyer had been ineffective and that Mr. Buck's death sentence was infected by racial bias.

      Correction: June 6, 2016 

      An earlier version of this article, based on erroneous information released by the Supreme Court, incorrectly stated that the court had agreed to hear a second issue in the case of Bobby J. Moore, that of whether executing a condemned inmate more than 35 years after he was sentenced to death violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In Mr. Moore's case, the court will only consider whether Texas uses outdated standards in assessing whether a defendant's intellectual disability was severe enough to bar his execution.



      2) With Connecticut Foundations Crumbling, 'Your Home Is Now Worthless'

      JUNE 7, 2016




      STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. — Sandra Miller was at work in January when her daughter called from their home here on Oakridge Drive with alarming news. The house was making loud noises, as if someone had jumped off the counter and landed with a bang. For seconds afterward, the house shook.

      A while later, it happened again, and again. Over the next several hours, terrifying bangs rattled the house. The next morning, Ms. Miller called Bill Neal, a structural engineer, who delivered the same stunning news to her that he has now told hundreds of homeowners: The concrete foundation was crumbling and, as a result, her house was gradually collapsing.

      Across nearly 20 towns in northeastern Connecticut, a slow-motion disaster is unfolding, as local officials and homeowners wrestle with an extraordinary phenomenon. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of home foundations that have been poured since the 1980s are cracking, with fissures so large you can slip a hand inside.

      "This is such an emotional roller coaster," said Tim Heim, a homeowner who started the group Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements. "You can't eat, you can't sleep. When you're told your home is now worthless and your biggest investment is now worthless, it's devastating."

      The scope of the problem is so vast that state officials have begun an investigation, and they recently announced that the crumbling foundations had been traced to a quarry business and a related concrete maker, which have agreed to stop selling their products for residential use. The stone aggregate used in the concrete mixture has high levels of pyrrhotite, an iron sulfide mineral that can react with oxygen and water to cause swelling and cracking. Over the past 30 years, the quarry has provided concrete for as many as 20,000 houses.

      As officials continue their investigation, the cascade of crumbling foundations poses a thicket of legal, emotional and financial issues and has prompted the state to create an official web page dedicated to the problem. Connecticut is also seeking help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

      "It's the psychological toll of the uncertainty," said Jonathan A. Harris, the commissioner of the State Consumer Protection Department.

      Beyond the financial hit, Mr. Harris said, a person's home is "where their kids were born and grandchildren play."

      "There's an intangible side to this that's horrible," he continued.

      Insurers have generally refused to pay for repairs, strictly defining the coverage of collapse by inserting the word "abrupt" in policy language. Repairing the homes requires replacing the entire foundation at costs that typically range from $100,000 to over $200,000. So far, 223 residents have filed formal complaints about crumbling foundations with the department, but officials believe many homeowners may be reluctant to contact the state, fearing problems from their banks and insurers.

      Because the affected swath of the state is home mostly to working- and middle-class families, many face financial ruin since their homes represent the biggest part of their nest egg. Ms. Miller, whose insurance company has provide no financial assistance, rented a nearby condominium after she was told that her family was no longer safe in their home.

      But Ms. Miller said she could not pay both the monthly rent and the mortgage. Paying out of pocket to replace her home's foundation, she said, is well beyond reach. "I don't know too many people that have $170,000 in their wallet," she said. "And that's what it's going to cost to fix my home."

      Mr. Neal, the structural engineer, has inspected hundreds of houses. In nearly all, he found concrete walls with distinctive crack patterns that resemble a road map with lines and fissures snaking in all directions — much different than the vertical cracks typically seen in foundations as they settle.

      After hearing from tearful, angry residents at packed public meetings, state officials stepped in. In October, the state's Insurance Department warned insurers not to cancel policies because of a foundation's condition. Since insurers are denying claims, that warning may not help with the concrete problem, officials say, but it should at least prevent homeowners from losing insurance protection all together.

      Last month, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill that would, among other things, allow homeowners with failing foundations to request a reassessment of their property values and require contractors to record the supplier of concrete for residential foundations. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, signed the bill into law last week.

      Another measure that sought to ease victims' financial losses was less successful. State Senator Tony Guglielmo, a Republican, had proposed a $50 million bond to help homeowners. But Democrats in the State House rejected it, arguing such a measure should wait until the full extent of the problem was better understood.

      "I'm not a big-government guy, by any stretch, but there are some problems where you need government intervention because of the magnitude," Mr. Guglielmo said. "We've had meetings where there were 500 people, and it's been very emotional.''

      After an investigation by the NBC station WVIT, the governor directed the Consumer Protection Department and the attorney general to investigate possible wrongdoing and to determine the scope of the problem and what, if any, assistance was available for homeowners.

      While the state has traced the affected concrete to the quarry business, Becker Construction Company, which operates in Willington, officials have not ruled out other factors. One riddle is the absence of official reports of failing concrete in public or commercial projects that used material from the same quarry, and a concrete maker, the Joseph J. Mottes Company.

      John Patton, a spokesman for both companies, has attributed the crumbling foundations to improper installation, specifically the tendency of some contractors to add water to wet concrete to make it pour faster. That was especially true, he said, during a building boom in the 1980s.

      By law, Mr. Patton noted, inspectors are on site during commercial and public jobs, ensuring that concrete is mixed and installed properly. "We also know that during the time frame in question, other ready mix providers in the area used the same aggregate from the same source," he said.

      Stephan Lackman, a former Mottes employee, said the Becker family, which owns both Mottes and Becker, started using material from the Willington quarry after its gravel supply was depleted during the 1980s. Mr. Patton acknowledged that Mottes first began using aggregate from the quarry in the 1980s, but said the company's original gravel supply was in use until 2014.

      The mineral has been identified as a culprit in disintegrating foundations elsewhere. In April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada repeated a pledge to allot $30 million in aid to homeowners in the province of Quebec whose foundations were failing.

      "I saw with my very own eyes the difficult situation in which too many families live because of pyrrhotite," Mr. Trudeau told reporters.

      As officials seek answers in Connecticut, homeowners are looking for someone to hold accountable. A class-action lawsuit filed in February accuses insurers of a "concerted scheme" to deny coverage. And some residents are angry that it has taken the state so long to address the problem.

      Mike Halloran, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said some of his co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances also had cracking foundations. "Ken the plumber," Mr. Halloran, a hospital mechanic, said. "A nurse in the O.R. A guy my wife works out with at the gym has it."

      Mr. Heim, the homeowner who started the coalition, faulted state officials for ignoring warnings from a number of homeowners with the problem in the early 2000s. In 2003, a meeting was held in Hartford among lawmakers, homeowners and representatives of the attorney general's office and Consumer Protection Department. Nothing came of it.

      "They had the power to stop this problem," Mr. Heim said, "and they chose not to."

      It was only after the report by WVIT last summer that politicians at the state level took action, homeowners said.

      Fifteen years ago, Linda J. and Robert Tofolowsky filed a formal complaint with the Consumer Protection Department against Mottes. It detailed the cracks that had formed in the foundation of their home here during the mid-1990s. The couple said several other homeowners had similar problems with concrete supplied by Mottes.

      The couple sued the company in 1995 and lost. But before the resolution of the lawsuit, Mrs. Tofolowsky, in a handwritten note attached to the 2001 complaint, warned of the calamity to come.

      "It has been six years since we filed against J. J. Mottes," she wrote. "But I am not waiting for the court to make a decision, since we have found these seven other homes with failed foundations. I need to let the public know about this company, J. J. Mottes. So that maybe someone else will not lose their biggest investment, their home."



      3)  Regulators Fear $1 Billion Coal Cleanup Bill

      JUNE 6, 2016


      Regulators are wrangling with bankrupt coal companies to set aside enough money to clean up Appalachia's polluted rivers and mountains so that taxpayers are not stuck with the $1 billion bill.

      The regulators worry that coal companies will use the bankruptcy courts to pay off their debts to banks and hedge funds, while leaving behind some of their environmental cleanup obligations.

      The industry asserts that its cleanup plans — which include turning defunct mines back into countryside — are comprehensive and well funded. But some officials say those plans could prove unrealistic and falter as demand for coal remains weak.

      The latest battle is over Alpha Natural Resources, once a high-flying coal company that borrowed hundreds of millions when the coal market was booming but imploded in the face of competition from cheaper natural gas and tougher environmental regulations.

      West Virginia faces perhaps the greatest fallout from the flood of coal bankruptcies that have hit the courts in the last year because many of its mines are scheduled to close and will require extensive cleanup. The state took the unusual approach of hiring a seasoned bankruptcy lawyer from New York who grew up in West Virginia to represent its Department of Environmental Protection in the Alpha case.

      "The goal is to make sure the coal companies clean up the mess when they leave," said the lawyer, Kevin W. Barrett of Bailey & Glasser, who was named a special assistant attorney general for West Virginia and is taking the lead on the Alpha case.

      Regulators and environmental groups in Appalachia have tangled with coal companies for decades over their mining practices, particularly mountaintop removal mining, which involves removing mountain summits to extract coal.

      Continue reading the main story

      But in the bankruptcy cases, West Virginia has been pressuring the industry's lenders to share more of the responsibility for mine reclamation and water remediation, arguing that they exert great influence, if not outright control in some cases, over the bankrupt mining companies.

      Still, figuring out who holds the industry's debt can involve a cat-and-mouse game. Earlier this year, Alpha denied knowing the identity, or the holdings, of its so-called first-lien lenders, which are in line to be paid before many other creditors, according to a court filing.

      So Mr. Barrett subpoenaed Citicorp, the agent for the first-lien lenders in the case, asking for the names.

      It took Citi more than 30 days to respond to the state's subpoena, the court filing shows. When the list of lenders arrived, it read like a who's who of leading investment firms — including two big hedge funds, Highbridge Capital Management and a unit of Davidson Kempner.

      Mr. Barrett promptly subpoenaed these firms too, asking how their plans to buy Alpha's most valuable assets in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming would help pay to clean up the mines left behind in West Virginia.

      Alpha's current plan on the table would commit at least $209 million for reclamations and water treatment in five states: Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. But Mr. Barrett worries that the cash is insufficient and that any additional contributions depend on future coal sales, which show little sign of recovery.

      "There are a lot of questions whether that will even cover the costs," said Mr. Barrett, a former lawyer at Weil Gotshal & Manges who grew up hearing the rumble of coal trains through his town in West Virginia.

      Alpha insists it will make good on all its environmental obligations. The company has continued to perform reclamations even as its cash dwindles in bankruptcy. In a court filing, Alpha said it could "achieve a resolution that will assure the states that the debtors perform their reclamation obligations."

      An Alpha spokesman declined to comment beyond the court filings, saying that the reorganization plan was not yet complete. Representatives for Citi and the investment firms also declined to comment.

      Many hedge funds bought the coal industry's debt — which totaled roughly $50 billion in 2014 — at a discount and stand to profit if the value of their bonds increases. Many of these debt holders have liens on the company's operating cash and other assets, often giving them tremendous sway over how the money gets spent.

      In the case of Patriot Coal, another large mining company that declared bankruptcy last year, West Virginia sought to hold its hedge fund lenders directly liable for mine reclamation.

      "The lenders are in the driver's seat," said Shannon Anderson, a staff lawyer at the Powder River Basin Resource Council, a conservation group in Wyoming, where Alpha operates large surface mines.

      In 2011, Alpha borrowed heavily to acquire Massey Energy as that company was reeling from an explosion that killed 29 miners at its Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. When the coal market collapsed, Alpha was squeezed by its debt load and filed for bankruptcy last August.

      While several coal companies have emerged from bankruptcy in recent months and continued to operate, state officials have expressed concerns that those companies could soon end up back in bankruptcy if the coal market does not improve. If that happens, they say, the companies will probably have to liquidate, leaving little money to fund reclamations and clean up polluted water.

      That concern is behind the urgent pleadings of environmentalists and even insurers that the coal companies be required to set aside more cash for environmental issues before they are allowed to emerge from bankruptcy.

      "Bankruptcy courts need to hold strong and not let financial institutions pocket the money and leave a huge part of Appalachia out to dry," said Peter Morgan, a lawyer for the Sierra Club, which has filed legal objections to Alpha's plan.

      The coal industry has a history of shunting its obligations — so much so that Congress has created a specific law aimed at preventing the industry from walking away.

      The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 requires coal companies to purchase bonds — effectively, insurance policies — that can be used to pay for reclamation if the companies are insolvent.

      But in the past, regulators in states like West Virginia and Wyoming had allowed coal companies — particularly the giant mining ones — to "self-bond," which meant that they had only to promise to pay for reclamation work, but not to actually post bonds.

      The company is still negotiating with state regulators over reclamations before a court hearing expected early next month.

      In West Virginia, Alpha's plan is to purchase bonds or offer other collateral to replace most of its $240 million in self-bonds. But about $100 million will remain self-bonded, according to a person briefed on the matter.

      In Wyoming, Alpha officials "anticipate" replacing all of the roughly $400 million in self-bonds with surety bonds or other collateral, according to a court filing last month.

      "It is a step in the right direction,'' Ms. Anderson, the Powder River Basin Resource Council lawyer, said. "But we would like to see more certainty."



      4)  Stakes Rise for Prosecutors Trying Officer in Freddie Gray Case for Murder

      JUNE 8, 2016



      BALTIMORE — After two prosecutions without a conviction since the fatal arrest of Freddie Gray, opening arguments are set to begin Thursday in the trial of Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the only officer charged with murder in connection with the death and the driver of the police wagon in which Mr. Gray suffered the spinal injury that killed him.

      The combination of the two unsuccessful prosecutions and the murder charge has raised the stakes substantially in the trial of the third of six officers charged in the death of Mr. Gray, 25, a black man whose death spurred riots, looting and arson.

      "These are the most serious charges," said Warren S. Alperstein, a defense lawyer here who has represented police officers and has been closely following the cases but is not directly involved in them. "This is, arguably, the make-or-break case for the state. It would be a devastating blow if the state was unable to secure a conviction."

      The trial comes as prosecutors aim to shift the narrative away from the mistrial of one officer involved in the case and, just over two weeks ago, another one's acquittal on all charges.

      But legal experts say it will be exceedingly difficult for prosecutors to secure a conviction for murder. Some activists in Baltimore say their faith in the judicial process is already worn.

      "The average person doesn't really expect anything," said Dayvon Love, the director of public policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, an advocacy organization. "They expect the officers to get acquitted. They don't expect any accountability."

      In addition to the failed prosecutions, the trials have left lingering questions about how Mr. Gray ended up with a functionally severed spine, critics say.

      "The world wants to know what happened to Freddie Gray," said Darlene Cain, a nurse's assistant whose own son was shot and killed by a Baltimore police officer in 2008, and who has advocated greater accountability from officers who use force. "How did a young person, healthy, talking and standing at one moment, and then at the next time, he's not living?"

      Officer Goodson, 47, a 17-year Baltimore police veteran who, like Mr. Gray, is black, faces seven charges in total, including three charges of manslaughter, and a charge of second-degree depraved heart murder — a rare charge for a police officer, even as scrutiny of law enforcement grows.

      "We're seeing a huge increase in trials for officers for any criminal offense, but I've never seen a murder trial for an officer without video or eyewitness testimony," said Geoffrey P. Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina who has focused on the use of force by the police.

      He added, "It's been an uphill battle in the other two trials, and this is going to be the toughest."

      The case will be decided not by a jury, but by Judge Barry G. Williams, the same judge who acquitted another officer, Edward M. Nero, late last month. Judge Williams, once an attorney in the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, is also black, and he won accolades from members of the legal community — including Billy Murphy, the lawyer for Mr. Gray's family — for not bowing to public pressure in deciding Officer Nero's case. But he has been accused in some quarters of making a narrow ruling that did not reckon with the larger questions of the case.

      Officer Goodson's side of the story has never been officially told; he is the only charged officer who did not give a statement to police investigators. Court filings have hinted that the prosecution may suggest Mr. Gray was taken for a so-called rough ride, with Officer Goodson intentionally driving the van in a dangerous fashion. They have indicated plans to call a witness who can discuss the practice. But legal observers say it is not yet clear what, if any, evidence they have to prove that is what happened on April 12, 2015, when Mr. Gray was arrested.

      "The open question with regard to the Goodson trial is, will we hear more about the practice of giving rough rides?" said David Jaros, a professor of law at the University of Baltimore, who said that the existence of such a theory could explain why prosecutors chose to charge Officer Goodson with murder.

      "Absent a rough ride," Mr. Jaros said, "it is much harder to understand the prosecution's decision to pursue that particular charge, which requires a wanton and reckless disregard for human life that is so significant that it is akin to intentional murder."

      What is known is that Officer Goodson responded to the arrest of Mr. Gray on a bright morning last April. Mr. Gray had fled, apparently unprompted, from police officers in the downtrodden neighborhood of Sandtown, in West Baltimore. Mr. Gray was eventually placed — in handcuffs and leg shackles but no seatbelt — in Officer Goodson's transport wagon, which made several stops in the neighborhood before arriving at the Western District police station.

      There, Mr. Gray was found unresponsive. He died of a spinal injury a week later.

      Protests here grew so violent that Gov. Larry Hogan called in the National Guard. With armored trucks still rolling through the city, the state's top prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, announced charges against six police officers — three black, three white.

      Late last month, Officer Nero was acquitted on charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct connected to his role in Mr. Gray's arrest. And in December, a jury failed to reach a verdict in the case of Officer William G. Porter, who faced charges including manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

      Prosecutors eventually secured an unusual ruling from the state's highest court — a procedure that caused delays in all of the trials — to let Officer Porter testify against Officer Goodson while his own retrial is pending.

      "Officer Porter's testimony will be crucial," said Douglas Colbert, a professor of law at the University of Maryland, who has been supportive of the prosecution, adding, "He minimally suggested going to the hospital."

      Regardless of the role of a rough ride, the case may turn on what prosecutors can show about Officer Goodson's state of mind while he drove Mr. Gray through West Baltimore. They are expected to argue that he had custody of Mr. Gray, and was responsible to keep him safe by using the seatbelt and obtaining medical help when he needed it — and knew he could be putting Mr. Gray in danger by not doing so.

      Defense lawyers are expected to paint Officer Goodson as a veteran with a clean record who acted in line with accepted departmental practice when he did not buckle Mr. Gray in.

      "There's an irony that the officer's best defense is really an indictment of how people are generally treated in the system," Mr. Jaros said.



      5) Toxic Fish in Vietnam Idle a Local Industry and Challenge the State

      JUNE 8, 2016


      NHAN TRACH, Vietnam — Since a devastating fish kill blighted the waters along 120 miles of coastline in central Vietnam, hundreds of people are believed to have fallen ill from eating poisoned fish. Here in the fishing village of Nhan Trach, the squid that sustain the local economy have virtually disappeared. And a fishing ban has left hundreds of traps sitting unused on the beach and dozens of small fishing boats idle.

      "We are so angry," said Pham Thi Phi, 65, who operates a fishing boat in Nhan Trach with her husband and three grown sons. "If we knew who put the poison in the ocean, we would like to kill them. We really need to have an answer from the government on whether the ocean is totally clean and the fish are safe to eat."

      While the immediate cause appears to have been toxic waste from a nearby steel mill, fury over the episode has exploded into a national issue, posing the biggest challenge to the authoritarian government since a spate of anti-Chinese riots in 2014. Protesters demanding government action have marched in major cities and coastal communities over the past six weeks, escalating what had been a regional environmental dispute into a test of government accountability and transparency.

      But two months after the fish started washing up on beaches here, the government has yet to announce the cause of the disaster or identify the toxin that killed marine life and poisoned coastal residents.

      The government's failure to respond and its previous support for the Taiwan-owned steel plant at the heart of the crisis have fueled widespread suspicion of corruption, cover-up and the hidden influence of foreign interests at the expense of Vietnamese livelihoods, a potent mix that challenges the legitimacy of Communist Party rule.

      "Quite simply, in Vietnam, human life is less important than the political life of the government and government institutions," said Nguyen Thi Bich Nga, an activist in Ho Chi Minh City. "In this way, we can explain all that is unusual in this country."

      The government has said little about the marine die-off while cracking down on the protests, which have been called every Sunday since May 1, when thousands of people took to the streets of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and five additional cities. More than 500 people have been arrested, and demonstrators have been beaten by the police.

      "The response by the government has been one of ineptitude," said Carlyle Thayer, a Vietnam analyst at the Australian Defense Force Academy. He said the fish kill was the most serious environmental issue to confront the government in several years and reflected poorly on the government of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who took office in April.

      Last month, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the government to avoid excessive use of force, citing "increasing levels of violence" against the protesters.

      But the protests have continued.

      On Sunday, more than 1,000 people turned out in a coastal district of Nghe An Province, north of the steel plant, to demonstrate. Many wore T-shirts bearing a fish skeleton. Some carried signs reading, "Fish need clean water, citizens need transparency."

      "It seems the government tries to cover up for the culprit," the Rev. Anthony Nam, a Catholic priest and protest leader in Nghe An, said by telephone. "We will protest until the government says what caused the spill."

      In Nhan Trach, about 40 miles south of the steel factory, the dead and dying fish first appeared in early April, floating in the surf and washing up on the beach. Initially, it seemed like a windfall, and many people here ate and sold them. The fish kept coming, tons of them, day after day for more than a month, residents said.

      "Some of the fish were dead; some were dying," said Ho Huu Sia, 67, who buys and dries fish for a living. "We ate the fish that were still alive. We ate the fish for two weeks."

      His daughter, Ho Thi Dao, 32, said she became ill, experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and dizziness. She went to the local clinic and received intravenous fluids. She said she met others there who also suffered poisoning.

      "I ate the fish and got poisoned," she said. "Many people got sick like me."

      Belatedly, the government announced that aquatic life had been poisoned along the coastline of four provinces. The authorities warned people not to eat fish and ordered a halt to fishing.

      As compensation, officials distributed bags of rice and gave fishermen 50,000 dong, or about $2.20.

      "We are just sitting with tears running down our cheeks looking out at the ocean," said Ms. Phi, who has been fishing from Nhan Trach all her life. "What can we do with 50,000 dong?"

      Coastal residents and journalists quickly identified the culprit as the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel plant, which opened in December.

      According to news reports, the fish kill happened after the factory washed unspecified cleaning chemicals through its wastewater pipeline. A company representative seemed to confirm the suspicions in April when he said it would not be surprising if the factory's wastewater harmed marine life.

      "You have to decide whether to catch fish and shrimp or to build a modern steel industry," he told reporters. "Even if you are the prime minister, you cannot choose both."

      His comments incited a flurry of criticism on social media and spawned a popular hashtag, #ichoosefish, which has become a protest slogan.

      The company later insisted that it met Vietnam's environmental standards and said that the spokesman had been fired.

      Company officials did not respond to requests for comment.

      The government has been just as reticent.

      At first, the government suggested a toxic algae bloom was responsible. In mid-May, Pham Cong Tac, deputy science and technology minister, told Vietnamese news outlets that the ministry had a "convincing scientific basis" to explain the fish deaths, but he did not disclose what it was.

      Last week, Mai Tien Dung, minister and head of the government office, said that the authorities had identified the cause but indicated that officials could not tell the public because an investigation was continuing.

      "The work of identifying the cause of the dead fish is also related to identifying the culprit," he told reporters. "This not only needs scientific evidence but also complete evidence of a legal violation, especially of environmental law."

      The lack of information has only fueled the protesters' anger.

      Villagers say the authorities collected water samples immediately after the episode, and foreign experts say test results should have been known within days.

      Nguyen Hoang Anh, a university professor in Hanoi, said the government should have immediately revealed the toxin, especially to the poisoning victims and their doctors.

      "It's not fair," she said. "It's not ethical. It's a crime." She said the cover-up had the potential to make the fish kill Vietnam's Chernobyl, the 1986 nuclear disaster that contributed to the unraveling of the Soviet Union.

      That is what the government most fears, analysts say, and it is why it acts quickly and at times brutally to suppress protests before they ignite a popular uprising.

      But critics say the government has another motive for wanting to bury the controversy.

      The government has supported the steel plant, giving the company a sweetheart deal, including tax incentives and a bargain price for the property, to build on the coast.

      The company, a subsidiary of the Formosa Plastics Group, paid $4.3 million for a 70-year lease on 8,150 oceanfront acres, according to Vietnamese news reports. That is about $530 an acre.

      To clear the site for construction, the government relocated nine communities with more than 14,000 people. In 2012, the prime minister at the time, Nguyen Tan Dung, attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the project, which includes a seaport and a power plant.

      "Some important people in the government made a corrupt deal to put the factory there, and it is therefore partly responsible for the spill," Huynh Ngoc Chenh, former editor of the Thanh Nien newspaper and a prominent blogger, said in an online interview. "So it can't easily blame Formosa or take responsibility. So it is saying nothing and cracking down on protests."

      Two years ago, while the factory was under construction, it became a prime target of the riots over China's placement of an oil rig in waters off Vietnam in the South China Sea. More than 200 factories owned by Chinese and other foreign companies were looted and set ablaze around the country.

      But the worst rioting occurred at Formosa, where four people were killed. The company is based in Taiwan, but thousands of imported laborers from mainland China were building the factory. Protesters stopped buses, pulled off Chinese passengers and beat them.

      The authorities have been more careful not to let the current protests get out of hand. But even if they can be quelled, the economic costs have continued to mount.

      On a recent morning, more than a dozen fish traders gathered at a drink shop across from the beach here. A few played board games, and others joined in a spirited game of cards. There was nothing to do but kill time, one said.

      Around the corner, Phan Dinh Son, 49, sat at a table in his all-too-quiet open-air shop. He used to sell hundreds of blocks of ice a day. Now he sells about 20, he said. A separate business buying and trading shellfish has been suspended because no one wants to eat local fish.

      "The fish market is empty," he said. "I would hope the government and the party would come up with a solution and give a clear answer so we can do our business."



      6)  On Eve of Graduation, University of Chicago Protester Faces Expulsion

      JUNE 8, 2016




      On an afternoon in May, 34 protesters breached the locked doors of the administration building at the University of Chicago and dashed upstairs to the fifth-floor lobby of the president's office. Sprawling on chairs and on the floor, equipped with food and chant sheets, they settled in for a long sit-in. The protesters, who were mostly students, demanded, among other things, a "living wage" for campus workers, more accountability from the campus police and disinvestment from fossil fuels.

      It was part of a school year of student demonstrations across the country, often tolerated or even celebrated by members of the faculty or administrators. But this one was different: Days later, the student body president, Tyler Kissinger, who had allowed the protesters into the building, was threatened with expulsion the day before graduation.

      "My parents are concerned because they don't know if they should be coming to observe my graduation or not, or if I should be spending the few dollars to buy my cap and gown," said Mr. Kissinger, 21, who is from Lewisville, N.C., and is a first-generation college student. "I don't know if I'm actually going to use it. Why would I waste the money?"

      Administrators at other universities have been more accommodating in this year of unrest. Harvard Law School abolished its slavery-linked crest after protests, including a sit-in; Yale discontinued the use of the term "master" for heads of its student residences after protests; thepresident of the University of Missouri resigned after protests by the football team.

      A spokesman for the University of Chicago, Jeremy Manier, said that because of student confidentiality rules, he could not disclose information about disciplinary action. But he defended the university's record on free speech generally.

      "Freedom of expression and dissent are fundamental values of the University of Chicago," Mr. Manier said in an email. "The university's policies do not prevent students from engaging in protest, and the university does not discipline students for speaking out on any issue."

      Mr. Kissinger said he had been formally charged with "premeditated and dishonest behavior to gain entry to Levi Hall, creating an unsafe situation." He is to appear before a disciplinary committee on Friday, about 24 hours before he was expecting to join his classmates for graduation.

      Mr. Kissinger and his fellow demonstrators note that the University of Chicago has been roundly praised by free-speech organizations. "I think it's scary for a lot of people," Mr. Kissinger said. "If they are cracking down on people who are protesting, I don't understand what the university means by free expression."

      The University of Chicago's reaction is consistent with the tough line it took during the last period of major upheaval on college campuses, the demonstrations of the 1960s. In 1967, the university suspended 58 students for taking over the administration building in a protest against the draft, though most of the suspensions were not carried out, according to an account on the University of Chicago library website.

      In March 1969, the university expelled 42 students, suspended 81 students and put three students on probation for a two-week occupation of the administration building in support of a sociology professor they thought was being denied reappointment because of her leftist views and because she was one of a minority of women on the faculty.

      The sit-in this spring, on May 19, was conceived after university administrators refused invitations from a community organizing group, the IIRON Student Network, soon to be renamed Student Action of Metropolitan Chicago, to attend a public meeting to discuss its demands. Among other things, the group wanted the university to institute a $15 an hour minimum wage for campus workers, and to provide more access to the records of the university police force, which it has accused of racial profiling in the surrounding neighborhood. The university said it already posts information from field interviews and traffic stops.

      On the day of the sit-in, Mr. Kissinger got past security by saying he was on official business as student body president. He hid in a bathroom for a few minutes, he recalled, then used his backpack to prop open a door so everyone else could get in.

      The protest ended an hour later when a university official told the protesters they could be arrested and students possibly expelled.

      Four days later, at a meeting of the student government, the university provost, Eric D. Isaacs, was confronted with students and campus workers pressing the demands.

      Mr. Kissinger was later called to a meeting with the dean of students, Michele Rasmussen, who criticized him, he said, for letting the student assembly get out of hand and for allowing campus workers to attend. After that meeting, he received the summons to a disciplinary hearing.

      Mr. Kissinger, whose mother is a food service worker at Wake Forest University, said he let the protesters into the building because he thinks that the university should be an open place, run in a collaborative way. "I think students, faculty and staff should have uninhibited access to administrators on their campuses, administrators who are making decisions about their lives," he said. "So I kind of reject the premise that an administration building should be locked and cordoned off."

      "I think that is ultimately what this is at its core about — competing visions of how universities should work," he said.



      7) Court OKs Barring High IQs for Cops

      By ABC NEWS, NEW LONDON, Conn., 

      Sept. 8, 2000


      A man whose bid to become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high on an intelligence test has lost an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city. 

      The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court's decision that the city did not discriminate against Robert Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test. 

      "This kind of puts an official face on discrimination in America against people of a certain class," Jordan said today from his Waterford home. "I maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye color or your gender or anything else." 

      He said he does not plan to take any further legal action. 

      Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took the exam in 1996 and scored 33 points, the equivalent of an IQ of 125. But New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training. 

      Most Cops Just Above Normal The average score nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104, or just a little above average. 

      Jordan alleged his rejection from the police force was discrimination. He sued the city, saying his civil rights were violated because he was denied equal protection under the law. 

      But the U.S. District Court found that New London had "shown a rational basis for the policy." In a ruling dated Aug. 23, the 2nd Circuit agreed. The court said the policy might be unwise but was a rational way to reduce job turnover. 

      Jordan has worked as a prison guard since he took the test.



      8)  Is It a Crime to Be Poor?


      JUNE 11, 2016





      TULSA, Okla. — IN the 1830s, the civilized world began to close debtors' prisons, recognizing them as barbaric and also silly: The one way to ensure that citizens cannot repay debts is to lock them up.

      In the 21st century, the United States has reinstated a broad system of debtors' prisons, in effect making it a crime to be poor.

      If you don't believe me, come with me to the county jail in Tulsa. On the day I visited, 23 people were incarcerated for failure to pay government fines and fees, including one woman imprisoned because she couldn't pay a fine for lacking a license plate.

      I sat in the jail with Rosalind Hall, 53, a warm, mild-mannered woman with graying hair who has been imprisoned for a total of almost 18 months, in short stints, simply for failing to pay a blizzard of fines and fees relating to petty crimes (for which she separately served time). Hall has struggled for three decades with mental illness and drug addictions and has a long history of shoplifting to pay for drugs, but no violent record.

      Tears welled in her eyes as she told how she was trying to turn her life around, no longer stealing, and steering clear of drugs for the last two years — but her fines and fees keep increasing and now total $11,258. With depression and bipolar disorder, she has little hope of getting a regular job, so she is periodically arrested for failing to pay.

      This time, she had already spent 10 days in jail for failing to pay restitution for five bad checks written eight years ago to a grocery store. The bad checks totaled a bit more than $100, but with fees and charges added on she still owes $1,200 in restitution on them — and that's after eight years of making payments.

      "If I can't afford to pay it, how can I pay it?" Hall asked me, as we sat in a visiting room in the jail. "I can't do it."

      Hall survives on food stamps, castoff clothes provided by churches, a friend's willingness to give her a room, and $50 a month she earns by cleaning a woman's house. She allocates $40 to paying restitution, leaving her just $10 a month in cash for her and her beloved puppy (whom her neighbor looks after whenever she's jailed for debts).

      "It's 100 percent true that we have debtor prisons in 2016," says Jill Webb, a public defender. "The only reason these people are in jail is that they can't pay their fines.

      "Not only that, but we're paying $64 a day to keep them in jail — not because of what they've done, but because they're poor."

      This is as unconscionable in 2016 as it was in 1830, and it is a system found across the country. In the last 25 years, as mass incarceration became increasingly costly, states and localities shifted the burden to criminal offenders with an explosion in special fees and surcharges. Here in Oklahoma, criminal defendants can be assessed 66 different kinds of fees, from a "courthouse security fee" to a "sheriff's fee for pursuing fugitive from justice," and even a fee for an indigent person applying for a public defender (I'm not kidding: An indigent person is actually billed for requesting a public defender, and if he or she does not pay, an arrest warrant is issued).

      Even the Tulsa County district attorney, Stephen Kunzweiler, thinks these fines are a ridiculous way to finance his office. "It's a dysfunctional system," he says.

      A new book, "A Pound of Flesh," by Alexes Harris of the University of Washington, notes that these modern debtors' prisons now exist across America. Harris writes that in Rhode Island in 2007, 18 people were incarcerated a day, on average, for failure to pay court debt, while in Ferguson, Mo., the average household paid $272 in fines in 2012, and the average adult had 1.6 arrest warrants issued that year.

      "Impoverished defendants have nothing to give," Harris says, and the result is a system that disproportionately punishes the poor and minorities, leaving them with an overhang of debt from which they can never escape.

      The Supreme Court has ruled that people should be jailed only when they refuse to pay, not when they can't, and in theory safeguards protect the indigent. In practice those safeguards are chimerical, and the poor are routinely jailed for being poor. The way forward is to curb these fees, end the use by courts of private collection companies that add their own charges to the debt, and limit court debt to some percentage of a person's income.

      For now, some of the sums owed are staggering. Job Fields III told me he owes $70,000 in fees and fines. "It seems impossible," he said, "but I've got to think positive." Cynthia Odom told me that she owes $170,000 and constantly struggles with whether to pay the electricity bill, buy food for her two kids, or pay down the debt and stay out of jail.

      When kids are affected like that, as they often are, this system of jailing people who can't pay fines is grotesque as well as Kafkaesque.

      Amanda Goleman, 29, grew up in a meth house and began taking illegal drugs at 12, and her education wound down after she became pregnant in the ninth grade. For a time, she and her daughter were homeless.

      But Goleman has turned herself around. She has had no offenses for almost four years and has been drug-free for three. For the last year, by her account and her employer's, she has held a steady job in which she has been promoted — but she is still a single mom and struggles to pay old fines while also raising her three children, ages 2, 10 and 13.

      "It's either feed my kids or pay the fines," Goleman said, "but if I don't pay then I get a warrant." Four times she has been arrested and jailed for a few days for being behind in her payments; each time, this created havoc with her children and posed challenges for keeping a job.

      Webb thinks that these modern debtors' prisons are so punitive that the underlying motivation is to stigmatize and punish the poor. "It hurts their families, it doesn't make us safer, it's expensive," she says. "I can't think of another reason other than animosity toward the poor."



      9)  As Strikes Continue in France, Garbage and Resentment Pile Up

      PARIS — The mound of torn black garbage bags spilling rubbish was stacked waist high under an elegant 16th-century carved turret.

      All up and down the Rue Hautefeuille, a medieval street in the heart of the Left Bank in Paris where the poet Charles Baudelaire was born at No. 13, uncollected trash poked up from the hefty municipal garbage bins lining the narrow paved sidewalk.

      In the city's mean season of terrorist attacks, floods, unending demonstrations and work stoppages, a days-old garbage strike was the latest insult just as the weather warmed and noisy fans poured into France for the European Championship soccer tournament. No end is in sight.

      The unions said they would not back down, as did the government. Many of Air France's pilots announced that they, too, would join the strikes. The crews of express, suburban, regional and intercity trains are all on strike, and they voted Friday to carry on with the work stoppage.

      Mostly the workers are protesting much-contested changes to France's rigid labor code that somewhat loosen employment regulations. A huge demonstration against the changes, already weakened by government concessions, is planned for Tuesday.

      France appeared to be falling apart again.

      "We've seen everything," said Julien Collard, who helps his father run the old-fashioned restaurant underneath the turret, Café de la Tourelle. "First the attacks. Then the floods. And now this." He looked out with disgust at the disorderly mound of trash abutting his wood-paneled establishment.

      Lamenting the business the restaurant has lost, Mr. Collard said: "It's disgusting. It stinks, and it brings rats. People see this, and they walk away."

      The basements of residences and businesses closer to the river flooded after the recent downpours, which temporarily closed the city's museums.

      Tourism is way down this year in Paris, among the world's most visited cities: It fell 15.5 percent in the first two months, with the greatest drop among Japanese visitors. The threat of terrorism is the principal reason, after the two major attacks of 2015.

      A gathering spot for soccer fans near the Eiffel Tower, known as the Fan Zone, is heavily policed, with stringent searches. The director of France's domestic intelligence agency, Patrick Calvar, recently told a parliamentary commission that France remained the No. 1 target of the Islamic State.

      "This, all this, it's not good for the tourists," said Omar Anraoui, who was looking at the overflowing garbage cans from a bar down the street from Mr. Collard's cafe. "We've got a lovely country here. But this is how we welcome people?"

      "And then, when the tourists get drunk, they'll start messing with it," he said, gesturing at the cans.

      Their neighborhood off the Boulevard St. Michel, one of the most popular with tourists in all of Paris, has been especially hard hit by the garbage strike. Nearby on the Boulevard St. Germain, tourists at the iconic Deux Magots cafe looked out from neatly trimmed boxwood enclosures onto a wall of overflowing garbage cans.

      "This isn't exactly the best way to welcome the Euro, is it?" said Carole Cossart, who works at an art gallery near the cafereferring to the soccer tournament. Garbage cans were overflowing 10 feet away. Ms. Cossart smiled slightly. "And on top of all the flooding! Oh là là!"

      Not all of Paris is covered in uncollected garbage. Half of the city's 20 arrondissements, or districts, are served by private companies that continue to collect the trash, and many streets are unaffected. Paris's City Hall on Friday announced the deployment of additional garbage collection trucks, promising that the city would soon be cleaned up.

      Still, the largest garbage treatment center, just outside Paris, remains picketed by workers. On Friday, the General Confederation of Labor, known as the CGT, not the biggest but the most militant union and the Socialist government's main adversary, called on the workers to continue striking until the government gives in on the dispute.

      For the most part, Parisians put their heads down as they walked past chock-full Dumpsters, doing their best to ignore the unsightly spectacle. "Could be a lot worse," said the barman at a cafe in the Eighth Arrondissement.

      The basements of residences and businesses closer to the river flooded after the recent downpours, which temporarily closed the city's museums.


      Trash piled up throughout Paris during a strike of garbage collectors. CreditCharles Platiau/Reuters 

      Tourism is way down this year in Paris, among the world's most visited cities: It fell 15.5 percent in the first two months, with the greatest drop among Japanese visitors. The threat of terrorism is the principal reason, after the two major attacks of 2015.

      A gathering spot for soccer fans near the Eiffel Tower, known as the Fan Zone, is heavily policed, with stringent searches. The director of France's domestic intelligence agency, Patrick Calvar, recently told a parliamentary commission that France remained the No. 1 target of the Islamic State.

      "This, all this, it's not good for the tourists," said Omar Anraoui, who was looking at the overflowing garbage cans from a bar down the street from Mr. Collard's cafe. "We've got a lovely country here. But this is how we welcome people?"

      "And then, when the tourists get drunk, they'll start messing with it," he said, gesturing at the cans.

      Their neighborhood off the Boulevard St. Michel, one of the most popular with tourists in all of Paris, has been especially hard hit by the garbage strike. Nearby on the Boulevard St. Germain, tourists at the iconic Deux Magots cafe looked out from neatly trimmed boxwood enclosures onto a wall of overflowing garbage cans.

      "This isn't exactly the best way to welcome the Euro, is it?" said Carole Cossart, who works at an art gallery near the cafereferring to the soccer tournament. Garbage cans were overflowing 10 feet away. Ms. Cossart smiled slightly. "And on top of all the flooding! Oh là là!"

      Not all of Paris is covered in uncollected garbage. Half of the city's 20 arrondissements, or districts, are served by private companies that continue to collect the trash, and many streets are unaffected. Paris's City Hall on Friday announced the deployment of additional garbage collection trucks, promising that the city would soon be cleaned up.

      Still, the largest garbage treatment center, just outside Paris, remains picketed by workers. On Friday, the General Confederation of Labor, known as the CGT, not the biggest but the most militant union and the Socialist government's main adversary, called on the workers to continue striking until the government gives in on the dispute.

      For the most part, Parisians put their heads down as they walked past chock-full Dumpsters, doing their best to ignore the unsightly spectacle. "Could be a lot worse," said the barman at a cafe in the Eighth Arrondissement.


      A man tossed garbage onto a growing heap on Friday as strikers blocked access to a waste treatment center outside Paris. CreditKamil Zihnioglu/Associated Press 

      One-third of the trains on two of the principal suburban lines, including one that serves the main soccer stadium, the Stade de France, have been hit by the strike, as have half of the intercity and exurban trains. Express trains are running closer to normal.

      The government's transportation secretary warned that he would not allow the Euro tournament — which is expected to draw about 2.5 million visitors — to be disrupted, and he threatened to force train conductors back to work. Fans reported little trouble in reaching the stadium on Friday, according to the French news media. (In a different kind of disruption, the police in Marseille used tear gas on Saturday to disperse fans who were fighting before the England-Russia match, news agencies reported. Fighting also broke out in the southern city of Nice before Northern Ireland's match against Poland, leaving several people injured, according to news media reports.)

      But things could get worse before they get better. Philippe Martinez, the mustachioed former Communist Party member who leads of the CGT and is orchestrating the strikes, appears often in the French news media to express his disdain for the government's proposed changes to the labor law.

      "We started with demonstrations, we did one, two, three, four," he told the newspaper Le Parisien on Saturday. "They didn't listen to us. At a certain point the workers got mad and went on strike."

      On Saturday, Mr. Martinez also said Tuesday's demonstration would be "enormous."

      But in this fight he is up against another public figure with Iberian roots who also flaunts his toughness, Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Recently, Mr. Valls had become sufficiently perturbed by the damage to France's image from all the turmoil that he summoned a number of foreign journalists based in Paris to explain that the country was doing quite well, appearances to the contrary.

      "I want these strikes to end as quickly as possible," Mr. Valls said. He said he would not withdraw the changes proposed to the labor law, but he acknowledged the harm that Mr. Martinez's offensive could cause. "It is true that we are concerned for the economic consequences, and especially for tourism," Mr. Valls said.

      He tried to draw the larger lessons from the labor conflict now convulsing France.

      "What's happening now is very important in French unions," he said. "There's a debate in the union movement between those who are interested in dialogue, and those who are not. There is also a debate in French socialism. How do we reform in this country? Can a minority block? Reform is possible. It's a question of political will."

      There were faint rays of hope by Saturday morning. The Café de la Tourelle reported that the trash had been picked up from the Rue Hautefeuille. And the French national soccer team won its opening-night match against Romania.

      "France is breathing a little easier this morning," a commentary in Le Parisien said.



      10)  Drug Maker's Former Employees Accused of Shady Dealings With Doctors

      JUNE 10, 2016


      Jonathan Roper, once a sales manager at Insys Therapeutics, a small pharmaceutical company, had a problem. The end of the quarter was near, and for the first time, Insys was in danger of missing sales goals for its only product, a spray called Subsys that contains the powerful painkiller fentanyl.

      So Mr. Roper sent out a blistering email to his staff members at the time, in March 2014, urging them to make a final push. "There is no excuse for any of your docs to not take care of you at this crucial time of the quarter," he wrote. It's time, he said, for the top-prescribing doctors "to give back for all of the hard work, long days and late nights you have spoiled them with."

      Mr. Roper and a former sales representative, Fernando Serrano, were arrested on Thursday on federal anti-kickback charges, accused of paying thousands of dollars to doctors to participate in what federal prosecutors described as "sham" educational programs in exchange for prescribing millions of dollars worth of fentanyl. Criminal charges against drug company employees are unusual, legal experts said, underscoring the sordid nature of the case and its connection with fentanyl, which is frequently abused and can lead to deadly overdoses if inappropriately prescribed.

      The federal indictment, which quotes Mr. Roper's emails, does not mention Insys by name. But other details in the document — including when the drug was approved and its annual sales in 2015 — make it clear that Insys, based in Arizona, is the company in question. Insys has previously disclosed that it is under federal investigation for its sales and marketing practices. Last year, a nurse pleaded guilty to federal charges of accepting kickbacks from the company.

      Federal prosecutors say that the case is particularly egregious because it involves inappropriate marketing of fentanyl, a drug that is 100 times more potent than morphine and abuse of which has been skyrocketing in the United States. Fentanyl is the drug that the musician Prince accidentally overdosed on, killing him, although it is not clear what form he took. Fentanyl is a generic drug and is sold in many forms. The version sold by Insys is for cancer patients.

      "Fentanyl is an incredibly dangerous and highly addictive drug that is finding its way into, and destroying, too many lives in our communities," Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement. "As alleged, Roper and Serrano helped feed this devastating surge of opioid addictions by tapping into another age-old addiction, greed."

      A spokeswoman for Insys, Lisa Wilson, says the company holds its employees to standards that require they comply with the law. "Insys is committed to working with health care providers, patients and other stakeholders in the health care community to help ensure the proper prescribing and use of our product," she said.

      Continue reading the main story

      A lawyer for Mr. Roper, 37, of Commack, N.Y., declined to comment. A lawyer for Mr. Serrano, 30, of Manalapan, N.J., did not return a call. It is unclear why the two employees left the company.

      In the indictment, filed in the Southern District in Manhattan, prosecutors said that doctors were paid as much as $3,000 per speaking engagement and that the events were held in fancy restaurants. Rather than inviting doctors who were new to using the product, the guests were often friends of the speakers, or were doctors who had already attended similar events and were unlikely to learn anything new. Sign-in sheets contained signatures that were forged to make the events look legitimate, the prosecutors said.

      After the dinners, the doctors and sales representatives sometimes left for a strip club, where the doctors were not asked to pay a cover charge or for their drinks. Instead, they were entertained at a reserved table with bottles of liquor, according to the indictments.

      But all of this attention did not come free, prosecutors argued: Mr. Roper and Mr. Serrano expected that the doctors would return the favor by prescribing more Subsys.

      One top speaker, according to Mr. Roper's indictment, was paid $147,245 in speaking fees in 2014 and accounted for about $1.2 million in prescriptions of Subsys that were reimbursed through Medicare. Another doctor singled out in the complaint was paid $112,340 in speaking fees in 2014 and prescribed $1.4 million worth of Subsys that was paid for by Medicare, according to the indictment. The doctors were not named in the indictment.

      Approved in 2012, Subsys is a form of fentanyl that is sprayed under the tongue and is approved for use only in patients who have cancer and experience pain even though they are already on round-the-clock painkillers. Fentanyl can be deadly if it is prescribed in large doses to someone who has not already become tolerant to opioids.

      Despite the drug's tight restrictions, sales of Subsys have been strong, taking in $330 million in 2015. Although Insys was an early favorite with Wall Street, it has struggled as it has faced questions about its marketing practices. Its stock is down more than 50 percent in the last year, and fell more than 12 percent on Friday alone.

      In 2014, an analysis by the research firm Symphony Health found that just 1 percent of prescriptions for Subsys were from oncologists, those who would be most likely to treat cancer patients. Doctors who prescribe Subsys must take a test that proves they understand the drug's risks. But according to the indictment on Thursday, Mr. Roper gave a doctor answers to the test questions.

      Drug companies have paid billions of dollars in fines in recent years to settle allegations that they improperly marketed their drugs. This case has unfolded in an unusual way: prosecutors pursuing criminal charges against various people.

      In 2014, a Michigan neurologist was arrested after federal prosecutors said he defrauded Medicare of $7 million and improperly prescribed Subsys. Last year, a nurse at a Connecticut pain clinic who pleaded guilty for receiving $83,000 in kickbacks from Insys acknowledged that the money influenced the prescribing of the drug. The nurse, who was authorized to prescribe medication, was responsible for more than $1 million in Medicare claims and was the highest prescriber of Subsys in Connecticut.

      "We're not talking about acne cream here," said Patrick Burns, the executive director of Taxpayers Against Fraud, an advocacy group for whistle-blowers. "We're talking about one of the most addictive substances known to man, that puts people in a box on a daily basis."

      He predicted that further action against Insys was likely. "I suspect that they are zeroing in on their scope in order to go for a larger corporate hunt," he said.











































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