Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:










Join Northern Calif. Activists United Against Drone Warfare at Beale AFB
Sign Up 
September Theme:
"Campaign Nonviolence is a long-term movement for a culture of peace and nonviolence, free from war, poverty, racism, environmental destruction, and the epidemic of violence."

Mon.-Tues,  Sept. 26 & 27 
(Next month at Beale:  Oct. 24 & 25)

Wear White Clothing (if you can), and Sky-Blue Scarves to stand with the
Afghan Peace Volunteers:   www.OurJourneyToSmile   
(Blue scarves will be available to support the Afghan Peace Volunteers).

Join CODEPINK, VFP and other N. California activists...

Monday, Sept. 26, 3:00 - 5:00 PM, Vigil/Protest at Wheatland gate 3960 S. Beale Rd. @ Ostrom Rd, Marysville, 

followed by potluck and camping at the main gate, 4675 N. Beale Rd. 

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 6:00 - 8:00 AM,  Vigil/Protest at Main Gate, 4675 N. Beale Rd., Marysville, with breakfast and debriefing in Marysville afterwards.

FMI & Carpooling: 
Nevada County: 941-320-0291; 
Sacramento: 916-284-0944, barry3355@gmail.com
Chico: Chris, (530) 520-5973, chris4pax@gmail.com
Bay Area: Toby, 510-215-5974, ratherbenyckeling@comcast.net



UNACpeace@gmail.com           518-227-6947              www.UNACpeace.org

Join UNAC at the No War 2016 conference in Washington, DC, September 23 - 25, 2015

For more information:  http://worldbeyondwar.org/NoWar2016/

Save the Date.
The next UNAC conference will be held in Richmond, VA from April 21 - 23, 2017

Also, UNAC is a co-sponsor of the Southern Human Rights Organizers' Conference, which will be held in Mississippi from December 9 - 12.  UNAC has been making important inroads in the South for the movement against the wars at home and abroad.  This will be an important conference for the movement as a whole and UNAC will also contribute financially to make it a success.  If you can help with this effort by making a contribution for the conference, please contribute here:https://www.unacpeace.org/donate.html and the money will be used for the SHROC.

UNAC has added a page on political prisoners in the U.S. to our web site.  Please see:https://www.unacpeace.org/political-prisoners.html

UNAC will also be adding a blog to our web site with articles, video and more from our members and friends.  More information will follow soon.

* All reports and articals represent the ideas of the author and not necessarily of UNAC or any of its affiliated groups.

If your organization would like to join the UNAC coalition, please click here: https://www.unacpeace.org/join.html



Don't forget to save dates for Ali Abunimah speaking in Berkeley on Oct. 18, Chivvis Moore's book event on Sept. 27 in Oakland -- and Noura Erakat in Oakland Nov. 17!

Tickets for Ali's event will be available very soon, more info on all these events below.


Book Reading with Bay Area Author/Activist Chivvis Moore
Tuesday, September 27 in Oakland

Please Join Us!

Book Reading with Bay Area Author/Activist CHIVVIS MOORE

& her new memoir:

First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God: 

An American Feminist in the Arab World

Tuesday, September 27, 7pm

360 42nd Street, Oakland

FREE -- and we hope you'll buy Chivvis' book, which benefits MECA!

What begins as a trip to meet Hassan Fathy – Egyptian author of the influential Architecture for the Poor – becomes a 16-year odyssey, one that stretches from a year working in a master carpenter's shop in Egypt to 11 years teaching English in Palestine. Offering a portrait of a land and a people not found in headlines or sound bytes, Chivvis' book humanizes the misunderstandings and tragedies that arise when we fail to appreciate the humanity at the core of us all.

"I have been reading your beautiful, sad, and deeply moving story, learning a lot of disturbing history about something I thought I knew about but never saw in such depth. This is an important memoir that…evokes tears and also some laughter, with a great sense of compassion and empathy."

–Alan Rinzler, former editor, Simon & Schuster

"I cried all the way through reading First Tie Your Camel. The tone, the genuine and honest description of reactions and feelings about the experiences, enabled me to truly understand for the first time why, as a Palestinian living in the West Bank, I always feel so upset and physically ill."

– Muna Giacaman, Instructor, Bir Zeit University, West Bank

"Chivvis takes us on a journey that is fascinating, eye-opening, and ultimately heart-breaking – initially as a fresh-eyed newcomer working in a 1970's community in Cairo that most Americans have never seen – to life in occupied Palestine, before and after the 2nd intifada…She leads from the heart, earning hard-won respect from Palestinian neighbors, students, colleagues. Honest, unassuming and vulnerable, she asks the hard questions."

– Penny Rosenwasser, MECA staffer & author, Hope into Practice, Jewish women choosing justice despite our fears

Chivvis Moore lived 16 years in the Arab world, including 11 years in the West Bank. She has earned her living as a journalist, carpenter/general building contractor, editor and teacher.

Wheelchair accessible

Cosponsored by Joining Hands, Jewish Voice for Peace/Bay Area

Electronic Intifada co-founder/director Ali Abunimah
Tuesday, October 18 in Berkeley

Electronic Intifada co-founder/director ALI ABUNIMAH!

Tuesday, October 18, 7pm

First Congregational Church of Berkeley

2345 Channing Way (@ Dana)

Ali Abunimah is a Palestinian-American journalist and author of "The Battle for Justice in Palestine" -- which won the 2014 Palestine Book Award -- and "One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse." He received the 2013 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship and has been an activist on these issues for over 20 years.

Alice Walker calls him "a special voice to champion us, one that is… fierce, wise -- a warrior for justice and peace -- someone whose large heart, one senses, beyond his calm, is constantly on fire."

Tickets available soon!

Benefit for MECA, wheelchair accessible

Cosponsored by KPFA, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), Jewish Voice for Peace/Bay Area

COMING UP NOVEMBER 17 IN OAKLAND: Palestinian Activist/Scholar/Human Rights Attorney 

NOURA ERAKAT, Back in the Bay!


Rumi's Caravan: Recitation of World Poetry -- benefiting MECA

Saturday, September 10 in Oakland

Copyright (C) 2016 Middle East Children's Alliance All rights reserved.

Middle East Children's Alliance

1101 8th Street

Berkeley CA 94710 United States



Chelsea Manning Support Network

Chelsea faces charges related to suicice attempt

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Chelsea Manning ends 5 day hunger strike after Army agrees to medical treatment

Chelsea Manning ended her hunger strike today (Sept 13) after the Army finally agreed to treatment for her gender dysphoria.

"This is all that I wanted – for them to let me be me," said Chelsea Manning.

"But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long and why such drastic measures were needed in order to get this help that was recommended."

Chelsea was shown a memo today stating she will receive gender-reassignment surgery under the DoD's new policy affecting transgender service members.

If this occurs, Manning will be the first trans prisoner in the US to receive this treatment, setting a precedent that could benefit thousands of transgender inmates.

"This medical care is absolutely vital for Chelsea. It was the government's refusal to provide her with necessary care that led her to attempt suicide earlier this year," said Chase Strangio, Chelsea's attorney at the ACLU, "and it was all the more troubling when she became subject to an investigation and possible punishment in connection with the suicide attempt.

We hope that the government recognizes that charging Chelsea with the crime of being denied essential health care is outrageous and drops those charges." Read more here

Daniel Ellsberg, Michael Stipe protest
inhumane charges against Chelsea

After years of inhumane treatment from the Army, Chelsea Manning attempted to take her life on July 5th, 2016. 

Although happy to be alive, Chelsea is now facing disciplinary charges from the Army related to her own suicide attempt.

Read more here

If convicted of these absurd "administrative offenses", Chelsea could face indefinite solitary confinement for the rest of her prison term (30 years).

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and musician Michael Stipe released videos today in support of Chelsea.

Daniel Ellsberg: "I stand with Chelsea Manning. I hope you will too." 
Michael Stipe: "I support human rights for all people. As an American patriot it is my duty to stand with Chelsea Manning... This is unjustifiable. It is unfair, and it needs to be stopped." Read more and watch the videos

Chelsea will face a disciplinary board later this month, and could very likely be charged for her own suicide attempt. 

Sign the petition and demand the government drop these unnecessarily cruel charges against Chelsea

Chelsea can continue to be a powerful voice for reform, but we need your help to make that happen. Help us support Chelsea in prison, maximize her voice in the media, continue public education, fund her legal appeals team, and build a powerful movement for presidential pardon.

Please donate today!










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 Battles On

    For over 31 years, Major Tillery has been a prisoner of the State.

    Despite that extraordinary fact, he continues his battles, both in the prison for his health, and in the courts for his freedom.

    Several weeks ago, Tillery filed a direct challenge to his criminal conviction, by arguing that a so-called "secret witness" was, in fact, a paid police informant who was given a get-out-of-jail-free card if he testified against Tillery.

    Remember I mentioned, "paid?"

    Well, yes--the witness was 'paid'--but not in dollars. He was paid in sex!

    In the spring of 1984, Robert Mickens was facing decades in prison on rape and robbery charges. After he testified against Tillery, however, his 25-year sentence became 5 years: probation!

    And before he testified he was given an hour and a ½ private visit with his girlfriend--at the Homicide Squad room at the Police Roundhouse. (Another such witness was given another sweetheart deal--lie on Major, and get off!)

    To a prisoner, some things are more important than money. Like sex!

    In a verified document written in April, 2016, Mickens declares that he lied at trial, after being coached by the DAs and detectives on the case.

    He lied to get out of jail--and because he could get with his girl.

    Other men have done more for less.

    Major's 58-page Petition is a time machine back into a practice that was once common in Philadelphia.

    In the 1980s and '90s, the Police Roundhouse had become a whorehouse.

    Major, now facing serious health challenges from his hepatitis C infection, stubborn skin rashes, and dangerous intestinal disorders, is still battling.

    And the fight ain't over.

    [©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]

    Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support

    Major Tillery is an innocent man. There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives naming others—not Tillery or his co-defendant—as the shooters. Major wasn't charged until 1980, he was tried in 1985.

    The only evidence at trial came from these jailhouse informants who were given sexual favors and plea deals for dozens of pending felonies for lying against Major Tillery. Both witnesses now declare their testimony was manufactured by the police and prosecution. Neither witness had personal knowledge of the shooting.

    This is a case of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption that goes to the deepest levels of rot in the Philadelphia criminal injustice system. Major Tillery deserves not just a new trial, but dismissal of the charges against him and his freedom from prison.

    It cost a lot of money for Major Tillery to be able to file his new pro se PCRA petition and continue investigation to get more evidence of the state misconduct. He needs help to get lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please contribute, now.


      Financial Support: Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly and he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom!

      Go to JPay.com;

      code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

      Tell Philadelphia District Attorney

      Seth Williams:

      Free Major Tillery! He is an innocent man, framed by police and and prosecution.

      Call: 215-686-8711 or

      Write to:

      Major Tillery AM9786

      SCI Frackville

      1111 Altamont Blvd.

      Frackville, PA 17931

        For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot


        Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@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

          Courage Campaign

          Daily Kos

          Democracy for America


          Project Springboard

          RH Reality Check


          Student Debt Crisis

          The Nation

          Working Families



          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)  Chelsea Manning Told She Can Have Gender Reassignment Surgery, Lawyer Says

          SEPT. 13, 2016




          Chelsea Manning, who announced that she was female the day after being sentenced to prison in 2013 for leaking government files, has been told that the United States military will allow her to proceed with gender reassignment surgery, her lawyer said on Tuesday.

          "Chelsea has received word from the military that they are moving forward with the recommendation for surgery," said Chase Strangio, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. Mr. Strangio said that he did not know whether the Army had clarified who would pay for Ms. Manning's treatment.

          Lt. Col. Patrick R. Seiber, an Army spokesman, declined to comment because the matter concerned the health of an inmate.

          In a statement provided by her lawyer, Ms. Manning, 28, praised the decision, but wondered why it had not come sooner.

          "I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing," she said. "I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted — for them to let me be me. But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long."

          "The surgery was recommended back in April 2016," she said. "The recommendations for my hair length were back in 2014." As a result of the military's decision, Mr. Strangio said, Ms. Manning ended a five-day hunger strike.

          News of the approval for gender reassignment surgery was reported by BuzzFeed on Tuesday evening.

          The decision to allow Ms. Manning to proceed with the surgery appeared to be emblematic of a gradual shift in the military's position on transgender service members.

          In August 2013, Ms. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking government files to WikiLeaks. A day after her sentencing, Ms. Manning, who was then known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, issued a statement saying that she was female and was changing her name to Chelsea. She requested hormone therapy "as soon as possible."

          At the time, a spokeswoman for the Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where Ms. Manning was being held, said that the prison did not provide hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery.

          In February 2015, the Defense Department approved Ms. Manning's request for hormone therapy. The next month, a military court recognized her as a woman.

          A Department of Defense memo dated June 30, 2016, overturned a ban on open service by transgender people in the military and made it clear that the military would allow active service members to transition genders. Before, service members who were receiving medical treatment related to gender transition were discharged.

          Ms. Manning had not believed that the change in policy would apply to her, Mr. Strangio said, and she was later charged by the military with offenses stemming from a suicide attempt in early July. She still faces those charges, he said.

          "It was clear that one of the main drivers of her mental health crisis was that there was really no hope that she would ever receive the care that she needs," Mr. Strangio said. "This is a really important beacon of hope for her."

          Mr. Strangio said that Ms. Manning had been given "some indication" on Monday that a compromise might be worked out with respect to her treatment. On Tuesday, she was shown a treatment protocol that had a number of recommendations for her in writing, he said, confirming that a doctor's recommendation from April that she be treated for gender dysphoria was being followed.

          In her statement, Ms. Manning said, "I hope this sets a precedent for the thousands of trans people behind me hoping they will be given the treatment they need."



          2)  Workers Pay More for Health Care as Companies Shift Burden, Survey Finds

          SEPT. 14, 2016


          State health insurance exchanges created under the new health care laware in turmoil. By contrast, the employer market — where the majority of Americans still get their coverage — seems like a bastion of stability.

          An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation released on Wednesday shows that the share of employers offering coverage remained steady this year, and that the cost of premiums for health plans remained largely unchanged.

          "We see historic moderation in premiums and health spending and costs," said Drew Altman, the chief executive of the Kaiser foundation, a nonprofit in Menlo Park, Calif., that closely tracks the health insurance markets.

          But underneath some of those figures, some important changes are underway. The biggest shift is that workers continue to pay an ever-greater share of their medical bills, a trend for several years now. That is why Mr. Altman said that despite the overall moderation in costs, "it doesn't feel that way to average people."

          Kaiser's annual survey of employer health benefits represents a yearly snapshot of the coverage companies offer their workers, and highlights from the survey are being published online in Health Affairs, an academic journal. About 150 million people are covered by an employer, a much larger group than the 11 million or so who buy coverage on the exchanges created under the federal health care law. On Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported that the percentage of uninsured Americans fell last year, to 9.1 percent, in part because of the strength of the employer market.

          The latest survey helps shed some light on the quickly evolving insurance industry. Here are a few highlights.

          Slow Rise in Premiums

          Annual family premiums rose an average of 3 percent, about in line with the average increase in workers' wages, to $18,142 a year, according to Kaiser, which surveyed more than 1,900 employers.

          This continued a significant slowdown in price increases. In the period since 2011, the premiums for plans covering a family rose 20 percent, compared with 31 percent from 2006 to 2011, and a 63 percent increase from 2001 to 2006.

          How long will this last? Mr. Altman says he is doubtful that the reprieve from sharply rising costs is permanent and that he thinks rates will go up again, especially if the economy heats up. "I don't think we're living in a new world," he said.

          Exactly why the increases have been so modest in recent years is up for debate. The Obama administration argues that some measures in the federal health care law have helped slow the rise in health care costs. Some other experts tend to point to the lingering effects of a sluggish economy as well as the push by employers to shift more costs onto workers.

          Increasing Deductibles

          While employer-sponsored plans typically have much lower deductibles than the most popular plans found on the exchanges, more employees have deductibles, and those deductibles are increasing.

          Over all, employees have deductibles that are about 50 percent higher than they were five years ago. Four out of five covered employees pay a deductible, which averages about $1,500 each, Kaiser found. Employees who get insurance through a smaller company have deductibles that now average $2,100.

          Workers are also paying a greater share of the premiums, contributing $5,277 annually toward a family plan, nearly a third of the total cost.

          The move by employers and insurers to push more health costs onto workers is significant, said Mr. Altman, who describes it as a stealth move to "skimpier insurance." Proponents of higher cost sharing say that asking people to pay more of their medical bills causes them to be more discriminating about what health care they use.

          Networks Shrinking and Rarer Choices

          Remember the days of being able to go to any doctor or hospital of your choice? Many employers still choose plans that let workers visit a doctor out of network, although employees are paying increasingly more for the privilege.

          But more companies are opting for less choice for their employees. This year, slightly fewer than half of workers are enrolled in so-called preferred provider organization plans, or P.P.O.s, compared with 58 percent in 2014. While you pay more when you go outside the plan's network, you are still covered if you go to a doctor or hospital that does not belong.

          Employers started turning to these plans in the 1990s, when resistance to health maintenance organizations, or H.M.O.s, grew. Employers and insurers tend to favor more restrictive plans because they usually contain costs better.

          The tide may be reversing somewhat. The H.M.O. has been rethought in new forms that are without some of the drawbacks of an old-style health maintenance organizations, like requiring people to get permission to go to a specialist.

          As a result, some employers are dropping P.P.O.s in favor of the more restrictive plans, Mr. Altman said. "We're beginning to see that reverse," he said.

          The trend toward narrower networks is also seen in plans offered on the exchanges, where the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform recently estimated that two-thirds were H.M.O.s offering a sharply limited choice of doctors and hospitals this year.

          Employers Staying Put

          The recent Kaiser survey also emphasizes the endurance of the employer market, despite earlier predictions that the health care law would usher in its demise. Most companies are still offering health benefits to their employees, with the percentage virtually unchanged from last year at 56 percent.

          "We're just not seeing a big impact on employers," Mr. Altman said.

          There is also little proof that companies are cutting workers' hours to avoid the law's requirement that they offer full-time workers health insurance. Employers with at least 50 full-time workers are required to offer benefits or pay a penalty. More than 90 percent of companies with at least 50 workers are offering coverage.



          3) Olympian John Carlos Celebrates Colin Kaepernick

          By Angela Wyatt Braden

          September 15, 2016


          Olympian John Carlos, who grabbed international headlines in 1968 when he held up his fist as an act of protest while standing on the medal platform at the Summer Olympics in Mexico, offers his praise of San Francisco 49ers football star, Colin Kaepernick.  He said the young, professional athlete is using his platform to bring awareness to a social issue that should not be ignored by the American public.

          In 1968, John Carlos and Tommy Smith, forever etched their names and images in international sports history when they decided to raise a clinched fist on the medal stand at the Summer Olympics.  The two men stated they raised their fists as an act of fierce protest against racial injustice and discrimination that African Americans were experiencing in the United States.  The two men were suspended and faced harsh criticism when they returned from Mexico back to the United States.

          Carlos, who still does not possess any regrets for his decision to demonstrate his disapproval of the institution of racist policies and practices in America, now celebrates Kaepernick for using his platform to raise awareness of the nation's current issues with racism and discrimination.  He said that the 49ers bold move is to bring awareness to the issues that America needs to stop ignoring.

          "He's bringing attention to (the issues). And how did he bring attention to them? The same way we did 48 years ago in terms of giving America shock treatment. That's the only way they move, man: is when you shock them," Carlos told Reuters in an interview Monday.

          He feels that his actions inspired the 28-year-old Kaepernick and other professional athletes to use their highly televised platforms to raise awareness about issues they feel strongly about.  In addition, the 71-year-old Olympian feels that the so called consequences of his actions in 1968 were a small price to pay to help move the civil rights struggle forward.  He said that what the professional athletes are doing today has the same potential to be a "movement" to catapult much needed change in the country.

          "We were gardeners and caretakers. We till the earth. We plant the seeds. We water the ground. And what you see today is the fruit of our labor," Carlos said. "This is a movement, this is not a moment."

          Kaepernick made international headlines when he decided to not stand during the National Anthem at the preseason games for the San Francisco 49ers.  




          September 14, 2016


          Anyone relying on mainstream media wouldn't know it, but the US prison system is shaking up right now.No one knows how big the initial strike was yet, but the information is slowly leaking out between the cracks in the prisons' machinery of obscurity and isolation. Here are some speculative numbers we can share with confidence at this time:

          At least 29 Prisons were Affected

          These are places where either prisoners reported to outside supporters, or where the authorities locked the institutions down probably because of protests. We expect this number to rise dramatically as we gather reports from prisoners and keep calling prisons in the coming days and weeks.

          More than 24,000 Prisoners missed Work

          The facilities experiencing full shutdowns that we know about hold approximately 24,000 prisoners. There are probably thousands more who didn't work that we don't know about, yet. Many are still are not working today and intend to continue the strike until their demands are satisfied or the prisons break under the economic strain of operating without their slaves.

          You can get up to date info and help IWOC research and improve their data by visiting this document here.

          Massive Solidarity in the Streets

          Meanwhile, more than 60 cities across the US and around the world lit up in solidarity with the prisoners. You can read and see pictures from some of the most exciting stories of protests on either side of the walls here.

          Showing Support to Striking Prisoners

          A group of people cannot hurt the American empire as much as this protest is without facing retaliation. There were about a dozen arrests across the US, and hundreds or thousands of punitive transfers inside the prisons. IWOC inreach is maintaining a list of perceived leaders who have been targeted and isolated for Sep 9 organizing. Please check out this list, write to these prisoners and let us know if there's anyone missing here.

          IWOC has also created a phone zap system to help people keep constant pressure on prison officials and deter them from harming the organizers. View that here.

          Support Atlanta Comrades

          On the outside, most of the arrests were minor citations, but three protesters in Atlanta are facing serious felony charges. You can contribute to their legal fund here.

          We hope that our next weekly update will have more complete information. Please contact us if you're able to help with research or support tasks to make that happen. Thank you.



          5)  Jay Z: 'The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail'

          SEPT. 15, 2016


          This short film, narrated by Jay Z (Shawn Carter) and featuring the artwork of Molly Crabapple, is part history lesson about the war on drugs and part vision statement. As Ms. Crabapple's haunting images flash by, the film takes us from the Nixon administration and the Rockefeller drug laws — the draconian 1973 statutes enacted in New York that exploded the state's prison population and ushered in a period of similar sentencing schemes for other states — through the extraordinary growth in our nation's prison population to the emerging aboveground marijuana market of today. We learn how African-Americans can make up around 13 percent of the United States population — yet 31 percent of those arrested for drug law violations, even though they use and sell drugs at the same rate as whites.

          The project came about when, last year, Dream Hampton, the filmmaker and a co-author of Jay Z's book "Decoded," approached the Drug Policy Alliance about collaborating with Revolve Impact, the social impact agency she works with. Revolve Impact connects artists and influencers to community organizers, and with marijuana legalization taking hold across the nation — and about to be considered in her own state, California — Ms. Hampton wanted to tackle the contradiction raised by Michelle Alexander, the author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," in 2014: Why were white men poised to get rich doing the very same thing that African-American boys and men had long been going to prison for? Ms. Hampton proposed creating an animated video that the D.P.A. would produce about the impact of the drug war in African-American communities.

          Policy makers are joining advocates in demanding an end to biased policing and mass incarceration, and in November, Californians specifically have the opportunity to vote Yes on Prop 64, the most racial-justice-oriented marijuana legalization measure ever. Prop 64 would reduce (and in many cases eliminate) criminal penalties for marijuana offenses, and it's retroactive — people sitting in prison for low-level marijuana offenses would be released and have their records expunged. In addition, Prop 64 would drive millions of dollars in direct funding and investments to those communities most harmed by the criminal justice system.

          Jay Z and Molly Crabapple are inviting us all to stand on the right side of history.



          6)  Mexican Protesters Demand Ouster of President Enrique Peña Nieto

          SEPT. 15, 2016




          MEXICO CITY — As President Enrique Peña Nieto prepared for the beginning of Mexico's Independence Day celebrations, protesters took to the streets of capital on Thursday to demand his resignation.

          Chanting "Peña out," several thousand mostly young demonstrators marched peacefully past the glass towers of the city's main boulevard, Paseo de la Reforma, in the waning afternoon light, hours before the president, whose government has been buffeted by a series of scandals and a weakening economy, was to formally start the long Independence Day weekend by ringing a bell on the balcony of the National Palace.

          "I am here because I want my country to have a political system that holds an official accountable for bad performance," said Alberto Serdán, 37, a public policy researcher and blogger. With each crisis, Mr. Serdán added, the government "simply loses any notion of dignity and capacity to rule."

          Mr. Peña Nieto has become Mexico's most unpopular president in a quarter-century, opinion polls show, as frustrations mount over entrenched corruption and anxiety rises over economic stagnation and an increase in murders to the highest level since he took office.

          Even so, Thursday's protest was not nearly as large as past demonstrations. City officials said they had expected only 1,000 people. Many more showed up but were blocked from entering the Zócalo, the central square that is the site of the National Palace.

          Anger has crystallized over the past two weeks after Mr. Peña Nieto invited Donald J. Trump to Mexico and treated him like a fellow head of state. Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, is reviled here for, among other things, accusing Mexico of sending drugs and rapists over the border.

          Mr. Peña Nieto's finance minister, Luis Videgaray, resigned a week later after news media reports described him as the person who had proposed the visit. But the departure of Mr. Videgaray, a close associate of Mr. Peña Nieto's and the architect of many of his policies, did little to quell the discontent.

          As Mr. Peña Nieto enters the final two years of his six-year term, there is a sense among his many critics that the country is adrift and that he cannot change course.

          "The country does not deserve two more years of political distrust and limitless uncertainty," Ricardo Raphael, a journalist and commentator with the newspaper El Universal, wrote on Thursday.

          Last week, Mr. Peña Nieto tried to brush off his critics.

          "Political decisions are sometimes subject to enormous polemic," he said at the inauguration of a park. "And maybe today they are not understood, but I am sure that the time will come when the reason for each decision will be comprehended."

          At the protest, some said their patience had run out long ago.

          "I am sick of this government, of this disastrous president," said Alicia Mercado, 66, who joined the march in a wheelchair. "With Trump's visit, he couldn't or didn't even want to defend his own people."

          Although Mr. Peña Nieto began his presidency in 2012 with a series of drastic changes designed to revive economic growth, he has stumbled repeatedly over the past two years.

          His government bungled an investigation into the September 2014 disappearance of 43 students at a rural teachers' college in Guerrero State, an inquiry that was sharply criticized in April by a panel of independent experts who reviewed the case.

          The chief investigator, Tomás Zerón, resigned from the attorney general's office on Wednesday in an apparent acknowledgment of the doubts regarding his handling of the case, which is the subject of two internal inquiries.

          But Mr. Zerón was not out of a job for long. A few hours later, the president appointed him as the technical secretary for Mexico's National Security Council.

          The appointment to a post that keeps Mr. Zerón close to the president's inner circle rekindled the anger.

          "It's making a mockery not only of the 43 and their families, it's making a mockery of all Mexicans," said Mario González, a father of one of the missing students.

          In recent weeks, Mr. Peña Nieto has also faced new accusations over his integrity, with evidence that he plagiarized part of his undergraduate law thesis and that a wealthy Mexican businessmen paid the property taxes for the Miami apartment of his wife, Angélica Rivera.



          7)  Black Child With BB Gun Is Shot by Police in Columbus, Ohio

          SEPT. 15, 2016




          Officials in Columbus, Ohio, appealed for calm, patience and investigative help Thursday, hours after a white police officer fatally shot a 13-year-old African-American boy who had apparently brandished a firearm that was later determined to be a BB gun.

          Speaking at a news conference, the mayor, the police chief and other officials offered few details about what led to the death Wednesday night of the teenager, Tyree King. They cautioned that the investigation, which will be presented to a grand jury, will not be quick. So far, they said, they do not know of any video recording of the shooting.

          "Any loss of life is tragic, but the loss of a young person is particularly difficult," Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said. "Investigations take time, and I ask for everyone's patience during this difficult time."

          According to the police, officers responded to a report of an armed robbery in the Olde Towne East neighborhood in central Columbus, and saw three males who matched the suspects' descriptions. Two fled and officers chased them into an alley, where Tyree pulled what appeared to be a gun from his waistband, the police said, and an officer shot him multiple times.

          The officer was identified as Bryan Mason, a nine-year veteran, who fatally shot a man in 2012. His superiors cleared him of any wrongdoing in that episode. He has been placed on administrative leave.

          Tyree's death is one in a long string of deaths of black people at the hands of the police in recent years that have drawn national attention, particularly when video is made public. They have prompted sharp debates about race and policing, intense criticism of the police and, in some cases, civil unrest. One of the most scrutinized cases, and one of the most similar to the one in Columbus, also took place in Ohio: the 2014 death of Tamir Rice, 12, who was playing with a pellet gun in a park in Cleveland.

          Columbus officials made it clear that they were acutely aware of that history, saying it was too early to make parallels to Tamir's case, and insisting that they were striving for openness and community outreach that critics have said were lacking in other cities. They also repeatedly stressed Tyree's conduct, the credible threats officers face and the gun culture.

          "Why is it that a 13-year-old would have nearly an exact replica of a police firearm on him in our neighborhoods?" Mr. Ginther asked. "An eighth grader involved in very, very dangerous conduct in one of our neighborhoods."

          The mayor cited "easy access to guns, whether they are firearms or replicas," as a serious problem, adding, "A 13-year-old is dead in the city of Columbus because of our obsession with guns."

          Kimberley Jacobs, the police chief, repeatedly referred to Tyree as a "young man," and said: "This is the last thing that a police officer wants to do in their career. Unfortunately, because of the things that are happening out on the streets, it becomes necessary at times to defend themselves."

          She held up a photograph of a BB gun of the kind found in the alley near Tyree, to show how similar it looks to the sidearm used by the Columbus police, a Smith & Wesson Military & Police semiautomatic pistol. The Columbus Police posted a similar image on Twitter.

          The photographs show a BB gun that does not have an orange tip or other bright colors sometimes used to distinguish them from lethal weapons.

          "It turns out not to be a firearm, in the sense that it fires real bullets, but as you can see, it looks like a firearm that can kill you," Chief Jacobs said.

          The shooting quickly drew widespread attention on social media, as people took sides to find fault with either the police or the boy.

          Chief Jacobs said the police were looking for video from security cameras or bystanders' smartphones, and were interviewing witnesses, including one of the people who was with Tyree. She said it was not clear whether that person would be charged with a crime.

          "There were witnesses, we believe, to the armed robbery and there were people in the vicinity of the shooting, but we don't know what they were able to discern," she said.

          The Columbus police do not wear body cameras, but they will starting next year, said Mr. Ginther, the mayor, who supports their use.



          8)  EpiPen Maker's Tactics Could Quell Protests Over Prices

          "The company and its employees are major contributors to lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, on Capitol Hill. Ms. Bresch is the daughter of Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia."

          SEPT. 16, 2016




          WASHINGTON — Against a growing outcry over the surging price of EpiPens, a chorus of prominent voices has emerged with a smart-sounding solution: Add the EpiPen, the lifesaving allergy treatment, to a federal list of preventive medical services, a move that would eliminate the out-of-pocket costs of the product for millions of families — and mute the protests.

          Dr. Leonard Fromer, a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, just promoted the idea in the prestigious American Journal of Medicine. A handful of groups are preparing a formal request to the government. And Tonya Winders, who runs a patient advocacy nonprofit organization, reached out late last month to crucial lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

          "We can save lives by ensuring access to these medications," said Ms. Winders, chief executive of the Allergy and Asthma Network.

          A point not mentioned by these advocates is that a big potential beneficiary of the campaign is Mylan, the pharmaceutical giant behind EpiPens. The company would be able to continue charging high prices for the product without patients complaining about the cost.

          An examination of the campaign by The New York Times, including a review of documents and interviews with more than a dozen people, shows that Mylan is well aware of that benefit and, in fact, has been helping orchestrate and pay for the effort.

          The journal article says it was "drafted and revised" by a medical writing consulting firm paid by Mylan, in consultation with Dr. Fromer. And Dr. Fromer himself has served in the last year as a paid Mylan consultant — which he discloses as part of the journal article. The company has also contributed money to many other groups behind the effort, and it has met with them — and Ms. Winders's organization in particular — to coordinate its strategy, the participants said.

          The effort has accelerated in recent weeks, just as Mylan has faced a flood of criticism about its pricing of EpiPens. The retail price for the standard two-pack has jumped nearly fivefold since 2010, hitting $608 this year. Multiple lawmakers and regulators have opened investigations into the pricing of the product, which has virtually no market competition.

          The idea being advanced is simple: If the EpiPen makes the federal preventive list, most Americans would have no insurance co-pay when getting the product. That means they could obtain the medication with no direct cost, regardless of its retail price. Mylan could keep the EpiPen at the current price, or perhaps raise it more, while keeping patient anger at a minimum.

          Instead, the federal government, health insurers and employers would pay the bill. Those costs, in turn, could be passed on to consumers in other ways, as in higher premiums or higher co-pays on other drugs.

          "In a way, it is brilliant," said Rachel E. Sachs, a law professor who specializes in public health policy at Washington University in St. Louis. "We are all seeing them for what they are — the poster child for high drug prices right now, but they don't want to be. And this tactic is nothing but a self-serving move, not a public-regarding one."

          Mylan, in a statement, acknowledged financing "research, resource development and travel" by the nonprofit coalition Ms. Winders formed in collaboration with the company to help push for the change. But, the company said, "we were clear in our corporate sponsorship agreements that the coalition would maintain control."

          The company also pointed to steps it had taken to lower the price of the EpiPen. Mylan has announced more rebates for some patients and it is preparing to release a less expensive generic version.

          The decision about whether to label EpiPens a preventive drug will fall to the United States Preventive Services Task Force, a federally appointed group of physicians and public health experts. The group reviews disease screenings, counseling and other treatments to determine if they are sufficiently effective to make the list. Under the Affordable Care Act, certain recommendations from the task force must be adopted by almost all insurers.

          The EpiPen is an epinephrine auto-injector, meaning it contains a portable supply of epinephrine that can be quickly administered to a person suffering from an allergic reaction. Proponents of adding EpiPen to the federal list argue that it can prevent a fatal allergic reaction, by stopping anaphylactic shock from progressing, if taken immediately.

          Getting the designation could be difficult, since there are no prescription medications for diagnosed illnesses on the preventive list. The task force has recommended at least one over-the-counter medication: aspirin. But generally it lists treatments for a patient only if there are "no signs or symptoms of the specific disease or condition," the agency said — like a cancer screening. The task force chairwoman, in a statement, appeared to all but rule out adding EpiPens to its list of recommendations.

          But a review of Mylan's lobbying history makes clear that the company has an exceptional track record at influencing government policies, both in Washington and in state capitals. Heather Bresch, Mylan's chief executive, called the effort "our unconventional approach to growing this franchise" in remarks to Wall Street analysts last year.

          Mylan was actively involved in pushing a 2013 federal law encouraging schools nationwide to stock EpiPens. And the company takes credit for legislation in at least 10 states that require the product in hotels, restaurants and other places, and additional school-related legislation in nearly every state. It is also helping push legislation pending in Congress that would require epinephrine auto-injectors on all commercial airline flights.

          The company and its employees are major contributors to lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, on Capitol Hill. Ms. Bresch is the daughter of Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia.

          Effectively pushing such arguments through various public awareness campaigns has helped expand the epinephrine auto-injector market. The product now accounts for 99 percent of the market's $1 billion in sales in the first six months of this year, the research firm IMS Health estimates.

          EpiPen's market dominance is partly the result of the recall last year of a main competitor, Auvi-Q, after its manufacturer discovered problems with the dosage.

          The drive to get EpiPens added to the preventive services list appears to have started in earnest late last year, just as the public and politicians started to focus on drug pricing.

          Mylan began to hear complaints, including some from the patient advocacy groups that it funds with millions of dollars in grants. Ms. Winders of the Allergy and Asthma Network said it was at a meeting with Mylan in November that the company proposed getting the epinephrine auto-injectors designated a preventive drug, and she agreed to help.

          Mylan gives money to Ms. Winders's organization to help expand treatment for severe allergies. She would not say how much the company has given, or the exact terms, citing a confidentiality agreement. But part of that money is related to this push, Ms. Winders acknowledged.

          "I am being compensated to ensure access to epinephrine," Ms. Winders said in an interview last week.

          Nina Devlin, a Mylan executive, rejected a request by The Times to release these nonprofit groups from their confidentiality agreements. But she did say that the company donated a total of $1.8 million this year to nine nonprofits "in support of anaphylaxis awareness and education initiatives," of which about $227,500 was to push for the federal listing.

          Financial relationships between pharmaceutical companies and patient advocacy groups are extremely common — and often benefit the drug company's lobbying agendas.

          With company support, Ms. Winders's organization hosts conferences every year that bring together allergists, pediatricians, school nurses and elected officials. At the conferences, held in St. Louis, Orlando and Las Vegas this year, the attendees detail plans to help win passage of legislation intended to increase the distribution of epinephrine.

          For the preventive drug push, Ms. Winders has been joined by representatives from other allergy organizations, all with somewhat similar financial ties to Mylan. They include the American Latex Allergy Association, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

          Eleanor Garrow-Holding, the president of the Ohio-based Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team, said the effort was "initiated by Mylan" and acknowledged that her group also receives annual grants from the company.

          After The Times raised questions about the arrangement, she added in an email this week that Mylan was "not part of this task force moving forward. Only the patient advocacy groups are actively participating."

          In addition, Ms. Winders and Ms. Garrow-Holding both took offense to the idea that Mylan's money had affected their organizations' work.

          "Mylan nor any other industry partner dictates our position," Ms. Winders said. "They have no direct influence over our messaging."

          But at least two groups declined to participate in the effort, citing the appearance of a conflict of interest, their representatives said in interviews.

          Dr. Bobby Quentin Lanier, executive medical director of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, a nonprofit group of allergy doctors, said his group had spurned Mylan's offer of payments for a series of papers focused on "the possibility of adding the epinephrine auto-injector to the national preventive drug list."

          "As we looked at it, we thought, 'No way that we could do that,'" Dr. Lanier said.

          Dr. James R. Baker Jr., chief executive and medical director of the Food Allergy Research and Education group, which has historically taken money from Mylan, said he had been offered money to lead the effort, a role Ms. Winders is now playing.

          "We just didn't feel, given the structuring, that it fully aligned with our role as a patient advocate," Dr. Baker said. (He would not name the organization that he said had offered him the money, citing a confidentiality agreement.)

          As of last week, he decided to no longer accept donations from pharmaceutical companies that make products that serve his members.

          With the nonprofit groups that still take donations from Mylan, the effort to get epinephrine auto-injectors on the preventive list is moving ahead.

          Ms. Winders said her group planned to send a formal submission to the United States Preventive Services Task Force in November. The patient advocates are separately planning to set up meetings with the nation's eight largest insurers to ask them to add epinephrine auto-injectors to their own lists, even if the federal government does not make the move.

          The task force could list the EpiPen in a couple of different ways: either mandating that insurers cover the auto injectors with no co-pay or putting them on a lower-priority list that many insurers still adopt, eliminating the co-pay even though the insurer is not required to do so. But Mylan, in a statement, said it was seeking the most exclusive status, on the A list. Under the Affordable Care Act, most private health insurance plans must cover certain recommended preventive service, including those on the A list, without any charge to the patient.

          The article Dr. Fromer published in The American Journal of Medicine will almost certainly help the cause. It makes the exact argument that Mylan wants to push: "The recognition and classification of epinephrine as a preventive medicine by both the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and insurers could increase patient access, improve outcomes and save lives."

          The article, published online in late August, says in an acknowledgments section that Mylan paid for medical writing consultants who "drafted and revised" the paper based on input from Dr. Fromer. But in interviews, Dr. Fromer and a Mylan spokesman said the article had not been ghostwritten and that Dr. Fromer was heavily involved in the paper. He said he intended to ask the journal to revise the language in the article to make clear that he helped write it.

          "My sole purpose in writing this article was to improve access to a lifesaving medication for millions of patients," he said. He added that while he has served as a consultant to Mylan — with payments as recently as December — he was not paid by the company to write the article.

          Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, whose office was among those contacted recently by the nonprofit groups working with Mylan, said he was disappointed with the company's tactics: turning to patient groups and a doctor it has retained as a consultant to try to get its drug on the preventive list.

          "This is the dark side of pharmaceutical practices in enlisting and paying professionals to pitch their profit-making drug," he said.



          9)  Swedish Appeals Court Upholds Detention Order for Assange

          SEPT. 16, 2016, 6:15 A.M. E.D.T




          STOCKHOLM — A Swedish appeals court on Friday upheld a detention order for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, dismissing the latest attempt by the 45-year-old Australian to make prosecutors drop a rape investigation from 2010.

          The decision by the Svea Court of Appeal means that the arrest warrant stands for the 45-year-old computer hacker, who has avoided extradition to Sweden by seeking shelter at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012.

          Assange, who denies the rape allegation, has challenged the detention order several times. He says he fears he will be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges if he leaves the embassy.

          His Swedish defense lawyer, Per Samuelson, said he would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

          "We are naturally disappointed that Swedish courts yet again choose to ignore Julian Assange's difficult life situation," Samuelson told The Associated Press. "They ignore the risk that he will be extradited to the United States."

          Swedish prosecutors say they are not in contact with counterparts in the U.S. and that they would also need Britain's permission should a third country seek his extradition.

          Upholding a lower court ruling, the appeals court said Swedish prosecutors are actively trying to move the investigation forward and set up an interrogation of Assange at the embassy. Acting on behalf of Swedish investigators, an Ecuadorean prosecutor is set to question Assange on Oct. 17.

          "This means that there is at present no reason to set aside the detention order. Julian Assange's claim to that effect shall therefore be refused," the court said.

          It also brushed aside the findings of a U.N. working group, which described his stay at the London embassy as "arbitrary detention." The court noted that the panel's finding wasn't binding on Swedish courts and that Assange's stay at the embassy "is not to be regarded as an unlawful deprivation of liberty."

          The investigation stems from Assange's brief relationship with two women he met during a visit to Sweden six years ago. Allegations of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion were dropped last year when the statute of limitations expired. The rape allegation, which involves one of the women, will expire in 2020 if Assange hasn't been indicted by then.

          Marianne Ny, the top prosecutor in the case, welcomed the court's decision and said the interrogation with Assange would go ahead as planned.

          "I have handled many rape and sex crimes cases," she told AP. "I have never experienced before that someone sought shelter at an embassy. So this situation is really unusual."


          10)  Edward Snowden Says Disclosures Bolstered Individual Privacy

          SEPT. 16, 2016



          ATHENS — Edward J. Snowden, the former American intelligence contractor who leaked documents about surveillance programs, said on Friday that his disclosures had improved privacy for individuals in the United States, and he declared that "being patriotic doesn't mean simply agreeing with your government."

          Mr. Snowden also said he was grateful for a campaign, led by human rights and civil liberties groups, calling on President Obama to pardonhim, a move that would allow him to return to the United States without facing the prospect of many years in jail.

          In 2013, after The Guardian and The Washington Post published articles about widespread, secret National Security Agency surveillance and data collection programs, Mr. Snowden identified himself as the source of the information. He had fled to Hong Kong, with the aim of escaping to Latin America via Moscow, but his passport was annulled and he was left stranded in Russia.

          If he is not pardoned, he could face charges on two counts under the 1917 Espionage Act, which does not allow for a "public interest" or "whistle-blower" defense, making it almost impossible for him to explain his motivations or present a proper defense, Mr. Snowden said.

          "I am legally prohibited from even speaking to the jury about my motivation, and this brings up the question of, 'Can there be a fair trial when you can't put forward a defense?' " he said. One can speak to the judge during sentencing, he said, but not to the jury, and "that's not very democratic."

          Mr. Snowden said he would consider serving a jail sentence as part of a plea bargain arranged before he leaves Russia.

          Opponents of Mr. Snowden have argued that his disclosures have made it more difficult for the United States to gather intelligence on terrorists and other foreign threats. The damage to national security, they say, was so extensive that he should not be granted a pardon, which appears unlikely, in any case. The Obama administration has rejected the idea in earlier petition campaigns and has said that Mr. Snowden should face trial in the United States. On Thursday, lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee unanimously signed a letter asking the president not to pardon him.

          Speaking via an internet connection from Russia to a session of the Athens Democracy Forum, sponsored by The New York Times, Mr. Snowden said he would maintain his focus on United States surveillance policies.

          "I would argue that being willing to disagree, particularly in a risky manner, is actually what we need more of today," he said, adding that he remained a patriot. "When we have this incredible, often fact-free environment, where politicians can simply make a claim, and then it's reported, without actual critical analysis of what that means, what the effect would be — how do we actually steer democracy?"

          Most people think of privacy in terms of their settings on Facebook, Mr. Snowden said. "But privacy is the fountainhead of all our rights, from which all rights are derived," he said. "It's what makes you an individual."

          Freedom of speech, he said, "doesn't have much room if you don't have the protected space."

          The danger is there, he said, "when everything you've ever done, every purchase you've ever made, everywhere you've ever traveled with a cellphone in your pocket is suddenly available to third parties."

          Asked whether he had accomplished anything permanent with his revelations, he said: "Do I think things are fixed? No. Can any single individual fix the world? No, that's too much. Have things improved?"

          Answering his own question, Mr. Snowden said, "Yes." There have been important changes in American and European laws, some internet companies are responding with full encryption and pushing back against government pressure, and people are more aware of the issue, he said, adding, "It's gotten a little better."

          An appeals court ruled in 2015 that the bulk data collection of Americans' phone records that Mr. Snowden first revealed was illegal. Congress replaced that program with one in which the bulk data stays in the hands of phone companies.

          But the United States still distinguishes between its citizens and others when it comes to surveillance, because court approval is not necessary when American agencies want to monitor noncitizens outside the United States.

          Mr. Snowden said he was fully aware of Russia's anti-democratic traits, and he said he had spoken out against them — even though, as Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch who was also taking part in the Athens forum, noted, the Russian government is the only thing between Mr. Snowden and "a jail cell."

          Mr. Snowden denied engaging in self-censorship concerning Russia, adding that he did not think his opinions would have much influence in the country because he does not speak Russian very well.

          Asked what he did all day, marooned in Russia, Mr. Snowden joked, "I speak in conferences in Athens mostly."

          But then he added: "I've always been a sort of an indoor cat. My life has been the internet, and perhaps this is an explanation of why I was so moved by what I witnessed at the N.S.A."

          "Snowden," Oliver Stone's portrait of the whistle-blower, which was made with his cooperation, has just been released. Asked if he recognized the film version of himself as rather dull, he laughed.

          "I am what I am," he said. "I am never going to be the coolest guy on stage. But that's O.K., because that's not what I'm going for."

          Mr. Snowden, who is a director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, is also working to give journalists better tools to protect themselves against unwanted surveillance.

          "I think this is a worthy cause that makes me feel good about what I am doing, even if it doesn't get as much attention as the things I'm sort of best known for," he said.

          Regarding the presidential election in the United States, Mr. Snowden said he would vote by absentee ballot but declined, "as a privacy advocate," he said, with a rare touch of humor, to reveal his choice.



          11)  Privately Run Mississippi Prison, Called a Scene of Horror, Is Shut Down

          SEPT. 15, 2016




          A privately operated Mississippi prison that a federal judge once concluded was effectively run by gangs in collusion with corrupt prison guards, closed Thursday, its prisoners transferred to other state facilities, officials said.

          Conditions at the prison, the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility, were deemed so substandard by Judge Carlton Reeves of Federal District Court, that he wrote in a 2012 settlement order that it "paints a picture of such horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world."

          The move to shutter Walnut Grove, in Leake County, comes one month after the Justice Department announced that it would phase out its use of private prisons to house federal inmates after concluding that such facilities are more dangerous and less effective than prisons run by the government.

          But the Obama administration decision does not affect states, which have increasingly come to rely on private firms to manage prison populations, including Mississippi.

          While states say they enter arrangements with for-profit prison contractors to save money, some studies have cast doubt on whether private prisons are actually less expensive for taxpayers.

          On Thursday, Walnut Grove's demise was celebrated by prison rights organizations and civil liberties groups.

          "Good riddance to Walnut Grove, a cesspool sponsored by Mississippians' tax dollars," said Jody Owens, managing attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

          Walnut Grove was run by Management and Training Corp., a Utah-based company that is among the nation's largest private prison contractors.

          The Mississippi Department of Corrections said in June that it had decided to shutter Walnut Grove not because of the often-unrestrained violence at the facility, but for budget cuts. Grace Simmons Fisher, a corrections department spokeswoman, declined to comment on Thursday.

          Issa Arnita, a spokesman for the private prison contractor, said on Thursday in a statement that Management and Training Corporation had "made tremendous improvements to overall operations" at Walnut Grove since it took over management in 2012.

          But the 1,260-bed facility had been operating since 2012 under a federal consent decree for violating prisoners' constitutional rights, and in 2014, Walnut Grove was the scene of two major riots.

          Last year, Judge Reeves extended federal oversight of the prison because of continuing constitutional violations.

          Conditions in a number of Mississippi's correctional facilities have been denounced by prison overhaul advocates or enjoined by the federal authorities for violating inmates' constitutional rights, but Walnut Grove was cited as a particularly brutal, often lawless place.

          A 2012 Justice Department report found that rape of younger inmates by older prisoners was relatively common, and that guards habitually denied some prisoners access to medical care, while smuggling in weapons and drugs and having sexual relationships with others.

          "The sexual misconduct we found was among the worst that we have seen in any facility anywhere in the nation," the report said.

          Some of the guards, the report said, were themselves members of the gangs, including at least one prison supervisor who let prisoners out of their cells to assault unsuspecting rivals.

          Organized gladiator-style fights between prisoners and encouraged by guards were also a frequent occurrence, with guards betting on the outcomes, according to the report.

          Mr. Owens, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that on one visit to Walnut Grove, the odor of marijuana hung so heavily in the air that he worried he would get a contact high.

          "It was like walking out of a club and your clothes smell like smoke," he said.

          Even after juveniles were removed from the facility, violence continued.

          At the same time, the neighboring town of Walnut Grove, population 1,900, boomed from prison revenue and employment. The town lobbied to be the site of a prison after one of its major employers, a glove factory, was closed.

          As an example of the close ties between the prison and the town, Walnut Grove's mayor, William Grady Sims, served for a time as the prison's warden.

          In 2009, Mr. Sims drove a female inmate to a motel room where they had sex. He later told the woman to lie to investigators about it. Mr. Sims was convicted and sentenced to seven months in a federal prison.



          12)  After Sexual Abuse of 1-Year-Old, No Jail Time in Sentence for Teenager

          SEPT. 16, 2016




          An Iowa teenager who was accused of sexually assaulting a 1-year-old girl while the act was recorded will not serve further jail time after he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of engaging in a lascivious act with a child.

          A judge this week gave the teenager, Kraigen Grooms, 19, a 10-year suspended sentence and five years of supervised release, according to KTVO, a local television station. He must also register as a sex offender.

          He was released after 2 years and four months in jail when he pleaded guilty in July.

          Some public reaction to the sentencing this week centered on whether the sentence was strong enough. A man whose Facebook page about missing children and fugitives helped investigators identify the defendant was particularly disappointed.

          "He needs to be locked up and have some intensive sex offender treatment," Tim Caya, who runs the Locate the Missing page, said in an interview.

          There was a similar reaction in local media. "Why is it a first time drug offense is more likely to get you a prison sentence than child molestation?" an Ottumwa Radio commenter asked.

          Responding to the criticism, Gary Oldenburger, the county attorney for Wapello County, defended the sentence in a statement dated Thursday, presenting Mr. Grooms as the unwitting lackey of child pornographers who tricked him into the assault, as they had done to hundreds of other children. Mr. Oldenburger did not return several messages.

          By pretending to be a girl his age, then 16, the two men, one in New Orleans and one in Ireland, persuaded the teenager to perform sex acts he wouldn't otherwise have done. He did not know he was being recorded, the prosecutor said in the statement.

          He added that the child was uninjured, no pain was inflicted, and the child was too young to be aware of what was happening.

          "While it is easy for the outside observer to advocate a hard-line stance that every sexual offense against a minor should result in a long prison sentence," he wrote, "anyone who actually deals with these situations knows that each case is unique and every case must be handled on its own merits."

          In March 2014, investigators at the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement sought help from the public in identifyingsomeone they believed had engaged in unspecified sexual conduct with the girl, who was between 12 and 18 months old, and recorded the encounter on video.

          Mr. Caya, who lives in Brookings, S.D., created a flier and the post was shared thousands of times, and commenters zeroed in on Mr. Grooms as a suspect. Mr. Caya and other commenters called the police, and Mr. Grooms was arrested the following day.

          Mr. Grooms, who was tried as an adult, was initially charged with second-degree sexual abuse, according to The Ottumwa Post. That charge carried a punishment of up to 25 years in prison.

          Mr. Oldenburger did not return a phone call seeking comment on Thursday. But in his statement, he said the parents of the victim did not want Mr. Grooms to serve significant jail time and were more focused on him receiving treatment. The prosecutor also said that important witnesses were unwilling to testify, and psychologists said Mr. Grooms was not a high-risk candidate for committing more offenses.

          He said a long sentence likely would have been overturned on appeal, with a quick parole. The 860 days he had already spent in jail would have counted toward his time served.

          "If Grooms was sent to prison for a long period of time rather than being sentenced to probation, he more than likely would be a greater risk to the community after his release than he will be after serving the sentence he received," he said.

          It was not immediately clear whether the men in New Orleans and Ireland have been arrested.















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