Guantánamo Protest at Korea Law Center Conference

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Advocating “No War Criminals On Campus!” and “Shut Down Guantanamo, End U.S. Torture,” activists will demonstrate at the Korea Law Center’s Inaugural Conference, where John Yoo is among a day of speakers including high level Korean government officials and business representatives. As the Guantanamo prison camp remains open into its 13th year – and Obama’s promises to shutter it remain unkept — 154 men remain imprisoned there. Most of them have never been charged with a crime. 76 were cleared for release by the US government years ago, 56 of them Yemeni. Since the prisoner’s hunger strike of over one year ago which thrust Guantanamo back into world headlines, approximately 40 men continue this strike.

Leaks Of CIA Torture Report Reveal Black Prison SIte

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A Senate Intelligence Committee report provides the first official confirmation that the CIA secretly operated a black site prison out of Guantánamo Bay, two U.S. officials who have read portions of the report have told Al Jazeera. The officials — who spoke on condition of anonymity because the 6,600-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program remains classified — said top-secret agency documents reveal that at least 10 high-value targets were secretly held and interrogated at Guantánamo’s Camp Echo at various times from late 2003 to 2004. They were then flown to Rabat, Morocco, before being officially sent to the U.S. military’s detention facility at Guantánamo in September 2006. In September 2006, President George W. Bush formally announced that 14 CIA captives had been transferred to Guantánamo and would be prosecuted before military tribunals. He then acknowledged for the first time that the CIA had been operating a secret network of prisons overseas to detain and interrogate high-value targets.

Chelsea Manning’s Lawyers Will Challenge ‘Frightening’ Espionage Act On Appeal

Nancy Hollander speaking at Manning event April 13, 2014 by Christine Ann Sands

The “misuse of the Espionage Act,” the over-classification of information, the selective prosecution of individuals by the government for leaks, “unlawful command influence,” “unlawful pretrial punishment,” and violations of “speedy trial rights” will all be issues raised during the appeal. Hollander said Manning’s convictions for violating the Espionage Act set a “dangerous precedent.” She added, “If this case stands, along with some other recent cases, whoever leaks a single page of classified information or even non-classified information runs the risk of prosecution under this act.” Manning was found guilty of five Espionage Act offenses, which is quite significant in the war on leaks and whistleblowers that has been waged by President Barack Obama’s administration.

Protesters Want Gates Foundation To Stop Investing In Private Prisons

Protesters outside of Gates Foundation urging divestment from private prisons, from Seattle Times

want the Gates Foundation — whose co-chairman, Bill Gates, has been a steadfast supporter of immigration — to divert the $2.2 million that its trust invests in The GEO Group. The world’s largest operator of private prisons and detention centers, GEO runs 59 facilities across the country, including the 1,500-bed Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. “This isn’t just a moral argument,” said William Winters, senior campaign adviser with the Latino advocacy group Presente.org, which organized the protest. “If the Gates Foundation wants to have the effect in the world they say they want to have, then investing in private prisons is the antithesis of that.” Organizers said they staged the demonstration after getting no response to a letter they sent to Bill Gates a month ago. After the demonstration, a handful of protesters were invited inside, where they presented officials with nearly 11,000 signatures collected online.

Two Versions Presented In Opening Argument Of McMillan Case

Cecily McMillan on the ground convulsing after being arrested.

On Friday, opening arguments indicated this is a case of the credibility of two witnesses Office Grantley Bovell and Cecily McMillan. There are two different stories of the incident and no witnesses to confirm either version. A video tape of the incident is so unclear that both sides say it proves their case. McMillan has corroborating evidence for her story, photographs taken by her doctor that show bruises on her body, most importantly bruises showing fingerprints grabbing her right breast. McMillan’s version is that Bovell violently grabbed her breast from behind and she instinctively reacted throwing her elbow around to hit her assailant. Bovell’s version is that Cecily was screaming at a female police officer when he arrived and he went over to escort her out of Zuccotti Park. He will testify, according to the opening argument, that Cecily asked her if the cameras were on, then knelled down, came up quickly and threw her elbow into his face.

Most Important Event Since Chelsea Manning's Trial

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You’re invited to witness the most important event since WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s trial last summer! Chelsea Manning’s new defense team is preparing for a rigorous appeals process that could go as far as the Supreme Court, forever changing how the U.S. treats whistleblowers. On Sunday, April 13th they’ll be joined by prominent FBI whistleblower Mike German and NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, as together they discuss the future of American government accountability, democratic information sharing, and whistleblowing. Join us to learn how you can make a difference!

Cecily McMillan Trial Update: Halfway Through Picking The Jury

Cecily McMillan night before the trial by Jenna Pope

The trial of Cecily McMillan – a prosecution that should not even be taking place – is in recess today and about half way through jury selection. “We are now up to 7 jurors, and we only need 9 more (the jury is 16 people – 12 jurors and 4 alternates). Cecily’s lawyers were able to once again bring up their desire to mention Officer Bovell’s history of violent conduct and gained permission to question him about it, which is really good for us. Just like anyone, there are good police, and there are bad police… and this one is pretty bad.” Bovell’s history is critically important because the prosecution is essentially a one witness case. Cecily’s case has finally gotten some major mainstream media coverage. The New York Times published a fair story that described Cecily as “a labor organizer, was a nanny and a graduate student at the New School when she was arrested. She has said she went to Zuccotti Park that night to meet a friend, not to join the protest.”

Release The COINTELPRO Political Prisoners

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Human rights activists are calling on the government to grant amnesty and unconditional freedom to all political prisoners incarcerated because of COINTELPRO, a secret federal law enforcement program that destroyed Black and dissident organizations in the 1960s and 1970s. Men and women who sacrificed their lives so others could enjoy civil liberties and human rights in America are now aging and suffering failing health as they languish in prison, some for 40 years, and many in solitary confinement cells, unfit even for dogs, said their advocates. It is imperative that those they fought for remember and fight for them, said the activists. J. Edgar Hoover, former head of the FBI, began the covert, illegal CounterIntelligence Program in 1956 to destroy militant organizations.

Cecily McMillan Trial Update, Judge Rules Against Defense

Cecily McMillan with Marty Stoler press conference first day of trial

Cecily McMillan, accompanied by approximately 50 supporters, was back in court April 7th for pre-trial motions. Judge Zweibel upheld hisprevious decision on motion 50-4(a), denying access again to Officer Grantley Bovell’s personnel files, on the grounds that this previous history of excessive force and corruption are not relevant to the case at hand. The DA argued that none of these cases were substantiated due to the recommendation from the internal affairs bureau, an arm of the NYPD. Approximately 50 supporters showed up to court this morning. Many were wearing a pink hand over their right breast, signifying solidarity with Cecily, who was sexually assaulted in this exact manner by Officer Bovell the night of M17. Judge Zweibel ordered that these signs of solidarity would be forbidden in the court room, as the claim of sexual assault is “unsubstantiated.”

“Orange Is The New Black” Writer Addresses Inequality

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Piper Kerman leaned back in her chair on the stage at San Francisco’s Norse Theatre and reflected on the “odd lineup of opportunity and time” that put her in prison, pushed her to write the book that became the blockbuster Netflix series, Orange Is The New Black, and now has her speaking for humane prison reforms, especially for low-income women snared by the system. “I often think of it as an odd lineup of opportunity and time,” said Kerman, reflecting on the before, during and after phases of her journey. “Just crossing paths with my ex-lover at a time where I was willing to do something risky, dangerous, outside of my experience.” That youthful episode resulted in her drug delivery charge that could have happened to anyone. “I believe [it] is extremely normal for someone in their late teens, early 20s [to take risks],” Kerman said, adding that she was privileged because she could fight back in court with a good defense team that helped her attain the short sentence of 15 months.

2014 People’s Choice Award: The Cuban Five

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n 1998, five Cuban intelligence agents were arrested following their surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They were brought up on multiple charges including conspiracy to commit espionage. These five men were sent from Cuba to investigate and report on right-wing groups in Miami planning attacks against the Castro government and the Cuban people. Their presence in the U.S. was in response to several attacks in Cuba for which these U.S.-based groups claimed responsibility, including bomb attacks at many popular tourist hotels and restaurants in Havana. The trial for the Cuban Five was conducted in Miami, despite objections that the city’s legacy as a bastion of anti-Castro extremists was not conducive to an impartial hearing. The men received lengthy prison sentences, and when jailed, were kept in isolation for extended periods of time.

Critical Moment In The Defense Of Chelsea Manning

Free Chelsea Manning

We’re at a crucial turning point in our campaign to support WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Chelsea’s future hangs in the balance, and your support can make a huge difference! Last week, Chelesa’s trial attorney, David Coombs, released a statement with an insider’s view of the injustices of the court martial proceedings and the excessive 35-year sentence. He warned: I have fought to ensure that she received a fair trial and a just result. Unfortunately, I do not believe that she received either… The government-wide crackdown on whistleblowers and the extension of this crackdown to journalists threatens to stifle the very freedoms that we [the United States] have fought so hard to ensure

James Boyd, Bruce, Pete, And All of Us

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Many in New Mexico have embraced both the ghost of James Boyd, cut down for lacking a home, and the ghost of Tom Joad, a specter of moral action. The group Anonymous called for occupation of Albuquerque police sites in a video statement describing the murder as done in “cold blood”. “This man, who was schizophrenic, obviously had no intention of hurting these police officers, on the contrary, this man looks as if he is simply attempting to protect himself from visually fierce militarized thugs,” said the hacktivist group. A coalition of groups protested over the weekend in an eight-plus hour march. The police shot tear gas canisters at largely peaceful demonstrations. The FBI has opened an investigation into Boyd’s killing, and the Justice Department is continuing their probe into a police department that has fired at 37 people since 2010, killing 23.

Drone Strikers Say Government Unfairly Denies Them Jury Trials

Drone protest, California Highway Patrol Officer George Carpenter, center, clears peace protesters Tuesday from a road near Beale Air Force Base.

At least 18 have been arrested for trespassing since Oct. 30, 2012, some more than once. One was an 88-year-old Lutheran minister, arrested nearly three weeks ago on Ash Wednesday, who was also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran – he served on the honor guard aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, where the treaty was signed marking Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II. The federal government has begun filing misdemeanor charges of unauthorized penetration of a military installation. The charge carries the potential of up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, although federal prosecutors have assured judges they have no intention of trying to put any of the protesters behind bars. The government has succeeded so far in persuading two judges to deny protesters jury trials, something the defendants contend deprives them of their Sixth Amendment rights . . .

Sentences Upheld For Ohio Bridge Bomb Plotters

Ohio bridge plotters Brandon Baxter, Anthony Hayne, Douglas Wright and Connor Stevens

An informant who secretly recorded conversations helped FBI agents foil a bomb plot where an undercover agent supplied the would-be bridge-bombers with fake plastic explosives, authorities have said. A federal appeals court Friday upheld the sentences of four men in the case, including the addition of extra time because of the terrorism factor. The court also said Akron federal judge David Dowd correctly added time to the sentence of defendant Douglas Wright as the group’s leader. The ruling by a panel of three judges unanimously upheld the 11 ½-year sentence for Wright, of Indianapolis; the more than 9-year sentence of Brandon Baxter, of suburban Cleveland; and the 8-year sentence of Connor Stevens, of Berea. The panel ruled 2-1 to uphold the 6-year sentence of Anthony Hayne, of Cleveland.