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BART and City of Oakland Workers STRIKE

4 July 2013

As Bay Area Rapid Transit workers continue pushing for fair contracts today by extending the walkout which began on Monday, 1 July, many are still unaware of the issues at hand. Corporate press has been willing to portray workers as selfish and unwilling to negotiate, but union representatives, leadership and those directly working in the negotiations, have a different story to tell. They were more than willing to inform the public how BART management and the City of Oakland has been dishonest, not only in their dealings with Labor, but in their reporting to the citizens of Oakland.

Oakland heated up far beyond the scorching outdoor temperatures Monday, with BART and Oakland City Workers shutting down the city by going on strike. All in all, it was a peaceful day of protest, largely due to support by the Oakland Police Department for the striking workers.

Created with flickr slideshow.
A series of video clips shows how the day went. Quite a few have been transcribed for those who don’t like watching long videos, and a separate article is posted for reading without video at all. These statements made by union representatives is crucial to understanding the reason for the walkout.

Away from downtown, stations were quiet. A handful of folks picketed the work yard and at Lake Merritt BART Station, to the glee of honking drivers passing by. A couple of strike captains were willing to speak to the camera.

As we’ve seen in recent years, when OPD does not support the message, they’re happy to deliver whatever violence they can muster to get protestors out of the streets. No such thing occurred on Monday. In fact, officers pulled traffic duty to keep union workers safe as they clogged the corner of 14th and Broadway for a pre-rally noise session.

Meanwhile, Oscar Grant Plaza was set up for the gathering, including this tent set up by radio folks for interviews. Here’s part of an interview with one of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21, the union which represents the workers of the City of Oakland. The IFPTE has a membership of 80,000 in the U.S. and Canada, and has been in existence since 1918.

Next, a firefighter from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, in town to support the strike, explained that his own union maybe be out on strike on Thursday and Friday this week.  AFSCME  ‘is the nation’s largest and fastest growing public services employees union with more than 1.6 million working and retired members.’

Renee Sykes, vice-president of Local Chapter 21 of the IFPTE did a great job of explaining what’s been happening with negotiations for a contract for workers, as their contract expired Sunday night.

Then it was time to use the little stage which had been set up for speakers. First up was Father John, who invoked the ancestors to bless the striking workers.

Next, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb offered solidarity to Striking Oakland Workers.

Union Representatives came from all over the country to support bay area workers. The Service Employees International Union an organization of 2.1 million members. Gary Jimenez is East Bay Regional Vice President of SEIU Local 1021. He introduced Roxanne Sanchez, who is Local 1021 President, who in turn introduced Eliseo Medina, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer. Medina addressed the big picture :::

We don’t need any more walmart jobs in the Bay Area… And sometimes, you also have to stand up to fight for your community, to make sure that we maintain the services the public needs. We need more, not less, library services. We need to insure timely and safe trash pickup. We need graffiti abatement and jobs for our youth. And we need a safe and dependable public transit system. But all of this, all of this begins with workers being treated fairly, and not as the first place to cut. Because we know that the soul of BART and Oakland does not live at City Hall or at the BART headquarters. It lives with the workers who deliver the services every single day, rain or shine. BART and Oakland only works because you do. And that is what this strike is all about : a fight for the future for your families and community. And let me tell ya, that is a fight worth fighting.

But brothers and sisters, you are part of a struggle that’s going on throughout this country : in Michigan, in Texas and Wisconsin, and even in Puerto Rico. A struggle to protect the middle class and the American dream. Workers are standing up and fighting back. They’re saying it’s time for the greedy bankers, the developers, and the corporations to be held accountable, so that they pay their fair share of maintaining vital public services. We don’t want any more bailouts. No more special deals. No more high interest rates on municipal bonds, and no more trafficking, with the mortgage crisis that they created. Enough is enough!

Brothers and sisters, they created the crisis. They need to fix it, and they need to fix it now! Brothers and sisters, this is a tough struggle, but we know that you are tougher. We know that you are up for the fight, and that you will win, because you are right, and because you will not take no for an answer.

We are here today to tell BART and the City of Oakland that you are not alone. You have the full support of the 2.1 million members of SEIU. Your fight is our fight. Your struggle is our struggle. We are one family, and when you take one of us on, you take all of us on!

We are here to help whenever, in whatever way you need, and in the end, we will win. As Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us, ‘The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice, and we shall overcome.’ Cesar Chavez taught us, ‘There is nothing a united, determined people cannot accomplish. Si se puede!’

Yes we can and yes we will!

Medina is a tough act to follow, but Bob Schoonover of SEIU Local 721 did fine with this rousing short speech. ‘The economy is all your fault, right? NO IT’S NOT!’

Laphonza Butler is President of SEIU ULTCW … United Long Term Care Worker’s Union, and also president of SEIU California State Council. the ULTCW represents 180,000 in-home care providers and nursing home workers throughout California, making it the largest union of long term care givers in California and the second largest SEIU local in the nation. Butler was at the mic next to keep things fired up :::

We stand with LABOR at the City of Oakland and at BART today! … On behalf of the 700,000 SEIU members of the state of California … I’m here to let all of you know that the state council at every single SEIU Local in California is making phone calls, is knocking on doors, is doing everything it takes to make sure that these agreements get settled, get settled fairly, and that we are winning, not just for ourselves, but that we’re winning for our communities. So on behalf of all 700,000 members of SEIU in California, we stand united with you today, we stand united with you tomorrow, and we’ll be there until the very end.

Pete Castelli is Executive Director and SEIU 1021’s Lead Negotiator for the Oakland contract. He gives us some historical context by telling the story of the group of mainly women clerks who picketed in 1946 in Oakland to get recognition for their union. Other unions supported them then, as is happening now.  In 1946, solidarity worked! Castelli had this to say :::

What that’s about is standing up. We’ve seen the banks get their money back. We’ve seen Wall Street makin’ their money back, and we’re being sold out. That’s what this story’s about. That’s what the story at BART’s about, City of Oakland, every union that’s in negotiations. As the economy goes up, they wanna restructure our lives, restructure our jobs and make us consultants, and talk in terms that we’re a liability, when we own this community, we live in this community, we spend money in this community, we are the community.

SEIU Local Chapter 1021 President Dwight McElroy talked about corruption, and dishonest efforts by the city to fool the public :::

The media’s asked me about the negotiations, but this strike is not about only our negotiations. When you have elected leadership, and employed leadership hired by the elected leadership, that you should be able to expect dignity, transparency, and honesty from, and it’s not forthcoming, we, the community and the people, must force those values forward! When you have an administration that is so hell bent on busting the union that they will hide $57 million in a budget – from the community – every dollar that flows to and through the City of Oakland belongs to the citizens. And once it became apparent to us, because of our provisions at the bargaining table, and because we were able to hire experts to evaluate the chicanery, the shell game, and the deceptive budgeting policies that have been coming forth so that the public would be misled into thinking ‘it is the police or services.’ That is not the truth, and it is our obligation to insure that the public dollar be spent in a manner that serves the entirety of the City of Oakland.

We are fortunate to either reside or work in one of the greatest cities in America. And I will not, neither will my co-workers, neither will the partners at the bargaining team – we will not allow some imports from places, some being San Jose, to come in here and misuse, abuse, or in any other way … 100% services to the citizens of the City of Oakland. As far as I’m concerned, it’s either unability [sic] to do the work, or dishonesty. You make your own choice, I’ve made mine.

The word transparency means a clear view, with no object between the viewer and what you’re lookin’ at. That’s the dictionary. Is that what the budget looks like? (nooo, says the crowd) Is that on purpose or on accident?

At the end of the day, I’ll leave you with this. We, as a body : the labor, the union, the communities, and the unrepresented : the people nobody’s talkin’ about : the individuals who are hired at the City of Oakland who have no work rights, who have no health care, who have no benefits – somebody’s got to start speaking up and say ‘you cannot continue to mistreat these individuals.’

Today is the beginning of making some individuals who thought they had the power, and who thought they had the authority, change their modus operandi.

I got a secret to share : I got prayed on at church and the bottom line is this : we know the victory is ours, we just not sure exactly when it’s gonna come. But we’re gonna stand fast, stand together, and the victory will be Oakland’s!

One last thing. Our bargaining team, our negotiator, and our lead seniority person is willing and ready to meet. And, in a meaningful way, not the circus bargaining that’s been going on since march, we are prepared and ready to sit down at any point in time and have a discussion with the city leadership about a fair and honest contract – one that benefits the total city of Oakland.

Let’s not forget. Our, the smallest, the most minute … the least senior person in the City of Oakland, that’s the one we wanna protect, because if we protect that one, everyone else is covered.

Renee Sykes then took the mic on behalf of IFPTE Local 21 : Oakland City workers. Sykes introduced and thanked people who are supporting this strike, including members of other unions.

Then the politicians stepped up. First, Councilmember Desley Brooks, who called out City Administrator for playing with the books. Santana has previously been caught being dishonest, by trying to bury findings of the Frasier Report about the violent actions of Oakland Police against Occupy Oakland. :::

There is no reason that the City of Oakland can’t bargain in good faith. I feel like, sometimes, I’m working for one of those big banks on Wall Street. Y’know the ones who keep makin’ money on your back. And then they forget how they made the money, and they wanna keep it all. We have unanticipated revenues, and yet we told our workers that we couldn’t give them a raise. We have money that the mayor has tucked away, and yet we told our employees that they have to pay for their health care. We are doing better than we’ve done in a long time, and we know that one of the reasons that we are where we are today is because our employees, our civilian employees, gave back $122 million. And so for those people in the community who wonder why today our employees who struggle just to get by need us to turn around and give back, tell ’em there’s 122 million reasons why.

There’s a song that says ‘let them hear you.’ Let them hear you. Let Deanna Santana and the mayor hear you.

I hope, I hope that you’re gonna continue to press, stay together, stay strong, stay focused – you will prevail, thank you.

New councilmember Noel Gallo also joined in to push for respect for employees and a safe, clean city.

Elizabeth Alexander is SEIU vice-president of politics. She called on community groups : Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) ‘is a multi-racial, democratic, non-profit community organization building power in low to moderate income neighborhoods to stand and fight for social, economic, and racial justice’; walmart union folks Our Walmart; Causa Justa :: Just Cause (CJJC), ‘a multi-racial, grassroots organization building community leadership to achieve justice for low-income San Francisco and Oakland residents’; among others : to show themselves, having come in support. She rattles off : Dan Siegel and Walter Riley (who have both been working to get justice for Alan Blueford, who was murdered by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso), Adam & Jeralyn Blueford from Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition, HipHop Congress, EBASE, Occupy Labor Solidarity, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, San Francisco Latino Democratic Club, Dream Act Dreamers, among others.

Dominic Ware spoke well for Our Walmart. He reminded people about their recent two-week strike in which two women were fired.

Alia Phelps spoke from ACCE. She addressed the issues of the strike affecting low-income people, but said low-income people experience transportation problems all the time, not only during this strike. She pointed out the many millions lost by BART and AC Transit to the banks.

Civil Rights Attorney and Activist Dan Siegel joked about it being hotter inside city hall than outside (temperature in the eighties) … talked about services : library, roads, programs for elders & seniors, decent wages, benefits, and no more furloughs for city employees. He warns ‘this is not gonna end today.’ He finished up with a valid claim that we have enough police with 650 officers … that we don’t need more, we need them to be deployed appropriately … ‘out from behind their desks.’

Siegel was followed by an Oakland resident activist [feel free to enlighten the author as to her name, readers] who talked about having been a long time on this trail to end poverty :::

Thank you for standing up and giving the labor movement of Oakland and the country a backbone again. … Let me just say, as a soldier that’s been on this trail a long time about the business of eliminating poverty, we understand that the true place to get the money is from Wall Street and the banks. When have you seen a banker crying broke? When have you seen a foreclosure on them? The foreclosures are on our community. So only when we get about this business, not simply a protest, but a fight for a different vision. We’re about the business of transforming, so that our communities, our generations of children, so that our schools and libraries, so that our we, the people, might thrive, and not merely survive …

If ya listen to some of the radio shows, they say, ‘look, I haven’t got a raise, a break, I haven’t got extra time, why should they get it?’ What’s so important about this strike : this is about rejecting the proposals of divide and conquer and standing up and stating : the one percent needs to be pushed to the side, so we, the ninety nine percent, can handle our business for the future forward …

We don’t have to live like this. We ain’t gotta have people pushing carts and living like dogs. Only to the degree that we allow it, will it stay that way. So thank you for helping to wake people up. Now it’s our job to link up the struggles and build this movement so we might get the justice we need. Economic justice and security now, thank you.

Robbie Clark from Causa Justa thanks workers for daring to strike :::

We’re standing in solidarity because we know that the type of Oakland that working class power needs to build is the type of Oakland that’s gonna prioritize the needs of all Oakland residents. And so we’re united. That means Oakland’s workers, Oakland’s tenants, Oakland’s homeowners, the public workers, everybody who is in Oakland, living in Oakland like I have for my entire life. We have to make sure that our needs of our communities are put first, before the needs of big corporations.

We thank you for your courage, for taking this important step toward making sure that the rights of all people are respected. This is a historic moment. It’s time that we take back the power that we have in Oakland, and build an Oakland for the people the way that it’s supposed to be.

From an article in Businesswire :

“BART workers want just two things in these negotiations,” said Antonette Bryant, president of ATU 1555, which represents BART operators and station agents. “We want to negotiate a fair pay package after going five years with no increases, and we want the district to institute some basic changes that will improve system safety for riders and BART workers.”
ATU stands for Amalgamate Transit Union, and ‘is comprised of over 190,000 members, including: metropolitan, interstate, and school bus drivers; paratransit, light rail, subway, streetcar, and ferry boat operators; mechanics and other maintenance workers; clerks, baggage handlers, municipal employees, and others. ATU can be found in 44 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and nine Canadian provinces.’

Here’s what she had to say on Monday at Oscar Grant Plaza :::

Brothers and sisters, good afternoon. C’mon now, GOOD AFTERNOON! That’s what I’m talking about. …

We stand in solidarity with the City of Oakland workers, we stand in solidarity with the IFPTE, we stand in solidarity with every working family member that is on strike…

I’ve heard it resonate throughout the day, about every company that’s trying to tell their employees, ‘you’ve gotta give back, give back, give back; there gotta be cuts, cuts, cuts.’ We are on strike today for respect, for safety, for fair labor practices and for our families. We know you are as well.

I want each and every one of you to reach in your pocket and see if you have four quarters and pull ’em out. This is not rhetorical. Do you have four quarters? Pull ’em out. Yesterday that’s what BART offered our employees : a dollar a year. One dollar. Do not be fooled by the press that is saying eight percent. It is one dollar.

In that eight percent they forgot to indicate they wanted us to give back to pension, which is 92% funded, they wanted us to give back on healthcare. We have a proud, strong union family at BART, and we are proud to stand with you out here on this struggle.

We do difficult jobs, like many of you. We have the honor of working with the public, and the systems that have been cut back, where services are reduced. So patrons are angry and assaults are up. Like many of you, we have equipment that causes us to be injured. And our company does not want to treat our injured workers fairly. We have put through information that will get us back to work. They are rejecting. Instead they’re offering us a dollar. They’re paying out of state consultants $400,000 … [sound problems]

They paid an out of state consultant four hundred thousand dollars for part time work to come in and try and tear up our contract. [more sound problems . then finally someone brings bullhorns!]

I’m so impressed to have heard brother McElroy, who said this, ‘It will take a strike to get the truth, then that’s what we will do.’

The dollar they’re offering us is a dollar a year : not an hour, not a day, not a week, not a month, but one dollar a year. If it takes a strike or two to get their attention, then that’s what we will do. I ask you to share this message with your friends and family, because it’s being distorted by BART.

An injury to one is an injury to all. Let them know that their commute is our workplace, and we wanna do it right and we wanna provide a safe working environment and a safe riding environment.

We stand with you today. ATU!

Next up were Des Patten and John Arantes, professional and general SEIU chapter presidents.

The formal rally was concluded with a song.

But that wasn’t the end of the action on Monday. Workers returned to the picket lines, covering the doors of city buildings to assure that nobody entered without at least being informed what it means to cross a picket line.

The city had promised no parking enforcement during the IFPTE’s one day action, but people had reported receiving parking tickets. While keeping vigil, picketers witnessed a meter maid returning from a day of ticketing cars!

A few of screenshots, in case Oakland City workers want to know who crossed the line :::

scab 1

scab getting nervous

scab getting nervous

scab calling for help

scab calling for help

scab 4

On Tuesday, the Oakland Tribune reported that the City will be forgiving parking tickets which were issued during the strike.

much thanks to aredridel for editorial support!

Wendy Davis Delivers Epic Filibuster to the Texas Senate

26 June 2013

In the early days of 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States published it’s opinion that abortion is a fundamental right under the United States Constitution, thereby subjecting all laws attempting to restrict it to the standard of strict scrutiny, which is defined as ‘the most stringent standard of judicial review used by United States courts. It is part of the hierarchy of standards that courts use to weigh the government’s interest against a constitutional right or principle.’ The Court supported this decision with its interpretation that the Fourteenth Amendment gives the “right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the district court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

What supporters of a woman’s right to choose know is that there will always be situations in which a woman will, for reasons of her own, terminate a pregnancy. The issue, then, becomes not whether a woman will terminate a pregnancy, but whether the laws of the land will respect and support her by allowing for that action to be accomplished safely, with the help of her doctor, instead of in a back alley abortion.

Since the beginning of this discussion, many people who are personally against abortion have supported a woman’s right to choose. During the four decades since Roe v Wade, there has been a steady stream of efforts, mostly by people aligned with religious doctrine of one type or another, to reverse or undermine this SCOTUS decision.

Yesterday was one of those days.

In an effort to use what may be his last term in office, Texas Governor Rick Perry called a special session in an attempt to further restrict the rights of Texas women. The effort to pass Senate Bill 5, aka SB5, went into the wee hours, as Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, with absolute and sometimes hilarious support from the other Senate members of the Texas Democratic Party, stood in opposition to the bill for thirteen hours of non-stop delivery of information, which included reading miles of comments from her constituents, which we got to hear via livestream supplied by The Texas Tribune’s YouTube page, where many clips of last night’s session can be found.  An animated overview has been comicalized by NMAtv

The bill :::

By: Hegar, et al. S.B. No. 5


relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and
facilities; providing penalties.
SECTION 1. Subchapter A, Chapter 171, Health and Safety
Code, is amended by adding Section 171.0031 to read as follows:
physician performing or inducing an abortion:
(1) must, on the date the abortion is performed, have
active admitting privileges at a hospital that:
(A) is located not further than 30 miles from the
location at which the abortion is performed or induced; and
(B) provides obstetrical or gynecological health
care services; and
(2) shall provide the pregnant woman with:
(A) a telephone number by which the pregnant
woman may reach the physician, or other health care personnel
employed by the physician or by the facility at which the abortion
was performed with access to the woman’s relevant medical records,
24 hours a day to request assistance for any complications that
arise from the performance of the abortion or ask health-related
questions regarding the abortion; and
(B) the name and telephone number of the nearest
hospital to the home of the pregnant woman at which an emergency
arising from the abortion would be treated.
(b) A physician who violates Subsection (a) commits an
offense. An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor
punishable by a fine only, not to exceed $4,000.
SECTION 2. Chapter 171, Health and Safety Code, is amended
by adding Subchapter C to read as follows:
Sec. 171.041. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
(1) “Abortion-inducing drug” means a drug, a medicine,
or any other substance, including a regimen of two or more drugs,
medicines, or substances, prescribed, dispensed, or administered
with the intent of terminating a clinically diagnosable pregnancy
of a woman and with knowledge that the termination will, with
reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the woman’s unborn child.
The term includes off-label use of drugs, medicines, or other
substances known to have abortion-inducing properties that are
prescribed, dispensed, or administered with the intent of causing
an abortion, including the Mifeprex regimen. The term does not
include a drug, medicine, or other substance that may be known to
cause an abortion but is prescribed, dispensed, or administered for
other medical reasons.
(2) “Final printed label” or “FPL” means the
informational document approved by the United States Food and Drug
Administration for an abortion-inducing drug that:
(A) outlines the protocol authorized by that
agency and agreed to by the drug company applying for authorization
of the drug by that agency; and
(B) delineates how a drug is to be used according
to approval by that agency.
(3) “Gestational age” means the amount of time that
has elapsed since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period.
(4) “Medical abortion” means the administration or use
of an abortion-inducing drug to induce an abortion.
(5) “Mifeprex regimen,” “RU-486 regimen,” or “RU-486”
means the abortion-inducing drug regimen approved by the United
States Food and Drug Administration that consists of administering
mifepristone and misoprostal.
(6) “Physician” means an individual who is licensed to
practice medicine in this state, including a medical doctor and a
doctor of osteopathic medicine.
(7) “Pregnant” means the female reproductive
condition of having an unborn child in a woman’s uterus.
(8) “Unborn child” means an offspring of human beings
from conception until birth.
subchapter does not apply to an abortion with the intent to:
(1) save the life or preserve the health of an unborn
(2) remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused
by spontaneous abortion;
(3) remove an ectopic pregnancy; or
(4) treat a maternal disease or illness for which a
prescribed drug, medicine, or other substance is indicated.
Notwithstanding Section 171.005, the Texas Medical Board shall
enforce this subchapter.
(a) A person may not knowingly give, sell, dispense, administer,
provide, or prescribe an abortion-inducing drug to a pregnant woman
for the purpose of inducing an abortion in the pregnant woman or
enabling another person to induce an abortion in the pregnant woman
(1) the person who gives, sells, dispenses,
administers, provides, or prescribes the abortion-inducing drug is
a physician;
(2) the physician administering the abortion-inducing
drug administers the drug to the woman while both are present at an
abortion facility licensed under Chapter 245; and
(3) the provision, prescription, or administration of
the abortion-inducing drug, except as provided by Subsection (a-1),
satisfies the protocol tested and authorized by the United States
Food and Drug Administration as outlined in the final printed label
of the abortion-inducing drug.
(a-1) A person may provide, prescribe, or administer the
abortion-inducing drug in the dosage amount prescribed by the
clinical management guidelines defined by the American Congress of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin as those
guidelines existed on January 1, 2013.
(b) Before the physician gives, sells, dispenses,
administers, provides, or prescribes an abortion-inducing drug,
the physician must examine the pregnant woman and document, in the
woman’s medical record, the gestational age and intrauterine
location of the pregnancy.
(c) The physician who gives, sells, dispenses, administers,
provides, or prescribes an abortion-inducing drug shall provide the
pregnant woman with:
(1) a copy of the final printed label of that
abortion-inducing drug; and
(2) a telephone number by which the pregnant woman may
reach the physician, or other health care personnel employed by the
physician or by the facility at which the abortion was performed
with access to the woman’s relevant medical records, 24 hours a day
to request assistance for any complications that arise from the
administration or use of the drug or ask health-related questions
regarding the administration or use of the drug.
(d) The physician who gives, sells, dispenses, administers,
provides, or prescribes the abortion-inducing drug, or the
physician’s agent, must schedule a follow-up visit for the woman to
occur not more than 14 days after the administration or use of the
drug. At the follow-up visit, the physician must:
(1) confirm that the pregnancy is completely
terminated; and
(2) assess the degree of bleeding.
(e) The physician who gives, sells, dispenses, administers,
provides, or prescribes the abortion-inducing drug, or the
physician’s agent, shall make a reasonable effort to ensure that
the woman returns for the scheduled follow-up visit under
Subsection (d). The physician or the physician’s agent shall
document a brief description of any effort made to comply with this
subsection, including the date, time, and name of the person making
the effort, in the woman’s medical record.
(f) If a physician gives, sells, dispenses, administers,
provides, or prescribes an abortion-inducing drug to a pregnant
woman for the purpose of inducing an abortion as authorized by this
section and the physician knows that the woman experiences a
serious adverse event, as defined by the MedWatch Reporting System,
during or after the administration or use of the drug, the physician
shall report the event to the United States Food and Drug
Administration through the MedWatch Reporting System not later than
the third day after the date the physician learns that the event
Sec. 171.044. ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY. (a) The Texas
Medical Board may take disciplinary action under Chapter 164,
Occupations Code, or assess an administrative penalty under
Subchapter A, Chapter 165, Occupations Code, against a person who
violates Section 171.043.
(b) A penalty may not be assessed under this section against
a pregnant woman who receives a medical abortion.
SECTION 3. Subsection (a), Section 245.010, Health and
Safety Code, is amended to read as follows:
(a) The rules must contain minimum standards to protect the
health and safety of a patient of an abortion facility and must
contain provisions requiring compliance with the requirements of
Subchapter B, Chapter 171. On and after September 1, 2014, the
minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to
the minimum standards adopted under Section 243.010 for ambulatory
surgical centers.
SECTION 4. Effective September 1, 2014, Subsection (c),
Section 245.010, Health and Safety Code, is repealed.
SECTION 5. This Act may not be construed to repeal, by
implication or otherwise, Subdivision (18), Subsection (a),
Section 164.052, Occupations Code, Section 170.002, Health and
Safety Code, or any other provision of Texas law regulating or
restricting abortion not specifically addressed by this Act. An
abortion that complies with this Act but violates any other law is
unlawful. An abortion that complies with another state law but
violates this Act is unlawful as provided in this Act.
SECTION 6. (a) If some or all of the provisions of this Act
are ever temporarily or permanently restrained or enjoined by
judicial order, all other provisions of Texas law regulating or
restricting abortion shall be enforced as though the restrained or
enjoined provisions had not been adopted; provided, however, that
whenever the temporary or permanent restraining order or injunction
is stayed or dissolved, or otherwise ceases to have effect, the
provisions shall have full force and effect.
(b) Mindful of Leavitt v. Jane L., 518 U.S. 137 (1996), in
which in the context of determining the severability of a state
statute regulating abortion the United States Supreme Court held
that an explicit statement of legislative intent is controlling, it
is the intent of the legislature that every provision, section,
subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word in this Act, and
every application of the provisions in this Act, are severable from
each other. If any application of any provision in this Act to any
person, group of persons, or circumstances is found by a court to be
invalid, the remaining applications of that provision to all other
persons and circumstances shall be severed and may not be affected.
All constitutionally valid applications of this Act shall be
severed from any applications that a court finds to be invalid,
leaving the valid applications in force, because it is the
legislature’s intent and priority that the valid applications be
allowed to stand alone. Even if a reviewing court finds a provision
of this Act to impose an undue burden in a large or substantial
fraction of relevant cases, the applications that do not present an
undue burden shall be severed from the remaining provisions and
shall remain in force, and shall be treated as if the legislature
had enacted a statute limited to the persons, group of persons, or
circumstances for which the statute’s application does not present
an undue burden. The legislature further declares that it would
have passed this Act, and each provision, section, subsection,
sentence, clause, phrase, or word, and all constitutional
applications of this Act, irrespective of the fact that any
provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word,
or applications of this Act, were to be declared unconstitutional
or to represent an undue burden.
(c) If any provision of this Act is found by any court to be
unconstitutionally vague, then the applications of that provision
that do not present constitutional vagueness problems shall be
severed and remain in force.
SECTION 7. (a) The executive commissioner of the Health
and Human Services Commission shall adopt the standards required by
Section 245.010, Health and Safety Code, as amended by this Act, not
later than January 1, 2014.
(b) A facility licensed under Chapter 245, Health and Safety
Code, is not required to comply with the standards adopted under
Section 245.010, Health and Safety Code, as amended by this Act,
before September 1, 2014.
SECTION 8. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
Act takes effect on the 91st day after the last day of the
legislative session.


The Texas Senate developed session rules for allowing and interrupting a filibuster, which Senator Davis followed throughout her thirteen hours of protest against this new attempt by the GOP to usurp the rights of Texas women. Davis was stripped of the first of three allowable strikes toward losing the right to continue after being accused of making comments which were not germane to the discussion. Hours later, she was robbed of her second strike.

Ms. Davis has a disability, and was charged with her second strike for accepting help from a colleague in her effort to put on her back brace. After standing for so many hours, she was penalized for addressing her health needs, likely in violation of the protections provided by Section 12112 of the Americans With Disability Act.

By all accounts (and by design) Senate Bill 5, combined with recently passed legislation requiring a woman to submit to mandatory ultrasound before undergoing the process of abortion, is a direct assault on and will undermine women’s rights to self-determination, to privacy, and to health care.

The sonogram bill :::

H.B. No. 15

relating to informed consent to an abortion.
SECTION 1. Section 171.002, Health and Safety Code, is
amended to read as follows:
Sec. 171.002. DEFINITIONS [DEFINITION]. In this chapter:
(1) “Abortion” [, “abortion”] means the use of any
means to terminate the pregnancy of a female known by the attending
physician to be pregnant with the intention that the termination of
the pregnancy by those means will, with reasonable likelihood,
cause the death of the fetus.
(2) “Abortion provider” means a facility where an
abortion is performed, including the office of a physician and a
facility licensed under Chapter 245.
(3) “Medical emergency” means a life-threatening
physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a
pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in
danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a
major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.
(4) “Sonogram” means the use of ultrasonic waves for
diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, specifically to monitor an
unborn child.
SECTION 2. Section 171.012, Health and Safety Code, is
amended by amending Subsections (a), (b), and (c) and adding
Subsection (a-1) to read as follows:
(a) Consent [Except in the case of a medical emergency,
consent] to an abortion is voluntary and informed only if:
(1) the physician who is to perform the abortion [or
the referring physician] informs the pregnant woman on whom the
abortion is to be performed of:
(A) the physician’s name [of the physician who
will perform the abortion];
(B) the particular medical risks associated with
the particular abortion procedure to be employed, including, when
medically accurate:
(i) the risks of infection and hemorrhage;
(ii) the potential danger to a subsequent
pregnancy and of infertility; and
(iii) the possibility of increased risk of
breast cancer following an induced abortion and the natural
protective effect of a completed pregnancy in avoiding breast
(C) the probable gestational age of the unborn
child at the time the abortion is to be performed; and
(D) the medical risks associated with carrying
the child to term;
(2) the physician who is to perform the abortion or the
physician’s agent informs the pregnant woman that:
(A) medical assistance benefits may be available
for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care;
(B) the father is liable for assistance in the
support of the child without regard to whether the father has
offered to pay for the abortion; and
(C) public and private agencies provide
pregnancy prevention counseling and medical referrals for
obtaining pregnancy prevention medications or devices, including
emergency contraception for victims of rape or incest; [and]
(3) the physician who is to perform the abortion or the
physician’s agent:
(A) provides [(D)] the pregnant woman with [has
the right to review] the printed materials described by Section
171.014; and
(B) informs the pregnant woman[,] that those
(i) have been provided by the [Texas]
Department of State Health Services;
(ii) [and] are accessible on an Internet
website sponsored by the department;
(iii) [, and that the materials] describe
the unborn child and list agencies that offer alternatives to
abortion; and
(iv) include a list of agencies that offer
sonogram services at no cost to the pregnant woman;
(4) before any sedative or anesthesia is administered
to the pregnant woman and at least 24 hours before the abortion or
at least two hours before the abortion if the pregnant woman waives
this requirement by certifying that she currently lives 100 miles
or more from the nearest abortion provider that is a facility
licensed under Chapter 245 or a facility that performs more than 50
abortions in any 12-month period:
(A) the physician who is to perform the abortion
or an agent of the physician who is also a sonographer certified by
a national registry of medical sonographers performs a sonogram on
the pregnant woman on whom the abortion is to be performed;
(B) the physician who is to perform the abortion
displays the sonogram images in a quality consistent with current
medical practice in a manner that the pregnant woman may view them;
(C) the physician who is to perform the abortion
provides, in a manner understandable to a layperson, a verbal
explanation of the results of the sonogram images, including a
medical description of the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the
presence of cardiac activity, and the presence of external members
and internal organs; and
(D) the physician who is to perform the abortion
or an agent of the physician who is also a sonographer certified by
a national registry of medical sonographers makes audible the heart
auscultation for the pregnant woman to hear, if present, in a
quality consistent with current medical practice and provides, in a
manner understandable to a layperson, a simultaneous verbal
explanation of the heart auscultation;
(5) before receiving a sonogram under Subdivision
(4)(A) and [(3) the woman certifies in writing] before the abortion
is performed and before any sedative or anesthesia is administered,
the pregnant woman completes and certifies with her signature an
election form that states as follows:

[that the information described by Subdivisions (1) and (2) has
been provided to her and that she has been informed of her
opportunity to review the information described by Section
171.014]; [and]
(6) [(4)] before the abortion is performed, the
physician who is to perform the abortion receives a copy of the
signed, written certification required by Subdivision (5); and
(7) the pregnant woman is provided the name of each
person who provides or explains the information required under this
subsection [(3)].
(a-1) During a visit made to a facility to fulfill the
requirements of Subsection (a), the facility and any person at the
facility may not accept any form of payment, deposit, or exchange or
make any financial agreement for an abortion or abortion-related
services other than for payment of a service required by Subsection
(a). The amount charged for a service required by Subsection (a)
may not exceed the reimbursement rate established for the service
by the Health and Human Services Commission for statewide medical
reimbursement programs.
(b) The information required to be provided under
Subsections (a)(1) and (2) may not be provided by audio or video
recording and must be provided at least 24 hours before the abortion
is to be performed:
(1) orally and [by telephone or] in person in a private
and confidential setting if the pregnant woman currently lives less
than 100 miles from the nearest abortion provider that is a facility
licensed under Chapter 245 or a facility that performs more than 50
abortions in any 12-month period; or [and]
(2) orally by telephone or in person in a private and
confidential setting if the pregnant woman certifies that the woman
currently lives 100 miles or more from the nearest abortion
provider that is a facility licensed under Chapter 245 or a facility
that performs more than 50 abortions in any 12-month period [at
least 24 hours before the abortion is to be performed].
(c) When providing the information under Subsection (a)(3)
[(a)(2)(D)], the physician or the physician’s agent must provide
the pregnant woman with the address of the Internet website on which
the printed materials described by Section 171.014 may be viewed as
required by Section 171.014(e).
SECTION 3. Subchapter B, Chapter 171, Health and Safety
Code, is amended by adding Sections 171.0121, 171.0122, 171.0123,
and 171.0124 to read as follows:
Sec. 171.0121. MEDICAL RECORD. (a) Before the abortion
begins, a copy of the signed, written certification received by the
physician under Section 171.012(a)(6) must be placed in the
pregnant woman’s medical records.
(b) A copy of the signed, written certification required
under Sections 171.012(a)(5) and (6) shall be retained by the
facility where the abortion is performed until:
(1) the seventh anniversary of the date it is signed;
(2) if the pregnant woman is a minor, the later of:
(A) the seventh anniversary of the date it is
signed; or
(B) the woman’s 21st birthday.
pregnant woman may choose not to view the printed materials
provided under Section 171.012(a)(3) after she has been provided
the materials.
(b) A pregnant woman may choose not to view the sonogram
images required to be provided to and reviewed with the pregnant
woman under Section 171.012(a)(4).
(c) A pregnant woman may choose not to hear the heart
auscultation required to be provided to and reviewed with the
pregnant woman under Section 171.012(a)(4).
(d) A pregnant woman may choose not to receive the verbal
explanation of the results of the sonogram images under Section
171.012(a)(4)(C) if:
(1) the woman’s pregnancy is a result of a sexual
assault, incest, or other violation of the Penal Code that has been
reported to law enforcement authorities or that has not been
reported because she has a reason that she declines to reveal
because she reasonably believes that to do so would put her at risk
of retaliation resulting in serious bodily injury;
(2) the woman is a minor and obtaining an abortion in
accordance with judicial bypass procedures under Chapter 33, Family
Code; or
(3) the fetus has an irreversible medical condition or
abnormality, as previously identified by reliable diagnostic
procedures and documented in the woman’s medical file.
(e) The physician and the pregnant woman are not subject to
a penalty under this chapter solely because the pregnant woman
chooses not to view the printed materials or the sonogram images,
hear the heart auscultation, or receive the verbal explanation, if
waived as provided by this section.
If, after being provided with a sonogram and the information
required under this subchapter, the pregnant woman chooses not to
have an abortion, the physician or an agent of the physician shall
provide the pregnant woman with a publication developed by the
Title IV-D agency that provides information about paternity
establishment and child support, including:
(1) the steps necessary for unmarried parents to
establish legal paternity;
(2) the benefits of paternity establishment for
(3) the steps necessary to obtain a child support
(4) the benefits of establishing a legal parenting
order; and
(5) financial and legal responsibilities of
physician may perform an abortion without obtaining informed
consent under this subchapter in a medical emergency. A physician
who performs an abortion in a medical emergency shall:
(1) include in the patient’s medical records a
statement signed by the physician certifying the nature of the
medical emergency; and
(2) not later than the 30th day after the date the
abortion is performed, certify to the Department of State Health
Services the specific medical condition that constituted the
SECTION 4. Section 171.013(a), Health and Safety Code, is
amended to read as follows:
(a) The [If the woman chooses to view the materials
described by Section 171.014, the] physician or the physician’s
agent shall furnish copies of the materials described by Section
171.014 to the pregnant woman [her] at least 24 hours before the
abortion is to be performed and shall direct the pregnant woman to
the Internet website required to be published under Section
171.014(e). The [A] physician or the physician’s agent may furnish
the materials to the pregnant woman by mail if the materials are
mailed, restricted delivery to addressee, at least 72 hours before
the abortion is to be performed.
SECTION 5. Section 171.015, Health and Safety Code, is
amended to read as follows:
AGENCIES. The informational materials must include [either]:
(1) geographically indexed materials designed to
inform the pregnant woman of public and private agencies and
services that:
(A) are available to assist a woman through
pregnancy, childbirth, and the child’s dependency, including:
(i) a comprehensive list of adoption
(ii) a description of the services the
adoption agencies offer; [and]
(iii) a description of the manner,
including telephone numbers, in which an adoption agency may be
contacted; and
(iv) a comprehensive list of agencies and
organizations that offer sonogram services at no cost to the
pregnant woman;
(B) do not provide abortions or abortion-related
services or make referrals to abortion providers; and
(C) are not affiliated with organizations that
provide abortions or abortion-related services or make referrals to
abortion providers; and [or]
(2) a toll-free, 24-hour telephone number that may be
called to obtain an oral list and description of agencies described
by Subdivision (1) that are located near the caller and of the
services the agencies offer.
SECTION 6. Subchapter A, Chapter 241, Health and Safety
Code, is amended by adding Section 241.007 to read as follows:
REGARDING SONOGRAM BEFORE ABORTION. A hospital shall comply with
Subchapter B, Chapter 171.
SECTION 7. Subchapter A, Chapter 243, Health and Safety
Code, is amended by adding Section 243.017 to read as follows:
REGARDING SONOGRAM BEFORE ABORTION. An ambulatory surgical center
shall comply with Subchapter B, Chapter 171.
SECTION 8. Section 245.006(a), Health and Safety Code, is
amended to read as follows:
(a) The department shall [may] inspect an abortion facility
at random, unannounced, and reasonable times as necessary to ensure
compliance with this chapter and Subchapter B, Chapter 171.
SECTION 9. Chapter 245, Health and Safety Code, is amended
by adding Section 245.024 to read as follows:
comply with Subchapter B, Chapter 171.
SECTION 10. Section 164.055(a), Occupations Code, is
amended to read as follows:
(a) The board shall [may] take an appropriate disciplinary
action against a physician who violates Section 170.002 or Chapter
171, Health and Safety Code. The board shall [may] refuse to admit
to examination or refuse to issue a license or renewal license to a
person who violates that section or chapter.
SECTION 11. Subchapter B, Chapter 164, Occupations Code, is
amended by adding Section 164.0551 to read as follows:
REGARDING SONOGRAM BEFORE ABORTION. A physician shall comply with
Subchapter B, Chapter 171, Health and Safety Code.
SECTION 12. The purposes of this Act include, but are not
limited to:
(1) protecting the physical and psychological health
and well-being of pregnant women;
(2) providing pregnant women access to information
that would allow her to consider the impact an abortion would have
on her unborn child; and
(3) protecting the integrity and ethical standards of
the medical profession.
SECTION 13. The change in law made by this Act applies only
to an abortion performed on or after the 30th day after the
effective date of this Act. An abortion performed before the 30th
day after the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in
effect on the date the abortion was performed, and the former law is
continued in effect for that purpose.
SECTION 14. The Title IV-D agency shall publish the
information required by Section 171.0123, Health and Safety Code,
as added by this Act, not later than the 30th day after the
effective date of this Act.
SECTION 15. Every provision in this Act and every
application of the provisions in this Act are severable from each
other. If any application of any provision in this Act to any
person or group of persons or circumstances is found by a court to
be invalid, the remainder of this Act and the application of the
Act’s provisions to all other persons and circumstances may not be
affected. All constitutionally valid applications of this Act
shall be severed from any applications that a court finds to be
invalid, leaving the valid applications in force, because it is the
legislature’s intent and priority that the valid applications be
allowed to stand alone. Even if a reviewing court finds a provision
of this Act invalid in a large or substantial fraction of relevant
cases, the remaining valid applications shall be severed and
allowed to remain in force.
SECTION 16. This Act takes effect immediately if it
receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each
house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.
If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate
effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2011.

______________________________ ______________________________
President of the Senate Speaker of the House

I certify that H.B. No. 15 was passed by the House on March 7,
2011, by the following vote: Yeas 107, Nays 42, 1 present, not
voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
No. 15 on May 5, 2011, by the following vote: Yeas 94, Nays 41, 1
present, not voting.

Chief Clerk of the House

I certify that H.B. No. 15 was passed by the Senate, with
amendments, on May 3, 2011, by the following vote: Yeas 21, Nays

Secretary of the Senate
APPROVED: __________________



While it’s unimaginable to any thinking person that this previously enacted sonogram bill is somehow not relevant to the discussion about women’s right to terminate a pregnancy, Senator Whitmire, with Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (and more recently, here) looking over his shoulder as he had done all night, sustained a complaint that, by talking about the sonogram bill, Davis had committed her third infraction, thus ending the filibuster. But it wasn’t over.


Within minutes, someone did a hilarious, if short lived, edit of the wiki page to honor Davis.

le bron davis

With an hour and three minutes to spare, Senator Kirk Watson stepped up to the plate, with raucous support from the folks in the gallery.

Senator Watson was first elected as Mayor of Austin in 1997. In 2000, he was re-elected with 84% of the vote, which is the highest percentage of the vote ever handed to an Austin mayoral candidate. Wikipedia also tells us that Watson swept into the Texas Senate in 2006 with 80% of the vote, then went on to his second term in 2008 after no opposition in the Democratic primary. It’s safe to say that Senator Watson speaks for his constituents.

Watson began what became more than an hour of procedural argument, in which he and others questioned and challenged the decisions preceding the ending of the filibuster. He made it perfectly clear that it was his belief, supported by other democrats and the cheering people of Texas, that a discussion about a previous bill which was passed quite specifically to hinder a woman’s ability to access abortion was, indeed, germane to the discussion about SB5. What ensued was an amazing series of efforts to use up the clock. What is most notable about these efforts is that every argument was on topic, valid, and germane to the discussion.

During this final hour of debate, which was made up of one procedural parliamentary inquiry after another, Senator Judith Zaffirini also delivered powerful opposition to the ruling party, echoing and intelligently supporting Watson’s claims regarding germaneness of Davis’ comments. Then, Senator Leticia Van de Putte made an attempt, nearing midnight, to call for adjournment. She was ignored, as Republicans attempted to force feed the bill to a vote.

van de putte

Van de Putte stood up again, and instigated the final gallery noise session which carried us all past the midnight mark with this statement :::

‘At what point must a female senator raise her hand to be recognized over her male colleagues in the room?’

The reaction :::

From this moment on, citizens of Texas continued revealing themselves, as a group, a formidable adversary to the GOP, making it nearly impossible to hear a word, let alone process a vote. The republicans in charge made heroic attempts to push through the several challenges and inquiries on the table, to get to a vote on the bill. NBCDFW reported that at that point, there was an enormous push to clear the gallery to enable the GOP to push the vote. Sad for the world that a woman was the one pushing so hard.

“”Get them out!” Sen. Donna Campbell shouted to a security guard, pointing to the thundering crowd in the gallery overhead that had already been screaming for more than 10 minutes.

“Time is running out,” Campbell pleaded. “I want them out of here!”

At midnight, most folks online in the livestream chats were celebrating, but then came word that the GOP believed they had passed the bill. Whitmire called all Senators to a secret meeting to determine the outcome of the vote, while police continued bullying spectators in an effort to clear the gallery. One woman was arrested, but the large crowd managed to keep ownership of the palace.

woman arrested davis

From that time and on through the following two hours or so, people stayed to await the verdict. The rest of the world was able to watch, thanks to live streaming provided by Christopher DIDO. He made it possible for, at one point, 18,888 people to stay in the know.

People cheered Wendy Davis, and waited in worry to see if the GOP had managed to bypass law and senate regulations to inflict their archaic controls on the women of Texas. During this wait, news surfaced that the vote had been, as so many suspected, entered into the log after midnight. The records showed the vote was entered at 12:03am, landing the decision clearly onto today.

after midnight

Immediately thereafter, another tidbit of information appeared : the news that someone had changed the timestamp on the vote to land it back to yesterday.

voter fraud

Louis J. Marinelli addresses this republican conspiracy to defraud the people of Texas. He links to another image.

texas fraud

In the end, the Lt. Governor acknowledged defeat.

davis dido

Given the concern the State of Texas shows over nonexistent voter fraud by the people of Texas, even going so far as to immediately implement a policy of voter id requirements within minutes of the SCOTUS decision to gut the Voting Rights Act, one has to wonder whether someone in the Texas Senate will file a complaint about this fraudulent action taken by someone from inside the Texas system.

That makes two breaches of the public trust in one session : the violation of Wendy Davis’ disability rights, and fraud by the GOP in their attempt to steal a vote.

The #standwithwendy twitterfeed provides a timeline of events and actions, capturing the emotions of onlookers from around the country and the world. The author’s @wiseoldsnail twitterfeed also provides a timeline, plus injections of other happenings during this proceeding. For future reference (and a great overall resource) @texastribune is the feed to continue watching for upcoming information regarding the Texas legislative happenings. The Texas Tribune did a stellar job of covering this debate, and is continuing to do so. They’ve already published an article to tell us that what we all thought would happen is, indeed, happening. Governor Rick Perry has already called for a second special session, in his never ending bid to restrict the rights of women in Texas.

Today will mark the 500th murder by the State of Texas with the execution of Kimberly McCarthy, who has spent sixteen of her fifty two years locked up for killing her neighbor. Rick Perry, who calls himself pro-life, has presided over half those executions.

Given the fact that Texas executes an inmate about every three weeks, one has to wonder how the Grand Ol’ Party of Texas doesn’t see the conflict with calling itself the ‘pro-life’ party.

We are just here updating the NSA email system. Nothing big.

We are just here updating the NSA email system. Nothing big.

Also we would like you to look at &
Is that Adrian Lamo & Bill Gates? Know hacker/informant/snitch & Microsoft ex-owner & founder?
Up to you to decided.
We are sure you can find even more.


republished without permission
from pastebin

Daisy Thomas Homegoing

People’s Community Medics co-founder, Sharena Diamond Thomas’ beloved mother, Daisy Thomas, passed away on June 1st after battling cancer. Services for Ms. Daisy are being planned details will be made available as soon as possible. Sharena and her children were her mother’s constant and loving caregivers and as funeral expenses are exorbitant your love donation of any amount will be greatly appreciated. Many thanks for all the calls, cards, visits and donations made to date.


Tornado Rips Through Midwest

20 May 2013

At least twenty four confirmed dead, including eight children, and miles of devastation from the latest tornado system, which deleted a mile and a quarter wide swath of life and buildings in the south of Oklahoma City and Moore, Oklahoma. Rescue at Plaza Towers Elementary School in the Moore area has now been switched to recovery, as the teams working having found nobody left alive under the rubble of that school. At least seven children are confirmed dead at that school. Briarwood School was also destroyed.

Live ongoing video coverage is being provided by NBC, with helicopters in the air, including footage of the tornado.

From the linked article :

A preliminary report from the National Weather Service rated the storm as at least an EF4, the second-worst category, The Weather Channel reported. EF4 tornadoes have winds of 166 to 200 mph.

Some screenshots show the massive size of the storm, and some of the complete destruction of the area.


Thankfully, with the tales of loss and destruction, stories are emerging of teachers saving children by literally lying on top of them to keep them safe.

All children found are being brought to : St. Andrews Church : 119th & South May

The storm is not over. The Moore tornado is heading past Beaver Lake and heading toward Benton, Arkansas, and Branson, Missouri.

Huffington Post is also covering this story.



This new article at Huffington Post reviews senators who voted to restrict federal aid to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. It also includes a sad but amazing slideshow attached.

update : wednesday the death toll was adjusted, as people thought lost and dead were found alive … the death toll was reduced from fifty one to twenty four, and is reflected in an edit of this article

also, more screenshots and video have been and will continue to be added as they’re posted by people

Kern County Deputies Who Beat David Silva Doxed by Anonymous

Kern County Sheriffs’ Department
Donny Youngblood

1350 Norris Rd
Bakersfield, California 93308

Unarmed Father of 4 David Sal Silva Beaten to death by 9 Kern County Officers

“I took the unprecedented step of asking the FBI to conduct a parallel investigation,” Youngblood told The Times. “Our credibility is at stake here.”

The seven deputies and two California Highway Patrol officers tried to take Silva into custody early Wednesday morning after law enforcement received a report of a possibly intoxicated man outside Kern Medical Center, according to the sheriff’s department.

Silva struggled with them, deputies said. A canine was deployed, batons were used and Silva, 33, was pronounced dead at KMC less than an hour later after experiencing trouble breathing.

Witnesses have said Silva appeared to die right in front of them, minutes after officers struck him several times with batons.

The coroner’s office, which reports to Sheriff Donny Youngblood, said Friday that the cause of death hasn’t been determined and is pending toxicology and microscopic studies. Those studies could take as long as four months.

VIDEO Along with Witness Accounts

Another Article

Officers Involved
Sgt. Douglas Sword On Force > 13 1/2 years
Deputy David Stephens On Force > 5 1/2 years
Deputy Brian Brock On Force > 1 1/2 years
Deputy Luis Almanza On Force > 3 years
Deputy Jeffrey Kelly On Force > 4 years
Deputy Tanner Miller On Force > 4 1/2 years
Deputy Ryan Greer On Force > 4 1/2 years

DOX Kern County Sheriff’s Department
Sheriff Donny Youngblood

On Monday May 13th, 2013 Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) analyze the two cell phones seized pursuant to a search warrant related to the in custody death of David Silva. Specifically, Sheriff Youngblood requested the FBI conduct a forensic analysis of the contents of the cell phones. A request to the FBI was made following the preliminary results of the Bakersfield Police Department’s analysis of the phones. The analysis by the Bakersfield Police Department confirmed the existence of video footage related to this incident on one phone and no video footage on the second phone. This prompted the subsequent request for further analysis by the FBI. Sheriff Youngblood also requested the FBI conduct a parallel investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident. Today, Sheriff’s Office personnel transported the phones to the FBI Sacramento Office for analysis.

UPDATE : The Kern County Sheriff’s Office has decided to postpone Law Enforcement Day at the Sheriff’s Office, which had been scheduled for Saturday May 18th. The Sheriff’s Office planned the event as a day for the community to tour our facility, view demonstrations from several of our specialized units such as the Bomb Squad and K-9 unit, and talk to the men and women who work for the Sheriff’s Office protecting the citizens of Kern County every day. Unfortunately due to recent events, the Sheriff’s Office felt it would be appropriate to postpone the event. The Sheriff’s Office apologizes to those community members who had planned on attending the event. The event will be re-scheduled in the future.

Sgt. Doug and his wife Mary Sword live on 2120 Jason Street Bakersfield CA.

Officer Ryan Greer lives with wife Tarrah T Greer at
6901 Hooper Ave
Bakersfield , California 93308

Property Information >

Estimated Value: $261,900
Monthly Value Change: $4,000
Last Updated: 04/22/2013
Bedroom(s): 4
Bathroom(s): 2.75
Square Feet: 2,634
Property Type: Single Family Home

Year Built: 1972
Monthly Est. Mortgage: $1,190
Monthly Est. Insurance: $76
Monthly Property Tax: $269
Price Per SqFt: $99
Last Sold Date: 05/29/2003
Last Sold Price: $220,000

We Are Anonymous
We Are Legion
We Do Not Forgive
We Do Not Forget
Expect Us



Bratton $250,000 Report

Oakland Crime Reduction Project
Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations
May 8, 2013
The Bratton Group, LCC, in conjunction with the Strategic Policy Partnership, has
been working with the Oakland Police Police Department (OPD) on improving its
Compstat crime management and command accountability system and on
reorganizing its investigative functions to respond more effectively to homicides,
shootings, robberies, and burglaries. These reforms are an important component in
the larger effort to move the OPD to a Neighborhood Policing Plan, with the city
divided into five districts, each commanded by a captain. The key to this new
district-based structure is geographic accountability for each captain – and for their
subordinate lieutenants, sergeants, and officers – for a specific area of the city with
its specific crime and disorder problems, its familiar community members, and, to a
significant degree, its specific cast of criminal characters. Under the Neighborhood
Policing Plan, the district captains will be the principal crime fighters in the
Department, each taking responsibility for crime in their respective districts and
each held accountable for designing and directing responses and strategies to
counter crime conditions. So far the OPD has established two districts in East
Oakland with three more planned for the western part of the city.
The Neighborhood Policing Plan is a long-term effort to rebuild the service delivery
and crime-fighting capabilities of the OPD after years of attrition that have reduced
OPD headcount by about 25 percent. The OPD is working to add police officers, but
the current staffing shortfalls make it all the more important that the Department
deploys and manages its resources effectively now. The management and structural
reforms recommended here are part of a blueprint for focusing the OPD’s crime
fighting efforts at the local or district level. The Compstat crime management system
is being revamped into a more effective accountability tool, providing a relentless
focus on responding to and resolving local crime and police service problems. In a
key structural reform, the recommended establishment of decentralized District
Investigation Units (DIUs), will give the district captains an investigative resource to
help them in their efforts to counter and control local crime.
The Compstat Process
The Compstat Process is a paradigm-shifting approach to police management. It is an
accountablity tool, a training tool, a motivational tool, and a crime analysis tool. Its
fundamental purpose is to keep key police managers – including chiefs, district
captains, investigative supervisors, and special unit commanders – sharply focused on
the central police responsibilites of responding to and controlling crime. The heart of
the process is a series of regularly scheduled crime strategy meetings where a police
department’s top management and its field managers engage in tough, probing
sessions about current crimes and the plans and tactics to counter them. The Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations 5/8/13
recommedations listed below are intended to strengthen OPD’s existing Compstat
process and have been implemented in the past two months.
• The Compstat Process as previously practiced in Oakland was more of a report
or a presentation by a captain than the system of vigorous strategic oversight.
Compstat should be an intensive and probing dialogue between the
department’s top commanders and its field managers, including patrol,
investigations and special unit commanders.
• The former Compstat presentations were too general and did not deal with
crime specifics. The exchanges at Compstat should be focused on the specifics of
crime patterns and individual crimes and the measures being taken to counter
• As formerly practiced, Oakland’s Compstat did not have a true primary
questioner pressing for answers to the critical questions about specific crime
problems. The department’s primary questioner should study, and be
conversant with, the current crime picture and should be ready to ask a series of
follow-up questions to ensure that every reasonable effort is being made, that
every solid lead is being followed, and that the Department’s various
components are responding swiftly to emerging crime patterns and problems.
• The captains and other field managers at Compstat were not being held
accountable for knowledge of crime in a designated district. Captains,
investigative commanders and special unit commanders should all be expected
to come to the meeting with a thorough familiarity with the crime patterns and
crime conditions in their areas of responsibility, which is achieved by reading
the incident reports about individual crimes.
• Under the existing process there was no sense of coordination, information
sharing or support from the centralized Criminal Invesigation Division (CID).
• Compstat meetings should be firmly under the control of the primary questioner
who drives the process forward and keeps it focused on the specific crime
problems and the plans to counter these problems.
• The primary questioner, not the reporting captain, should control and direct the
electronic maps and screens.
• Captains will be expected to be fully conversant with their crime problems,
having accurate, timely information by reading and understanding all Part I
crime reports.
• Expanded participation and input will be expected from investigative
supervisors at every level in the Department, who should be prepared to
describe in detail the response of their investigative units to current crime
incidents and patterns, to report on the status of all but the most sensitive active
investigations, and to share information about successful strategies.
• The Compstat Report should be a succinct summary of crime and enforcement
activity, showing trends in the previous two- and four-week periods, as well as Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations 5/8/13
year-to-date comparisons, that can be used as a departure point for Compstat
• Working from the Compstat Report, the primary questioner should engage the
district captain and other relevant supervisors concerning any spikes or trends
in the crime numbers, paying particular attention to spikes in killings and
shootings, and questioning them on their plans to deal with these issues, i.e., the
development of effective tactics.
• All Department chiefs and captains should be present at all Compstat meetings,
except in cases when other important business calls them away. Compstat
should be seen as one most important regular activities taking place in the
• In addition to general questioning about current crime trends, the primary
questioner should pursue a series of regular lines of questioning at the Compstat
o Hot Spots – What is being done to correct conditions at various hot-spot
o Calls for Service – Are calls for service up or down, and if up, why are they
spiking? Consider highlighting the top five locations for repeat calls in
each district. Why are police continually called there? What is the
underlying problem? Are we wasting valuable resources?
o Enforcement – What is happening with arrests and other enforcement
activity? Why are some officers in a given district very productive while
others are not? Are we making arrests in the right places and for the right
reasons? Are officers being properly directed by their supervisors
towards areas where crime is spiking?
o Warrants – What is the progress on executing Ramey warrants and other
warrants such as bail jumping, failure to appear, and parole warrants?
The number of Ramey warrants should be broken down by district, and
this information provided to each district captain and to the CID captain.
The district captains should be questioned about what is being done to
capture these suspects.
o Measures of Evidence Gathering and Processing – When Bratton Group
recommendations concerning the tracking of crime scene work are
implemented, Compstat should include a recap of crime scene runs and
lab submissions from supervisors assigned to these functions. This would
cover the number of runs responded to, the number of locations
fingerprinted, the number of ballistics and DNA submissions, etc.
o Ceasefire – How many Ceasefire individuals called to a call-in reside in a
district? How many accepted service? How many in/out of jail? How
many have been injured? How many have been victims of crime
themselves? How many are wanted for a crime?
o Persistent Quality-of-Life issues – What are the quality-of-life issues that
are most problematic for the community? What are we doing about them?
Members of the Bratton Group team worked intensively with Assistant Chief
Eric Bershears to help prepare him for his role as the primary Compstat Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations 5/8/13
questioner and participated in the Compstat meetings conducted on the new
model. They also assisted in revising the Compstat Report.
District Investigation Units (DIUs)
The recommended establishment of District Investigation Units will decentralize the
investigation of most robberies, burglaries, and shootings. The DIUs will report to the
district captains, giving the captains an investigative resource that can respond swiftly
to crime victims and crime scenes and pursue investigations through to arrest.
• Centralized investigations conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division
(CID) have not been successful in countering the growing robbery and burglary
problems in Oakland.
• Major Crimes Section 1 of CID, which investigates homicides, gun assaults,
suspicious deaths, and officer-involved shootings, has too large of a workload to
effectively investigate shootings, many of which are closed without further
investigation because of uncooperative victims.
• For a number of reasons, centralized robbery investigators working for Major
Crimes Section 2, are slow to respond to robberies and interview victims, losing
momentum on the investigation of pattern robberies.
• Effectively, burglaries are not investigated in the City of Oakland with only one
part-time investigator assigned to more than 10,000 burglaries last year.
• Increased camera monitoring of commerical areas throughout the city would
provide significantly more leads in robberies and burglaries and in some
shooting cases.
• Reduce the workload of Major Crimes Section 1 to homicides and grievous
assaults from which the victim is likely to die by assigning gun assaults for
investigation at the district level.
• Assign most robberies and non-gun assaults for investigation at the district level.
• Assign burglaries for investigation at the district level.
• Establish District Investigation Units (DIUs) in each of the five districts to
investigate robberies, burglaries, and assaults/shootings.
• Assign experienced investigative sergeants to manage the DIUs. These sergeants
would be responsible for all investigative activity in the districts and would
represent district investigations at Compstat.
• Assign three experienced investigators and three to four police officers to each
DIU, pairing experienced investigators with officers with less experience.
• Assign each investigator/police officer team to one of three specialties: robbery,
burglary, or assaults/shootings.
• Establish staggered schedules for DIU to ensure a working presence by
investigators in the afternoon and evening hours seven days a week. Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations 5/8/13
• Have DIU investigators respond to crime scenes, interview victims, canvass for
witnesses, gather evidence and identify crime patterns, modus operandi, and
repeat criminals active in the district.
• As the DIU system is established, use the DIUs as an investigator training ground
and career path, with officers moving in progression from police officer assigned
to a DIU, to a DIU lead investigator, to centralized CID and homicide
• Establish strictly observed case management protocols to provide guidelines for
DIU investigations, including updated Investigative Action Reports (IARs) at five
days, 15 days, and 28 days for each active case. The Bratton Group team has
prepared a sample case management system for adaption for use in Oakland.
• Significantly increase the camera monitoring capabilities of the OPD in
commercial areas throughout the city to provide identifications and evidence in
robbery, burglary and some shooting cases. Cameras would be monitored and
recorded at the Domain Awareness Center that is currently under construction.
Evidence Management
For the DIUs to be optimally effective, OPD should implement reforms in the
management of evidence, changing some of the priorities and systems by which
evidence is gathered and analyzed.
• Crime scene technicians in Oakland work without direct supervision and
therefore with little systematic organization.
• The OPD’s digital photo file access, which could be a key tool in identifying
robbery suspects, is extremely slow and is rarely used in current robbery
• Fingerprint evidence gathered at burglary scenes is not generally used in
burglary investigations or submitted for comparisons by the Automated
Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).
• More extensive and timely analysis of shell casings found at the scenes of
shootings and other crimes could provide stronger evidence in assault cases,
connecting guns to both specific crimes and specific gangs.
• Assign a supervisor, preferably a sergeant, to manage crime scene technicians
and establish a systematic dispatch protocol that both prioritizes and tracks all
crime scene runs.
• Acquire a faster running digital photo system to access Alameda County’s
Consolidated Arrest Report System (CARs) so that photo arrays can be shown
expeditiously to robbery victims.
• Establish a new protocol for the processing of fingerprints from burglary scenes
so that prints in cases with other leads and/or in cases that have been linked a
pattern of burglaries can be submitted for expeditious AFIS comparisons. Hire
additional fingerprint analysts as needed to provide this service. Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations 5/8/13
• Increase the analysis of shell casings found at shooting scenes to link specific
weapons to specific crimes across geographical areas and periods of time. Hire
additional ballistic analysts as necessary to provide this service.

This report was obtained and published by Da Lin of KPIX

From the man who said “Quite frankly, I’m always in favor of more cops”

From that same article : ‘Bratton again defended stop-and-frisk, which he said all police departments do to varying degrees. He said the term should be called “stop, question and frisk,” because most police stops end with a question and never result in suspects being searched.

In this interview at 2:27, Bill Bratton reveals a past clarity he has since abandoned.

There was a belief that crime was caused by things that were beyond the influence of the police, such as poverty, demographics … lotta young people … uh, the economy, uh, race issues, ethnic issues, ah the weather, ah … and we believed them.

He seems to have had, at one time, a real grasp on the actual root causes of crime. He goes on to dismiss those as causes.

Two months ago Bratton again appeared in a video interview, grabbing the spotlight to opine about gun control, and to praise and defend the stop & frisk policy, which he does after the question is posed at 4:01. First, they joke about him calling it ‘stop, question, & frisk’ … as if questioning someone for walking while black is better than frisking them for the same ‘suspicious’ behavior. He contradicts himself all in one sentence, then bumbles on.

It is a constitutionally protected activity by police. The challenge for police is to do it legally, compassionately, consistently. Not just in poor neighborhoods, not just in minority neighborhoods. And that is the issue, unfortunately, around the country because that is where it’s most frequently because unfortunately that is where the majority of crime, both serious and minor, it is committed. That’s the reality of our lives, our society. It is an essential tool of policing. Can police be better trained, supervised and monitored, I think they can. Uhh, but those that are advocating that it be done away with or representing that it can be done away with it, I’m sorry but you do away with it and, uh, you’re going to have cities overrun with crime because it is the basic tool that every police department in Amerikkka uses.

One has to wonder, if he was hired as ‘consultant’ by the city of Oakland for $250,000 for a four month stint, why he was being interviewed via videophone from New York, in the middle of his four month assignment.

Bratton goes on to say he won’t respond to something because he hasn’t yet been to Oakland. This interview was published on 22 February 2013. If he hadn’t been to Oakland by that date, how has he managed to deliver this report in less than seven weeks?

He finishes his comments by saying, “This stuff is not rocket science.”

If that is the case, why is Oakland paying $250,000 for some weeks of his time, just after many layoffs and whilst still in the midst of budget woes?

Meanwhile :::

Frazier to Reexamine Police Misconduct
“In an unprecedented move, OPD’s new compliance director plans to reinvestigate closed misconduct cases, including ones involving Occupy Oakland.”

Howard Jordan’s response to these recent developments is to quit his job and try to call it medical retirement.

Bradley Manning’s Voice

Freedom of the Press Foundation Publishes Leaked Audio of Bradley Manning’s Statement

March 11, 2013

Rainey Reitman

Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is publishing the full, previously unreleased audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks. In addition, we have published highlights from Manning’s statement to the court.

While unofficial transcripts of this statement are available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.

Bradley Manning’s Full Statement


See Help Spread Bradley Manning’s Words Across the Internet to embed the full audio, as well as excerpts from the audio, on your website.

He explains to the military court in his own cadence and words how and why he gave the Apache helicopter video, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars Logs, and the State Department Diplomatic Cables to WikiLeaks. Manning explains his motives, noting how he believed the documents showed deep wrongdoing by the government and how he hoped that the release would “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.” In conjunction with the statement, Private First Class Manning also pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him.

Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to supporting journalism that combats overreaching government secrecy. We have been disturbed that Manning’s pre-trial hearings have been hampered by the kind of extreme government secrecy that his releases to WikiLeaks were intended to protest. While reporters are allowed in the courtroom, no audio or visual recordings are permitted by the judge, no transcripts of the proceedings or any motions by the prosecution have been released, and lengthy court orders read on the stand by the judge have not been published for public review.

A short film by Laura Poitras

A group of journalists, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), has been engaged in a legal battle to force the court to be more open. While the government has belatedly released a small portion of documents related to the case, many of the most important orders have been withheld—such as the orders relating to the speedy trial proceedings or the order related to Manning’s prolonged solitary confinement.

Michael Ratner, president emeritus of CCR, called the government “utterly unresponsive to what is a core First Amendment principle.” Ratner noted this is a public trial, the information being presented is not classified, and that contemporaneous access to information about the trial is necessary to understanding the proceedings. Nonetheless, the lawsuit has been tied up in the appeals court for months.

Freedom of the Press Foundation’s mission is to support and defend cutting-edge transparency journalism by supporting those organizations that publish leaks in the public interest. We often report on news surrounding government secrecy, educating the public about the important relationship between leaking and independent journalism. When we received this recording, we realized we had a unique opportunity to bring some small measure of transparency directly by allowing the world to hear for itself the voice of someone who took a controversial and important stance for government transparency.

We hope this recording will shed light on one of the most secret court trials in recent history, in which the government is putting on trial a concerned government employee whose only stated goal was to bring attention to what he viewed as serious governmental misconduct and criminal activity. We hope to prompt additional analysis of these proceedings by other journalistic institutions and the public at large. While we are not equipped (technically or as a matter of human resources) to receive leaked information nor do we plan on receiving them in the future, we are proud to publish and analyze this particular recording because it is so clearly matches our mission of supporting transparency journalism.

The information provided by Manning has uncovered stories of wrongdoing by the United States, as well as by leaders and politicians around the world. The cables were reportedly one of the catalysts that led to the Arab Spring and sped up the end of the Iraq War. To this day, more than two years after their release, the information provided by Manning is used every day by journalists and historians in major publications are the world to enlighten and inform the public, both in the United States and around the world. In a time when the extent and reach of U.S. government secrecy is unprecedented, and there are credible reports that the government has abused its secrecy and classification systems to cover up numerous illegal and unconstitutional activities, Manning’s actions should be seen as an overdue sliver of sunlight into an overly secret system rather than as a basis for a prosecution seeking decades of imprisonment.

By releasing this audio recording, we wish to make sure that the voice of this generation’s most prolific whistleblower can be heard—literally—by the world.

Regardless of whether one believes that Manning’s acts were right or wrong or a mix of both, he has taken responsibility for them by pleading guilty to ten charges, for which he faces up to twenty years in prison. The government however, is continuing to pursue all of the charges against him, including charges under the Espionage Act and “aiding the enemy” —which could have huge consequences for press freedom and the First Amendment. The ACLU has expressed concern that this “aiding the enemy” charge could criminalize speech for all sorts of active military members, noting that “In its zeal to throw the book at Manning, the government has so overreached that its ‘success’ would turn thousands of loyal soldiers into criminals.”

And Harvard Law professor Yochai Benkler has argued that this prosecution could decimate national security journalism by outlawing whole categories of journalist-source relationships in the future: “[T]he prosecutors seem bent on using this case to push a novel and aggressive interpretation of the law that would arm the government with a much bigger stick to prosecute vaguely-defined national security leaks, a big stick that could threaten not just members of the military, but civilians too.”

Extreme secrecy in our courts, just like in our government’s policies and our politics, is an anathema to democracy. Whether military or civilian, this type of closed-door legal process impairs the public’s right-to-know and journalists’ ability to report on matters of deep public concern. The courtrooms of America should be open to the public, so they can see and hear what is being done in their name.

Please spread his words as far as you can: on your blog, in your videos, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Scroll down to listen to and share excerpts from Manning’s full statement that may be of particular public interest. Transcript courtesy Alexa O’Brien.

Excerpt 1: Motive in releasing war logs




During this time a blizzard bombarded the mid-atlantic, and I spent a significant period of time essentially stuck in my aunt’s house in Maryland. I began to think about what I knew and the information I still had in my possession. For me, the SigActs represented the on the ground reality of both the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides. I began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year. The SigActs documented this in great detail and provide a context of what we were seeing on the ground.

In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.

I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

Excerpt 2: Contacting media outlets




At my aunt’s house I debated what I should do with the SigActs—in particular whether I should hold on to them—or expose them through a press agency. At this point I decided that it made sense to try to expose the SigAct tables to an American newspaper. I first called my local news paper, The Washington Post, and spoke with a woman saying that she was a reporter. I asked her if the Washington Post would be interested in receiving information that would have enormous value to the American public.

Although we spoke for about five minutes concerning the general nature of what I possessed, I do not believe she took me seriously. She informed me that the Washington Post would possibly be interested, but that such decisions were made only after seeing the information I was referring to and after consideration by senior editors.

I then decided to contact [missed word] the most popular newspaper, The New York Times. I called the public editor number on The New York Times website. The phone rang and was answered by a machine. I went through the menu to the section for news tips. I was routed to an answering machine. I left a message stating I had access to information about Iraq and Afghanistan that I believed was very important. However, despite leaving my Skype phone number and personal email address, I never received a reply from The New York Times.

I also briefly considered dropping into the office for the Political Commentary blog, Politico, however the weather conditions during my leave hampered my efforts to travel. After these failed efforts I had ultimately decided to submit the materials to the WLO. I was not sure if the WLO would actually publish these SigAct tables [missed a few words]. I was concerned that they might not be noticed by the American media. However, based upon what I read about the WLO through my research described above, this seemed to be the best medium for publishing this information to the world within my reach.

Excerpt 3: Using Tor to submit documents to Wikileaks




On 3 February 2010, I visited the WLO website on my computer and clicked on the submit documents link. Next I found the submit your information online link and elected to submit the SigActs via the onion router or Tor anonymizing network by special link. Tor is a system intended to provide anonymity online. The software routes internet traffic through a network of servers and other Tor clients in order to conceal the user’s location and identity.

I was familiar with Tor and had it previously installed on a computer to anonymously monitor the social media website of militia groups operating within central Iraq. I followed the prompts and attached the compressed data files of CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigActs. I attached a text file I drafted while preparing to provide the documents to the Washington Post. It provided rough guidelines saying: “It’s already been sanitized of any source identifying information. You might need to sit on this information – perhaps 90 to 100 days to figure out how best to release such a large amount of data and to protect its source. This is possibly one of the more significant documents of our time removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of twenty-first century asymmetric warfare. Have a good day.”

Excerpt 4: Manning’s reaction when he found the Apache helicopter video




During the mid-February 2010 time frame the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division targeting analysts, then Specialist Jihrleah W. Showman discussed a video that Ms. Showman had found on the T-drive.

The video depicted several individuals being engaged by an aerial weapons team. At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other war porn type videos depicting combat. However, the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me.

As Showman and a few other analysts and officers in the T-SCIF commented on the video and debated whether the crew violated the rules of engagement or ROE in the second engagement, I shied away from this debate, instead conducting some research on the event. I wanted to learn what happened and whether there was any background to the events of the day that the event occurred, 12 July 2007.

Using Google I searched for the event by its date by its general location. I found several new accounts involving two Reuters employees who were killed during the aerial weapon team engagement. Another story explained that Reuters had requested for a copy of the video under the Freedom of Information Act or FOIA. Reuters wanted to view the video in order to understand what had happened and to improve their safety practices in combat zones. A spokesperson for Reuters was quoted saying that the video might help avoid the reoccurrence of the tragedy and believed there was a compelling need for the immediate release of the video.

Despite the submission of the FOIA request, the news account explained that CENTCOM replied to Reuters stating that they could not give a time frame for considering a FOIA request and that the video might no longer exist. Another story I found written a year later said that even though Reuters was still pursuing their request. They still did not receive a formal response or written determination in accordance with FOIA.

The fact neither CENTCOM or Multi National Forces Iraq or MNF-I would not voluntarily release the video troubled me further. It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the wounded. The people in the van were not a threat but merely “good samaritans”. The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.

The dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote “dead bastards” unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.

While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see that the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew – as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck and once granted they engage the vehicle at least six times.

Shortly after the second engagement, a mechanized infantry unit arrives at the scene. Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that children were in the van and despite the injuries the crew exhibits no remorse. Instead, they downplay the significance of their actions, saying quote “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle” unquote.

The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for the children or the parents. Later in a particularly disturbing manner, the aerial weapons team verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over a body – or one of the bodies. As I continued my research, I found an article discussing the book, The Good Soldiers, written by Washington Post writer David Finkel.

In Mr. Finkel book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As, I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video. I quickly realize that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel in verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew.

It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenue as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as “payback” for an earlier attack that lead to the death of a soldier. Mr. Finkel ends his account by discussing how a soldier finds an individual still alive from the attack. He writes that the soldier finds him and sees him gesture with his two forefingers together, a common method in the Middle East to communicate that they are friendly. However, instead of assisting him, the soldier makes an obscene gesture extending his middle finger.

The individual apparently dies shortly thereafter. Reading this, I can only think of how this person was simply trying to help others, and then he quickly finds he needs help as well. To make matter worse, in the last moments of his life, he continues to express his friendly gesture – only to find himself receiving this well known gesture of unfriendliness. For me it’s all a big mess, and I am left wondering what these things mean, and how it all fits together. It burdens me emotionally.

I saved a copy of the video on my workstation. I searched for and found the rules of engagement, the rules of engagement annexes, and a flow chart from the 2007 time period – as well as an unclassified Rules of Engagement smart card from 2006. On 15 February 2010 I burned these documents onto a CD-RW, the same time I burned the 10 Reykjavik 13 cable onto a CD-RW. At the time, I placed the video and rules for engagement information onto my personal laptop in my CHU. I planned to keep this information there until I redeployed in Summer 2010. I planned on providing this to the Reuters office in London to assist them in preventing events such as this in the future.

However, after the WLO published 10 Reykjavik 13 I altered my plans. I decided to provide the video and the rules of engagement to them so that Reuters would have this information before I re-deployed from Iraq. On about 21 February 2010, I described above, I used the WLO submission form and uploaded the documents. The WLO released the video on 5 April 2010. After the release, I was concern about the impact of the video and how it would been received by the general public.

I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare. After the release I was encouraged by the response in the media and general public, who observed the aerial weapons team video. As I hoped, others were just as troubled – if not more troubled that me by what they saw.

Excerpt 5: On reporting that Iraqi detainees did nothing wrong




On 27 February 2010, a report was received from a subordinate battalion. The report described an event in which the Federal Police or FP detained 15 individuals for printing anti-Iraqi literature. On 2 March 2010, I received instructions from an S3 section officer in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Tactical Operation Center or TOC to investigate the matter, and figure out who the quote “bad guys” unquote were and how significant this event was for the Federal Police.

Over the course of my research I found that none of the individuals had previous ties to anti-Iraqi actions or suspected terrorist militia groups. A few hours later, I received several [playlist?] from the scene – from this subordinate battalion. They were accidentally sent to an officer on a different team on the S2 section and she forwarded them to me.

These photos included picture of the individuals, pallets of unprinted paper and seized copies of the final printed material or the printed document; and a high resolution photo of the printed material itself. I printed up one [missed word] copy of a high resolution photo – I laminated it for ease of use and transfer. I then walked to the TOC and delivered the laminated copy to our category two interpreter.

She reviewed the information and about a half and hour later delivered a rough written transcript in English to the S2 section. I read the transcript and followed up with her, asking her for her take on the content. She said it was easy for her to transcribe verbatim, since I blew up the photograph and laminated it. She said the general nature of the document was benign. The document, as I had sensed as well, was merely a scholarly critique of the then current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

It detailed corruption within the cabinet of al-Maliki’s government and the financial impact of his corruption on the Iraqi people. After discovering this discrepancy between the Federal Police’s report and the interpreter’s transcript, I forwarded this discovery to the top OIC and the battle NCOIC. The top OIC and the overhearing battle captain informed me that they didn’t need or want to know this information anymore. They told me to quote “drop it” unquote and to just assist them and the Federal Police in finding out, where more of these print shops creating quote “anti-Iraqi literature” unquote.

I couldn’t believe what I heard and I returned to the T-SCIF and complained to the other analysts and my section NCOIC about what happened. Some were sympathetic, but no one wanted to do anything about it.

I am the type of person who likes to know how things work. And, as an analyst, this means I always want to figure out the truth. Unlike other analysts in my section or other sections within the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, I was not satisfied with just scratching the surface and producing canned or cookie cutter assessments. I wanted to know why something was the way it was, and what we could to correct or mitigate a situation.

I knew that if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time – if ever.

Instead of assisting the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police, I decided to take the information and expose it to the WLO, in the hope that before the upcoming 7 March 2010 election, they could generate some immediate press on the issue and prevent this unit of the Federal Police from continuing to crack down in political opponents of al-Maliki.

Excerpt 6: Motives in releasing cables




I read more of the diplomatic cables published on the Department of State Net Centric Diplomacy. With my insatiable curiosity and interest in geopolitics I became fascinated with them. I read not only the cables on Iraq, but also about countries and events that I found interesting

The more I read, the more I was fascinated with the way that we dealt with other nations and organizations. I also began to think the documented backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity that didn’t seem characteristic of the de facto leader of the free world.

Excerpt 7: Assessing sensitivity diplomatic cables




Up to this point,during the deployment, I had issues I struggled with and difficulty at work. Of the documents release, the cables were the only one I was not absolutely certain couldn’t harm the United States. I conducted research on the cables published on the Net Centric Diplomacy, as well as how Department of State cables worked in general.

In particular, I wanted to know how each cable was published on SIRPnet via the Net Centric Diplomacy. As part of my open source research, I found a document published by the Department of State on its official website.

The document provided guidance on caption markings for individual cables and handling instructions for their distribution. I quickly learned the caption markings clearly detailed the sensitivity of the Department of State cables. For example, NODIS or No Distribution was used for messages at the highest sensitivity and were only distributed to the authorized recipients.

The SIPDIS or SIPRnet distribution caption was applied only to recording of other information messages that were deemed appropriate for a release for a wide number of individuals. According to the Department of State guidance for a cable to have the SIPDIS [missed word] caption, it could not include other captions that were intended to limit distribution.

The SIPDIS caption was only for information that could only be shared with anyone with access to SIPRnet. I was aware that thousands of military personel, DoD, Department of State, and other civilian agencies had easy access to the tables. The fact that the SIPDIS caption was only for wide distribution made sense to me, given that the vast majority of the Net Centric Diplomacy Cables were not classified.

The more I read the cables, the more I came to the conclusion that this was the type of information that should become public. I once read a and used a quote on open diplomacy written after the First World War and how the world would be a better place if states would avoid making secret pacts and deals with and against each other.

I thought these cables were a prime example of a need for a more open diplomacy. Given all of the Department of State cables that I read, the fact that most of the cables were unclassified, and that all the cables have a SIPDIS caption.

I believe that the public release of these cables would not damage the United States, however, I did believe that the cables might be embarrassing, since they represented very honest opinions and statements behind the backs of other nations and organizations.

You can donate to aggressive journalism outlets dedicated to transparency and accountability on our homepage. You can learn more about Bradley Manning’s case by visiting the Bradley Manning Support Network.

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington released a statement to POLITICO:

“The U.S. Army Military District of Washington has notified the military judge presiding over the United States vs. Pfc. Bradley Manning court martial that there was a violation of the rules for court. The U.S. Army is currently reviewing the procedures set in place to safeguard the security and integrity of the legal proceedings, and ensure Pfc. Manning receives a fair and impartial trial.”

all thanks to freedom of the press foundation for this work


Friday, April 18, 2013
CONTACT: (805) 238-4763

Justice for Our Communities! Families Organizing to Resist Police Brutality and Abuse

Dozens of community organizations and several families that have lost their loved ones to extra-judicial killings by police are set to meet at “Justice for Our Communities! Families Organizing to Resist Police Brutality and Abuse”, a statewide conference that will be held Saturday April 27, 2013 at Oxnard Community College, 4000 South Rose Avenue, from 9am – 5pm. This groundbreaking civil rights conference will consist of several keynote addresses, workshops, and educational/legal panel discussions, as well as a discussion and special session for police brutality victims and their families.

Speakers will include the survivors and relatives of deceased victims of extra-judicial killings such as Robert Ramirez (Oxnard), Oscar Grant (Oakland), Kelly Thomas (Fullerton), Manuel Diaz (Anaheim), Michael Nida (Downey), Jose de la Trinidad (Inglewood), Ernest Dueñez (Manteca), and Andy Avila (Pomona), among many others.

This conference is a component in the ongoing grassroots community resistance that has been spurred on across the state in response to a soaring rise in police militarization, brutality, and officer-committed abuse in working class neighborhoods and communities of color. This conference will create an opportunity for the planning, coordination, and organization of statewide events and actions to address and bring an end to these injustices.

The Honorable Cruz Reynoso, the first Chicano Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and professor emeritus of law at UC Davis, will deliver a keynote address on the civil responsibilities and rights which citizens and residents enjoy in our state and country, civic engagement to better our communities, and his ongoing involvement in fighting for justice for victims of police violence in the Yolo County/Sacramento area.

Click here to read a letter from the Hon. Cruz Reynoso accepting the invitation to Justice for Our Communities! Families Organizing to Resist Police Brutality and Abuse:

Other keynote speakers include former LAPD Ramparts Division officer Alex M. Salazar, who will address the increase in police killings, the impacts of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) amongst officers, and the racism engrained in the culture of police agencies. Los Angeles-based independent journalist and author Thandisizwe Chimurenga will also speak about the permanent bias in media outlets in their coverage of extra-judicial killings, and the role independent community journalism can play in reshaping the narrative and allowing the pleas of victims’ families to be heard. Minister Keith Mohammad of the Nation of Islam, a key leader in the fight for justice by the family of Oscar Grant (killed in 2009 by BART police in Oakland), will also be speaking at the conference.

The conference is being hosted by Oxnard College MEChA. It is being organized by the Oxnard-based Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective ( in alliance with sponsoring and endorsing organizations including Chicanos Unidos, Decolonize Oakland, the KEYS Youth Leadership Academy, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement AFL-CIO (Sacramento), LULAC Downtown Oxnard Council 3128, National Brown Berets, Nida’s Ridaz, Occupy the Hood (Los Angeles), the Oscar Grant Foundation, People’s Community Medics, Stop LAPD Spying, Unión del Barrio, and many more.

Conference attendees are encouraged to pre-register at:


30+300 (Santa Barbara)

50/50 Crew (San Jose)

Chicano Mexicano Prison Project

Chicanos Unidos (Anaheim/Orange County)

Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo (Oxnard)

CopWatch (Santa Ana, San Fernando Valley)

Decolonize Oakland

Fresno Autonomous Brown Berets

inLeague Press

Kelly’s Army (Fullerton)

KEYS Youth Leadership (Oxnard)

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement AFL-CIO Sacramento

National Brown Berets Santa Paula

Nida’s Ridaz (Downey/LA)

Occupy the Hood Los Angeles

Oscar Grant Committee (Oakland)

The Oscar Grant Foundation

Oxnard College Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA)

Peoples Community Medics (Oakland)

P.O.D.E.R. (People Organizing for the Defense and Equal Rights ) Santa Barbara County

Raza Press and Media Association

Stop LAPD Spying

Rebel Press

Raza Press and Media Association

Stop LAPD Spying

Union del Barrio