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Don't Let the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Get Away with MurderKeith Cole is a 61-year old black male prisoner whose life is in serious danger. In 2014 Keith Cole, along with 3 other prisoners, filed a federal civil complaint against extreme overheating in TDCJ facilities. The deadly heat lawsuit placed pressure on the Warden of the Wallace Pack Unit - where Keith was housed at the time - and thus made Keith a primary target for retaliation. The trial for the deadly heat lawsuit is set for February 2016. In this light, Keith was recently transferred to the McConnell Unit - one of the most neglected, dilapidated and understaffed prisons in Texas. Keith has a chronic heart condition that requires him to take multiple high-dosage medications daily and as a result, could suffer a heart attack at any time. The McConnell Unit is one of the few Texas prisons without emergency call buttons inside the cells. Keith Cole’s transfer to the neglected McConnell Unit is a deliberate attempt to place him in harm’s way before the upcoming trial in February. We worry that his medication is being withheld as retaliation for his extreme overheating lawsuit against the TDCJ. This lawsuit could change environmental standards affecting all TDCJ prisons, and Keith Cole's presence and testimony is needed to make that happen. Please sign this petition to demand that Keith Cole be immediately transferred to a unit with adequate, humane supervision and be placed in a cell with an emergency-call button!
Portland No More GuantanamosThere are 52 detainees at Guantanamo Bay who have never been charged with any crime and have been cleared by all levels of government for transfer, meaning they have been found to pose no security threat to the U.S. or the world. Most of these detainees were cleared for transfer in 2009 but have remained at the facility because of complications with returning them to their home countries. Their continued and indefinite detention is a violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and human rights treaties to which the United States is a party. The U.S. Congress refuses to accept these cleared detainees onto our own soil because the American people have been misinformed on the subject and continue to believe that all detainees at the facility represent “the worst of the worst.” The Obama Administration, which is working to close the facility, is sending ambassadors around the world asking for sanctuary for these detainees in other countries. We as a country need to step up and take responsibility for our own mistakes; if these detainees are no security risk, as the government asserts, we should be ready to accept them on our own soil. Progressive, informed U.S. cities must take the lead on this, if the U.S. Congress will not. If this resolution passes, it will be a victory for human rights law and will send a message to our own community that we do not subscribe to Islamophobic fears based on ignorance and misinformation. It will promote a more inclusive city that is welcoming to people of all backgrounds, regardless of religion or ethnicity. Other cities have already passed such resolutions: ◦ Berkeley, CA resolution: http://www.nogitmos.org/berkeleytresolutionclosingguantanamo ◦ Amherst, MA resolution: http://www.nogitmos.org/proclamationunitednationsinternationaldaysupportvictimstorture ◦ Leverett, MA resolution: http://www.nogitmos.org/resolutiontownleverettmaassistsaferesettlementclearedguant%C3%A1namodetainees
Admit that torture does not workThe popularity and acceptability of torture have soared in the United States and around the world. This is not simply because the United States has tortured. The U.S. government, many of its policies, its wars, and key torture supporters have not seen similar boosts in popularity. A major contributor to torture's improved image has been Hollywood, led by two productions that have popularized the false belief that torture can produce life-saving information. The U.S. Senate report's summary makes clear that torture has not worked in the real world. In fact, torture has generally not been used to stop an imminent attack, and has been used in some cases to compel agreement with lies about Iraqi links to al Qaeda -- lies aimed at starting a war. The fantasy situation in which a torturer knows his victim has life-saving information that cannot be obtained elsewhere, and that his victim won't lie, and that torture will work better than legal interrogation exists only in fiction. But belief in it creates acceptance of torture. Experts agree on this, but people need to hear it from the fictional experts they've heard of for it to seem real to them. People need to hear Keifer Sutherland, star of "24," and Kathryn Bigelow, director of "Zero Dark Thirty," admit that torture does not work in real life. Sutherland and Bigelow don't need to criticize or apologize for their art. They don't need to begin self-censoring. They just need to admit that they are aware of the facts, that torture did not help find Osama bin Laden, that torture has not prevented deaths or destruction -- quite the contrary. U.S. torture has been a recruiting bonanza for anti-U.S. terrorist groups. This fact is trumpted most loudly by defenders of torture and opponents of releasing reports, photos, or videos of what was done. The open secret that we need key public figures to acknowledge is that there's no up-side to weigh against the harm done. On March 1, 2015, the Independent claimed to change everything with this headline: "Revealed: How torture was used to foil al-Qaeda 2010 plot to bomb two airliners 17 minutes before explosion." The claims in the article are not well documented and quite possibly entirely false. There is no evidence that questioning without torture wouldn't have worked as well or better than torturing. The bomb in the story may have been planted in the first place as retaliation for torture. And the serious argument against torture is not "It's just wrong" but that allowing it creates its widespread use and contributes to other brutal policies including war that kill and injure countless people driving forward vicious cycles of violence. Torture creates enemies, causes horrific suffering, and dehumanizes the torturers including those who passively allow it. A torturer cannot know that someone has lifesaving information and is most likely to reveal it under torture. And once we pretend that a torturer might know that, we cannot stop the torturers from torturing large numbers of people. Learn more with: Gareth Porter: How the CIA Covered Up Its Lie on Torture and bin Laden http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28060-how-the-cia-covered-up-its-lie-on-torture-and-bin-laden Patrick Cockburn: CIA Torture Report: It Didn't Work Then, It Doesn't Work Now http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/torture-it-didnt-work-then-it-doesnt-work-now-9923288.html Donald Canestraro: Experienced Interrogator: Torture Doesn't Work http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/226866-experienced-interrogator-torture-doesnt-work
Law Enforcement Personnel Held Totally Accountable By Using BodyCam Equipment.Law Enforcement Is Not Working Well in the USA. Too Many People Being Incarcerated with High Recidivism Rates. Too Many Cops Shooting Suspects, Too Many "Deals" in Prosecution and Sentencing. Too Much Individual Discretion Applied in the Whole Process By Law Enforcement Personnel .
Defund Bratton's Army!Whether it's a counterterrorism-unit build up or mobile units for neighborhood “safety” and disorder control, New Yorkers say NO to Department of Homeland Security-funded NYPD militarization! The War Resisters League's campaign, "Demilitarize Health and Security," condemns the unveiling of a DHS-funded 900-officer counterterrorism and special operations overhaul by New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. According to Bratton, in amendments to his original statements on January 29th, both the 350-member counterterrorist auxiliary unit - equipped with "long rifles and machine guns" designed for "disorder control and counterterrorism protection capabilities" - and the 500-officer special-operations unit Strategic Response Group (SRG) mandated to monitor protests and “sudden rises in crime” will be rolled out in the Summer of 2015. Bratton’s conflation of “terrorism issues, crime issues and demonstrations issues” will only further criminalize our communities, violate our right to protest, and curtail our ability to survive and thrive. We demand an end to the build up of Bratton’s army because militarization is a threat to our safety! We urge Mayor de Blasio to stand with New Yorkers and call for the defunding of Bratton’s two newly proposed units. Together, we can create real solutions for community safety and wellness without tanks and assault rifles!
Release All Nonviolent Offenders in disaster zones immediately!Easing overcrowding immediately under federal directive would... Lower risk of lawsuits related to sanitization from both inmates and employees... Allow an immediate influx of willing cleanup workers into these disaster zones... Have little to no risk of VIOLENT offense because ONLY the release of Nonviolent Offenders is called for on this petition. To understand the most basic definition of "Nonviolent Offender" https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/pnoesp.txt
Pardon Dr. Michael BransomeWe must honor dissenters as we honor in this case vets, and in this case because the dissenters were right, and we leave no one behind. When so many pardons are being given to convicted drug dealers, we should grant pardons to (as many) addiction experts (as possible), too. Doing the right thing is always important.
Parent Without PunishingWar begins with spanking on moms' knees. The violence learned there you see in school bullying, gangs, and street crime. Home should be a refuge from the world's ugliness. Over 70 years of research has shown the harmful consequences that child punishment does to us parents and taxpayers. Alice Miller's 'For Your Own Good', Murray Straus' Beating The Devil Out Of Them' and Philip Greven's 'Spare The Child' shows us why and how to be a humane parent, and A. S. Neill's 'Summerhill' demonstrates that NO punishment is best.