• Support freedom of speech in Sweden and throughout the world
    The Documentary Ukraine - Masks of Revolution (In Swedish: Ukraina - Revolutionens mörka sida) on the massacre in Odessa May 2, 2014 will be aired in Sweden May 23, 2016. The broadcast has been postponed twice. Maidan Norway, a Swedish Human Rights organization (Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter), Ukrainian organizations, the Ukrainian embassy and journalists have protested against the documentary. In 2015, Ukrainian organizations stopped an exhibition on the massacre in Odessa May 2, 2014. Sweden’s largest organization for adult education (ABF) had admitted it in their program but the exhibition was prevented. The same Ukrainian organizations together with others now seek to slander and defame a documentary which premiered February 1, 2016 on Canal+ in France and is directed by the renowned and award-winning French journalist Paul Moreira. The documentary is based on witness statements from all sides and on facts about events that took place in Odessa May 2, 2014. Those who protest against this documentary refer to an article authored by the journalist John Færseth and published in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Færseth opposes what the documentary proves. The film shows a Ukrainian-nationalistic mob setting a trade union building on fire and this leads to 42 fatalities among supporters of a referendum on federalisation of the country. The Norwegian journalist instead believes that a lot suggests that the main responsibility for the fatalities lies on the fire brigade who arrived late at the scene of the fire. Færseth also suggests that the role of right-wing extremism in Ukraine is grossly exaggerated in the entire documentary about the dark elements of the Ukrainian revolution. The campaign against the documentary aims to provide people, who have this lack of moral and who excuse a mass murder, the possibility to "comment" the documentary in connection to the broadcast. Their aim is to promote their so-called critical voices so that they can make the documentary appear as if it is based on conspiracy theories. Do not let a narrative that excuses right-wing extremist violence, wherever it occurs, get the final say in mass media. Defend freedom of speech and freedom of information against any government and their followers who want to impose their views and biased narrative as the only valid truth on their own people or upon people in other countries. This open letter will be sent to the media and the public in Sweden and in neighboring countries. Help us support peace, freedom of speech, freedom of information and to expose the right-wing extremist violence. Initiators Ukrainabulletinen Platform Peace on earth and peace with earth Support for conflict resolution and yes to peace negotiations - no to war. Yes to common security - no to rearmament. Yes to investments for social justice and the environment - no to austerity policies in Ukraine, Europe and the world. Editorial team Tord Björk, editor, Ukrainabulletinen Stig Broqvist, active in Friends of the Earth Helsingborg Lars Drake, assistant professor Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU) Jan Wiklund, popular movement researcher Supporters Goran Brankovic, peace activist Mika Böök, peace activist Susanne Gerstenberg, peace activist Thomas Gunnarsson, peasant Joel Holmdahl, peasant Jake Kayzer, peace activist Thorsten Laxvik, peasant Markus Limmergård, board member FiB/K Oleg Mezjuev, Ukraine observer Eddie Olsson, active in Friends of the Earth Europe Anders Romelsjö, professor emeritus, radical blogger Bo Sundbäck, teacher Maj Wechselmann, documentary film maker International supporters Mika Böök, Finland Noam Chomsky, USA Pål Steigan, Norway We who have initiated this international action come from diverse backgrounds. As farmers we are concerned about the agriculture in Ukraine with its 7 million farmers who are protesting against the policies imposed upon them by the EU and IMF being austerity policies directed against small and middle sized farmers: policies only in the interest of the big corporations. As employees in the public sector we are concerned that the future society is put in the hands of companies that are replacing social rights with privatized social services to make profit off the needs of people. As pacifists and environmentalists we are concerned about the secretary general of NATO claiming that environmental movements with its protests against fracking were in the hands of Russia. We are also concerned about how Russia or any other country is portrayed as an enemy in Sweden with the purpose to promote rearmament and war rather than peace building. We are, as activists for human rights very concerned about the selective use of the indivisible human rights including both social and political dimensions with double standards that weaken the struggle for human rights everywhere. The campaign against the documentary was supported by Maidan Norway, Ukrainian organizations and a Swedish Human Rights organization (Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter). Others who opposed the documentary had their background in a think tank funded by Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (In Swedish: Svenskt Näringsliv), defense research, the Ukrainian embassy, Swedish public service radio and human rights organizations that share the Swedish Government’s position on the conflict in Ukraine. Find more back ground material at the campaign web site.
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  • End Legal Slavery in U.S. Prisons
    The 13th Amendment (1865) ordered the abolition of slavery in the United States, except as punishment for a criminal conviction. In other words, federal law permits the use of prisoners and incarcerated persons for free labor by state officials as well as the private sector. From the late 1800s until now, unpaid prison labor has been the pattern, practice, and collective mindset of various states across America. Southern states have taken particular advantage of the wording of the 13th Amendment, and in turn, current resistance movements have risen out of prison-dense states like Texas and Alabama, where units are often compared to plantations. Over the past few years, prison activists in Texas and Alabama have organized a series of prison-labor strikes -- where they refuse to work their assigned jobs in protest of unpaid labor compounded with toxic and unsanitary working conditions. The prison-labor strikes have led to prison lockdowns, starvation tactics and brutality by guards. Thus far, three prison units in Alabama and fourteen units in Texas (including a women's unit) have been placed on lockdown in reprisal for a collective work-stoppage. RootsAction stands in solidarity with these prison activists fighting for their human rights, and we urge you to do the same. Prisoners, like all other human beings, should be compensated for their labor, whether with wages or with reduced sentences. Paying prisoners for their labor enables them, not only to better provide for themselves while in prison, but also to pay outstanding bills and unpaid court fees that have accumulated over time (and that may have landed many of them in prison in the first place). Compensating prisoners for their labor through a legitimate "Work Time" system that reduces their sentence grants hardworking prisoners the opportunity to be reviewed early by parole boards and released back into society. This system also relieves state taxpayers, through the simple fact that an earned early release is one less prisoner to pay for. END PRISON SLAVERY NOW Sign this petition to demand that Congress revisit the 13th Amendment and propose a new amendment to the Constitution that abolishes free prison labor and applies the federal minimum wage to all labor in the U.S. and its imperial territories.
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  • Toxic Work Conditions in Texas Prisons
    Prisoners within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are working, unpaid, in the TCI chemical plant without being issued the proper air-ventilated safety masks. In an open letter, TDCJ inmate David Martinez described the entire work area at the Coffield Unit’s Metal Fabrication Plant as having a faulty ventilation system. "It is not fully operational and does not protect prison workers or TCI employees from hazardous and toxic fumes that are put into the atmosphere by numerous projects like welding and painting," writes Martinez. The Metal Fabrication Plant Manager and his staff have devised a “warning system” that TDCJ inmates are very familiar with, Martinez says — a warning system that gives the Metal Fabrication Plant Manager a “heads up” when any kind of inspector or auditor is at the front gate — allowing the prisoners and Texas Correctional Industry employees to shut down all activities deemed illegal and unsafe by the Fire Marshal or any other oversight Agency. The Metal Fabrication Plant is currently devising a plan for expansion, filling an order for 5,000 new storage lockers, Martinez adds, while there are no current plans to fix the plant’s ventilation system, nor to restock masks and safety equipment for the inmates who work there. Many of the chemicals and substances used in the Coffield Unit’s Metal Fabrication Plant, and in many other units and plants throughout Texas, have clear warning labels that they have the potential to cause cancer. Martinez explains that Texas prisoners are being forced to work in a very dangerous environment and to engage in hazardous and illegal practices with no regard for their health or safety. "Many prisoners are afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation," Martinez reports. "Prisoners are threatened with disciplinary action if they [complain, refuse to work or] do not sign Material Safety Data Sheets (which give the 'appearance' that Texas prisoners are being given the proper training and safety equipment) in this very volatile and hazardous atmosphere." David Martinez and thousands of other Texas prisoners need your immediate help and support! Sign this petition to demand that Texas state officials provide immediate relief to the affected prisoners and to facilitate investigation by a body that's not part of the prison administration
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    Created by Jamani M.
  • Thousands of Georgia Prisoners Are Never Given A Release Date
    In the state of Georgia, people who are sentenced to life in prison (25 years or more) are never given a release date. In other words, if a Georgia resident is convicted at the age of twenty, and receives a single life sentence (25 years or more), they are never notified of an official release date and are unaware that they could potentially be free, soonest, at the age of forty-five. Georgia inmates suffer dramatically because of this. The detrimental effects of inmates not knowing when they will be released are numerous, including carelessness, mental illness, excessive pill use, adjustment disorders, depressive nostalgia and violent behavior. In addition, inmates with life sentences have the lowest prison visitation rates due to a loss of family support attributed to indefinite time sentencing. Georgia prisoners and their families are asking for state law to require a set release date during sentencing. Sign this petition to urge Georgia state legislators to create legislation allowing Georgia prison inmates to be given a definite release date, regardless of life sentences.
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    Created by Jamani M.
  • Stop Trump Rally - WNY Organizations & Individuals
    Dear Friend, America is a nation that still struggles to live up to the promise of the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence "that all men are created equal." We are a nation made up of people from all over the globe who have migrated to America with the hope of finding a better life. Despite the ugly past of the dispossessing of native peoples and the brutal enslavement of African people, America is still a land where people of many races live, work, and worship shoulder to shoulder with each other. We have not yet met the lofty ideals of the founding fathers, but we are a nation that has made amazing progress over the years The recent emergence of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination for the Presidency of the United States threatens to stymy the progress of this generation. The wisdom of Solomon teaches us a poignant lesson: "Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs" (NIV, Proverbs 10:12). From day one of his regressive campaign, Mr. Trump has spewed hate-filled rhetoric that has brought nothing but conflict to our nation. Mr. Trump repeatedly insults his opponents and those who differ from his narrow-minded view of the future of America. His race-based insults if the Latino community as it relates to immigration denies the promise held in the words of the Statue of Liberty. His hate-filled rhetoric against Islam denies one of the founding principles of America, which is religious freedom. His links to white supremacy terrorist organizations threatens to reverse the great progress America has made from slavery, Jim Crow to the Civil Rights movement. Having Mr. Trump as the standard bearer for the GOP prevents it from upholding its heritage as the party of Lincoln; reducing it to the party of hatred, division and racism. After a generation of despair due to the decline in the auto, steel and other manufacturing industries, Western New York is currently experiencing an economic renaissance. Along with this resurgence, new visionary leadership has taken on the segregated past of our region in an attempt to bring our community together. Initiatives like the Opportunity Pledge, Racial Roundtable and One Buffalo has ushered in a new era of inclusion, diversity and unity, creating an atmosphere of hope in the region. The last thing we need in this region is a visit from a man who by his own words stands against unity while exploiting old stereotypes and race based bias to fuel his campaign of hate. So we are calling on people of good conscious across this region to say Mr. Trump your campaign, your words and your presence is not welcome in our region. Mr. Trump’s words and his surrogates who spew his rhetoric clearly show where his heart is along with his blurred vision for the future of our nation. We must send a peaceful but powerful message to Mr. Trump and those who support his campaign, that we have fought too hard to tear down the walls of division and we refuse to go back to our painful past. We must send a powerful and peaceful message to those like Chairman Langworthy, Congressman Collins and Mr. Paladino that this campaign of intolerance has no place in our community. So lets us stand together hand in hand reaching across the lines of race, religion, gender, class and sexual orientation to say yes to love. And let us embrace the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision of the beloved community: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
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  • Contaminated Water Causes Cancer in Texas Prisons; Officials Ignore Complaints and Avoid Clean-up
    Mark Schwarzer spent five years at Wallace Pack Unit, where he was exposed to high levels of arsenic discovered in the prison water supply. While serving time at Wallace Pack Unit, Mark was diagnosed with skin cancer. He attributes the cancer to his consumption of the arsenic-tainted water in the prison. Soon after, Mr. Schwarzer requested that his blood be tested for arsenic but University of Texas Medical Branch personnel vehemently refused. As a result of their refusal, Mark filed a Step I (I-127) grievance. In September 2015, not long after these events, Mark was involuntarily transferred from Wallace Park Unit, in Navasota, TX to Boyd Unit in Teague, TX. Mr. Schwarzer discovered that his Step I (I-127) grievance had been denied, and he filed a Step II (I-128) grievance at the Boyd Unit. The Unit Grievance Investigator at Boyd, Mr. Mark Fryhoff, has refused to produce a copy of Mr. Schwarzer's Step II grievance, claiming it has mysteriously disappeared. Without this document, these is no evidence at the Boyd Unit that Mark Schwarzer has filed a grievance or requested blood tests. Mark Schwarzer is suffering from arsenic-caused skin cancer, and because of Officer Fryhoff’s either intentional or irresponsible misplacement of the Step II (I-128) grievance, Mark is unlikely to receive the immediate testing and treatment that he is asking for. Losing grievances or failing to produce copies damages the integrity of the entire process. There are numerous incidents of TDCJ prison officials attempting to cover up contaminated water problems at its facilities. Texas prisons promote a pattern of conduct where TDCJ employees, including wardens, corrections officers and classification personnel, use their positions to retaliate against prisoners who file grievances or shed light on injustices and abuse. We must begin to hold these individuals accountable for their abuse of power! Please sign this petition, demanding that Senator Ellis and Senator Whitmire contact the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and mandate an inquiry and investigation into the unethical conduct of Boyd Unit Grievance Officer Mark Fryhoff.
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  • Free Leonard Peltier
    It's time to free Leonard Peltier and send him home. His co-defendent was freed years ago. Keeping him in prison is just plain wrong!
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    Created by Nancy A.
  • Discounts for the Disabled
    My income is lower than most seniors. Why can't we get discount on clothes, movies, etc...?
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    Created by James M.
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  • Demand adequate treatment and protection for inmate, Keith "Malik" Washington
    Keith "Malik" Washington is an activist and current prisoner of the menacing U.S. criminal justice system. Throughout his sentence, Malik has witnessed and experienced severe environmental neglect and its detrimental effects in Texas state prisons. He has written dozens of letters to legislators and activists revealing the horrendous conditions in TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) facilities, including malnutrition, contaminated water and extreme overheating. Retaliation is real! Malik’s efforts, instead of being met with serious investigation and support, have been treated as a threat to Texas legislators and officials. In retaliation to Malik’s efforts to expose the environmental injustices in Texas prisons, he has been transferred to the Coffield Unit, the largest and most gang-present prison in the state of Texas. Malik has deliberately been placed in harm’s way by the TDCJ! According to Malik, there have been multiple threats made against his life from both guards and prisoners and it is very clear that he was transferred to Coffield because the TDCJ is retaliating against him for exposing environmental injustices in the TDCJ system. Malik needs to be protected from threats made from guards and gangs in the Coffield Unit, which the unit’s administration have encouraged. We demand that Malik immediately be placed either in a different unit or in some sort of protective custody. Malik has devoted his life to exposing injustices in prisons across the country through education and activism - even while confined to a prison cell. He has written numerous articles for online prison activist sites. One of his more recent articles is provided below: http://sfbayview.com/2015/07/tdcj-placed-me-in-harms-way-because-i-spoke-out-in-reference-to-the-extreme-heat/keith-malik-washington/ Sign this petition demand Malik’s immediate removal from the Coffield unit or immediate placement into protective custody within the prison!
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  • Don't Let the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Get Away with Murder
    Keith 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!
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  • Free Steve Avery and Brendan Dassey
    The Netflix documentary *Making of a Murderer* makes clear their innocence. Read this: http://davidswanson.org/node/5013
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    Created by David S.