Wednesday, April 9, 2014


The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign
Tele:       718-601-4751

Endorsers (Individuals and organizations): Father Luis Barrios, Activist/Author;  Esperanza Martell, Activist; PIP de Nueva York; The Committee for Puerto Rico at the United Nations; Not4Prophet, AGIT Army; Xen Medina, Artist/Muralist; NBHRN-NYC Chapter; Rev. Sam Cruz and David Galarza, Trinity Lutheran Church; Andrés Torres, Author; Jose "Che" Velazquez, Educator; Casa de las Americas; Cuba Solidarity New York; The July 26 Coalition; May 1st Coalition for Worker & Immigrant Rights; International Action Center; Workers World Party; Peoples Power Assembly Movement; NYC Jericho Movement; Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, NYC Chapter; International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Free Mumia Abu Jamal Coalition (NYC), Sekou Odinga Defense Committee, The Malcolm X Commemorative Committee.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

May 24, 2014 ‘March Against Monsanto’ planned for over 50 countries

Press Release


March Against Monsanto

May 24, 2014 ‘March Against Monsanto’ planned for over 50 countries

INTERNATIONAL (May 24, 2014) - On May 24, millions of activists from around the world will once again March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Currently, marches will occur on six continents, in 52 countries,with events in over 400 cities. In the US, solidarity marches are slated to occur in 47 states.  A comprehensive list of marches can be accessed at

Tami Monroe Canal, founder of March Against Monsanto (MAM), was inspired to start the movement to protect her two daughters. “Monsanto’s predatory business and corporate agricultural practices threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity. MAM supports a sustainable food production system. We must act now to stop GMOs and harmful pesticides.”

GMOs are not adequately monitored to ensure public safety. Long term, independent, peer reviewed studies were not conducted before GMOs were introduced for human or animal consumption. In the USA, the revolving door between Monsanto employees, government positions, and regulatory authorities has led to key Monsanto figures occupying positions of power at the FDA and EPA. Monsanto has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to obstruct all labeling attempts; they also suppress any research containing results not in their favor. The scientifically established health risks include, but are not limited to: organ damage, sterility, infant mortality, birth defects, auto-immune conditions, allergies and increased cancer risks. GMOs have been partially banned by Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, South America, Russia, France, Switzerland and Costa Rico, and are currently labelled in 62 countries. Despite this, factory farm animals throughout the world are still fed GMOs.

Roberta Gogos, organizer for Athens, Greece, addressed the importance of the marches in austerity-impacted Europe. “Monsanto is working very hard to overturn EU regulation on obligatory labeling where enforcement is already lax. Greece is in a precarious position right now, and Greece's farmers are positioned to follow the same perilous fate as farmers in countries such as Colombia and Mexico.”

Josh Castro, organizer for Quito, Ecuador’s march observes, “Ecuador is such a beautiful place, with the richest biodiversity in the world. We will not allow this Garden of Eden to be compromised by the destructive practices of multinational corporations like Monsanto. Biotechnology is not the solution to world hunger. Agroecology is. Monsanto's harmful practices are causing soil infertility, mono-cropping, loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, and contributing to beehive collapse. GMO crops cross pollenate with traditional crops, risking peasant farmers' livelihood."

In India, more than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide after Monsanto's Bt cotton seeds did not perform as promised.  Farmers, left in desperate poverty, are opting to free their families of debt by drinking Monsanto pesticide, thereby ending their lives. Many farmers in other countries are also stripped of their livelihood as a result of false promises, seed patenting and meticulous legal action on the part of Monsanto and other big-ag interests. In many parts of Africa, farmers and their communities are left to choose between starving or eating GMOs.

An “Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs),”, signed by 828 scientists from 84 countries, detailed concern regarding GMOs coupled with a call for immediate 5 year suspension of GMO crops in order to conduct “a comprehensive public enquiry of agriculture and food security for all.”

Supporting links:

The World according to Monsanto
Total Disinformation Awareness: Monsanto Suppresses Research On GMO Crops
Anniversary of a Whistleblowing Hero
GMO Scandal: The Long Term Effects of Genetically Modified Food on Humans

Data Pool of MAM: 
For media inquiries:
Send messages to the official March Against Monsanto Facebook page:

- See more at:

The Brennan Center for Justice presents:

The Burglary
A conversation with author Betty Medsger and John and Bonnie Raines

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m. Registration and Reception
6:30 p.m. Program

Lipton Hall, NYU School of Law
108 West Third Street (between MacDougal St. and Sullivan St.)
New York, NY 10012

In her new book, The Burglary, Betty Medsger tells the story of the 1971 break-in at the Media, Pennsylvania FBI office by a group of courageous activists—including John and Bonnie Raines—which confirmed what some had long suspected: that J. Edgar Hoover was intentionally using the FBI's broad investigative mandate to suppress dissent, in violation of the U.S. Constitution. She re-creates in resonant detail how this unlikely band of ordinary Americans risked everything to challenge the most powerful man in America—and won.

Join the Brennan Center for Justice for a candid and engaging conversation about the destructive power of excessive government secrecy and the potential power of non-­violent resistance. We will also be screening a sneak preview of 1971, a poignant exposé by Johanna Hamilton that is premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival; Hamilton's film tells this story and begs the question: who’s watching the watchmen?

CLICK HERE to RSVP. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Brennan Center Events Coordinator, Jafreen Uddin, at or 646.292.8345.

"Risk Assessment" Cannot Solve Systemic Injustice of Prisons

After 40 years of waging a failed war on crime in poor communities, conservative and progressive policy makers finally are being compelled to release the pressure valve and find ways to reform our troubled criminal justice system. The increasingly prevailing solution involves risk-assessment tools that often quantify the experience of incarcerated people to determine the extent to which they pose a public safety threat. But can the framework of risk measure the redemptive power of a second chance? And to what degree are the factors that determine “risk” situational - access to jobs, housing and community support, for example - and therefore potentially beset with race and class biases? 


Don't Expect a Safe, Humane Orleans Parish Prison Any Time Soon; Here's Why

Willie Lee, 40, died last month in Orleans Parish Prison, probably the worst jail in the country. He was awaiting trial on charges of breaking into neighbors' apartments and causing property damage. He got into a fight at the jail, collapsed 10 minutes after it was broken up, and was pronounced dead two hours later.

The coroner's report was uninformative in what it listed as the cause of death: "cardiac arrest." Everyone dies when his heart stops beating; the question is what caused it to stop. Silence from the jail so far on that score.

The prison is too large; it's understaffed, and it's filthy. Medical and psychiatric care is terrible and prisoners live in fear of being beaten or raped. In 2012 there were 600 ambulance runs to the emergency room, with far more than half of them related to violence. The rate is up so far in 2014. A comparable jail in Memphis had seven ER runs associated with violence in a year.

In 2013 federal Judge Lance Africk found conditions in Orleans Parish Prison unconstitutional and wrote that they left "an indelible stain on the community." He now has jurisdiction over the jail as a result of a federal consent decree, an agreement between the sheriff, the prisoners who sued, and the U.S. Department of Justice. It requires wide-ranging reforms.

Federal law does not permit the judge to close the jail, or even transfer prisoners out of it. And yet conditions are so bad it's likely to be years before reforms can be completed. In the meantime, the prisoners must try to survive in conditions that the federal court has already declared unconstitutional.

This dilemma stems from the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act, a federal statute passed in 1996 by a Republican Congress hostile to social reform through litigation. No matter how much a federal judge wants to clean up a local jail, the statute drastically limits the tools available for doing so.
This was evident in the hearing on the sheriff's lack of compliance with the consent decree that Africk gaveled to order three days before Lee's death. The tension between what needs to be done and the limited power of the court surfaced repeatedly in exchanges between Africk, a cautious jurist, and Harry Rosenberg, the quirky private lawyer who represents the City of New Orleans in its fight with the city's jailer, Sheriff Marlin Gusman, over how to manage and finance the reforms.

If Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney, were a baseball player, he would steal second base by limping to first after drawing a walk, thus tricking you into believing he couldn't run. His act begins with his hairdo. Imagine Larry of the "Three Stooges" grabbing the globe of a Van de Graaff generator and static electricity sending foot-long tresses straight back into the air from his receding hairline.


Cuban 5 Honored

In the beginning of March the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 nominated the Cuban 5 for Global Exchange's 12th Annual Human Rights Award in the category of People's Choice Award. Alongside the Cuban 5 many other fighters for Human Rights were also nominated. For the Cuban 5, a case that has been kept in relative obscurity in the U.S., this offered solidarity activists calling for their freedom an opportunity to spread the word by getting people they know to vote for their cause. The campaign started slowly but soon took off through the linking of all the committees and individuals who support the Cuban 5 around the world. All the various forms of social media where utilized over and over again as the votes for the Five Heroes piled up and the campaign blossomed into a life of its own. This results is thanks to all the active support and solidarity that produced what can only be described as a success for the movement in support of the Cuban 5. 

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: What Is It?

What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.

TPP presents problems.  Learn about the problems and take action:

Monday, April 7, 2014

Global Exchange 2014 Honorees

2014 Honorees

  • Domestic Honoree – Freedom Schools
This year Global Exchange will honor the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Schools, free schools for African-Americans living in the South during the height of the Civil Rights movement. Conceived first by Charles Cobb, an activist with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the schools were launched in 1964, as part of the Freedom Summer. By the end of the summer, more than 40 schools had been opened, serving over 2,500 students. Through critical inquiry and civic engagement, the Freedom Schools inspired a generation of students to take action for voting rights, civil rights, and justice.

Global Exchange will bring Charlie Cobb,  visionary of the Freedom Schools; Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of the Freedom Singers and cultural historian; and Phillip Agnew of the Dream Defenders, an organization committed to training and organizing youth students in nonviolent resistance. These powerful leaders will speak to their activism for civil rights, their challenges, courage and success in changing history, their current work for justice, and how Freedom Schools offer a relevant organizing model for radical social change today.
  • International Honoree – María Estela Barco Huerta
Ms. Barco has played a leading role in organizing Agro-Ecology Learning Exchanges in Chiapas, Mexico at DESMI (Desarrollo Económico Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas), a Mexican non-governmental organization based in the state of Chiapas. These exchanges bring together activists from across Latin America to confront the challenges of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), encroaching agribusinesses, and loss of value and culture for peasant farmers in the region and to create innovative solutions. As Chiapas was and still is ‘ground zero’ for NAFTA and its devastating impact on Mexican agriculture, Ms. Barco’s work to create solutions for small indigenous farmers is crucial.
  • People’s Choice Award – The Cuban Five
Five Cuban agents who were working in Miami, FL, in the 1990s to infiltrate groups openly plotting attacks Cuban civilians, the Cuban Five were arrested following lengthy surveillance by the FBI. The situation surrounding the case of the Cuban Five should be understood as a microcosm for relations between the United States and Cuba at that time, and into the present day. Their capture, detention, and sentencing has been widely criticized, including the call for their release by eight international Nobel Prize winners and Amnesty International.

About the Human Rights Awards

Global Exchange’s Human Rights Awards are grounded in our commitment to ensuring that the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are respected and upheld by our world’s governments and private institutions. Since our founding in 1988, we have partnered with individuals and organizations throughout the world to educate people about threats to political, economic, social and environmental justice and to activate individuals and communities to confront these problems effectively. With these annual awards, Global Exchange recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations defending human rights in their own countries and around the world.

Emails Show Sen. Corker's Chief of Staff Coordinated with Network of Anti-UAW Union Busters

Leaked documents obtained [1] by Nashville TV station NewsChannel 5 WVTF reveal communications between the employees of two Tennessee Republicans - Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam - and a network of prominent anti-union professionals during the United Auto Workers' union drive at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga earlier this year [2].

Sen. Corker and Gov. Haslam have been blamed by the union for contributing to the drive's defeat by making public statements against the UAW. Prior to the election, Corker claimed that the plant would add an additional SUV assembly line if workers voted against the union, while Haslam implied [3] that businesses had told him that they might not relocate to Tennessee if workers at Volkswagen voted to join the UAW.

There was no direct evidence, however, that these politicians were coordinating with the various anti-union forces that had gathered in Chattanooga to oppose the drive, although In These Times reported [4] in November 2013 that Washington, D.C.-based anti-union campaigner Matt Patterson had bragged about developing anti-UAW messaging with "politician [sic] and businessmen" in Tennessee. The documents by NewsChannel 5 provide the first direct proof of such coordination. In addition, In These Times magazine has obtained documents and conducted interviews with a top anti-union consultant that shed new light on the origins of the anti-union videos referenced in the communications.


Climate Science’s Dire Warning: Humans are Baking the Planet

By Amy Goodman
The majority of the world is convinced that humans are changing the climate, for the worse. Now, evidence is mounting that paints just how grim a future we are making for ourselves and the planet. We will experience more extreme weather events, including hurricanes and droughts, mass extinctions and severe food shortages globally. The world’s leading group of climate-change experts, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has issued its most recent report after a five-day meeting last week in Yokohama, Japan. The IPCC, over 1,800 scientists from around the world, collects, analyzes and synthesizes the best, solid science on climate and related fields. The prognosis is not good.
At the news conference announcing the report, IPCC chairperson Rajendra Pachauri warned, “If the world doesn’t do anything about mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases and the extent of climate change continues to increase, then the very social stability of human systems could be at stake.” Pachauri speaks with the discipline of a scientist and the reserve of a diplomat. The latest report, though, states clearly: “Climate change can indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts in the form of civil war and inter-group violence.” It stresses how the world food supply, already experiencing stress, will be impacted, and those who are most vulnerable will be the first to go hungry. But the problem is even larger.
The IPCC’s previous comprehensive report came out in 2007. Since that time, the amount of scientific findings has doubled, making human-induced climate change an irrefutable fact. But there are still powerful deniers, funded by the fossil-fuel industry. Oxfam, a global anti-hunger campaign organization, also is challenging the deniers with a report released last week called “Hot and hungry—how to stop climate change derailing the fight against hunger.” Oxfam’s Tim Gore says that “corporations like Exxon, the powerful economic interests that are currently profiting from our high-carbon economic model ... stand to lose the most from a transition to a low-carbon, fair alternative.” Undaunted, ExxonMobil issued its own report following the IPCC’s this week, asserting that climate policies are “highly unlikely” to stop it from producing and selling fossil fuels in the near future.