9/24/2020

Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, September 24, 2020

 


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You can sign up and watch the film here until October 1:
https://watch.eventive.org/wearemany/play/5f3da887e202f100303337e9?m=1

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Triangle Flags
CodePink is holding a brief covid-safe vigil Saturday, September 26 in San Francisco to mark the United Nations International Day to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons .

PLEASE JOIN US!

What: United Nations International Day to Eliminate all Nuclear Weapons Vigil
Where: 
Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market: One Ferry Building, San Francisco. When you RSVP you will receive specific location details.
When: Saturday, September 26, 2020 12PM - 1PM PT




Did you know? Nancy Pelosi squashed Congress' historic vote on legislation that would have cut the Pentagon budget by 10%. And she blocked Barbara Lee's legislation to cut the Pentagon budget by 50%. We will remind her that we still need to slash the Pentagon budget and invest in life-affirming programs such as healthcare, clean energy, affordable housing, education, and fighting covid and the climate emergency!

Messaging options for the Day:

Pelosi Votes For Nuclear Weapons

Divest From Nuclear Weapons

Invest in Peace!

Fund Housing, Jobs, and Healthcare

Healthcare NOT Warfare

NO Nukes



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cubanobel.org
Do Trump and coronavirus have you down? Then join us on September 26 to celebrate the 15 year anniversary of one of the world’s most beautiful projects: Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade!

Dear carole,

The Henry Reeve Brigade will celebrate its 15th anniversary next month! Yes, it will have been 15 years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and prompted then-Cuban president Fidel Castro to offer to send doctors to help treat patients in the storm’s aftermath. The US government refused this offer, but Cuba was not deterred from wanting to show the world some much needed solidarity. 

Since its founding, the brave women and men of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade have given emergency medical assistance to more than 3.5 million people in over 50 countries. To honor their compassion and commitment, we will hear directly from Cuban doctors working on the frontlines of the pandemic. 

What: Cuban Doctors Speak: 15 years of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade

When: Saturday, September 26 at 8pm ET / 5pm PT

Where: Online via Zoom, YouTube and Facebook. 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

There’s even more good news: Danny Glover will be on with us to offer his commentary, and journalist/author Vijay Prashad will host this fascinating conversation! Please join Danny, Vijay, and the Cuban medical personnel for this celebratory event. We promise it will nurture your soul.

In solidarity,
Alicia Jrakpo and Medea Benjamin

P.S. The attacks on Cuba’s medical internationalism are not stopping! Even Human Rights Watch (HRW), a liberal NGO, has joined in on the Trump administration’s campaign to slander this amazing example of solidarity. If you have not already, please read the rebuttal to the HRW report  then sign and share the petition asking HRW to retract their flawed report!

Also, Vijay Prashad has just published a lovely article about why Cuban doctors deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Check it out!

P.P.S. 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel just made a video endorsing the Nobel for Cuban Doctors campaign! Click here to watch it!

Want to make your own short video explaining why you support the Henry Reeve Brigade? Upload it to Twitter and tag @CubaNobel. Then we’ll be happy to like and retweet it! It’s a great way of spreading the word about the campaign.

We look forward to working with you to continue the aspirations of the Nobel Peace Prize for the Cuban Doctors campaign.  Watch for our upcoming webinars and film series.


Remember to follow us in social media: 

  instagram-cuba_nobel.png
  

In friendship,
Alicia Jrapko and Medea Benjamin 
Co-Chairs of the Cuba Nobel Prize Committee

Donate Now!


This email was sent to caroleseligman@sbcglobal.net. To unsubscribe,  click here

To update your email subscription, contact contact@cubanobel.org.

© 2020 CUBANOBEL.ORG | Created with NationBuilder

   

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SHUT DOWN CREECH in the age of COVID-19


Creech Anti-drone Resistance, Fall Action:   


Sept. 27 - Oct. 3, 2020

Co-sponsored by CODEPINK & Veterans For Peace

Now that the online Veterans For Peace National Convention is coming to a close, many of you hopefully are re-invigorated to pump up your activism and peacemaking efforts. The many informative workshops and discussions at the convention underlined U.S. militarism and it’s multifaceted disastrous impact on the world.  "Now what can I do," you ask?

Please join us for all or part of this fall’s week of convergence at Creech Killer Drone Base in Nevada, north of Las Vegas.  Though the pandemic is in full force, we are committed to be at Creech for a full week of drone resistance.  What better way to work against U.S. Empire than to stand strong against the racist weapons that terrorize communities and brutally murder people remotely?

We will be sending out a detailed update around August 20, but at this point we plan to 100% camp outside to insure the safety of all of us during the Covid pandemic.  We will provide meals throughout the week.

Please go to www.ShutDownCreech.blogspot.com for more details.

Are you planning to join us?

Please register HERE, asap, to help us prepare ahead.

Contact us for any questions.  We hope to see you there!

In peace and justice,
Toby, Maggie, and Eleanor

CODEPINK, Women for Peace






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The six remaining Kings Bay Plowshares defendants have had their sentencing 
dates moved from September to October 15 and 16.

The six remaining Kings Bay Plowshares defendants have had their sentencing dates moved from September to October 15 and 16. They had requested a continuance because they want to appear in open court in Georgia and the virus situation there is still too out of control to safely allow it. 

Steve Kelly has now served almost 29 months in county jails since the action in April, 2018 so has already met the guidelines for his likely sentence. The court may not want to grant him further extensions. (You can send a postcard to Steve to let him know you're thinking of him. Directions on writing here.

The other defendants are not sure if they would prefer to seek more continuances or choose virtual appearances for sentencing in solidarity with Steve on those dates in October if it appears unsafe to travel to Georgia at that time. Check the website for updates.

September 9 will be the 40thanniversary of the first plowshares action in King of Prussia, PA. Eight activists, known as the Plowshares Eight, entered the GE plant where nosecones for nuclear missile warheads were manufactured. They hammered on several and poured blood on the nosecones and documents.  

Emile de Antonio’s 1983 film, In the King of Prussia, is about the trial of the Plowshares Eight. The judge is played by Martin Sheen and the defendants are played by themselves. It’s available for viewing on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUph8GWFupE


The Plowshares 8: Fr. Carl Kabat, O.M.I., Elmer Mass, Phil Berrigan, Molly Rush, Fr. Dan Berrigan, S.J., Sr. Anne Montgomery, R.S.C.J., John Schuchardt, and Dean Hammer

You can read Fr. Daniel Berrigan’s reflections on the Plowshares Eight action from the book Swords Into Plowshares: Nonviolent Direct Action for Disarmament (1987), edited by Art Laffin and Anne Montgomery: http://www.nukeresister.org/2015/09/08/swords-into-plowshares-fr-daniel-berrigans-reflections-on-the-plowshares-8-nuclear-disarmament-action/

Here’s an article written by Anna Brown and Mary Anne Muller ten years ago, for the 30th anniversary: https://wagingnonviolence.org/2010/09/the-plowshares-8-thirty-years-on/

And here is a 1990 New York Times article about the Plowshares Eight: https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/11/us/eight-sentenced-in-1980-protest-at-nuclear-unit.html

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares; their spears into pruning hooks. One nation shall not lift sword against another. Nor shall they train for war anymore.” (Is. 2:4) 






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Denver Black Lives 


Matter Activists 


Arrested

Above: PSL activists marching in Colorado anti-racist protest 

By Left Voice

On September 17, six protest leaders, including four members of the Party of Socialism and Liberation, were arrested in Denver, Colorado in a coordinated  police action. Those arrested are now being threatened with a litany of bogus felony charges, including “kidnapping.” Four of the arrested individuals—Russel Ruch, Lillian House, Joel Northam, and Eliza Lucero—are protest leaders who have denounced the crimes of the Colorado police, most notably the racist murder of Elijah McClain. The repression against these activists, and many others, is nothing short of police-state retribution. As a PSL statement noted, 

“This attack on the Denver anti-racist movement and the PSL is part of a concerted national assault on the Black Lives Matter movement, an attack driven directly from the White House, from Governor’s mansions, and from local police chiefs and police departments around the country.”

It is clear from the manner of the arrests that the Denver area police are trying to punish and intimidate activists. Russel Ruch, for instance, was followed to Home Depot and arrested in the parking lot; Lillian House was surrounded by five police cars as she was driving; and a S.W.A.T. team was sent to Joel Northam’s home. According to the 30-page long arrest affidavits, the police used livestream footage, call transcripts, and social media posts to build a case against those arrested. These coordinated arrests, which utilized both surveillance and brute force, aim to instill fear in every Denver area activist. “Protest, and you could be next” is the message being sent. And the absurd list of felony charges, known as “charge stacking,” means the arrested activists could be facing years, if not decades, in prison. 

The arrest of these protest leaders in Denver are part of a larger nationwide crack-down on the Black Lives Matter movement. Across the country, protesters have been snatched off the streets by the police or federal forces in unmarked vehicles. In New York City, the NYPD used facial-recognition software to find and harass a Black Lives Matter activist. And earlier this month, in Washington, federal marshals gunned down Portland activist Michael Reinoehl without warning as he walked to his car. 

Left Voice denounces the attempts to repress or otherwise intimidate anti-racist, anti-police activists. It is unacceptable that the state, under direction from both Republican and Democratic Party leaders, targets and intimidates activists fighting for racial justice, while the murderers of Elijah McClain, Breonna Taylor and many more walk free. The real threat to public safety can be found in every police precinct, every city hall, and every seat of political power. 

Drop the charges against Denver PSL activists—Free all the arrested protesters! 


To sign the PSL’s petition to have the charges dropped, click here: 

https://www.pslweb.org/dropthecharges


To donate to the PSL’s legal defense, click here:

https://www.pslweb.org/donate4denver?utm_campaign=drop_the_charges_on_denver&utm_medium=email&utm_source=psl


— Left Voice, September 18, 2020

https://www.leftvoice.org/denver-blm-activists-and-psl-members-arrested-charged-with-multiple-felonies


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History, Great Britain, and Julian Assange

By Clifford D. Conner

Below are the comments Clifford D. Conner made at a September 8, 2020 press conference in front of the British consulate in New York City. Conner is an historian and author of Jean Paul Marat: Tribune of the French Revolution and The Tragedy of American Science: From Truman to Trump. The court in Britain is holding hearings on the Trump administration’s request to have Julian Assange, the Australian editor, publisher and founder of WikiLeaks, extradited. Assange would be tried in a Virginia court on 17 counts of espionage and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime. If convicted, he could face up to 175 years in prison.

In 2010 Assange had the audacity to post a video showing a U.S. Apache helicopter indiscriminately murdering a dozen civilians and two Reuters’ journalists in the streets of Baghdad.

Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, testified in court on September 16 that Assange could not receive a fair trial in the United States. When he pointed out that the Collateral Murder video was clearly a war crime, the prosecution maintained that Assange was not wanted by Washington for it but for publishing documents without redacting names. Ellsberg pointed out that when he leaked the Pentagon Papers, he did not redact a single name.

Assange’s lawyer has since informed the London court that in 2017 former Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher and Charles Johnson, a far-right political activist, relayed Trump’s offer to pardon Assange if he provided the source for the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails. This was described to Assange as a “win-win” situation for all involved.

A National Committee to Defend Assange and Civil Liberties, chaired by Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, and Alice Walker has been set up. For further information, go to: www.facebook.com/CommitteeToDefendJulianAssangeThe press conference was organized by the New York City Free Assange Committee. The press conference was organized by the New York City Free Assange Committee: NYCFreeAssange.org

—Dianne Feeley for The Editors, Against the Current


Comments by Clifford D. Conner

I am here at the British Consulate today to protest the incarceration and mistreatment of Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison in Great Britain, to demand that you immediately release him, and above all, to demand that you NOT extradite Julian Assange to the United States.

As a historian who has written extensively on the case of the most persecuted journalist of the 18th century, Jean Paul Marat, I am in a position to make historical comparisons, and in my judgement, Julian Assange is both the most unjustly persecuted journalist of the 21st century and arguably the most important journalist of the 21st century.

Julian Assange is being hounded and harassed and threatened with life in prison by the United States government because he dared to publish the truth about American war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan for the whole world to see. This persecution of Julian Assange is an assault on the fundamental principles of journalistic freedom.

The sociopathic Donald Trump and his accomplice, Attorney General William Barr, are demanding that you deliver Assange to them to face false charges of espionage. Every honest observer in the world recognizes Trump and Barr as utterly incapable of acting in good faith. If they succeed in suppressing Julian Assange’s right to publish, it will be a devastating precedent for journalists and publishers of news everywhere—and above all, for the general public, who will lose access to the information necessary to maintaining a democratic society.

If you allow yourselves to become co-conspirators in this crime, History will not look kindly on Great Britain for that.

Last November, more than 60 doctors from all over the world wrote an open letter to the British government saying that Julian Assange’s health was so bad that he could die if he weren’t moved from Belmarsh Prison, where he was being held, to a hospital, immediately. Your government chose to ignore that letter and he was not hospitalized, then or later. History will not look kindly on Great Britain for that.

Of all crimes against humanity, the most unforgivable is torture. No nation that perpetrates torture has the right to call itself civilized. United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, has unequivocally characterized Julian Assange’s treatment in Belmarsh Prison as torture. History will neither forget nor forgive that terrible moral transgression.

Furthermore, the exposure of the widespread use of torture by the United States military and the CIA at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, at Guantánamo Bay, and at so-called “black sites” all over the world, absolutely disqualifies the United States from sitting in moral judgement of anybody. If you deliver Julian Assange into the hands of torturers, history will not look kindly on Great Britain for that.

So, I join together today with human rights advocates and advocates of journalistic freedom around the world.

I stand with the Committee to Protect Journalists, which declared: “For the sake of press freedom, Julian Assange must be defended.”

I stand with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which said that the attempt to prosecute Julian Assange is “a worrying step on the slippery slope to punishing any journalist the Trump administration chooses to deride as ‘fake news’.”

And I stand with the ACLU, which said: “Any prosecution by the United States of Mr. Assange for WikiLeaks’publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations.”

History will not only record the names of the countries that collaborate in this travesty of justice, but also the names of the individuals—the judges, the prosecutors, the diplomats, and the politicians—who aid and abet the crime. If you, as individuals, choose to ally yourselves with the likes of Donald Trump and William Barr, be prepared for your names to be chained to theirs in infamy, in perpetuity.

History will certainly absolve Julian Assange, and it certainly will not absolve his persecutors.


Against the Current, November/December 2020

https://againstthecurrent.org/history-great-britain-and-julian-assange/



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Call for the immediate release of 

 

Syiaah Skylit from CDCR custody! 

 

#BlackTransLivesMatter


Sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/gavin-newsom-call-for-the-immediate-release-of-syiaah-skylit-from-cdcr-custody-blacktranslivesmatter?recruiter=915876972&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=abi_gmail&utm_campaign=address_book&recruited_by_id=7d48b720-ecea-11e8-a770-29edb03b51cc 

Syiaah Skylit is a Black transgender woman currently incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP). Syiaah has been a victim of multiple acts of brutal, senseless violence at KVSP at the hands of prison staff and others in custody. Many of these attacks are in retaliation for her advocacy for herself and other trans women. 

Syiaah’s life is currently at risk due to racist, transmisogynist violence at the hands of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCr). While all the offending officers should be fired, this isn’t about a couple of bad apples. We have centuries of evidence that prison will never be safe — for Black people, for trans people, and especially not for Black trans women.

“I’m not going to make it out of this prison alive if I’m left here any longer.” 

— Syiaah Skylit, June 2020

While incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison between 2018 and the present, prison staff have subjected Syiaah to severe and persistent physical, sexual, and psychological abuse (see below for examples, with content warnings). Staff at Kern Valley State Prison are also responsible for the 2013 death of Carmen Guerrero, a transgender woman who was forced to be housed with an individual who made it clear to officers that he would kill Ms. Guerrero if he was celled with her. Earlier this year, that individual was given the death penalty for killing Ms. Guerrero just eight hours after CDCR officers forced them to cell together. 

Facing immediate danger, Syiaah has repeatedly asked to be transferred to a women’s facility and CDCR has repeatedly denied her requests. We demand that Governor Newsom and CDCR immediately release Syiaah to her community and family before she falls further victim to the lethal danger that transgender people face in prison. 

[Content note: assault, sexual violence, anti-Black racism, transmisogny]

While in CDCR custody between 2018 and the present, Syiaah has:

- Been physically attacked by CDCR staff multiple times;
- Been threatened with sexual assault with a baton by CDCR staff; 
- Been forced by CDCR staff to parade through the yard naked from the waist down;
- Been stripped naked by CDCR staff and left overnight in her cell without clothes, blankets, or a mattress;
- Been attacked by other people in custody who admitted that CDCR staff directed them to do so;
- Had her property stolen and destroyed by CDCR staff;
- Been maced in the face and thrown in a cage after reporting an assault;
- Been intentionally placed on the same yard as an individual she testified against who is facing attempted murder charges for his assault of a transgender woman. As Syiaah feared, this individual violently attacked her as revenge. This man was then allowed to attack a gay man after attacking Syiaah. 
- Been intentionally placed on the same yard as individuals with histories of attacking trans women and other LGBTQI+ people, in spite of her pleas to be placed separately;
- Been thrown in administrative segregation after being the victim of an attack;
- Has had all of her recent documented complaints of discrimination and violence rejected under false pretenses;
- Has had contact with her legal representatives restricted to one phone call a week;
- Has been humiliated and discriminated against for going on a hunger strike as a form of protest;
- Has expressed numerous, documented concerns for her safety and had them blatantly ignored.

In spite of the constant violence Syiaah continues to survive, she continues to demonstrate her resilience and dedication to learning and growing. She has earned certifications in many educational and vocational programs and support groups. 

We as Syiaah’s community and chosen family are ready to support her with a safe and successful reentry plan if Governor Newsom uses his executive powers to grant her clemency. Organizations that can offer Syiaah comprehensive reentry support including housing and employment upon her release include TGI Justice Project, Transgender Advocacy Group (TAG), and Medina Orthwein LLP. 

You can read more about Syiaah's story in this article by Victoria Law for Truthout as well as this one by Dustin Gardiner for the SF Chronicle

Please sign and share this petition to #FreeSyiaah and declare #BlackTransLivesMatter! 

Please also check out our social media toolkit to support Syiaah!

[Please do not donate as prompted after signing, as the money goes to change.org and not to any cause associated with Syiaah.] 

Art by Micah Bazant at Forward Together.

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Write to Kevin “Rashid” Johnson:

Kevin Johnson #264847

Wabash Valley Correctional Facility

6908 S. Old U.S. HWY 41, P.O. Box 500

Carlisle, IN 47838

www.rashidmod.com

***IMPORTANT UPDATE CONCERNING RASHID (09.05.2020)***

 

Comrades, Friends, and Supporters,

 

This afternoon I received word through a third party that Rashid has been transferred from Pendleton and is now in Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlise, IN. He went through an intake process and was screened by a Ms. Clark who he believes is a nurse.  During this screening Ms. Clark informed Sgt. Nichols and Lt. Small to give him all of his K.O.P. meds to keep with him in his cell.  Sgt. Nichols and Lt. Small took Rashid to a cell in the S.H.U. (Segregated Housing Unit) but DID NOT give Rashid his medication or any of his property. He was also purposefully put into a cell that has no reception which has prevented him from calling and emailing directly from his tablet. Obviously they did this believing that it would prevent Rashid from communicating his condition and whereabouts to us.

 

We thank you for the support that you have shown and ask that calls and emails continue to be made on his behalf with increased intensity and that they be directed at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility's staff.  Our demands have not changed.  Please respond to this email if you have questions or suggestions or reach out to me directly.

 

-Shupavu wa Kirima
 

 

Warden

Frank Vanihel

 

Mailing Address

Wabash Valley Correctional Facility

6908 S. Old U.S. Highway 41

P.O. Box 500

Carlisle, IN 47838

 

Phone Number

(812) 398-5050

 

Administrative Secretary to the Warden

Janna Anderson

 

Facility Staff

Deputy Warden of Re-entry

Kevin Gilmore

 

Deputy Warden of Operations

Frank Littlejohn

 

Administrative Assistant

Legal Liaison

Michael Ellis

MEllis28@idoc.in.gov

(812) 398-5050 ext. 4198

Facebook
Website


Our mailing address is:
Kevin Rashid Johnson
D.O.C. #264847
Pendleton Correctional Facility 4490 W. Reformatory Rd
PendletonIN  46064

Add us to your address book


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Snowden vindicated by court ruling – time to drop 

 

his charges.

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA telephone surveillance program revealed by Edward Snowden was illegal and likely unconstitutional. This ruling should finally end any remaining debate on whether Snowden’s actions constituted whistleblowing, and on his necessity of going to the press. The question now is how to remedy the legal and ethical dilemma he was placed into. It’s time to either drop his charges or pardon him.

The court’s ruling validates Snowden on multiple levels. It settles beyond doubt that his belief in the illegality of the programs he witnessed was reasonable. The panel of judges ruled that the mass telephone surveillance conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act was illegal. And while they refrained from issuing a ruling on the Constitutional challenge, they strongly suggested that the program was in violation of the Fourth Amendment. They ruled that the government’s claims about the effectiveness of the surveillance had been lies, and that its legal theory about the necessity of mass collection of phone data was “unprecedented and unwarranted.”

Legally, a whistleblower does not need to ultimately be proved correct about the concerns they report. If they simply have a “reasonable belief” their employer is breaking the law, they are entitled to whistleblower protections. While any plain reading of the Fourth Amendment and the FISA statutes should have sufficed to prove a reasonable concern, this ruling is beyond sufficient affirmation that Snowden’s concern was “objectively reasonable”. 

While he should have been able to make a protected whistleblower disclosure based on such concerns, those channels were not a realistic option. As an outside contractor, he would not have been guaranteed protection under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA) statute in place at that time. Critics of Snowden also conveniently ignore the history of other NSA employees who blew the whistle on these programs before him. The internal channels were used to “catch and kill” the complaints of at least four previous surveillance whistleblowers, placing them – and even the Congressional intelligence committee staffer they went to – under criminal leak investigations. Snowden saw, for example, the punitive treatment of NSA whistleblower, Thomas Drake. Drake went through every conceivable internal channel: his boss, the NSA Inspector General (IG), the Defense Department IG, and the House & Senate Intel Committees. Not only did they fail to redress his grievances, many acted to further punish him: ignored his concerns, marginalized him, forced him out, blacklisted him, and ultimately drove his failed criminal prosecution.

Snowden correctly assessed that the only remaining option was to go to the press, and the 9th Circuit ruling credits him for choosing that path, noting that his disclosures enabled “significant public debate over the appropriate scope of government surveillance”. Indeed, this ruling simply would not have been possible without his public disclosures. The government had long maneuvered to keep mass surveillance programs beyond this kind of judicial scrutiny.

As a witness to large scale illegality, and without effective or safe channels, Snowden was placed in a dilemma: break his agreement to protect classified information, or break his sworn oath to uphold the laws and defend the Constitution. He chose to honor his higher duty and so turned to the only other available channel that could serve as a check against government wrongdoing: the press. Snowden turned to the “Fourth Estate” and it played exactly the role the Founders intended. We cannot now prosecute him as a spy or abandon him to a lifetime of exile for having done so.

In solidarity,

 

Jesselyn Radack
Director
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)
ExposeFacts

Twitter: @JesselynRadack

Donate Now


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From Across the Pond


Johnson the Invisible Brat

By John Blackburn

Johnson the invisible brat,

Thinks he’s better than us all,

For he’s a posh prime minister,

Who defies international law,

No matter how many graves get filled,

Or the cupboards are running bare,

You bet you can rely on this,

Johnson won’t be there.

 

Hancock, Priti, any sycophant,

It doesn’t matter who,

Can keep a straight face on camera,

While reading the lies on the autocue.

Nursing homes, schools there’s Covid everywhere,

But whenever there’s a crisis,

Johnson isn’t there

 

Depravity, depravity there’s no match for his depravity.

He is nastiness in human form, with not a shred of common humanity.

You may read him in a by-line, or see his face in the morning paper,

But when there’s a problem to deal with,

Boris Johnson won’t be seen till later.

 

Depravity, depravity the are no bounds to his depravity,

He’s already broken every law and conduct of normality,

His powers of crass dishonesty are way beyond compare,

He lies in every sentence and doesn’t seem to care,

You may look for him in Downing Street or in another lair,

But when a job is needing done,

Boris Johnson is never there.

 

He’ll sack anyone who happens in his way 

And tear up any treaty he doesn’t like today,

He is outwardly respectably but he cheats all his friends

He’ll trample over anyone to get to his own ends,

Or he’ll send his hoodlum Cummings to crush dissenting minds.

Lies, corruption, negligence we know he doesn’t care

But when there is money to be made,

This time,

Johnson and mates will be there.

 

In Britain he acts like a dictator doing just as he wants,

Ignoring real life tragedies while posing for photo stunts,

For all his fake bravado, he’s just another coward,

A liar, a bully a posh self-centred fraud.

He’s an invisible prime minister who is never here, 

But whenever there’s Trump’s arse to kiss,

You can be sure that,

Boris Johnson will reappear.

 

Calamity then catastrophe with grand theft larceny,

Another billion of our money flushed down the lavat’ry,

He cares not for our suffering our deaths and our pain,

Fake news and lies again and again,

When things go wrong and account is called,

It is always someone else’s fault,

What ever the problem no matter where

He always can claim that he wasn’t there.

 

Covid 19’s, coming, 

He says we’ll take it on the chin,

World beating, moonshot, track and trace,

Endless lies and spin

Just more meaningless hot air from this uncaring buffoon,

Exam results fiasco, yet he never showed his face.

Children going hungry a national disgrace

We must take matters in our own hands,

To make things proper here,

Have confidence in our own powers,

Make Johnson and his kind 

Completely disappear.


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In April of 1971, Edward Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, formerly David Rice, were sentenced to life in prison for the death of an Omaha police officer- a crime they did not commit. The two were targeted by law enforcement and wrongfully convicted due to their  affiliation with the Black Panther Party, a civil rights and anti-fascist political group.  Nearly 50 years later, Ed is still in prison and maintains his innocence. He has earned several college degrees, taught anti-violence classes to youth, authored screenplays, and more. His last chance for freedom is to receive a commutation of sentence from the Nebraska Board of Pardons. At age 75, he is at high risk for COVID related health complications. He must receive an immediate and expedited commutation hearing from the Board.-EMAIL: freedomfored@gmail.com@freedom4ed
Take Action Now
Write, email and call the Nebraska Board of Pardons. Request that they expedite Ed’s application, schedule his hearing for the October 2020 meeting and commute his sentence. 
WRITE: Nebraska Board of Pardons/ P.O. Box 95007/ Lincoln, NE 68509
*please email a copy of your letter..to freedomfored@gmail.com---EMAIL: ne.pardonsboard@nebraska.gov
CALL:  Governor Pete Ricketts--402-471-2244  & SoS Robert B. Evnen---402-471-2554  & AG Doug Peterson--402-471-2683

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Urgent Action: Garifuna leader and 3 community members kidnapped and disappeared in Honduras

Share This 
On the morning of Saturday, July 18, Garifuna leader Snider Centeno and other three members of the Triunfo de la Cruz community where kidnapped and disappeared by a group of men wearing bullet proof vests with the initials of the Honduran National Police (DPI in Spanish). The DPI is the Investigative Police Directorate and when it was formed years ago, was trained by the United States. As of this Monday Morning, there is still no word on the whereabouts of Mr. Centeno, Milton Joel Marínez, Suami Aparicio Mejía and El Pri (nickname).
Snider was the president of the elected community council in Triunfo de la Cruz and his community received a favorable sentence from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2015. However, the Honduran state has still not respected it. The kidnapping and disappearance of Snider and the 3 other men is another attack against the Garifuna community and their struggle to protect their ancestral lands and the rights of afro-indigenous and indigenous people to live.
National and international pressure forced the Honduran Ministry of Human Rights to put out a statement urging authorities to investigate and act. Your support can make the difference!
For more information and updated on what is happening in Honduras, please follow the Honduras Solidarity Network

Contact Us

Alliance for Global Justice
225 E 26th St Ste 1

Tucson, Arizona 85713-2925
202-540-8336
afgj@afgj.org
Follow Us 
Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser


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About Albert Einstein

In September 1946, (after the war, before the civil rights movement), Albert Einstein called racism America’s “worst disease.” Earlier that year, he told students and faculty at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the oldest Black college in the Western world, that racial segregation was “not a disease of colored people, but a disease of white people, adding, “I willl not remain silent about it.” 

His peers criticized this appearance. The press purposefully didn't cover it. He simply wanted to inspire young minds with the beauty and power of science, drawing attention to the power of ALL human minds, regardless of race.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” -Albert Einstein


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Party for Socialism and Liberation

Gloria La Riva nominated by Peace and Freedom Party in California

Now on the ballot in California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey and New Mexico!
Longtime San Francisco labor and anti-war activist Gloria La Riva was chosen today as the Peace and Freedom Party nominee for U. S. President. The party's state central committee cast 62 votes for La Riva and 3 votes for Howie Hawkins, with three abstentions. Anti-racist and disability rights advocate Sunil Freeman of Washington DC was then chosen without opposition as the party's nominee for Vice President.
La Riva received over 2/3 of the vote for the nomination in the March primary, but the State Central Committee's action Saturday will officially place the La Riva / Freeman ticket on California's November general election ballot. They will appear in a number of other states on the ballot lines of the Vermont Liberty Union Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Gloria La Riva said "We are honored to be the nominees of the Peace and Freedom Party. We are running not just to represent voters, but to represent the millions without the right to vote: undocumented immigrants, permanent residents, prisoners and parolees who are unable to cast a ballot. This is their country too."
Kevin Akin of Riverside, the new California State Chair of the party, reports that the ticket expects to get more votes in California than in any other state. "It's a clear way for a voter to show support for peace, socialism, and the immediate needs of the working class."

Read our Campaign Statements

Gloria La Riva Condemns Israeli Annexation Plan Calls for Solidarity with Palestinian People and End to U.S. Aid to Israel

Upcoming Events


Follow the campaign on twitter
Questions? Comments? Contact us.
You can also keep up with the PSL on Twitter or Facebook.
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Created with NationBuilder, the essential toolkit for leaders.


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https://www.nlg.org/federalrepressionresources/

Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

Know Your Rights Materials

The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides. 

WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective

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 Reality Winner Tests Positive for COVID, Still Imprisoned
With great anguish, I’m writing to share the news that NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, still in federal prison, has tested positive for COVID-19. Winner, despite her vulnerable health conditions, was denied home release in April – the judge’s reasoning being that the Federal Medical Center, Carswell is “presumably better equipped than most to deal with the onset of COVID-19 in its inmates”. 
Since that ruling, COVID infections at Carswell have exploded, ranking it now as second highest in the nation for the number of cases, and substantially increasing the likelihood that its medical capacity will be overwhelmed.
This news comes one week after Trump’s commutation of convicted felon Roger Stone, and two months after the home release of Trump’s convicted campaign manager, Paul Manafort:

Roger Stone’s Freedom Is All the More Outrageous While Reality Winner Languishes in Prison

Donald Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence is galling on numerous levels. It’s a brazen act of corruption and an egregious obstruction of an ongoing investigation of the President and his enablers. There are few figures less worthy of clemency than a Nixonian dirty trickster like Stone. But the final twist of the knife is that Reality Winner, the honest, earnest, anti-Stone of the Russian meddling saga, remains in federal prison.

Continue Reading
Please share this with your networks, and stand with us in support of Reality Winner and her family during this critical time.
Thank you,
 
Jesselyn Radack
Director
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)
ExposeFacts
Twitter: @JesselynRadack

You are receiving this list because you have opted in on our website.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

WHISPeR Project at ExposeFacts 1627 Eye Street, NW Suite 600 Washington, DC 20006 

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 JUSTICE INITIATIVE
Note: Below are comments from Ambassador Andrew Young, who is also the former Mayor of Atlanta. The Ambassador notes that Imam Jamil Al-Amin was wrongfully convicted and that it's time to 'rejudge'.

Below is also a correction in the title of the previous posting about Otis Jackson, who admitted to the killing of which Imam Jamil Al-Amin was falsely accused of committing. The article is included below with the title correction being, "There are demands for a new trial"

And again, please sign the petition for a new trial and ask your friends to do so as well.

August 10, 2020
Justice Initiative


"(There's one case) that weighs heavy on my heart because I really think he was wrongfully convicted."
 
This Man, a Muslim, helped "clean up" Atlanta's West End.
 
"I'm talking about Jamil Al-Amin," he said, "H. Rap Brown."
 
"I think it's time to rejudge. He's been dying of cancer and has been suffering away from his family in the worst prisons of this nation." 
 
Ambassador Andrew Young Jr. 
___

Otis Jackson Speaks - 
The Man Who Committed 
The Crime Imam Jamil Is Serving Life For
There are demands for a new trial for 
Imam Jamil Al-Amin
Please sign the petition for a new trial

The Confession - My Name Is James Santos aka Otis Jackson (We Demand A Retrial For Imam Jamil)
The Confession - My Name Is James Santos aka OtisJackson (We Demand A Retrial For Imam Jamil)


Otis Jackson is a self-proclaimed leader of the Almighty Vice Lord Nation (AVLN). Founded in the late 1950s, the AVLN is one of the oldest street gangs in Chicago.
According to Jackson, the group under his leadership was focused on rebuilding communities by pushing out drug dealers and violence.
In a never-before published sworn deposition, Jackson recalls the events of the night of Thursday, March 16, 2000, in vivid detail.
It was a cool night as Jackson remembers. He wore a knee-high black Islamic robe with black pants, a black kufi-Muslim head covering-underneath a tan hat, and a tan leather jacket. His silver sunglasses with yellow tint sat above his full beard and mustache.
He arrived at Mick's around 7PM, when he realized his schedule had changed. He was no longer the food expediter in the kitchen; his title was now dishwasher/cook, which meant he would wash dishes and then help close the kitchen at night.
Since his title changed, he wasn't required to work that Thursday night. It immediately dawned on him that he had a 10-hour window to do whatever he wanted. As a parolee under house arrest, the opportunity to have truly free time was rare if even existent. Jackson decided to fill his new found freedom like most people fill their free time-he ran a few errands.
His first stop was the West End Mall where he got a bite to eat, did some shopping and then headed toward the West End community mosque, led by Al-Amin. He knew it was a regular building off of Oak Street, but wasn't sure which one exactly.
He parked his black Cadillac in an open field and walked down toward a house that turned out to be the mosque. He passed a black Mercedes before he got to the mosque, where he met a man named Lamar "Mustapha" Tanner. They talked for a while during which Jackson explained to Tanner that he was looking for Al-Amin to talk about how the AVLN could help Al-Amin's community.
Tanner told Jackson to check the grocery store, since Al-Amin could usually be found there. Tanner then gave Jackson his phone number and hurried away to go pick up his wife. Jackson proceeded to the grocery store. He wanted to discuss with Al-Amin how his AVLN organization could help further clean the streets of drug dealers in the West End community.
By the time Jackson made his way to Al-Amin's store, it was already late. He was afraid the store would be closed since he didn't see anyone else on the street. His fear was affirmed; the store wasn't open.
Hoping that maybe the owner would be in the back closing up, he knocked on the door a few more times. No answer. As he turned to leave, Jackson saw a patrol car pull up. By the time Jackson walked by the black Mercedes, the patrol car was parked in front of it, nose-to-nose. The driver of the patrol car got out and asked Jackson to put his hands up.
Immediately, this scenario flashed through Jackson's head: Here he was, violating his parole by not being at work, with a 9mm handgun in his waist. Jackson was afraid the cops would think he was breaking into the store. That meant they would probably frisk him and find the gun. The gun would be a direct violation of his parole; he'd be sent back to prison in Nevada.
Jackson ignored the order to put his hands up and instead began to explain that he was not trying to break into the store. He stated that he wasn't trying to steal the Mercedes either; his car was parked down the street. Both officers were out of the car with guns drawn and demanding Jackson put his hands up. The cops were closing in and there was little space between them. Jackson made a quick decision. He backed up against the Mercedes, pulled out his gun and began to fire.
He fired off two shots. The officers, while retreating, returned fire. Jackson wasn't hit and bolted toward his car, where in the trunk he had an arsenal of other weapons. As Jackson explains, "the organization I was about to form, the Almighty Vice Lord Nation, we're anti-oppression, and we fight, you know, drug dealers and what not, so...we need artillery."
He quickly opened the trunk - the lock was broken and held together with shoe string-and grabbed a lightweight, semiautomatic carbine Ruger Mini-14 with an extended clip housing 40 .223 caliber rounds. Jackson then headed back toward the cops; one was moving for cover behind the Mercedes, the other was on the police radio screaming for backup.
Jackson approached the officer he thought was the most aggressive, who was using the Mercedes for cover and resumed firing his rifle. The officer returned fire, hitting Jackson in the upper left arm twice.
Jackson, now angered and fearful for his life, shot back, downing the officer. Jackson stood over him and shot him in the groin up to four times. The fallen officer, Deputy Kinchen, in a last attempt to plead with his killer, described his family, mother, and children to Jackson, hoping for mercy.
But Jackson admits that by this time, "my mind was gone, so I really wasn't paying attention." Jackson fired again at the officer on the ground. Dripping his own blood on the concrete where he stood, Jackson then turned his attention to Deputy English who was running toward the open field. Jackson believed English was flagging down another officer; he couldn't let him get away.
Jackson hit English four times. One shot hit him in the leg; he soon fell, screaming, thereby confirming Jackson's shot. After English went down, Jackson, in a state of shock, walked down pass the mosque.
Nursing his bleeding wounds, he tried to stop three passing cars on the road; no one dared pull over. He then walked back down the street and knocked on three different doors for assistance. Only one even turned the light on, but no one opened the door for Jackson. He then made his way back to his car and drove to his mother's home.
As he walked in the door, the phone rang. His mother was asleep, so Jackson hurriedly answered it in the other room. It was a representative from the Sentinel Company that provided the monitoring service for Jackson's ankle bracelet. The man on the phone asked where Jackson was; he responded that he was at work. The Sentinel representative explained that his unaccounted for absence would have to be marked down as a violation. Jackson agreed and quickly ended the conversation.
Although one bullet exited through the back of his arm, the other was still lodged in his upper left arm. Jackson called a couple of female friends, who were registered nurses. The women, who were informed by Jackson that he was robbed in the middle of the night, arrived at his house and worked for three hours to remove the bullet from his arm. Jackson then called Mustapha Tanner, whom he just met earlier in the evening, and asked him to come by his house.
Tanner arrived before 10am. Jackson explained what had happened the previous night and said he needed to get rid of the guns and the car. Jackson's car trunk contained enough artillery for a mini-militia: three Ruger Mini-14 rifles, an M16 assault rifle, a .45 handgun, three 9mm handguns and a couple of shotguns. Once Tanner left, Jackson called his parole officer Sarah Bacon and let her know that he "had been involved in a situation," but left out the details.
In the following days, Jackson was asked to report to the Sentinel Company. He checked in with the monitoring company and his parole officer, and was then given a ride back home. As they pulled onto his street, Jackson noticed many unmarked police cars. After entering his driveway, multiple police officers emerged. The police searched Jackson's house and found rounds of Mini-14, .223, 9mm, and M16 ammunition. Jackson's bloody clothes and boots from the shootout with the deputies the night before were left untouched in his closet.
On March 28, 2000, Jackson's parole was revoked and he was sent back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence in Nevada. Upon his detainment in Florida and later transfer to Nevada, Jackson confessed the crime to anyone who would listen. Jackson claims that when he reached the Clark County Jail in Las Vegas, Nevada, he made numerous phone calls to the F.B.I., after which an agent arrived to discuss the incident with him. Jackson recalls telling his story to "Special Agent Mahoney."
Special Agent Devon Mahoney recalls documenting the confession, but not much beyond that. Mahoney remembers getting a call from a superior to "talk to someone" in a Las Vegas jail and then to "document it and file it up the chain of command." The confession was documented and filed on June 29, 2000.

Gray & Associates, PO Box 8291, ATLANTA, GA 31106
Constant Contact
Try email marketing for free today!

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Subject: Shut Down Fort Hood! Justice for Vanessa Guillén. Sign the petition!


 

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Timeless words of wisdom from Friedrich Engels:



This legacy belongs to all of us:

“Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first. The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor and elsewhere, destroyed the forest to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that by removing along with the forests the collecting centres and reservoirs of moisture they were laying the basis for the present forlorn state of those countries. . . Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature–but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly.” The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man 1876. —Friedrich Engels




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Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (Official Video 2019)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5TmORitlKk



Because once is not enough. Because sometimes music is my only solace. Because sometimes it hurts too much too care but to be human is to hurt. Because I feel lucky to have grown up with great music. Because that music was harmonic and melodious. Because that music had soul. Because I grew up with Blues and Motown and Jazz. Because I grew up with Black friends and we played ball everyday and we had fun and we were winners. Because they taught me about music and soul and acceptance. Because they didn't hate me for being white. Because I was brought up with Irish Catholics who taught me that fighting and arguing for justice kept depression in its place. Because they taught me that if you never quit fighting you haven't lost so never quit fighting for justice. Because I was in a union and learned that solidarity is the original religion. Because without solidarity you are alone. And alone is hell and because I have never been in hell. Because I am part of the human race. Because the human race is the only race on earth. Because I am grateful for Marvin Gaye, and John Coltrane, and Sam Cooke and because you know what I am talking about. Because we are going to win and we are going to have fun. Because that's the truth. Because no lie can defeat truth. Because you are there to hear me. Because I know I am not alone.  —Gregg Shotwell

https://www.greggshotwell.com



(Gregg Shotwell is a retired autoworker, writer and poet.)

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CODEPINK.ORG


Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers that police have used to kill thousands of Americans!

BlackRock loves to make a killing on killing: Over a thousand Americans have been killed by Tasers — 32 percent of them are Black Americans. Tasers are made by the colossal law enforcement supplier Axon Enterprise, based in Arizona.
One of their top shareholders happens to be Blackrock. Recently Blackrock has been trying to be sympathetic to the atrocities of murders waged on Black Americans and communities of color. If we ramp up massive pressure and blow the whistle on their deadly stocks, we can highlight that divesting from Tasers and the war in our streets will be a step in the right direction in building a fair and just society.
This issue is important to having peace in our streets. But this will only work if people participate. Send an email to Blackrock to divest from the Taser manufacturer Axon Enterprise which is responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans, and CODEPINK will pull out all the stops to make sure Blackrock execs hear our call:

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

Blackrock could do this. They recently announced that they were divesting from fossil fuels — signaling a shift in their policies. If CEO Larry Fink cares about “diversity, fairness, and justice” and building a “stronger, more equal, and safer society” — he should divest from Tasers.
Plus, compared to Blackrock’s other holdings, Taser stocks aren’t even that significant!

But if Blackrock does this, it could be the first domino we need to get other investment companies on board too. Send an email to BlackRock and share this widely! 

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

If there’s one thing our community stands for, it’s peace and social justice. And one way we can help achieve that is by cutting off the flow of cash into the manufacturing of Tasers. So, let’s come together to make that happen, and help prevent more innocent Americans from being killed with these senseless tools.

With hope,
Nancy, Carley, Jodie, Paki, Cody, Kelsey, and Yousef

Donate Now!

This email was sent to giobon@comcast.net. To unsubscribe,  click here
To update your email subscription, contact info@codepink.org.
© 2020 CODEPINK.ORG | Created with NationBuilder
    
 

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Rayshard Brooks, 27 years old, was shot to death while running away from police in Atlanta Friday, June 12, 2020.

SAY HIS NAME!


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/14/us/videos-rayshard-brooks-shooting-atlanta-police.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage


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Kimberly Jones

If you haven't seen this, you're missing something spectacular:

On Saturday May 30th filmmaker and photographer David Jones of David Jones Media felt compelled to go out and serve the community in some way. He decided to use his art to try and explain the events that were currently impacting our lives. On day two, Sunday the 31st, he activated his dear friend author Kimberly Jones to tag along and conduct interviews. During a moment of downtime he captured these powerful words from her and felt the world couldn’t wait for the full length documentary, they needed to hear them now.


Kimberly Jones on YouTube 


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BLACK LIVES MATTER


Ultimately, the majority of human suffering is caused by a system that places the value of material wealth over the value of
human life. To end the suffering, we must end the profit motive—the very foundation of capitalism itself.
—BAUAW
(Bay Area United Against War Newsletter)


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George Floyd's Last Words
"It's my face man
I didn't do nothing serious man
please
please
please I can't breathe
please man
please somebody
please man
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
please
(inaudible)
man can't breathe, my face
just get up
I can't breathe
please (inaudible)
I can't breathe sh*t
I will
I can't move
mama
mama
I can't
my knee
my nuts
I'm through
I'm through
I'm claustrophobic
my stomach hurt
my neck hurts
everything hurts
some water or something
please
please
I can't breathe officer
don't kill me
they gon' kill me man
come on man
I cannot breathe
I cannot breathe
they gon' kill me
they gon' kill me
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
please sir
please
please
please I can't breathe"

Then his eyes shut and the pleas stop. George Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after.



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Credit...

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Trump Comic Satire—A Proposal
          By Shakaboona

PRES. TRUMP HIDES IN WHITE HOUSE BUNKER IN FEAR OF PROTESTORS
Hello everyone, it's Shakaboona here, on May 29, 2020, Friday, it was reported by NPR and other news agencies that when protestors marched on the White House, the Secret Service (SS) rushed Pres. Trump to a protective bunker in the basement of the White House for his safety. When I heard that news I instantly visualized 3 scenes - (Scene 1) a pic of Pres. Saddam Hussein hiding in an underground cave in fear of the U.S. Army, (Scene 2) a pic of Pres. Donald Trump hiding in an underground bunker shaking in fear beneath a desk from U.S. Protestors as Secret Service guards (with 2 Lightning bolts on their collars) in hyper security around him with big guns drawn out, and (Scene 3) a pic of Pres. Trump later stood in front of the church across from the White House with a Bible in hand & chest puffed out & threatened to activate the U.S. Army against American citizen protestors.
 ~ I think this would be an underground iconic image of the power of the People & the cowardice/fear of Pres. Trump, not to mention that I think such a creative comic satire of Trump would demolish his self image (haha). I ask for anyone's help to turn my above visual satire of Trump into an actual comic satire strip & for us to distribute the finished comic satire strip worldwide, esp. to the news media. Maybe we can get Trump to see it and watch him blow a gasket (lol).
 ~ Please everyone, stay safe out there, b/c Trump is pushing this country to the verge of Civil War. Be prepared in every way imaginable. Peace. - Ur Brother, Shakaboona

Write to Shakaboona:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall #BE7826
SCI Rockview
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733

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Still photo from Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove"released January 29, 1964

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 


Spending 2020

  In its report "Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons Spending 2020" the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has produced the first estimate in nearly a decade of global nuclear weapon spending, taking into account costs to maintain and build new nuclear weapons. ICAN estimates that the nine nuclear-armed countries spent $72.9 billion on their 13,000-plus nuclear weapons in 2019, equaling $138,699 every minute of 2019 on nuclear weapons, and a $7.1 billion increase from 2018.
These estimates (rounded to one decimal point) include nuclear warhead and nuclear-capable delivery systems operating costs and development where these expenditures are publicly available and are based on a reasonable percentage of total military spending on nuclear weapons when more detailed budget data is not available. ICAN urges all nuclear-armed states to be transparent about nuclear weapons expenditures to allow for more accurate reporting on global nuclear expenditures and better government accountability.
ICAN, May 2020
https://www.icanw.org/global_nuclear_weapons_spending_2020

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Shooting and looting started: 400 years ago

Shooting, looting, scalping, lynching,
Raping, torturing their way across
the continent—400 years ago—
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide rolling down on
Today…
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide leaving in-
visible yellow crime
scene tape crisscrossing Tallahassee
to Seattle; San Diego to Bangor… 
Shooting Seneca, Seminole, Creek,
Choctaw, Mohawk, Cayuga, Blackfeet,
Shooting Sioux, Shawnee, Chickasaw,
Chippewa before
Looting Lakota land; Looting Ohlone
Land—
Looting Ashanti, Fulani, Huasa, Wolof,
Yoruba, Ibo, Kongo, Mongo, Hutu, Zulu…
Labor.
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide—hot lead storms—
Shooting, looting Mexico for half of New
Mexico; a quarter of Colorado; some of
Wyoming and most of Arizona; Looting
Mexico for Utah, Nevada and California
So, next time Orange Mobutu, Boss Tweet,
is dirty like Duterte—howling for shooting;
Next time demented minions raise rifles to
shoot; Remind them that
Real looters wear Brooks Brothers suits;
Or gold braid and junk medals ‘cross their
chests. Real looters—with Capitalist Hill
Accomplices—
Steal trillions
Not FOX-boxes, silly sneakers, cheap clothes…
© 2020. Raymond Nat Turner, The Town Crier. All Rights Reserved.       



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Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire, The Lasting Effects of War Book Discussion, Sir, No Sir Viewing, VFP's Online Convention, Workshop Proposals, Convention FAQ, No More COVID-19 Money For the Pentagon, Repeal the AUMF, Community Conversation on Hybrid Warfare, St Louis VFP Delivers VA Lunch, In the News and Calendar




Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 


Veterans For Peace, as a United Nations Department of Global Communication affiliated NGO, is most gratified to see UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres make his plea for a worldwide ceasefire during this global pandemic. 

The first line of the Preamble of the UN's Charter says that they originated to save “succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. But sadly, because the UN was created by the victors of WW2 who remain the powers of the world, and because the UN depends for funding on those same militarily and economically dominant nation-states, primarily the U.S., much more often than not the UN is very quiet on war. 

Please join Veterans For Peace in appealing to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft to support the Secretary General's call for a GLOBAL CEASEFIRE! 


For more information about events go to:

https://www.veteransforpeace.org/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=fa5082af-9325-47a7-901c-710e85091ee1




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Courage to Resist
COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT!
www.couragetoresist.org ~ 510.488.3559 ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist

484 Lake Park Ave # 41
OaklandCA 94610-2730
United States
Unsubscribe from couragetoresist.org 

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From Business Insider 2018

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"The biggest block from having society in harmony with the universe is the belief in a lie that says it’s not realistic or humanly possible." 

"If Obama taught me anything it’s that it don’t matter who you vote for in this system. There’s nothing a politician can do that the next one can’t undo. You can’t vote away the ills of society people have to put our differences aside ban together and fight for the greater good, not vote for the lesser evil."

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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When faced with the opportunity to do good, I really think it’s the instinct of humanity to do so. It’s in our genetic memory from our earliest ancestors. It’s the altered perception of the reality of what being human truly is that’s been indoctrinated in to every generation for the last 2000 years or more that makes us believe that we are born sinners. I can’t get behind that one. We all struggle with certain things, but I really think that all the “sinful” behavior is learned and wisdom and goodwill is innate at birth.  —Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)



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Support Major Tillery, Friend of Mumia, Innocent, Framed, Now Ill




Major Tillery (with hat) and family


Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

Major Tillery, a prisoner at SCI Chester and a friend of Mumia, may have caught the coronavirus. Major is currently under lockdown at SCI Chester, where a coronavirus outbreak is currently taking place. Along with the other prisoners at SCI Chester, he urgently needs your help.

Major was framed by the Pennsylvania District Attorney and police for a murder which took place in 1976. He has maintained his innocence throughout the 37 years he has been incarcerated, of which approximately 20 were spent in solitary confinement. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture has said that 15 days of solitary confinement constitutes torture.

When Mumia had Hepatitis C and was left to die by the prison administration at SCI Mahanoy, Major Tillery was the prisoner who confronted the prison superintendent and demanded that they treat Mumia. (see https://www.justiceformajortillery.org/messing-with-major.html). Although Mumia received medical treatment, the prison retaliated against Major for standing up to the prison administration. He was transferred to another facility, his cell was searched and turned inside out repeatedly, and he lost his job in the prison as a Peer Facilitator.

SCI Chester, where Major is currently incarcerated, has been closed to visitors since mid-March. Fourteen guards and one prisoner are currently reported to be infected with the coronavirus. Because the prison has not tested all the inmates, there is no way to know how many more inmates have coronavirus. Major has had a fever, chills and a sore throat for several nights. Although Major has demanded testing for himself and all prisoners, the prison administration has not complied.

For the past ten days, there has been no cleaning of the cell block. It has been weeks since prisoners have been allowed into the yard to exercise. The food trays are simply being left on the floor. There have been no walk-throughs by prison administrators. The prisoners are not allowed to have showers; they are not allowed to have phone calls; and they are not permitted any computer access. 

This coronavirus outbreak at SCI Chester is the same situation which is playing out in California prisons right now, about which the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia, along with other groups, organized a car caravan protest at San Quentin last week. Prisons are enclosed indoor spaces and are already an epicenter of the coronavirus, like meatpacking plants and cruise ships. If large numbers of prisoners are not released, the coronavirus will infect the prisons, as well as surrounding communities, and many prisoners will die. Failing to release large numbers of prisoners at this point is the same as executing them. We call for "No Execution by COVID-19"!

Major is close to 70 years old, and has a compromised liver and immune system, as well as heart problems. He desperately needs your help. 

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:

Kenneth Eason, Acting Superintendent
SCI Chester
500 E. 4th St.
Chester, PA 19013

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

Email: keason@pa.gov (Prison Superintendent). maquinn@pa.gov (Superintendent's Assistant)
Please also call the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections at:Department of Corrections
1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Telephone: (717) 737-4531
This telephone number is for SCI Camp Hill, which is the current number for DOC.
Reference Major's inmate number: AM 9786

Email: ra-contactdoc@pa.gov
Demand that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections immediately:

1) Provide testing for all inmates and staff at SCI Chester;
2) Disinfect all cells and common areas at SCI Chester, including sinks, toilets, eating areas and showers;
3) Provide PPE (personal protective equipment) for all inmates at SCI Chester;
4) Provide access to showers for all prisoners at SCI Chester, as a basic hygiene measure;
5) Provide yard access to all prisoners at SCI Chester;
6) Provide phone and internet access to all prisoners at SCI Chester;
7) Immediately release prisoners from SCI Chester, including Major Tillery, who already suffers from a compromised immune system, in order to save their lives from execution by COVID-19.

It has been reported that prisoners are now receiving shower access. However, please insist that prisoners be given shower access and that all common areas are disinfected.


In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal




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Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. 😓

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).

We can’t relax in the comfort of our own homes (#BothemJean and #AtatianaJefferson).

We can't ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride).

We can't have a cellphone (#StephonClark).

We can't leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards).

We can't play loud music (#JordanDavis).

We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).

We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)

We can’t walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).

We can’t play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).

We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).

We can’t walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).

We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#SeanBell).

We can’t party on New Years (#OscarGrant).

We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).

We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).

We can't break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).

We can’t shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)p^p.

We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).

We can’t read a book in our own car (#KeithScott).

We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).

We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).

We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).

We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).

We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).

We can’t run (#WalterScott).

We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).

We can’t live (#FreddieGray).

We’re tired.

Tired of making hashtags.

Tired of trying to convince you that our #BlackLivesMatter too.

Tired of dying.

Tired.

Tired.

Tired.

So very tired.

(I don’t know who created this. I just know there are so many more names to be added and names we may never hear of.)

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1) Kevin Cooper: Surviving Death Row and COVID-19 in San Quentin

by DENNIS BERNSTEIN, SEPTEMBER 21, 2020

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/09/21/kevin-cooper-surviving-death-row-and-covid-19-in-san-quentin/

lllAn Exclusive Interview with Kevin Cooper


I interviewed long-time death-row prisoner, Kevin Cooper in San Quentin, on August 18th. Cooper is now a double  survivor of death-row and Covid19. My Flashpoints Radio Team did some of the key research that helped to rescue Cooper in 2004 when he was exactly three hours forty-seven minutes from a California state-sponsored murder.

Cooper has been incarcerated for over 37 years (35 years on death Row) for the murder of the Ryan family and child guest Christopher Hughes, a brutal crime he doggedly maintains he did not commit. Currently, having exhausted appeals through the courts, Kevin is requesting that Governor Newsom order an innocence investigation to consider all the evidence that points to others and exonerates Kevin Cooper. Gov. Newsom has ordered DNA testing which has almost been completed at this time.

Quoting from a letter from Norman Hile, Kevin’s lawyer, to Gov. Newsom on July 6, 2020:

“The current profound awakening in California and the US as a whole to the systematic racism that affects Black lives every day is a clarion call to examine, under a bright light, the racism that drove the investigation, prosecution, and conviction of Kevin Cooper. The murder of George Floyd, and of so many other Black men, by racist law enforcement has brought us to a moment where the State of California can no longer look away. It is time to finally provide Kevin Cooper with a meaningful opportunity to prove his innocence.

“It is undeniable that racism was the driving factor in the SBSD’s [San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department] investigation and framing of Mr. Cooper and in the SBCDA’s prosecution and conviction of him. Racism drove this case from the moment the SBSD became aware of Mr. Cooper and continued unabated until he was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.”

Dennis Bernstein: We are joined, from San Quentin Prison, Death Row, by Kevin Cooper.  Kevin, it is good to talk to you again.  It’s been too long.

Kevin Cooper: Thank you, Dennis.  Thank you for welcoming me back.  I’m glad to be back.  It’s been a long time.

DB: Been a long time, and we are glad that we are still talking.  But let’s come in this door. We have seen the invasion of -19.  The prisons have been the petri dish. I understand, not only did you have to face off with

Death Row, you had to face off with COVID-19.  How are you doing?  And what’s it like there, in terms of the disease?

KC: Personally, I’m doing well.  I do believe I did have COVID-19, but I recovered from it.  It’s hell on earth, just like it’s always been. It’s just a double dose of it. We inmates are trying to do the best that we can, to survive, as we’ve always done. But like I said, it’s a double dose, now.

DB:   Kevin, the Flashpoints show has been on this case for many years.  One of our producers, Leslie Kean, former producer here, did a lot of work on the case. We care a great deal about it. You’re in this battle for a long time. Can I ask you, what keeps you going? After all these years, how come you’re able to continue to struggle for an exoneration? Is that because you’re innocent?

KC: My innocence is what keeps me going.  I mean, that is my motivating factor.  And that’s all I know. I just keep goin’ and keep goin’ and keep goin’. I can’t stop. If I stop, they win. And I don’t want them to win. So, I keep going.

DB: We know that you’re in a battle now with the Governor of California.  You are calling for an Innocence Investigation. What is an Innocence Investigation?

KC: Correct.

DB:  What does that mean?  Tell us about that and what the Governor’s position is, at this point.

KC: Innocence Investigation is exactly what it says. They investigate the innocence claims that are in my case. I am no longer dead in the court system, because the court system has rubber stamped me through it.  And every time I went to the court, they denied me. But yet I have all these Constitutional violations.  I have no less than six Brady Violations, and one is enough to get you a new trial. And I have no less than six.

And for people who don’t know what a Brady Violation is, it’s when the State willingly or unknowingly withholds material, exculpatory evidence from the defense, evidence that can prove a person’s innocence.

So, they did that, six times. They destroyed evidence, they planted evidence, they lied about witnesses. They did all types of stuff that they have historically done to people like me, in situations like this. And so,

we’re tryin’ to get all this exposed, in a hearing. And if we do that, then I’ll get out. I have no doubt about that. So, we’re not in a battle with the Governor. We’re waiting for this final DNA testing to get done so that

he can decide whether or not to give it to me. And if he does give it to me, we all believe that they’ll get me out, my legal team.

DB:  Wow.  It’s been a long, hard struggle. Kevin, I wanna ask you to step back a little bit and talk about your response to Black Lives Matter.  Black lives in the prison, what does that look like?  And has that given you any extra support, in your battle for freedom?

Recording: This call and your telephone number will be monitored and recorded.

KC: Yes, and because I read, study, and understand our history of Black people in America, I understand that every generation has had some type of organization or people to come and fight for our humanity, our human rights, because we can’t have any other type rights, civil rights, or any other type rights, unless we first have human rights. And so, at this point in time in our history, it’s Black Lives Matter.

But before them, you can see it was the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. And before them, you can say it was SNCC, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Or you could say it was the Urban League or CORE, Congress of Racial Equality, or the SCLC, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, that Martin Luther King was a part of.  Or you could even say it was Malcolm X and the [inaudible] relations that he was after. And before that, Marcus Garvey, and all through that, A. Philip Randolph. So, my point is, you can go all the way back to Frederick Douglass and before him. And we’ve always had people or

organizations to fight for us. And right now, it’s Black Lives Matter, because Black lives do matter.  They haven’t mattered throughout the history of this country, but they matter, now.

And we are makin’ these people accountable, even with this death penalty, which I have experienced and wouldn’t have really experienced, if they had executed me, in 2004, when I came within 3 hours and 42

minutes of being strapped down to that gurney and burned alive from the inside, with those poisonous,lethal injection drugs. So, we understand that this criminal justice system, how unjust it is, from the back end, where I’m at, to the front end, where George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and everybody else was at, when they got murdered.

So, we need Black Lives Matter, not just as an organization that protests on the street. But we need that mentality to come up here in this criminal justice system. We need that mentality to get up there in Washington DC in Congress and in the United States Senate and in the White House, where those people, up in there, understand that Black lives matter.

DB:   What’s ‘good trouble’, to you?  What does that phrase mean, to you?  ‘Making good trouble’?

KC: Doing what I’m doing, what I have been doing, what I have been doin’, since I’ve met you and Leslie Kean, a long time ago.  What I — what Mumia Abu Jamal was doing and what every other person is doing, what

Angela Davis is doing, and what Black Lives Matter is doing, what — you know, making good trouble. Don’t let things stay as, quote, unquote, “normal”. Because when things are normal, when we get murdered, when we get discriminated against, you know? People do all types of foul things to us, when things are normal.

So, we can’t let things be normal, because we’re tired of suffering under normal circumstances. We have to make good trouble, to make people see that their normal is our pain and suffering. And we’re tired of

suffering and having pain, because of them. So, we must ‘Get up, get into it, and get involved’, using the words of James Brown. We must!  That’s what gettin’ in good trouble means, to me. Good trouble is no

longer sitting down and being silenced, because silence is betrayal. It really is! Bein’ complicit is givin’ the other side to go ahead to keep on whippin’ our ass. People are shooting us. People keep their knee on

our neck. We can no longer — I mean, we really couldn’t do it, before, and a lot of us have always fought back. But we really can’t stand it, now, because now, we have more people understanding that their plight in this country is right alongside ours. That’s why you see so many poor people — poor white people, Latino people, Native American people, involved in this movement, right now. That’s what makes it different than any movement, before. They can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines.

DB:  What do you think about the expanding White Power movement? We have a serial white supremacist in the White House, and he has opened up the door and given the go-ahead for folks to, shall we say, ‘express themselves’. I’m wondering what you think about — what’s your reaction to this new White Power movement, where you can — where a vigilante can walk down the street in Kenosha and shoot people, after having a conversation with the Sheriff and getting some water and encouragement?  Your thoughts on the White Power movement?

KC: Well, I look at it this way, Dennis. There’s always been a White Power movement in America, always. It ain’t never went nowhere. Never! The only thing that’s different now, between then and now, is the fact that you have a guy in the White House, and he brought people out from behind the closet door, out of the woods, out of their sheets, and all of that stuff. They’re out in the open, more so, now, than ever since the 1960s or ‘50s or ‘40s. So, I honestly believe that these people, who are sick in the head like that, they’re never gonna change. Not the majority of ‘em. So, we just have to keep going and keep fighting and keep building’, regardless of what they do.

See, in my mind, it’s not about what they do. It’s about what we do.  We’re not gonna stand there and let us — let them just dog us out. We gotta stand up and get in good trouble. But there’s always been and will always be a White Power movement in America, because America was founded on –

Recording: You have 60 seconds remaining.

KC: And this racism that America was founded on has not left, and it will not leave. There have always been Black people or Black organizations, who have always stood up and fought for us.

On the other side of the coin, since the coins are — do have two sides, there’s always been those who have been opposed to us. But we’re not in this country today because of those people, those white supremacists and those white supremacist presidents, like Trump and Woodrow Wilson and Reagan and W. Bush and H.W. Bush and — you know, I can keep going, all the way down the line. Even, some degree, Clinton. No. We’re not here — still here because of them. We’re still here, in spite of them, despite them, you know what I’m sayin’? Because we keep fighting.

My mentality, and I’m in a prison where white supremacy is in here, white supremacists, and they — and officers. And I know that, but — in that court system that I’m in, there’s white supremacy.  But we don’t care what they do, to a degree, because it’s not about what they do. It’s about what we do. And that’s how I see white supremacy. It’s there. It’s gonna – it’s always been here. It’s always gonna be there. It’s always

gonna be here. We just gotta keep on fighting’. And if we fight long enough and hard enough, eventually, we’re gonna win. We are! We are!  That’s what I believe. Dennis, I say this, in all due respect and all due

truth. If I had not been fighting all these years in this white supremacist criminal justice system, these people would’ve tortured and murdered me, in 2004. The only reason why I’m alive today is because I fought, and a whole bunch of other people fought against this white supremacist criminal justice system and proved that they were wrong and that they framed me. Now, I’m still stuck here, on this modern-day plantation, in this Death Row Section, but it’s not like [laughs] – I’m dead.  And as long as I’m alive, there’s a chance I can get out.  So, we keep fighting.

DB:   Kevin, the situation in — in —Death Row there and in the prison at San Quentin has really been a very terrible scourge, and it was caused by the system, the same white supremacist system, wasn’t it?

KC: It’s my understanding that this COVID-19 virus got here in this prison because one prison, who had infected inmates down in Southern California, transported ‘em all the way up here to Northern California and some of ‘em here. And the rest took on a life of its own. I mean, the coronavirus spread throughout this prison, and a lot of people died. And I think 26 inmates died. Half of ‘em, or a little less than half, were on Death Row, you know? And that happened because these people in this system — now, I can’t say all of ‘em. I’m not gonna whitewash all of ‘em like that, but the majority of ‘em, they don’t give a damn about us people. You know? They don’t. Because if they did, common sense would’ve told ‘em not to do nothin’ like that. But they don’t use common sense. You know? They don’t use things that you and I would  use. They do things that they know is gonna mess with people, because that’s what they do. They mess with us. They mess with us mentally, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, physically —

Recording: This call and your telephone number will be monitored and recorded. 

KC:—and any other type way they can mess with us. That’s what they do, because they’re oppressors. Oppressors don’t give a damn about the people they’re oppressing. And whatever they did, they didn’t do it for those inmates’ best interests. They didn’t have their best interests at heart. And so, we’re stuck in the situation that we’re in. I think that things are getting better, but I can’t tell, because I’m stuck in this cage. I don’t know.

DB:  What does the medical care system look like, inside the prison?  Were they up for this? Were they up for this outbreak?

KC: No. They were not. I mean, historically, healthcare in prison systems around this country, and especially in the state of California, have notoriously been bad, the worst in the world, in some cases. And in this state, even in this prison, has been under a Federal court order. It’s been monitored to get it right, because inmates were dyin’ from preventable deaths, because the healthcare system was bad. Now, when this coronavirus broke out, no. Nobody was ready for it, not the inmates, not the officials, not the officers, you know, because some of them, I mean, a lot of them got sick. One of ‘em, I know, died, and he was a good officer. You know?

But it’s just — it just happened. But those of us who were in here, behind enemy lines, we took the brunt of the pandemic. We were the worst off. We suffered the most. And our families are still sufferin’, Dennis, because they won’t let us have contact visits. They won’t even let us have visits through the glass, video visits, or no type visits, you know? We don’t — I haven’t seen anybody since, I believe, January.  Not my attorneys, not my family, not my friends, nobody. So, this is not good for us.

DB:  But this is the nature of the system, that that’s how they attempt to keep prisoners powerless, right, to cut them off from the source of love, energy and support. Wouldn’t you say that’s a part of prison treatment?

KC: Yeah. That’s true. I mean, if it wasn’t for these telephones. And in truth, they took the telephones away from us during this pandemic, for a couple weeks, because they said they were afraid that we would get

coronavirus from the telephones, even though they were wiping ‘em down with this very powerful disinfectant called Cell Block, which they pass out just to clean these cages. And they use it in the showers, because it’s supposed to kill coronavirus. But nonetheless, they wouldn’t give us the phones.

So, we found out later that the reason why they wouldn’t give us the phones, because certain inmates were calling the news media and telling them what was going on in here. They were talking to their family

members and telling their family members, and their family members were in turn talking’ to the news media and exposing’ all this stuff that was happening’ to us in here. So, therefore, these people decided to

take the phones from us. But we finally got ‘em back, but it’s just the principle of the thing. Yeah. They don’t care about us. They don’t care about our families. They don’t care about nothin’, man. These are

oppressors. Oppressors don’t care about us, man. They don’t care about our families.

They all — you know. They just don’t. Just not into — this is a money-making machine.  This is a business, the business of death, the business of imprisonment, the business of modern-day enslavement, you know?

That’s what this is. It’s a business. And they can say — what’s the saying?  ‘It ain’t nothin’ personal. It’s business.’ And that’s the mentality that these people have. It’s business! So what, you don’t get to see your family? Don’t worry about it. It’s business! It ain’t nothin’ personal.

But in the men’s eyes, it is personal, because without our families, man, a lot of us don’t have nothin’. Our families is what keeps us alive and keeps us going, that love that we have, that connection that we have, that commitment that we have, or that responsibility that we have to each other.

Recording:  This call and your telephone number will be monitored and recorded.

KC: That’s one of the strongest things that we have, that keeps us not just alive, as far as on a physical level, but on an emotional level, or on a mental level, on a psychological level.

DB:  Kevin Cooper — we’re speaking with Kevin Cooper, at San Quentin Prison.  He’s on Death Row. We’re talking about — really, what we’re talking about, the fact that there’s an opportunity now, after all these years of struggling to get the truth out about Kevin’s case, he’s got tremendous support from the Innocence Project, from several sections of it. And they’re now moving to have the Governor open up the door for an Innocence Investigation. We are delighted and really honored to be speaking with Kevin, on Death Row. It’s been a long road for us, and I wanna ask you, Kevin, has your case — do you think your case has helped to call attention to other cases, other innocence cases, and also, on the struggle to abolish the Death Penalty?

KC: In truth, I cannot answer that question.  I don’t know if my case has had that type of impact on the criminal justice system. But I do know that it has had a positive impact on everybody who learns the truth about this case. You know?  From the United Nations, to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, former Judges on the California Supreme Court, certain Governors from Texas and Louisiana, and a whole slew of other people have found out about this case. And they have stood up and said, ‘No, man, you can’t do this. We support this guy.  We want this man to have a Innocence Investigation’, because the evidence has all been disproven, that they used to convict me.

So, it’s just a matter of us gettin’ the opportunity to show our side in a open forum, that the criminal justice system denied me, for all these years.  And if they do that, if I get that from Governor Newsom, and like I said earlier, we believe that I’ll get outta here. Now, if I get outta here, that does not — that does not mean that I will be free. Excuse me. What that means is, I will no longer be on this modern-day plantation, because freedom — true freedom, without equality, there’s no freedom, at all.  So, I understand, you know, that — if I get outta here, I will be in a status of a second-class citizen, or something like that.

I will continue the work that other  “second-class citizens” have done in this country, to help make this country better, such as John Lewis, who got in good trouble, such as Malcolm X, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stokely Carmichael and Ella Baker, and a whole bunch of other people, who’s too many for me to name in this brief conversation.  But they were considered second-class citizens, when they took it on them — on themselves to fight back. So, I will be out there on the front line, along with my brothers and sisters that struggle, fighting to bring this crime against humanity to an end. I will be definitely workin’ for all of us and fighting for our human rights, because it’s important for my wellbeing to know that I belong and that I am part of this struggle.

DB:  Kevin, it’s like you were given [laughs] — it was an attempt at a — sort of a multiple death sentence. If they don’t kill you in the — in the killing chamber, they’re gonna kill you with COVID.  But in that regard, we — you know, when we talk about Black Lives Matter — Black and Brown Lives Matter, Indigenous Lives Matter, this goes far beyond the prison, in terms of the racism that really comes up — being brought up by the pandemic and how different people are much more vulnerable than others. You wanna talk about how racism comes into it, through the economy, through the economics of it?

KC:  I just recently wrote a essay and called “Disproportionate Blues”, which was about how African Americans and Native Americans and Latino Americans are disproportionately affected by this coronavirus pandemic.

And this is our history, in our country. This is why Black people invented the Blues, so — because they had to find some way to express themselves about the horrendous conditions, from healthcare, to jobs, to housing or lack thereof, to everything else that we were facing in this country.

This is why the Blues was invented.  So, if you fast forward all the way up to date and all that time in between, while things have changed for certain people — for certain people, for those same certain people of a lower class, things have not changed all that much, from redlining to where a person can or cannot live, to the type of schools their children can or cannot go to, to the type of jobs that a person can or cannot get, because of their education. These things all play a part in why coronavirus is affecting us. The Policies of this country have made it so that healthcare is not a human right. They don’t wanna give us healthcare.  They want money. Everything’s about money, in this capitalistic society.  And so, if you cannot afford to pay for healthcare, then, therefore, you do without it. And when you do without it, oh, well, you find out what happens when cases like coronavirus come around.  So, we all, who are poor people in this country, are catchin’ hell. So, some Black people are escapin’ this, because they have money. But the ones that don’t, we’re in trouble. And it’s — it’s a historical fact. So, when people say, ‘Times have changed’, to a degree, they have. But to a larger degree, they have not, because racism — it’s like when they build a building, when they build a courthouse or they build a hospital, it’s like they have racism in the — in the cement, right? So, it’s like institutional racism. It’s all up in there.

And it affects it so much that it’s killing us. They don’t kill us one way, Dennis, they kill us another way. Or they put us in a position to kill ourselves. And then, they say it’s our fault. It’s our fault for having high blood pressure. It’s our fault for bein’ obese. It’s our fault that we live in food deserts. It’s our fault that we have to eat processed food. It’s our fault that we live in rat and roach-infested apartment buildings.

Everything’s our fault! But no, man, it ain’t our fault. It’s the system’s fault. But yet, we pay the price.

DB:   You’re listening to Flashpoints, on Pacifica Radio.  Again, we’re speaking with Kevin Cooper, on Death Row. And Kevin is in a battle towards exoneration. He has the — he’s calling for an Innocence Investigation to be granted by Governor Newsom of California. We’re keeping a very close eye on that as well. Kevin, can I ask you, what — what are some of your favorite books? What are you reading, now?

KC: I just finished reading “Caste”, by Isabel Wilkerson.  And before that, I read James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time”. I’m getting ready to read, because I just received, “Freedom Is a Constant Struggle”, by Angela Davis. And, you know, I do a lot of reading. I read a lot of books, you know. So, I’m always reading about this struggle that we are in, this historic struggle that we’re in. And it helps me to better understand my situation, why that I’m in here, and they know I’m innocent, but yet, I’m still in here, goin’ on 40 years. You know? Because innocence makes no difference in America. They don’t give a damn about killin’ innocent people on the front end of this criminal justice system or the back end of this criminal justice system or fixin’ it all in between.

So, they give us these draconian sentences of 100 years or 200 —

Recording: This call and your telephone number will be monitored and recorded.

KC: — so, when I read all these books, and I understand this historic struggle that we’re in, it gives me not just knowledge and not just a better understanding, but a will not to succumb to my circumstance. You know?

It keeps me — these books that I read keep my back straight. Because as Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ‘They can’t ride your back, if your back is not bent over.’ You know? So, it’s like, reading, to me — and I guess it could be for everybody. Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.  So, I love to read, and I’m thankful for all the people who send me books.

DB:  Are you – have you always been a reader? Were you a reader, as a kid?

KC: Oh, hell, no.  I was stuck on stupid, as a kid. I didn’t know the first thing about books, when I was a kid. I grew up thinking that white people were the greatest thing on earth. I mean, I was all messed up. I was uneducated and miseducated. I didn’t know too much about nothin’.  You know?  And that’s why I put myself in the position for those devils to get their hands on me, and they did the rest.

Because — and that’s another reason why I testified in my own behalf at trial, because I was so naïve, so stupid, so believin’ in this rotten-ass system. I said, ‘If I get up on this witness stand and tell the truth, they’re  gonna believe me, and they’re gonna let me go.’ When I got up on the witness stand, and I told the truth, they did not shake my story. They did not change my story. They did not prove that I was lyin’. And yet, still, the jury found me guilty. Yeah. So, no. When I was a child, man, I — no, I was all messed up. But I’m not messed up, no more. And that’s the good thing about it. I’ve learned.

DB:  Still learning, right? And how many books are you allowed to have in your — in your cell?  Do you have a little library there, or do you — can you keep your favorite books?

KC: Oh, first — all right. First, let me — I mean you no disrespect, all right?  I gotta correct you on that. This is not my cell, right?  If it’s anybody, it’s the taxpayers’ cell. This is a cage, that I’m forced to live in, against my will. I will never — claim this as mine. Nothing in this joint is mine.

But in this cage that I’m in, I’m allowed to have 10 books. So, I’m always sendin’ books out and gettin’ new books sent in. But you know — but it’s good, because the books that I send out, I send to people who share ‘em with other people, especially youngsters, so they can gain knowledge.

DB:  Books are crucial, behind bars.  That’s for sure.  I remember teaching in Rikers Island, and I had a book of poems by Etheridge Knight that I lent to one student in my class at Rikers. And it was a little dog-eared, it was a little ripped up, it came back all beautifully taped together, all nicely re-put together, and I — with a little note saying, ‘Hey, Teach, this book is too important to let unravel here. So, take better care [laughs] of your books.’

KC:  [laughs]  Right. And I even had your book up in here, you know?  And so, I thank you for sending it to me. [Follow the Money] I forgot to mention that, you know? All the interviews that you did and — over the years, and you even have my interview in there, after I came back from that near-death experience, in 2004. So, that — you know, and it’s up in here. So, I thank you for that.

DB:  Well, I — well, I’m happy to hear that. I really am. And of course, it’s really good to speak with you. I wanna give you a chance. I’d like to open the mic, and why don’t you — what would you like to talk about?  What have I forgotten to ask you? I’m gonna — we’re gonna end by, you know, how people can find out more information about your case.  But before that, what — what did I miss? What did we miss?

KC: Dennis, you didn’t miss too much of nothin’, because this is real life, and everything is continuing to grow, continuing to move. And I’m still here. The struggle is most definitely here, and it’s not gonna —

Recording: This call and your telephone number will be monitored and recorded.

KC: — the struggle, this movement, is not going away, because they’re growing stronger. And so, I’m gonna continue to do my part, as everybody in my life, who is in my life, I mean, really in my life is, because if they weren’t, they would no longer be in my life or part of what I do. I think we’re good. I really do. Considering the type of circumstance that I’m in, and what we have to go through, to make this phone call and all that, yeah. We’re good. We handled our business. And I thank you for allowing me to speak on your program.

DB:   Well, it’s an honor. And we all are learning together. And I have to ask you the final question. How can people, if they want, get more background? How can they help? How can they let the Governor know that they might want to see Kevin Cooper walk out of those — through those prison gates, into the [laughs] –—the larger — I guess we could say, the larger prison that’s now being run by a white supremacist [laughs] in the White House? How can people learn more?

KC: [laughs]  Well, anybody who is very interested in my case and situation, they can go to kevincooper.org and learn about my case and a lot of the people and organizations who have supported me. They can go to my other website, freekevincooper.org.  My Facebook page is currently bein’ redone, but I do have a Facebook page. Actually, that’s freekevincooper. And if anybody really wanted to take that extra step, they could also write the Governor and ask him to grant me an Innocence Investigation.

And for whatever reason that they can find out why I’m on one of these websites with ‘em, because —

Recording: You have 60 seconds remaining.

KC:— I have the support of the people, then I’m good. And I do have support of a lot of people. But you can never have too much. So, with that said, and I thank you so much. And I wish everybody at KPFA well, and all of you stay safe and virus-free.

DB: All right.  Well, I want you to come back. Maybe next time, we could do this at KPFA, if the — if we don’t have the virus, and we don’t have the virus of that prison.  Maybe we can look eye to eye, and —

Maybe we can look eye to eye, and and  have the next conversation together. Thank you, Kevin.

KC: You got my word, that’ll happen.  Thank you.

 

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2) How California Became Ground Zero for Climate Disasters

The engineering and land management that enabled the state’s tremendous growth have left it more vulnerable to climate shocks — and those shocks are getting worse.

By Christopher Flavelle, Sept. 20, 2020

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/20/climate/california-climate-change-fires.html?searchResultPosition=1

San Francisco at dusk.Credit...Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times


California is one of America’s marvels. By moving vast quantities of water and suppressing wildfires for decades, the state has transformed its arid and mountainous landscape into the richest, most populous and bounteous place in the nation.

 

But now, those same feats have given California a new and unwelcome category of superlatives.

 

This year is the state’s worst wildfire season on record. That follows its hottest August on record; a punishing drought that lasted from 2011 to last year; and one of its worst flood emergencies on record three years ago, when heavy rains caused the state’s highest dam to nearly fail, forcing more than 180,000 people to flee.

 

The same manufactured landscapes that have enabled California’s tremendous growth, building the state into a $3 trillion economy that is home to one in 10 Americans, have also left it more exposed to climate shocks, experts say.

 

And those shocks will only get worse.

 

“There’s sort of this sense that we can bend the world to our will,” said Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist in San Francisco for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Climate change is exposing the vulnerabilities in the systems that we’ve engineered.”

 

Those systems include some of the greatest accomplishments in American public infrastructure: Transporting huge amounts of water from the mountains to the coast and from north to south. Creating almost 1,500 reservoirs to store that water until it’s needed. Subduing the fires that are part of forest ecosystems, making more land livable for millions but stocking those forests with fuel in the process. Building dense cities along a shoreline susceptible to erosion and flooding.

 

Those accomplishments reflect the optimism that defines California, according to R. Jisung Park, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, who focuses on climate adaptation. But like so much that underpins modern American life, they weren’t designed to accommodate the increasingly harsh extremes of climate change.

 

Dr. Park, like other experts interviewed, noted that California’s engineered landscapes are not the only factor behind its high-impact disasters. The state’s size and geographic diversity expose it to an unusually wide range of extreme climate events. And its large population means that when disasters do strike, they are very likely to affect large numbers of people.

 

Still, the manufactured systems that support the state’s population and economy have left the state especially vulnerable. The wildfires are only the latest example of how climate change can cause engineered landscapes to go awry. Those blazes are partly the result of hotter temperatures and drier conditions, scientists say, which have made it easier for vegetation to ignite, causing fires to become bigger, more intense and more frightening.

 

“Sometimes you feel really small and helpless,” said Mandy Beatty, who manages and maintains trails through the forests of the Sierra Nevada for the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, a nonprofit group. On a chalkboard in her house in Plumas County, on the edge of the forests, she counts how long she and her husband have endured the smoke. Friday was Day 33. The fire, still raging, is on the other side of the mountain.

 

The intensity of the fires also reflects decades of policy decisions that altered those forests, according to Robert Bonnie, who oversaw the United States Forest Service under President Barack Obama. And the cost of those decisions is now coming due.

 

In an effort to protect homes and encourage new building, governments for decades focused on suppressing fires that occurred naturally, allowing the buildup of vegetation that would provide fuel for future blazes. Even after the drawbacks of that approach became clear, officials remained reluctant to reduce that vegetation through prescribed burns, wary of upsetting residents with smoke or starting a fire that might burn out of control.

 

That approach made California’s forests more comfortable for the estimated 11 million people who now live in and around them. But it has also made them more susceptible to catastrophic fires. “We’ve sort of built up this fire debt,” Mr. Bonnie said. “People are going to have to tolerate smoke and risk.”

 

President Trump, apparently referring to the increase in vegetation, has responded to California’s fires by telling the state to “clean your floors.” But most of the forests in California are federally owned, Mr. Bonnie noted, and Mr. Trump has sought to cut spending on forest management. And Mr. Bonnie said the fuels that matter most aren’t on the forest floor, but rather the trees themselves — and the best solution is letting more of them burn safely.

 

Another example of California’s engineered landscape is the sprawling system of transporting and storing water. Three-quarters of the state’s precipitation falls north of Sacramento, according to Jeffrey Mount, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. But three-quarters of the state’s water use is south of Sacramento.

 

“The vast majority of our people are concentrated in the areas where the water is not,” Dr. Mount said. California’s response was to build what he called “by far the West’s most complicated storage and conveyance system.”

 

That system moves water that falls as snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains to the south and west, providing drinking water for the state’s coastal cities and irrigation for farms in the arid Central Valley, turning California into an agricultural powerhouse that produces one-quarter of the nation’s food.

 

Climate change is now shaking that system.

 

Precipitation patterns are becoming more extreme: The dry years are becoming drier, forcing cities and farmers to deplete their underground aquifers — something that Frances C. Moore, an assistant professor of environmental economics and climate science at the University of California, Davis, called a “race to the bottom.”

 

“That is not something that’s a sustainable response,” Dr. Moore said.

 

At the same time, wet periods are becoming wetter, which brings challenges of its own. Heavy rains threaten to overwhelm the vast network of aqueducts, reservoirs and dams that hold that water.

 

That increases the likelihood of the sort of catastrophe that almost struck three years ago, Dr. Mount said. A combination of intense rain and structural damage nearly caused the failure of the Oroville Dam, the nation’s highest, which would have unleashed disastrous flooding north of Sacramento.

 

Oroville is unlikely to be a one-off event. California has more dams rated “high hazard” than almost any other state, according to figures from the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. California’s state auditor reported in January that while the state has upgraded the Oroville Dam, others around California continue to pose a risk.

 

“You’re got 40 million people who are dependent on this system, which was designed in the last century,” Dr. Mount said. “It’s not a surprise that you’re seeing many crises.”

 

Climate change is also threatening California’s coastline, the longest in the nation after Alaska and Florida. That coastline is less physically exposed to rising seas than parts of the Atlantic, where water levels are rising more quickly, according to Dr. Dahl at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

 

But California’s more densely populated coast, combined with its use of landfill to expand waterfront communities and its famous cliff-side homes, mean the state has more people at jeopardy from rising seas.

 

“We’ve built right to the edge of the water,” Dr. Dahl said. “We’ve altered the coastline to suit our needs, and we’re increasingly seeing the limitations of that.”

 

To some, California’s vulnerability to climate change is just one more challenge for the state to engineer its way out of, even as it keeps growing.

 

Annie Notthoff, a California water expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the state has already made progress on water efficiency, encouraging cities and counties to cut their water use and recycle wastewater.

 

“I think that if we’re smart, and we use new technology, there’s room for everyone,” Ms. Notthoff said. “I believe in California. I’m fifth-generation.”

 

That optimism is shared, perhaps unsurprisingly, by state officials. Kate Gordon, a senior climate adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom, described a series of steps the state is taking to cope with climate risks, including shifting more development into cities and away from the edge of the wilderness, and designing coastal roads and bridges with rising seas in mind.

 

“We’ve allowed for a development pattern that’s completely sprawled, which I don’t think we can keep doing,” Ms. Gordon said. “We have a lot of ability to be more compact, to be more efficient.”

 

Others were more wary. Solomon Hsiang, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and co-director of the university’s Climate Impact Lab, described being stuck inside as smoke filled the sky, and walking around his home with a hand-held air-quality indicator to find out which rooms had the worst air. “Everyone who could leave town has left town,” he said.

 

Climate change in California is more than just an escalating series of short- and long-term disasters, Dr. Hsiang said. It’s also eroding the idea that the state can mold itself into whatever it wants to be, insulated from the physical threats around it.

 

“California was the land of opportunities,” Dr. Hsiang added. “There’s this story that we can have it all, and that’s just not true.”

 

Thomas Fuller contributed reporting from Quincy, Calif.


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3) Go Live in Another Decade. I Recommend It.

Watching TV news from the past helps me get a grip on the present.

By Farhad Manjoo, Opinion Columnist, Sept. 23, 2020

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/23/opinion/trump-media.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Walter Cronkite’s broadcasts had a seriousness that’s missing in our experience of news today. Credit...CBS, via Getty Images

After the 2016 election, I was deeply shaken not just by the outcome, but by the terrifying sense that I did not understand the nation as well as I’d thought I did. To blunt the shock, I went on a bender through American history. I dove into books about the Civil War, the Progressive era and, finally, Robert Caro’s titanic biography of Lyndon B. Johnson, where I washed up on the shores of the turbulent 1960s.

 

I discovered something amazing: After 1960, much of history as many Americans experienced it — through popular culture on TV, on the radio and at the movies — is preserved and easily accessible online. With a few clicks around YouTube, history leaps into the present, often in ways that deepen and complicate the narrative.

 

For instance, Caro ably describes Johnson’s stirring first presidential address to Congress. It was five days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the new president pressed lawmakers to pass civil rights legislation in Kennedy’s honor. “Everywhere you looked, people were crying,” the journalist Hugh Sidey wrote.

 

Watching the speech is something else. “All I have I would have given gladly not to be standing here today,” Johnson begins, and the hairs on the back of your neck tingle. You feel the weight of the hushed chamber and Johnson’s labored delivery. And then, the trauma that enveloped the audience is transformed, over the 24-minute address, into cheering determination, even hope.

 

That was the speech that hooked me, and soon I found myself living a second life in the past. I’d spend my days as a journalist covering the raucous present; but on and off over the last few years, on nights and weekends and vacations, I’d jump into my digital DeLorean and take up residence in earlier times — making my way, slowly, through the 1960s and then the ’70s, accompanied by an unending library of historical documents and pop cultural artifacts I found online.

 

It is a project I commend you to try. Go live for a bit in another, far-off decade, and I promise it will give you fresh perspective on a present as nutty as ours.

 

Doing so will take a bit of work. Although the internet contains uncountable historical treasures, its most-used services tend to constrict our focus to the instantaneous ever-present. Every moment on social media offers up a deluge of novelty; news is always breaking, memes always trending, hot takes never not taken.

 

The Trump years, especially, have been marked by a barrage of events so overwhelming that each new day seems to scramble every day that preceded it. We are all Dory, Nemo’s forgetful fish friend, so unsettled by the present that we forge — I’m sorry, my pocket just buzzed, what was I saying?

 

Right. To visit the past online, you need to deliberately seek it out. My method was straightforward; I began by reading. In addition to Caro’s Johnson biography, the historian Rick Perlstein’s excellent books on the rise of modern conservatism — which take readers from Barry Goldwater through the treacheries of Richard Nixon to, in the latest volume, the political era dominated by Ronald Reagan — are a perfect place to start.

 

Then, as you read, seek out videos online. Among other things, you will find the chilling news coverage of Johnson arriving at Andrews Air Force Base after the assassination. There’s Johnson’s 1965 speech introducing the Voting Rights Act, in which he invoked the anthem “We Shall Overcome,” a speech that made Martin Luther King Jr. cry. You will find King’s own thundering speeches — not just the most famous one, but also many others worthy of your time, including the last one he gave.

 

You see Malcolm X parrying with derisive reporters (“What is your real name?”). There’s news coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, as delegates cheer inside and riots erupt outside. Here is Walter Cronkite telling Americans the truth about the war in Vietnam, which pushed Johnson not to run for re-election. By the time you get to Nixon you are overwhelmed with video — from his slick 1968 campaign ads to the dramatic trip to China to the endless hours of content related to Watergate.

 

Sure, there are easier ways to understand Watergate. “Slow Burn,” the Slate podcast that documented Nixon’s downfall, may be a better use of your time than watching every minute of the investigation. But the magic of the internet is how it collapses time; you can listen to a documentary produced in 2017 about a break-in in 1972, and then, if you want to fall in even further, you can watch testimony in the Senate’s 1973 Watergate hearings as if it were just unfolding.

 

There’s unexpected value in consulting the originals. “One of the things I tried to get across was the extraordinarily high level of civic commitment that the public showed in following these things, because it was complicated and slow,” Perlstein said of Watergate. After watching long stretches of Senate hearings in the background while I cooked or cleaned the kitchen, I understood what he meant.

 

The Trump era has drawn numerous comparisons to the 1960s and early ’70s. Both periods have had protests, riots, police brutality, political turmoil and corruption and endless war. And both have been consumed by unsettled questions over race, gender and equality.

 

What has stood out to me is not the similarities in plot but the differences in presentation. Watching TV news from the past is jarring and refreshing. A lot of it is outmoded — this is the news as seen through the eyes of old white men — but there are aspects to coverage from the past that I felt myself pining for in the present.

 

When broadcast news was tightly controlled by three TV networks, there was an antiquated formality to the spectacle. I marveled at the tone of the presidential news conferences from the time.

 

The basic grammar of political media was different from what we see today: The questions were longer and more complex, the answers more detailed and nuanced. Even under a president as mendacious as Nixon, the political universe was still bounded by a shared sense of reality. Facts mattered, and documentary evidence had weight. If a politician said something today that contradicted what he (or, rarely, she) said yesterday, or there were recordings of a president disclosing something in private that undermined what he’d said in public, the inconsistencies were considered damning.

 

Broadcast news, which the TV networks offered as public service, also had little room for cheap punditry and outrage in search of profits. As a result, the coverage was more serious than anything on the dial today — no shouting talking heads, no montages of precisely edited sound bites, nothing engineered to drive you to share with your million friends. But because broadcast news was the only game in town, it was also more trustworthy, and more influential — perhaps explaining why both Johnson’s and Nixon’s presidencies ultimately collapsed under the weight of their own distortions.

 

In the fishbowl of 2020, where the news is fragmented and none of us can remember yesterday, we are not at all so lucky.

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4) ‘All That Death in His Life’: Daniel Prude’s Tragic Journey to Rochester

Mr. Prude had a somewhat troubled life in Chicago, with a series of personal tragedies disrupting his attempts at finding meaningful stability.

By Robert Chiarito and Sarah Maslin Nir, Sept. 23, 2020

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/23/nyregion/daniel-prude-profile-rochester.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Daniel Prude was from Chicago, but his death in Rochester, N.Y., roiled the Western New York city. Credit...Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

Daniel Prude died after the police in Rochester put a mesh hood over his head. Credit...Roth and Roth LLP, via Associated Press


CHICAGO — On the last day anyone on Chicago’s West Side saw Daniel Prude alive, he was his usual self, shooting the breeze with a loose band of neighbors outside of a local carwash.

 

He was the imp of the group, often playacting that he was itching for a fight, only to break into a wide grin the minute fists were raised. The only thing different that day was his repeated requests for a spare $20.

 

The money was for an Amtrak ticket: He was leaving his hometown that day for his brother’s home in Rochester, N.Y.

 

Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Prude was near death after a confrontation with the police in Rochester. He had what the police said was a psychotic episode, leading him to burst from his brother’s home, shirtless and shoeless, into the frigid Rochester streets, as his brother frantically dialed 911 for help.

 

By the time the police found him, he was naked, and had shouted that he had the coronavirus. Officers put a mesh hood over his face when he resisted, and pressed his head into the pavement until he lost consciousness. A week later, on March 30, Mr. Prude, 41, was dead.

 

It would take months for his family to know of his ordeal, when they obtained footage from the officers’ body cameras. This month they shared it publicly, accusing the police of covering up the incident.

 

When Mr. Prude died on March 30, few knew of his death or the circumstances surrounding it. Now his name has joined the rallying cry against police brutality and racism alongside those of other Black people who died during police encounters, like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

 

His death has roiled Rochester: The city’s mayor, Lovely Warren, has since fired the chief of police and suspended the seven officers involved in the encounter; the state attorney general’s office has opened its own investigation and a grand jury will now examine the case.

 

Mr. Prude’s life was enigmatic, dotted by pain, loss and hardship. His playful interactions with his friends hid the fractures snaking through his life: the deaths of two of his brothers, his anguish over a nephew’s recent suicide and his increasing reliance on drugs to cope with the loss — Mr. Prude had been home in their shared apartment when the teenager shot himself last fall, friends said. He also had just been kicked out of the home he shared with his sister, after a spate of paranoid outbursts had frightened her.

 

In an interview, his brother, Joe, insisted that Daniel had no children; hours later that same day, a news conference was held in Chicago on behalf of his five children. (Mr. Prude was not married to any of the children’s mothers, and there were varying accounts of how involved he was in their lives.)

 

His sister-in-law said that she did not know him to drink or use drugs. But the police said Mr. Prude had overdosed on Phencyclidine, or PCP, and an autopsy, which determined that he had suffered “complications of asphyxia,” listed acute intoxication by phencyclidine as a contributing factor toward his death.

 

And outside the carwash, his friends — who refer to themselves as the 12th Street group, after the original name of this stretch of squat buildings on West Roosevelt Road — said they regularly shared bottles of Hennessy, and had seen him high in the weeks before he left Chicago.

 

Mr. Prude held jobs in warehouses and factories on Chicago’s Southwest Side, amid a slew of arrests — at least 37 since 1998, according to Cook County records, mostly for crimes like drug possession and driving without a license. At least two of his arrests were for violent scuffles with domestic partners.

 

But friends said that Mr. Prude’s life had seemed to mostly stabilize, until the nephew’s suicide led him to increasingly use illicit substances that he told them helped him cope with the loss, but led to more erratic behavior.

 

Despite the inner turmoil, Mr. Prude was dedicated to a job he held at Gold Standard Baking, a commercial bakery near the south bank of the Chicago River, according to Jason Hunley, a former co-worker, who said that Mr. Prude was responsible for shepherding pastries down the line and into the oven.

 

Mr. Prude took it upon himself to help others in the neighborhood get jobs at Gold Standard, according to Antonio Hall, 42, a childhood friend who now co-owns an apparel company. “Everybody that was willing to work that knew Rell, he’d get you in there,” Mr. Hall said, using a nickname for Mr. Prude that derived from his middle name, Terrell (also sometimes spelled Terrel on official reports). “That’s the type of guy he was.”

 

The best part of the job, he would tell the 12th Street group, was how it enabled him to buy gifts like trendy sneakers for his grown children. “He’d say, ‘I got to be a daddy before I’m anything,’” his friend, April Jones, recalled as she hung out not far from the carwash, Nation Wide Hand Car Wash, on a recent afternoon.

 

Mr. Prude grew up in Lawndale Gardens, a public housing complex of two-story brick rowhouses spread across about seven acres in the Marshall Square neighborhood. He was one of five siblings, four boys and one girl. The Prude children were raised by their mother Dorothy, a bus driver whose strictness kept them out of trouble, said Olivia Jenkins, 68, who lived near the family in a unit in Lawndale Gardens.

 

Daniel attended Manley Career Academy High School, after graduating from John Spry Community School; he peers out shyly from page 27 of its eighth grade yearbook, where he lists his favorite TV show: “Martin.” He liked dogs, said Mr. Hall, who grew up with the Prude children, and said they used to take in stray animals and train them.

 

Daniel was in elementary school when the first of a series of tragedies befell the Prude family: According to Joe Prude, their brother, Timmy, was 11 when he was struck by a car on the way to school and died.

 

Years later, on an evening in 2008, another brother, Byron, 23, was shot and killed near where they grew up; the murder remains unsolved. Their mother died shortly after.

 

In the wake of the deaths, Daniel stepped up into the role of the family’s “protector,” Joe said, moving in with his sister Tameshay, who goes by Tammy, and growing close with her sons.

 

“If you were sad and you were going through something he would pick up on it, and give you a motivational talk — or just tell a joke and make you laugh if that’s what you needed,” said Tashyra Prude, 18, one of Mr. Prude’s daughters, whose nickname, Shyra, was tattooed on his shoulder.

 

“Everybody sees my father now as somebody who was helpless and who was in a bad mental state at the time of his death,” Ms. Prude said. “But I didn’t know him as that.”

 

An arrest on domestic battery charges in 2016 (the case was later dropped) listed Mr. Prude as a member of the Conservative Vice Lords, or CVL, a notorious Chicago gang. The affiliation was confirmed by Mr. Hunley, the former co-worker who was also a childhood friend, but he said that membership did not mean Mr. Prude engaged in any gang activities, and that the association with such groups was a rite of passage for young men from the neighborhood.

 

For the past several years, Mr. Prude seemed to be on a steady path forward. Then, in September 2018, one of his teenage nephews shot and killed himself in the home they shared. “He used to talk about it all the time, and I think he probably felt responsible because he was the uncle,” said Ike White, 48, a friend.

 

“Tim got hit by a car and died. Byron got shot and died. Their momma died. Then his nephew,” Mr. White added. “That will affect a person, all that death in his life.”

 

Mr. Prude quit his job at Gold Standard, and began working at a warehouse. He was smoking PCP more frequently, according to several friends, who asked not to be named because they did not want to upset his family.

 

When using PCP, he could become erratic. His play-fighting sometimes spiraled into actual fistfights. Shortly after his nephew’s death, the 12th Street group stopped allowing him to hang out with them at the carwash when he was high.

 

On the train to Rochester, Mr. Prude’s behavior remained unsteady. Amtrak workers eventually kicked him off the train in Buffalo, he told his brother. He said he was pickpocketed by a passenger, his cellphone stolen. Later that day, he started talking about the devil and was suffering from hallucinations.

 

His brother had him hospitalized for an evaluation, but Mr. Prude was sent home by doctors hours later, only to flee into the streets later that night, when he was confronted by the police in an encounter that would prove fatal.

 

But on his final day in Chicago, March 22, he was there with his neighbors on Roosevelt Road, outside of Nation Wide, chatting with the 12th Street group and asking around for a spare $20 for his ticket to Rochester.

 

It was his childhood friend, Mr. Hall, who reached into his pocket and gave him that $20, he said. “I asked him when he would be back,” he recalled. “And he said he wasn’t sure.”

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5) Black New Yorkers Are Twice as Likely to Be Stopped by the Police, Data Shows

A report shows Black neighborhoods have been more heavily patrolled, but police officials have said that enforcement is mostly driven by 911 and 311 calls, not racial bias.

By Alan Feuer, Sept. 23, 2020

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/23/nyregion/nypd-arrests-race.html?action=click&module=Latest&pgtype=Homepage
Researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that white New Yorkers were arrested and stopped by the police at about only a third of the average rate. Credit...Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

When Bill de Blasio first ran for mayor in 2013, he promised that under his administration New York City police officers would patrol residents less aggressively than in the past, especially in predominately Black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

 

Five years later, with the help of the police, the City Council and the city’s district attorneys, Mr. de Blasio managed to reduce the total number of arrests, criminal summonses and pedestrian stops by more than 500 percent. At the same time, the city’s crime rate fell to lows not seen since the 1950s.

 

One thing did not change, however, according to a report released this week by the Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Black neighborhoods continued to be policed at a higher rate than white ones.

 

Though overall enforcement started dropping in 2011 — near the end of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s final term — and kept falling sharply during Mr. de Blasio’s first five years in office, Black New Yorkers were still arrested and stopped at nearly twice the rate of the average city resident, the new report said. White New Yorkers were arrested and stopped at about only a third of the average rate.

 

“Despite significant efforts to shrink the footprint of the criminal justice system, we still see these racial disparities,” said Erica Bond, the data center’s policy director.

 

Police officials have long maintained that racial disparities in enforcement are a consequence of the higher volume of 911 and 311 calls in the city’s low-income neighborhoods rather than bias. More officers are deployed to those areas in response to complaints, driving up arrests, they have said.

 

The report’s findings come as New York, like other cities across the country, is struggling with a sharp rise in violent crime and with calls to redefine the role of the police in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of officers in Minneapolis.

 

They also have emerged at an exceptionally fraught political moment, when the New York City police and city leaders have found themselves trying to account for a disturbing rise in gun violence over the summer.

 

That debate has only intensified as President Trump and his allies in the local police unions have blamed the spike in shootings on failed liberal attempts to rein in the police, and as some city Democrats have accused the police of engaging in a slowdown and backing off on enforcement.

 

The study’s results appear to confirm as well that predominately Black communities, experience an unequal share of police killings and more frequent contact with the police in general.

 

The new report sidestepped the question of why Black New Yorkers were still being stopped and arrested at the same unequal rate as they were under Mr. Bloomberg. As first a Republican and then a registered independent, Mr. Bloomberg oversaw a “stop-and-frisk” program under which the police searched people for weapons and contraband in high-crime neighborhoods.

 

“There’s not going to be a single answer,” Ms. Bond said.

 

Enforcement declined under de Blasio …

 

Less than a month after taking office, Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, announced that he was ending the city’s long legal battle over the Police Department’s practice of stopping and often frisking people on the street, a tactic that a federal judge had ruled in 2013 was racially biased.

 

Settling the lawsuit was just one move in a broader effort to rein in the more aggressive tactics the police had practiced under Mr. Bloomberg and his Republican predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

 

In 2014, William J. Bratton, then the city’s police commissioner, ordered officers, with some exceptions, to start issuing criminal summonses instead of making arrests for people caught with marijuana.

 

Two years later, the City Council passed the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which moved several quality of life offenses, like littering, public urination and open-container violations, from the criminal to the civil courts.

 

In 2018, the district attorneys in Brooklyn and Manhattan laid out plans to stop prosecuting most people arrested on marijuana charges, which had historically been enforced most heavily against Black and Hispanic residents.

 

These policies had a drastic effect. In 2011, the total number of arrests, criminal summonses and pedestrian stops by the police reached a high point of nearly 1.5 million. But by 2018, those enforcement actions dropped more than fivefold to less than 292,700 — even as crime rates also fell.

 

Pedestrian stops saw the steepest decline, the new study found, falling by 98 percent from 2011 to 2018. Criminal summonses decreased by 83 percent in the same period. The study determined that misdemeanor arrests came down by nearly half in those years and felony arrests decreased by 13 percent.

 

… yet racial disparities remained.

 

Even after years of the police using a lighter approach, the study found that Black New Yorkers were still nearly six times more likely to be stopped or arrested in 2018 than white New Yorkers were. And the ratio has not changed in more than a decade, according to the report. In 2003, Mr. Bloomberg’s second year in office, it was exactly the same.

 

“We’ve seen really great progress, but the status quo is never good enough,” said Bill Neidhardt, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio. “There is clearly work to do and we’re not going to be shy about it.”

 

For some Black New Yorkers, the likelihood of being stopped or arrested had actually gone up, the study found.

 

Black teenagers, 16 and 17 years old, were nine times more likely to encounter police enforcement in 2018 than their white counterparts. That same year, Black people 18 to 20 years old were nearly eight times more likely to be stopped or arrested than whites of the same age.

 

“Everything is different about policing in communities of color, and it always has been,” said Delores Jones-Brown, a visiting professor of criminal justice at Howard University. “Black people, especially young people, don’t get to enjoy public space in same way whites do.”

 

The police say 911 calls determine enforcement.

 

Police officials did not respond to requests for comment on the report, but the Police Department has long insisted that it deploys its officers in response to requests for help: Police activity, senior officials have said, is principally driven by 911 and 311 calls, not racial bias.

 

“It’s the nature of police assignments that you put the bulk of your cops on the dots — the hot spots, if you will,” Mr. Bratton, the former commissioner, said in an interview. “Those hot spots are based on call workloads and complaints, and there are a much larger proportion of them in poor minority neighborhoods.”

 

Mr. Bratton added that while more people might be getting stopped or arrested in Black neighborhoods than in white ones, more victims of crime in those places were also being helped by the police. “It’s Policing 101,” he said. “You put cops where things are happening that you’re trying to prevent.”

 

Ms. Jones-Brown, however, said the greater attention Black neighborhoods received from the police could not solely be attributed to more crimes being committed in those places. The federal judge who ruled in the stop-and-frisk case, she noted, found that the majority of the pedestrian stops in those neighborhoods never turned up evidence of a crime.

 

“Even with the drop in enforcement, some officers are still being cued into Black males as targets,” she said. “Black kids in particular are often treated as a target group, not as individuals.”

 

Preeti Chauhan, the data center’s director, said that to better understand the racial disparities, researchers would need more data about how the Police Department deploys its officers and how many stops and arrests are “discretionary” as opposed to responses to calls for service. But the study her group released did not include that analysis.

 

Richard Aborn, the president of the nonprofit Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, said there was no simple answer to why Black neighborhoods were more heavily policed, but racial bias could not be ruled out as a factor.

 

“The majority of calls for service do come from communities of color,” he said. “But I think there’s a secondary response, which is that there is implicit bias in policing like there is in every other part of life.

 

“It’s very hard to measure how that plays out in enforcement activity,” Mr. Aborn added, “but I don’t deny that it exists.”


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6) Former Black Panther to be Released

Jalil Muntaqim has been in prison for 49 years

By Ed. Pilkington

—The Guardian, September 24, 2020

https://news.yahoo.com/former-black-panther-released-more-122912231.html
Jalil Muntaqim, AKA Anthony Bottom

A former Black Panther who has been in prison for almost half a century has finally won his decades-long battle for freedom after a New York parole board ordered his release.

 

Jalil Muntaqim, AKA Anthony Bottom, has been in unbroken custody for more than 49 years having been arrested and later convicted of the 1971 murders of two police officers in Harlem. Under the terms of his parole he must be released from the maximum-security Sullivan correctional facility in upstate New York by 20 October.

 

At a hearing earlier this month – at least his 10th such panel appearance since he became eligible for parole in 1998 – Muntaqim expressed his remorse for the killings of Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones. The officers had answered what they believed was a domestic dispute call but were then ambushed and shot.

 

The two parole commissioners on the panel accepted his expression of remorse as genuine.

 

Muntaqim, 68, was the subject of a Guardian profile in 2018 as part of a series that looked at black liberation radicals incarcerated for decades in the wake of political and racial turbulence in the late 1960s and 70s. At the time of the Harlem incident he was a clandestine member of the underground wing of the Panthers, the Black Liberation Army.

 

In the course of a three-hour filmed interview with the Guardian in Sullivan, Muntaqim described how he was only 18 years old when he signed up for the Panthers, quickly going on to join the armed and clandestine BLA. He said that in his many years behind bars he had matured from the revolutionary position that he adopted in 1971, though he remained committed to the cause of racial equality and justice.

 

“I now take the ‘r’ off the word and make it ‘evolutionary’,” he said. “Revolution for me is the evolutionary process of building a higher level of consciousness in society at large. I’m an evolutionary revolutionary.”

 

Muntaqim’s release has been virulently opposed by the New York police union, the PBA, and by the widow of one of the murdered police officers, Diane Piagentini. In a statement she said: “We are heartbroken to see another of Joe’s killer set free by politics. But more than anything else, we are angry.”

 

Muntaqim was one of a dwindling number of black liberation radicals who were incarcerated during the heyday of the Black Panthers and who have been locked up ever since. Edward Poindexter, convicted of the killing of a police officer in Omaha, Nebraska, marked his 50 years in a prison cell in August.

 

Others have been released on parole in recent months. The surviving seven members of the Move 9, black liberation and environmental radicals from Philadelphia who were arrested following a police siege of their communal home in 1978, were all released on parole over the past two years.

 

One of the seven, Delbert Africa, died in June just five months after he was set free.

 

Muntaqim had two co-defendants at trial for the killings of the police officers in Harlem, when they each received sentences of 25 years to life. Albert “Nuh” Washington died in prison in 2000, and Herman Bell was released on parole in April 2018.


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7) Breonna Taylor Deserved Justice

No police officer will have to answer for her death. This never gets easier.

By Melanye Price, Dr. Price is a political scientist., Sept. 24, 2020

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/24/opinion/breonna-taylor-charges-racism.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Kentucky’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, announced Wednesday that one police officer would be charged, not in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, but with endangering her neighbors with reckless gunfire. “If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice. Mob justice is not justice,” Mr. Cameron said, in an apparent attempt to explain the lack of more serious charges relating to the 26-year-old’s killing. “Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge.”

 

Mr. Cameron’s use of the term “mob justice” to characterize protests by African-Americans who want officers who kill Black people with seeming impunity held responsible for their actions is curious phrasing, particularly from an attorney general from a Southern state.

 

Mob justice was literally used by Kentucky and other Southern states for decades to rule over Black people. Lynching and other racial terror tactics were deployed frequently, often with the help of the criminal justice system. Authorities were known to hand Black people to mobs who turned violence and spectacle into regional events. The news of an impending lynching would bring Southern white families to town squares on foot and by wagon. They arrived with picnic lunches and cameras to watch live examples of the devaluation of Black citizenship and the snuffing out of life.

 

According to Ben Tobin of the Louisville Courier-Journal, “between 1877 and 1934, lynchings of at least 186 African Americans took place in KY.” This was mob justice. This represented repeated failures of the criminal justice system. This was a willful shunning of the nation’s basic principles.

 

All Ms. Taylor’s family wanted, and all many of the protesters wanted, is for the Constitution and the mechanism of justice to work for them the way it works for others. Mr. Cameron, who is Black, should know that to suggest that protesters are nothing but a mob dehumanizes the people calling for justice and respect. And it reminds African-Americans of the way we’re so often unfairly portrayed as perpetrators of crime, and so rarely seen as victims.

 

Police officers who kill citizens are rarely convicted. But in this tragic situation, in which the woman killed was not only unarmed but asleep in the moments before a police officer took her life, we hoped that for once, justice would be on our side. This is yet another disappointing reminder that it’s not.

 

These efforts take a cumulative toll. Young African-Americans consuming a regular diet of Black death are learning to not trust their government. It’s painful to realize that kneeling for the national anthem can cost a football player like Colin Kaepernick his career, but a police officer firing a deadly shot into an innocent young woman’s home late at night will face no consequences. Black people will try to make sense of this, try to rebuild whatever expectation of safety we can muster, and tap into coping mechanisms that are now so familiar. Preparing for moments like this feels like a futile job that can never really soften the actual experience.

 

In recent years various media outlets have invited people to share stories about when they first realized they were Black. Often, the realizations came from some negative experience with racial prejudice: The time a white childhood friend couldn’t invite them to a sleepover, or when a favorite high school teacher told them affirmative action would get them into a great college. We’ve frequently read and heard about the talks Black parents have with their children, explaining how racism can make people misconstrue their behavior, and about how teens must learn the etiquette of negotiating racial animus. Don’t talk back. Look down. Say yes ma’am and yes sir.

 

But what can prepare a person for the proper response to heavily armed cops in their home in the middle of the night? How could we have prepared Breonna Taylor? The answer is, we couldn’t have. What could have prepared her family for the failure to hold the police officers in this case accountable? Nothing.

 

I have always known I was Black. I was raised in a segregated community, attended a racially segregated church, was bused across town to schools with more resources, watched “Roots” and “Eyes on the Prize” with my family and recited Margaret Walker poems in Black History Month programs. I was bathed in blackness from birth. I also knew fairly early on that not everyone viewed blackness through the same lens, and that I would be on the receiving end of racial hostility. I felt prepared for this eventuality. But when I was standing on High Street in front of Ohio State’s campus and someone from a car full of white boys yelled a racial slur at me in broad daylight, with lots of people watching but not even acknowledging what happened, I learned there is never enough preparation. Not for the pugilistic ways that white supremacy can render you an afterthought of American democracy.

 

That experience has stayed with me for over 20 years. The realization that no police officer will face consequences for killing Breonna Taylor will stay with me, too.

 

It’s not that the failure to indict a police officer for killing Ms. Taylor was unpredictable. It’s that the emotional and political exhaustion surrounding the news was predictable. This is what inspires the rage and despair that Mr. Cameron cruelly and ahistorically dismissed as “mob justice.” This is what forces Black people to push for this nation to be better stewards of its ideal, while recalibrating our expectations time and time again.

 

Melanye Price (@ProfMTP), a professor of political science at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, is the author, most recently, of “The Race Whisperer: Barack Obama and the Political Uses of Race.”

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8) Few Police Officers Who Cause Deaths Are Charged or Convicted

A wide gulf remains between the public perception of police violence and how it is treated in court.

By Shaila Dewan, Sept. 24, 2020

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/24/us/police-killings-prosecution-charges.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Protesters marching through downtown Louisville, Ky., on Wednesday, the day that a grand jury announced charges in the Breonna Taylor case. Credit...Whitney Curtis for The New York Times


Since Breonna Taylor was awakened in the night and shot to death by the police in her own home, Louisville has banned no-knock warrants. A police chief was fired, and so was an officer who was on the scene. But despite demands from across the country, no one was charged in Ms. Taylor’s death.

 

On Wednesday, the Kentucky attorney general announced far less serious charges of wanton endangerment against one of the officers involved in the raid, and none against the two who shot Ms. Taylor six times.

 

The lack of a murder or manslaughter indictment was an outrage to many — but not a surprise.

 

Few police officers are ever charged with murder or manslaughter when they cause a death in the line of duty, and only about a third of those officers are convicted.

 

Even as tens of thousands of Americans protest police brutality and demand overhauls of law enforcement, a yawning gulf remains between the public perception of police violence and how it is treated in court.

 

In the case against the Minneapolis officers charged with killing George Floyd, whose videotaped death in May shocked the nation and was almost universally denounced, the prosecutor, Attorney General Keith Ellison, has warned of the difficulty of prosecuting officers.

 

“Trying this case will not be an easy thing. Winning a conviction will be hard,” Mr. Ellison said in June, even as he announced that he was raising the charge against one of the officers, Derek Chauvin, to second-degree murder. “History does show that there are clear challenges here.”

 

Union protections that shield police officers from timely investigation, legal standards that give them the benefit of the doubt, and a tendency to take officers at their word have added up to few convictions and little prison time for officers who kill. On top of that, misconduct and poor judgment do not always amount to criminality.

 

Though state statutes vary, officers are generally permitted to use deadly force if they reasonably perceive imminent danger — a standard that has been criticized as overly subjective and prone to racial bias.

 

“Police know what to say and what to tell a jury and what to tell a judge to make those folks believe that they were reasonably in fear,” said Kate Levine, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. “Even if there are other witnesses, those witnesses just don’t get the same amount of credibility determination from prosecutors, judges, juries.”

 

Law enforcement officers kill about 1,000 people a year across the United States. Since the beginning of 2005, 121 officers have been arrested on charges of murder or manslaughter in on-duty killings, according to data compiled by Philip M. Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Of the 95 officers whose cases have concluded, 44 were convicted, but often of a lesser charge, he said.

 

Convictions include cases like the killing of Laquan McDonald in Chicago, for which Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison, and the killing of Justine Damond in Minneapolis, for which Mohamed Noor was sentenced to 12.5 years.

 

Many officers who avoided criminal convictions have been fired, like three of the other officers in the McDonald case, and Daniel Pantaleo, who used a chokehold on Eric Garner on Staten Island.

 

More recently, officers involved in the deaths of Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta have been swiftly indicted on murder charges. Mr. Brooks’s case in particular appears to reflect changing standards; because he grabbed and fired an officer’s Taser before he was killed, several experts said they doubted charges would have been brought had the death occurred before the wave of protests and police scrutiny that followed Mr. Floyd’s death.

 

But two cases do not prove that prosecutors have grown more willing — or have yielded to increased pressure — to hold officers criminally accountable. Professor Stinson said any such uptick is so far statistically insignificant. And several equally high-profile investigations of police killings have resulted in no indictment.

 

The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 illustrates the disconnect between public views and prosecutorial reality: After nationwide protests over his death and a federal review of the case, the officer, Darren Wilson, was not indicted.

 

In July, Wesley Bell, the prosecutor elected after Mr. Brown’s death, ruefully announced that after yet another review he would not seek charges, though he added that his decision did not “exonerate” Mr. Wilson. “The question of whether we can prove a case at trial is different than clearing him of any and all wrongdoing,” he said.

 

This week the prosecutor’s office in Tucson, Ariz., came to a similar conclusion in the death of Carlos Ingram Lopez, citing “insufficient evidence of a crime,” despite what the police chief had called violations of policy. Mr. Lopez died in police custody while naked, handcuffed and face down.

 

With increasing calls for change, a few states have attempted to make it easier to hold officers accountable.

 

In Washington State last month, an officer was charged with murder under a 2019 law that eliminated a requirement that prosecutors prove that an officer acted with “malice.” After the death of Stephon Clark in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento resulted in no criminal charges against officers, California tightened its use-of-force standard from reasonable to necessary.

 

But situations in which the police were facing an armed individual are always difficult to prosecute.

 

In a case like Ms. Taylor’s, for example, the fact that her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at the police first mattered more — under criminal law — than any flawed decisions or shoddy police work that led to the officers breaking down her door in the first place.

 

“I do understand why people are surprised, because the circumstances that led to Ms. Taylor’s death were preventable and unacceptable in terms of how the police treated her and Mr. Walker that night,” said Taryn Merkl, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice and a former federal prosecutor.

 

In recent months, some advocates of criminal justice reform have argued that prosecuting officers may even be counterproductive because it avoids addressing systemic problems and, in the words of Professor Levine, allows “the mainstream, white public, and the politicians who represent them to rest easy believing that problem police officers have gotten their due.”

 

These advocates point out an inherent contradiction between wanting to end over-incarceration and wanting to send police officers — including police officers of color, like Mr. Noor — to prison. “To the extent that the public sees these prosecutions as a neat reckoning against white police officers on behalf of people of color, it is just not that simple,” Professor Levine wrote.

 

Last month, Essence magazine published an op-ed by two Black prison abolitionists headlined, “We Want More Justice for Breonna Taylor Than The System That Killed Her Can Deliver.” The authors, Mariame Kaba and Andrea J. Ritchie, did not say that the officers should not be prosecuted, but that “collective responses rooted in arrests and prosecution are likely to lead to dead ends and deep disappointments.”


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Posted by: Bonnie Weinstein <bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com>

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