Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. ARTICLES IN FULL
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. ARTICLES IN FULL
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
Write Chelsea your messages of support
UPDATE: Chelsea's attorneys have gotten in touch with Chelsea today (Mon, July 11th) and released the following statement:
For Immediate Release: July 11, 2016
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953, Christina@balestramedia.com
Chelsea Manning Confirms Health Status Through Her Attorneys
Today, Chelsea Manning's attorneys Chase Strangio, Vincent Ward and Nancy Hollander released the following statement jointly:
"After not connecting with Chelsea for over a week, we were relieved to speak with her this morning. Though she would have preferred to keep her private medical information private, and instead focus on her recovery, the government's gross breach of confidentiality in disclosing her personal health information to the media has created the very real concern that they may continue their unauthorized release of information about her publicly without warning. Due to these circumstances, Chelsea Manning requested that we communicate with the media and her friends and supporters on her behalf.
"Last week, Chelsea made a decision to end her life. Her attempt to take her own life was unsuccessful. She knows that people have questions about how she is doing and she wants everyone to know that she remains under close observation by the prison and expects to remain on this status for the next several weeks. For us, hearing Chelsea's voice after learning that she had attempted to take her life last week was incredibly emotional. She is someone who has fought so hard for so many issues we care about and we are honored to fight for her freedom and medical care."
You can write to Chelsea with your messages of support. Mail must be addressed as follows:
CHELSEA E. MANNING 89289
1300 NORTH WAREHOUSE ROAD
FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS 66027-2304
We must not let the Orlando nightclub terror further strangle our civil liberties: Chelsea's new op-ed
After last weekend's tragedy in Orlando,Chelsea Manning cautions us that our response to such violence can be also be dangerous in her June 13th Guardianopinion article.
"We must grieve and mourn and support each other," Manning states, "but in our grief and outrage we must resist any temptations to let this attack – or any attack – trigger anti-Muslim foreign policy, attacks on our civil liberties or as an excuse to descend into xenophobia and Islamophobia."
"We are not safe and secure when the government uses us as pawns to perpetrate violence against others."
Chelsea Manning, Guardian OpEd
June 13, 2016
This morning, I woke up in my cell to an even more shattered and fractured world. We are lost. We are devastated. We are bewildered. We are hurt. And we are angry. I haven't been this angry since losing a soldier in my unit to an RPG attack in southeastern Baghdad during my deployment in Iraq in 2010.
An attack like this is carefully planned and executed to maximize attention by inflaming the passions of a helpless public..
Chelsea can continue to be a powerful voice for reform, but we need your help to make that happen. Help us support Chelsea in prison, maximize her voice in the media, continue public education, fund her legal appeals team, and build a powerful movement for presidential pardon.
Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition
Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!
Click HERE to view in browser
Today is the 406th day that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan
languishes in prison doing felony time for a misdemeanor crime he did not
commit. Today is also the day that Robert McKay, a spokesperson for the
Free Rev. Pinkney campaign, gave testimony before United Nations
representatives about the plight of Rev. Pinkney at a hearing held in
Chicago. The hearing was called in order to shed light upon the
mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States and put it on an
international stage. And yet as the UN representatives and audience heard
of the injustices in the Pinkney case many gasped in disbelief and asked
with frowns on their faces, "how is this possible?" But disbelief quickly
disappeared when everyone realized these were the same feelings they had
when they first heard of Flint and we all know what happened in Flint. FREE
REV. PINKNEY NOW.
Please send letters to:
Marquette Branch Prison
Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671
1960 US Hwy 41 South
Marquette, MI 49855
Please donate at http://bhbanco.org (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:
c/o Dorothy Pinkney
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
On December 15, 2014 the Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan was thrown into prison for 2.5 to 10 years. This 66-year-old leading African American activist was tried and convicted in front of an all-white jury and racist white judge and prosecutor for supposedly altering 5 dates on a recall petition against the mayor of Benton Harbor.
The prosecutor, with the judge's approval, repeatedly told the jury "you don't need evidence to convict Mr. Pinkney." And ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE WAS EVER PRESENTED THAT TIED REV. PINKNEY TO THE 'ALTERED' PETITIONS. Rev. Pinkney was immediately led away in handcuffs and thrown into Jackson Prison.
This is an outrageous charge. It is an outrageous conviction. It is an even more outrageous sentence! It must be appealed.
With your help supporters need to raise $20,000 for Rev. Pinkney's appeal.
Checks can be made out to BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization). This is the organization founded by Rev. Pinkney. Mail them to: Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.
Donations can be accepted on-line at bhbanco.org – press the donate button.
For information on the decade long campaign to destroy Rev. Pinkney go to bhbanco.org and workers.org(search "Pinkney").
We urge your support to the efforts to Free Rev. Pinkney!Ramsey Clark – Former U.S. attorney general,
Cynthia McKinney – Former member of U.S. Congress,
Lynne Stewart – Former political prisoner and human rights attorney
Ralph Poynter – New Abolitionist Movement,
Abayomi Azikiwe – Editor, Pan-African News Wire<
Larry Holmes – Peoples Power Assembly,
David Sole – Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
Sara Flounders – International Action Center
MESSAGE FROM REV. PINKNEY
I am now in Marquette prison over 15 hours from wife and family, sitting in prison for a crime that was never committed. Judge Schrock and Mike Sepic both admitted there was no evidence against me but now I sit in prison facing 30 months. Schrock actually stated that he wanted to make an example out of me. (to scare Benton Harbor residents even more...) ONLY IN AMERICA. I now have an army to help fight Berrien County. When I arrived at Jackson state prison on Dec. 15, I met several hundred people from Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. Some people recognized me. There was an outstanding amount of support given by the prison inmates. When I was transported to Marquette Prison it took 2 days. The prisoners knew who I was. One of the guards looked me up on the internet and said, "who would believe Berrien County is this racist."
Background to Campaign to free Rev. Pinkney
Michigan political prisoner the Rev. Edward Pinkney is a victim of racist injustice. He was sentenced to 30 months to 10 years for supposedly changing the dates on 5 signatures on a petition to recall Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower.
No material or circumstantial evidence was presented at the trial that would implicate Pinkney in the purported5 felonies. Many believe that Pinkney, a Berrien County activist and leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), is being punished by local authorities for opposing the corporate plans of Whirlpool Corp, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
In 2012, Pinkney and BANCO led an "Occupy the PGA [Professional Golfers' Association of America]" demonstration against a world-renowned golf tournament held at the newly created Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The course was carved out of Jean Klock Park, which had been donated to the city of Benton Harbor decades ago.
Berrien County officials were determined to defeat the recall campaign against Mayor Hightower, who opposed a program that would have taxed local corporations in order to create jobs and improve conditions in Benton Harbor, a majority African-American municipality. Like other Michigan cities, it has been devastated by widespread poverty and unemployment.
The Benton Harbor corporate power structure has used similar fraudulent charges to stop past efforts to recall or vote out of office the racist white officials, from mayor, judges, prosecutors in a majority Black city. Rev Pinkney who always quotes scripture, as many Christian ministers do, was even convicted for quoting scripture in a newspaper column. This outrageous conviction was overturned on appeal. We must do this again!
To sign the petition in support of the Rev. Edward Pinkney, log on to: tinyurl.com/ps4lwyn.
Contributions for Rev. Pinkney's defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.
State Seeks to Remove Innocent PA Lifer's Attorney! Free Corey Walker!
The PA Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed legal action to remove Corey Walker's attorney, Rachel Wolkenstein, in November 2014. On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 the evidentiary hearing to terminate Wolkenstein as Corey Walker's pro hac vice lawyer continues before Judge Lawrence Clark of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas in Harrisburg, PA.
Walker, assisted by Wolkenstein, filed three sets of legal papers over five months in 2014 with new evidence of Walker's innocence and that the prosecution and police deliberately used false evidence to convict him of murder. Two weeks after Wolkenstein was granted pro hac vice status, the OAG moved against her and Walker.
The OAG claims that Wolkenstein's political views and prior legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal and courtroom arrest by the notorious Judge Albert Sabo makes it "intolerable" for her to represent Corey Walker in the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Over the past fifteen months the OAG has effectively stopped any judicial action on the legal challenges of Corey Walker and his former co-defendant, Lorenzo Johnson against their convictions and sentences to life imprisonment without parole while it proceeds in its attempts to remove Wolkenstein.
This is retaliation against Corey Walker who is innocent and framed. Walker and his attorney won't stop until they thoroughly expose the police corruption and deliberate presentation of false evidence to convict Corey Walker and win his freedom.
This outrageous attack on Corey Walker's fundamental right to his lawyer of choice and challenge his conviction must cease. The evidence of his innocence and deliberate prosecutorial frame up was suppressed for almost twenty years. Corey Walker must be freed!
Read: Jim Crow Justice – The Frame-up Of Corey Walker by Charles Brover
Go to FreeCoreyWalker.org to provide help and get more information.
TAKE ACTION: Mumia is sick
Judge Robert Mariani of the U.S. District Court has issued an order in Mumia's case, granting Mumia's lawyers Bret Grote and Robert Boyle's motion to supplement the record.
Hepatitis C is a progressive disease that attacks Mumia's organs, skin and liver. Unless the court orders the new hepatitis C treatment - one pill a day for 12 weeks, with a 95% cure rate - Mumia's health will remain at serious risk.
Take Action for Mumia
Call prison officials to demand immediate treatment!
SUPPORTERS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL, AND FREE QUALITY HEALTH CARE FOR ALL:
The Oasis Clinic in Oakland, CA, which treats patients with Hepatitis-C (HCV), demands an end to the outrageous price-gouging of Big Pharma corporations, like Gilead Sciences, which hike-up the cost for essential, life-saving medications such as the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, in order to reap huge profits. The Oasis Clinic's demand is:
PUBLIC HEALTH, NOT CORPORATE WEALTH!
PUBLIC HEALTH, NOT CORPORATE WEALTH!
IMMEDIATE AND FREE TREATMENT FOR ALL HCV-INFECTED PRISONERS!
NO EXECUTION BY MEDICAL NEGLECT!
JAIL DRUG PROFITEERS, FREE MUMIA!
This message from:
Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • www.laboractionmumia.org
06 January 2016
Mumia Is Innocent! Free Mumia!
Imam Jamil (H.Rap Brown) moved
Some two weeks ago Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) was moved by bus from USP Canaan in Waymart, PA. to USP Tucson, Arizona. His mailing address is: USP Tucson United States Penitentiary P.O. Box Tucson, AZ. 85734 (BOP number 99974555)
Sign the Petition:
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE Bureau of Prisons, The Governor of Georgia
We are aware of a review being launched of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted and or deserve a new trail because of flawed forensic evidence and or wrongly reported evidence. It was stated in the Washington Post in April of 2012 that Justice Department Officials had known for years that flawed forensic work led to convictions of innocent people. We seek to have included in the review of such cases that of Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. We understand that all cases reviewed will include the Innocence Project. We look forward to your immediate attention to these overdue wrongs.
ASAP: The Forgotten Imam Project
P.O. Box 373
Four Oaks, NC 27524
Luqman Abdullah-ibn Al-Sidiq
Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence
Sign the Petition:
Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.
"The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case
Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.
In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.
Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.
Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.
Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."
Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.
Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.
In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.
Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
Amnesty International USA
Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org
Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.
Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin. He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence. In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.
There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:
The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?
The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."
Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.
These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.
The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.
Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.
The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.
The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited… (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)
This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015
CANCEL ALL STUDENT DEBT!
Sign the Petition:
Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:
Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.
I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private.
American Federation of Teachers
Campaign for America's Future
Democracy for America
RH Reality Check
Student Debt Crisis
Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson
Write: Lorenzo Johnson
301 Morea Rd.
Frackville, PA 17932
Email: Through JPay using the code:
Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC
Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com
B. ARTICLES IN FULL
1) After Poised Live-Streaming, Tears and Fury Find Diamond Reynolds
By JULIE BOSMAN JULY 7, 2016
Diamond Reynolds was cool and composed as an anchorwoman on Wednesday night, her voice strong as she narrated the horrific scenearound her into her phone that was streaming live on Facebook.
"Please, officer, don't tell me that you just did this to him," she said, as her boyfriend, Philando Castile, lay slumped and bleeding in the car next to her, fatally shot by a police officer. "You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir."
By Thursday, Ms. Reynolds had given in to tears, fury and grief.
"She's not calm right now," said an aunt, Joyce Doty, who lives in Indiana and was rushing to Minnesota to be with her niece. "She's a hot mess. She is very, very upset right now."
About Ms. Reynolds's Facebook video, which had been viewed more than four million times by Thursday afternoon, Ms. Doty said, "She was doing what she had to do."
Overnight, Ms. Reynolds, 26, has emerged as an extraordinary figure in the latest shooting of an African-American at the hands of a police officer.
Apparently seconds after Mr. Castile was shot, she began to broadcast the scene live on Facebook, pointing her phone in the direction of the police officer, whose gun was still drawn, and at Mr. Castile, who was in the driver's seat and wearing a seatbelt, his T-shirt soaked in blood.
In doing so, she became not only a poised and influential witness, but a teller in real time of her own treatment by the police.
Ordered out of the car, then to kneel near the car, she was handcuffed and put in the back of a police cruiser. Yet the Facebook report continued, a mix of confusion, outrage, shock and poised determination to tell her version of what had happened.
On social media and on television, Ms. Reynolds was praised for her strength. "I truly believe Diamond Reynolds was spared her life because she's got a greater purpose," wrote the user @full_of_moxie on Twitter. "She's going to get justice for #PhilandoCastile."
Mr. Castile, Ms. Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter spent part of Wednesday running errands and going grocery shopping, she told reporters. Around 9 p.m., she said, they were pulled over by the police, apparently for a traffic violation.
While she streamed video in the aftermath of his shooting, dozens of friends on Facebook wrote messages of concern. Some said they were praying. Others urged her to stay calm and avoid angering the officer. A few tried to ascertain where she was and coordinate efforts to go pick her up.
But she was taken into police custody immediately after the shooting and was not released, she said, until police officers dropped her off at her home at 5 a.m.
Hours later, Ms. Reynolds stood in front of the governor's mansion, surrounded by crowds of people protesting the killing of Mr. Castile, who was a longtime employee of the St. Paul school district.
"I didn't do it for pity, I didn't do it for fame," she told the cameras and people assembled. "I did it so that the world knows that the police are not here to protect and serve us. They are here to assassinate us. They are here to kill us. Because we are black."
It was unclear if Ms. Reynolds had slept since her boyfriend was killed. She met with Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota, who later spoke about the shooting in unusually forceful terms, saying that he did not believe it would have happened if Mr. Castile was white.
Ms. Reynolds, who goes by Lavish on Facebook, identifies herself on her page as a native of Chicago who works as a housekeeper at a hotel. She said on Thursday that she had no family in Minnesota. Family members said she spent her early childhood living on the South Side of Chicago. "They took my lifeblood," she told reporters. "That was my best friend. I never got to say my last words to that man."
Dawn Spikes, Ms. Reynolds's great-aunt, said from her home in Chicago that the day had passed in a haze of confusion. For hours early on Thursday, they did not know where Ms. Reynolds was and feared that she had been harmed. By the end of the day, she was surrounded by friends and activists. The Rev. Al Sharpton, Ms. Spikes said, had called to offer plane fare to Ms. Reynolds's mother so she could travel from Indiana to be with her daughter.
Ms. Spikes had not brought herself to watch the full video from Wednesday night. But she said she was not surprised that Ms. Reynolds, who she described as strong and outspoken, reacted the way that she did.
"Diamond was calm, and the baby was calm," she said. "Like they go through this every day. But they don't."
2) Something More is Required
By Michelle Alexander
Facebook, July 9, 2016
I have struggled to find words to express what I thought and felt as I watched the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being killed by the police. Last night, I wanted to say something that hasn't been said a hundred times before. It finally dawned on me that there is nothing to say that hasn't been said before. As I was preparing to write about the oldness of all of this, and share some wisdom passed down from struggles of earlier eras, I heard on the news that 11 officers had been shot in Dallas, several killed from sniper fire. My fingers froze on the keys. I could not bring myself to recycle old truths. Something more is required. But what?
I think we all know, deep down, that something more is required of us now. This truth is difficult to face because it's inconvenient and deeply unsettling. And yet silence isn't an option. On any given day, there's always something I'd rather be doing than facing the ugly, racist underbelly of America. I know that I am not alone. But I also know that the families of the slain officers, and the families of all those who have been killed by the police, would rather not be attending funerals. And I'm sure that many who refused to ride segregated buses in Montgomery after Rosa Parks stood her ground wished they could've taken the bus, rather than walk miles in protest, day after day, for a whole year. But they knew they had to walk. If change was ever going to come, they were going to have to walk. And so do we.
What it means to walk today will be different for different people and different groups and in different places. I am asking myself tonight what I need to do in the months and years to come to walk my walk with greater courage. It's a question that requires some time and reflection. I hope it's a question we are all asking ourselves.
In recent years, I have come to believe that truly transformative change depends more on thoughtful creation of new ways of being than reflexive reactions to the old. What is happening now is very, very old. We have some habits of responding to this familiar pain and trauma that are not serving us well. In many respects it's amazing that we endure at all. I am inspired again and again by so much of the beautiful, brilliant and daring activism that is unfolding all over the country. Yet I also know that more is required than purely reactive protest and politics. A profound shift in our collective consciousness must occur, a shift that makes possible a new America.
I know many people believe that our criminal justice system can be "fixed" by smart people and smart policies. President Obama seems to think this way. He suggested yesterday that police-community relations can be improved meaningfully by a task force he created last year. Yes, a task force. I used to think like that. I don't anymore. I no longer believe that we can "fix" the police, as though the police are anything other than a mirror reflecting back to us the true nature of our democracy. We cannot "fix" the police without a revolution of values and radical change to the basic structure of our society. Of course important policy changes can and should be made to improve police practices. But if we're serious about having peace officers—rather than a domestic military at war with its own people—we're going to have to get honest with ourselves about who our democracy actually serves and protects.
Consider this: Philando Castile had been stopped 31 times and charged with more than 60 minor violations—resulting in thousands of dollars in fines—before his last, fatal encounter with the police.
Alton Sterling was arrested because he was hustling, selling CDs to get by. He was unable to work in the legal economy due to his felony record. His act of survival was treated by the police as a major crime, apparently punishable by death.
How many people on Wall Street have been arrested for their crimes large and small—crimes of greed and fraud that nearly bankrupted the global economy and destroyed the futures of millions of families? How many politicians have been prosecuted for taking millions of dollars from private prisons, prison guard unions, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, tobacco companies, the NRA and Wall Street banks and doing their bidding for them—killing us softly? Oh, that's right, taking millions from those folks isn't even a crime. Democrats and Republicans do it every day. Our entire political system is financed by wealthy private interests buying politicians and making sure the rules are written in their favor. But selling CDs or loose cigarettes? In America, that's treated as a serious crime, especially if you're Black. For that act of survival, you can be wrestled to the ground and choked to death or shot at point blank range. Our entire system of government is designed to protect and serve the interests of the most powerful, while punishing, controlling and exploiting the least advantaged.
This is not hyperbole. And this is not new. What is new is that we're now watching all of this on YouTube and Facebook, streaming live, as imagined super-predators are brought to heel. Fifty years ago, our country was forced to look at itself in the mirror when television stations broadcast Bloody Sunday, the day state troopers and a sheriff's posse brutally attacked civil rights activists marching for voting rights in Selma. Those horrifying images, among others, helped to turn public opinion in support of the Civil Rights Movement. Perhaps the images we've seen in recent days will make some difference. It's worth remembering, though, that none of the horrifying images from the Jim Crow era would've changed anything if a highly strategic, courageous movement had not existed that was determined to challenge a deeply entrenched system of racial and social control.
This nation was founded on the idea that some lives don't matter. Freedom and justice for some, not all. That's the foundation. Yes, progress has been made in some respects, but it hasn't come easy. There's an unfinished revolution waiting to be won.
3) DeRay McKesson Among Protesters Arrested Nationwide
By YAMICHE ALCINDOR and STEVE KENNY JULY 10, 2016
DeRay McKesson, a national voice for the Black Lives Matter movement, was among more than 200 people arrested at demonstrations across the country late Saturday, as protesters expressed anger over the shootings of two black men by police officers last week.
Thousands of people took to the streets in San Francisco, New York City, Baton Rouge, Phildelphia and other cities.
In St. Paul — where more than 100 people were arrested — protesters angered over the killing of Philando Castile in nearby Falcon Heights shut down an interstate for hours. At least 20 officers were injured as people threw rocks, bottles and bricks, the police said on Twitter.
Officials in Baton Rouge, where Alton Sterling was fatally shot early Tuesday, said more than 100 people were also arrested, most of them accused of blocking the road. Among them were a public radio reporter and Mr. McKesson, who filmed his encounter with the police using the live-streaming app Periscope.
Mr. McKesson was confronted by a police officer at about 11:15 p.m. as he and other protesters were marching on Airline Highway, where they were warned by the police not to stray onto the road.
Mr. McKesson, 31, repeatedly tells viewers in the broadcast that there is no sidewalk where they are marching. In the background, an officer can be heard shouting, "You with them loud shoes, I see you in the road. If I get close to you, you're going to jail."
"I think he's talking to me, y'all," says Mr. McKesson, who often wears a blue vest and red sneakers to demonstrations.
Soon after, Mr. McKesson repeats that there is no sidewalk. "Watch the police, they are just literally provoking people," he says.
Then, about five minutes into the broadcast, the video gets shaky and a police officer can be heard saying: "City police. You're under arrest. Don't fight me. Don't fight me." Then Mr. McKesson shouts, "I'm under arrest, y'all."
As he is taken into custody, his phone is passed into the hands of his fellow protesters who continue the march and loudly demand answers as to where he has been taken.
In a booking record, the Baton Rouge authorities said Mr. McKesson ignored a police officer's order to stay out of the road. He was charged with simple obstruction of a highway of commerce.
Brittany Packnett, an activist who was with Mr. McKesson when he was arrested, said he had been in contact with friends early Sunday morning and said he had not been physically harmed.
"As of 5:15 this morning he was physically O.K. We are still awaiting his release," she said in a phone interview.
Ms. Packnett added that she was still not sure why Mr. McKesson had been arrested. "They told him they would arrest him if he stepped over the line, and like every single eyewitness and the video prove that he never stepped over that line," she said.
As word of Mr. McKesson's arrest spread on Twitter, where he has more than 460,000 followers, #FreeDeray began trending, with thousands tweeting out messages of support as well as phone numbers for the Baton Rouge police department to demand his release.
The Louisiana National Lawyers Guild, which is providing legal support to protesters, set up an online fund-raiser aimed at raising money to bail out Mr. McKesson and several other protesters arrested in Baton Rouge.
State Police officials defended the arrests of Mr. McKesson and others as a matter of public safety.
"Well, they're clearly blocking the roadway," a Louisiana State Police spokesman told Maya Lau, a reporter with The Baton Rouge Advocate, in a video she posted on her Twitter account. "We welcome the protests. We want them to voice their opinions. That's what we're here to do, to make sure they're safe and they're able to do that.
"We wouldn't arrest people who are quietly protesting off the roadway," he said.
A public radio station in New Orleans, WWNO, said on Twitter early Sunday that one of its reporters had also been arrested during a demonstration in Baton Rouge on one count of obstructing a highway. The Advocate said the reporter was Ryan Kailath, who had earlier tweeted images from a New Black Panther Party march.
Largely peaceful but intermittently tense demonstrations have taken place each night in Baton Rouge since Mr. Sterling was shot. Thirty people were arrested on Friday night and early Saturday morning, according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office.
Mr. McKesson, a public school administrator turned activist, first gained national notice with his blunt critiques on Twitter of the police response in Ferguson, Mo., after the death of Michael Brown in 2014.
He may not have won, but his growing stature as an activist and his social media celebrity made an impact. Within an hour and a half of starting an account on the fund-raising site Crowdpac, he had surpassed Crowdpac's previous record of 100 donations for a candidate. He also far eclipsed the most money raised by a candidate — $20,000 — in Crowdpac's existence at the time.
Mr. McKesson's campaign was considered a major step into the mainstream for the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been criticized for a lack of organized structure and tactics.
His detractors have accused him of being an antipolice anarchist whose comments helped foster protest violence.
His rise to prominence occurred after he left his job as an administrator in the Minneapolis Public Schools to move to the St. Louis area and work as a full-time activist. He then traveled around the country, using Twitter to chronicle protests against racial injustice.
Mr. McKesson traveled to Louisana Saturday morning to join other protesters, including Ms. Packnett and Johnetta Elzie, who with Mr. McKesson started Campaign Zero, which seeks to advance a political platform that includes tackling institutional racism in the criminal justice system and reforming police departments.
Supporters on the Periscope video say four police officers "carried him off" for standing in the road. "They got DeRay," one supporter says. "They took him off in an armored vehicle."
As he is taken away, several supporters cry out. "What was his crime?" one shouts. "Why is he being arrested?"
4) New York Senate to Hold Hearings on Hoosick Falls's Tainted Water
By JESSE McKINLEY JULY 8, 2016
ALBANY — Amid rising pressure to investigate the causes and consequences of one of the state's worst recent environmental crises, the New York Senate announced on Friday that it would hold hearings next month on the polluted water in Hoosick Falls.
The announcement, made by the Senate majority leader, John J. Flanagan, a Long Island Republican, capped a week of escalating tension about the level of governmental response in Hoosick Falls. Scores of residents who drank the upstate village's water have tested positive for perfluorooctanoic acid, which has been linked in some studies to cancer and other serious diseases.
Even as Mr. Flanagan's news release was issued, United States Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand was completing an emotional meeting with residents of the village and surrounding areas, ending it with a call for more state and federal action on the chemical, known as PFOA.
"I can tell you they are anxious and they are worried," Ms. Gillibrand, a Democrat, said after the meeting, adding, "And there's not a lot of clear answers."
Mr. Flanagan's decision to hold hearings in August — in the village itself — came two days after the State Assembly scheduled water-quality hearings for early September, with a broader mandate to examine contamination statewide.
PFOA is involved in the making of Teflon. Last year, the chemical was confirmed in dangerously high levels in the village's water supply, which is drawn from municipal wells near a factory, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics. State officials say the factory was the source of the contamination.
Mr. Flanagan's decision came after months of pressure from local residents and some lawmakers, who denounced the lack of public hearings on the contamination.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his staff have bristled at the suggestion that they had not acted aggressively enough to address the problem. On Friday, Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, once again defended his response, citing efforts to hold accountable the companies tied to the pollution — Saint Gobain and Honeywell International, which preceded Saint Gobain on the site — as well as putting in new water filtration systems.
"I can't think of what else we could possibly do," Mr. Cuomo said, adding that monitoring PFOA and other chemicals was going to be a challenge, not just for the state, but also for the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also acted this week, sending letters to Mr. Cuomo's office and the E.P.A. seeking documents and communications that could show when each entity first learned about the contamination in the water.
In its letter to Mr. Cuomo, the Republican-led committee voiced concern about "a sluggish response" to the crisis and "whether residents received misleading information that indicated the water posed no health risks." Critics have cited several examples of missed opportunities, including a December fact sheet from state health officials that did not overtly warn residents to use bottled water instead of tap water, despite a previous federal admonition that village officials do so.
On Friday, the State Health Department said that it acted promptly after the E.P.A. made a public statement on PFOA in Hoosick Falls in mid-December. The Cuomo administration, meanwhile, said it would "gladly share our experience in New York" with House officials, as well as the Legislature, but reasserted the need for "clear federal regulations."
The water in Hoosick Falls, about 30 miles northeast of Albany, has been a brewing political problem for Mr. Cuomo since late January, when he classified the factory a Superfund site and ordered blood tests for residents. In early June, those results began to be released, and the findings were troubling: The median level for those tested so far was nearly 15 times the national median for those 12 or older.
On Friday, Ms. Gillibrand said that she heard residents' concerns over and over, hardening her desire for additional federal action from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, both of whom she brought to Hoosick Falls.
And while she said she appreciated the governor's efforts to filter the water and to test the wells and residents' blood, she suggested the overall government response had fallen short. "There is no one who has done a good job in easing their fears," she said.
5) 'Bomb Robot' Takes Down Dallas Gunman, but Raises Enforcement Questions
The Dallas police ended a standoff with the gunman suspected of killing five officers with a tactic that by all accounts appears to be unprecedented: It blew him up using a robot.
In doing so, it sought to protect police who had negotiated with the man for several hours and had exchanged gunfire with him. But the decision ignited a debate about the increasing militarization of police and the remote-controlled use of force, and raised the specter of a new era of policing.
The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, said officers had used one of the department's "bomb robots," attaching an explosive device to its arm that was detonated early Friday when the robot was near the gunman. "Other options would have exposed the officers to grave danger," he said.
But the decision to deliver a bomb by robot stunned some current and former law enforcement officials, who said they believed the new tactic blurred the line between policing and warfare.
They said that it might have been an excessive use of force and that it set a precedent, adding that they were concerned that other departments across the country could begin using the same tactic.
"The further we remove the officer from the use of force and the consequences that come with it, the easier it becomes to use that tactic," said Rick Nelson, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former counterterrorism official on the National Security Council. "It's what we have done with drones in warfare."
"In warfare, your object is to kill," he added. "Law enforcement has a different mission."
Other law enforcement officials supported the decision, suggesting they could take a similar approach if the situation called for it. At a news conference on Friday, New York's police commissioner, William J. Bratton, said that while he was waiting to find out precisely what the Dallas police did, "we have that capability."
"This is an individual that killed five police officers," he added. "So God bless 'em."
The use of the robot and explosive device comes amid questions about whether police departments, which have bought equipment from the Pentagon that was part of efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, have become too militarized. During the turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., two years ago, local law enforcement quelled protests with military-style equipment, angering many who said they felt intimidated. The Obama administration has declined to stop the Pentagon from selling the equipment, saying that a vast majority of it strengthens local policing.
While Chief Brown offered no additional information about the use of the robot, it appeared that officers had repurposed a remote-controlled bomb disposal vehicle that is normally used to inspect dangerous crime scenes or pick up suspected explosive devices for detonation or dismantling.
The decision to use the robot in this way left many questions unanswered, including whether a sniper could have shot the gunman. Also, it was not clear why the police did not wait him out.
One expert in legal issues and robotics said he thought the use of the robot was justified, and saw little difference between its use and having a sniper shoot from a distance.
"No court would find a legal problem here," said Ryan Calo, a professor at the University of Washington law school. "When someone is an ongoing lethal danger, there isn't an obligation on the part of officers to put themselves in harm's way."
There are other significant issues that arise when using an explosive device, according to current and former law enforcement officials. Explosions can destroy property and cause fires.
One of the few instances in which a police force used explosives occurred in 1985, when Philadelphia officers bombed the headquarters of a self-styled black liberation group, Move. Eleven members of the group, including five children, were killed, and a fire spread through the neighborhood, destroying more than 60 homes.
The Move explosives were dropped by helicopter. Using a police robot "has probably never been done before," said Robert Louden, former chief hostage negotiator for the New York Police Department and a former professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
But bomb disposal robots have been used to deliver objects to suspects, hostages and others, or to distract or communicate with suspects.
Last year, a man with a knife who threatened to jump off a bridge in San Jose, Calif., was taken into custody after the police had a robot bring him a cellphone and a pizza as part of efforts to talk him down.
In November 2014, the Albuquerque police used a robot to "deploy chemical munitions," in the words of a department report, in a motel room where a man had barricaded himself with a gun. He surrendered.
Mr. Louden said he did not think the Dallas police had planned to use the robot to deliver a bomb. Rather, he said, at a point where negotiations with the suspect broke down, the officers in charge had to decide what to do about it.
"Are we going to endanger an officer?" Mr. Louden said about the police officers' thinking. "Or do we try something that's a little bit unique, but in all probability withstands legal tests for justification of use of force?"
6) Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton, Cementing Democrats' Unity
"'Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process,' Mr. Sanders said, as cheers erupted and Mrs. Clinton broke into a wide smile. 'And I congratulate her for that. She will be the Democratic nominee for president, and I intend to do everything I can to make certain that she will be the next president of the United States.'"
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — After 14 months of policy clashes and moments of mutual disdain, Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, clearing away the last major obstacle to a united Democratic front heading into the party's convention this month and the general election this fall.
Entering the high school gymnasium together and waving and shaking hands along the rope line and from the stage, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders stood before a giant American flag image flanked by Mrs. Clinton's motto, "Stronger Together." They appeared to chat briefly before Mr. Sanders spoke, and he patted her on the back before Mr. Sanders stepped forward to cheers to "Unity!"
"Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process," Mr. Sanders said, as cheers erupted and Mrs. Clinton broke into a wide smile. "And I congratulate her for that. She will be the Democratic nominee for president, and I intend to do everything I can to make certain that she will be the next president of the United States."
"I have come here to make it as clear as possible why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president."
Mr. Sanders, the fiercely independent senator from Vermont, who portrayed Mrs. Clinton as a captive of big-money interests during their race, was in a bittersweet but resolute mood, according to Sanders advisers, as he took the stage with her at Portsmouth High School. He was back in a state that once filled his campaign with hope, after he crushed Mrs. Clinton by 22 percentage points in the February primary, and he came around grudgingly to supporting her, the advisers said. But he was also determined to make a strong case against Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, and to champion Mrs. Clinton as the only chance to defeat him.
Whether Mrs. Clinton can also win over the 13 million Sanders voters will be one of her biggest challenges at the convention July 25-28 in Philadelphia and in the weeks ahead. About 85 percent of Democrats who backed Mr. Sanders in the primary contests said they planned to vote for her in the general election, according to a Pew poll released last week. Yet she has struggled to appeal to the independents and liberals who rallied behind the senator's call for a "political revolution" to topple establishment politicians, Mrs. Clinton included.
When Mr. Sanders finished his remarks, he and Mrs. Clinton had a tight hug. "You were great, so great," Mrs. Clinton said to him. "Thank you so much." Then, in her own speech, she thanked him profusely and hailed Mr. Sanders's wife, Jane, while also reaching out to his supporters.
"With your help, we're joining forces to defeat Donald Trump, win in November, and build a future we can all believe in," Mrs. Clinton said. "Thank you, thank you Bernie for your endorsement, but more than that, thank you for your lifetime of fighting injustice. I am proud to be fighting alongside you because, my friends, this is a time for all of us to stand together."
Mrs. Clinton is counting on Mr. Sanders to help bring his supporters into her camp, and Sanders advisers said he would try. In a text message on Tuesday before this campaign event, Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Mr. Sanders, said the senator and his wife feel as if their voters should feel encouraged.
"They feel like the millions of people who were the heart and soul of the campaign have a lot to be proud about," Mr. Briggs wrote as he drove from Vermont with Senator Sanders and Ms. Sanders to the New Hampshire event.
One person close to Mr. Sanders said the senator and his wife were "putting on a good face" Tuesday but were disappointed that his campaign did not succeed after he gave it so much of his energy and rallied millions of people around his ideas. The person, a longtime top political adviser to Mr. Sanders who spoke on condition of anonymity to share the private views of the couple, also said the senator was resolved to keep his word that he would endorse the Democratic nominee and that he has been told by some high-ranking Democrats that he could become chairman of the committee that will work on trying to carry out a proposed $15 federal minimum wage.
On the campaign trail, Mrs. Clinton has been focused on winning over independents and Republican-leaning women who are turned off by Mr. Trump, exuding confidence that the young voters and liberals who backed Mr. Sanders would get in line and support her when faced with the prospect of a Trump presidency instead.
But behind the scenes, her senior campaign aides have tried to build bridges to a wing of the party skeptical of Mrs. Clinton and the brand of centrist politics her husband advanced. Since she clinched the number of delegates needed to secure her party's nomination on June 7, the campaign has reached out to Mr. Sanders's supporters, dispatching the campaign manager Robby Mook, the director of states and political engagement, Marlon Marshall, and the top policy adviser Jake Sullivan, to states where Mr. Sanders defeated Mrs. Clinton, including New Hampshire, Wyoming, Vermont and Washington State.
The détente between the two camps began after Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders met privately at the Hilton in Washington last month. Jeff Weaver, Mr. Sanders's campaign manager, and Mr. Mook remained behind after the meeting hashing out their differences and discussing policy for the next two hours. In the weeks that followed, Mr. Mook, a Vermont native, and Mr. Weaver were in daily contact, exchanging texts and phone calls and grabbing dinner at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington.
Mrs. Clinton also inched toward Mr. Sanders's positioning on education, with a pledge to make public colleges and universities tuition free for families that make less than $125,000 a year and with a reaffirmation of a "public option" to be built into the Affordable Care Act.
In Orlando, Fla., Mrs. Clinton's policy adviser, Maya Harris, and Mr. Sander's policy adviser, Warren Gunnels, sat down to come up with compromises on both issues, though trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, in particular, remains a sticking point between the two camps.
For many Sanders supporters, voting for Mrs. Clinton is still hard to fathom: Recent polls show that only a small fraction of them would support her enthusiastically. At the campaign event here, as well as around the country, there was a relatively lukewarm reception for Mrs. Clinton among the legions of liberals who embraced Mr. Sanders's attacks on her ties to Wall Street and previous support for global trade deals.
Ethan Winnett, 31, of Waukegan, Ill., said Mr. Sanders might be being "duped" or "threatened" by Mrs. Clinton and vowed never to vote for her even if she's back by the senator. The computer engineer believes Mrs. Clinton is "more crooked than Trump" and said he felt "betrayed" by Mr. Sanders's endorsement.
Mr. Winnett added that he also feels betrayed by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and President Obama for their support of Mrs. Clinton. In his frustration with the race, he has already turned to working for the Green Party and this summer helped collect signatures to get the party's presidential nominee, Jill Stein, on the ballot in Illinois.
However, Winnie Wong, co-founder of People For Bernie, said the group will now be focusing efforts on explaining to people the damage a Trump presidency could do. The group, though, will not be endorsing Mrs. Clinton, she said.
"This is what I expected to happen," Ms. Wong said of Mr. Sanders's endorsement. "I will do what I can to stop Trump. We cannot afford a Donald Trump presidency and I think most people from social movements understand that."
Mr. Sanders's endorsement comes after weeks of talks between his campaign and Mrs. Clinton's and after a tough primary battle where he frequently attacked her as not being progressive enough. He often criticized Mrs. Clinton as the "anointed candidate" and assailed her for her ties to Wall Street, for having a "super PAC," for not more strongly backing an across-the-board $15 minimum wage. He called on her repeatedly to release transcripts of her paid speeches to commercial banks.
Mrs. Clinton attacked Mr. Sanders's past tepid support of gun control, implicitly tying him to gun violence. His defense – that he represented a state with a hunting population – did little more than remind voters that his entire career had been spent in the removed idyll of Vermont.
Frustrated, Mr. Sanders, at a rally in Philadelphia in early April, called Mrs. Clinton "unqualified" to be president, setting off days of back and forth between the campaigns.
"She has been saying lately that she thinks that I am, quote unquote, not qualified to be president," Mr. Sanders said then. "I don't believe that she is qualified if she is, through her 'super PAC,' taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds."
Such language, according to Sanders advisers, would certainly not be part of the speech that Mr. Sanders had written by hand for Tuesday's endorsement event in New Hampshire.
7) U.S. Will Deploy 560 More Troops to Iraq to Help Retake Mosul From ISIS
BAGHDAD — President Obama will send 560 more troops to Iraq to help retake Mosul, the largest city still controlled by the Islamic State, a deployment intended to capitalize on recent battlefield gains that also illustrates the obstacles that Mr. Obama has faced in trying to wind down America's wars.
The additional troops, announced here on Monday by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, are the latest escalation of the American military role in Iraq by Mr. Obama, who withdrew the last American soldiers from Iraq at the end of 2011.
He began sending them back three years later after Islamic State fighters swept into the country from Syria.
Many of the newly deployed troops will be based at an airfield 40 miles south of Mosul that was reclaimed by Iraqi soldiers on Saturday. Administration officials said the airfield would be critical to a successful military operation because the United States could use it as a staging area to provide logistical support to Iraqi forces as they try to retake Mosul.
The Iraqis have struggled with the logistics of moving troops and equipment and these tasks will become more difficult as their forces move closer to Mosul, 250 miles from major supply hubs in Baghdad.
The deployment will bring the official number of American service members in Iraq to 4,647. The United States had about 130,000 service members in the country about a decade ago.
"We need to move to this place to be as close to the fighting as we have been," said Lt. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, the head of American forces in Iraq, speaking to reporters with Mr. Carter at the Baghdad airport.
For Mr. Obama, sending more troops raises the chances that he could fulfill his hope of handing over a liberated Mosul to his successor. But it also means that he will leave the next president with a significant military presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Last week, Mr. Obama announced the United States would keep 8,400 troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.
At a NATO meeting in Poland over the weekend, the president spoke of his frustrations with these long-running military engagements. In Iraq, he noted, American troops vanquished Al Qaeda in Iraq, a Sunni militant group. But the extremists reconstituted themselves in Syria as the Islamic State, before seizing the cities of Falluja and Mosul.
Still, the president said Iraqi forces had made important gains in the last several weeks. Most important, they retook Falluja, a victory that he said, "got a little bit lost in the news, but that's a big town."
"They're now positioning themselves so that they can start going after Mosul," the president said. The Islamic State fighters, he said, were "on their heels, and we're going to stay on it."
White House officials resisted suggestions that more American troops might be needed to uproot the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, from Mosul.
"The president has been very clear about what our mission is and what our mission isn't," the press secretary, Josh Earnest, said on Monday. "This is an effort to reinforce our support for Iraqi forces that are enjoying some success in driving ISIL out of strategic, important areas in Iraq, that can put them in a position to succeed on a much bigger goal: driving ISIL out of Iraq's second largest city."
Some of the American troops who will be stationed at the airfield, known as Qaiyara Airfield West, specialize in infrastructure projects, like building bridges, which is a technical skill the Iraqis will need for the assault on Mosul because the Islamic State has destroyed many around the city.
The new deployment comes two years after Mr. Obama said that while the United States would help Iraq reclaim territory from the Islamic State, its efforts would "not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil." Since then, he has steadily increased the number of troops and given them more authority. Three service members have been killed.
In April, Mr. Carter came to Baghdad to announce that Mr. Obama had given American military advisers the approval to work closer to the front lines of the conflict with smaller units of Iraqi forces. As part of that announcement, Mr. Obama deployed an additional 217 troops.
Mosul is now the only major city in the country that the Iraqis do not control, and the Islamic State has not seized any substantial new territory since May 2015. Still, the Iraqis do not seem to be able to stop the Islamic State from launching devastating suicide attacks in Baghdad, including one this month that killed 300 people.
"As ISIL loses territory and the fraud of the caliphate becomes more obvious, they are going to start resorting to more traditional terrorist tactics," Mr. Obama said in his news conference. "They can't govern. They can't deliver anything meaningful to the people whose territory they can control. The one thing they know how to do is kill."
To help the Iraqis stop the bombings, Mr. Carter said a three-star general in charge of the American military's task force on improvised explosive devices would be sent to Baghdad to work with the Iraqis.
The general and his staff would bring "that substantial experience and tradecraft that we learned by hard experience in Iraq and Afghanistan," Mr. Carter said.
American commanders have begun referring to the Qaiyara Airfield West as "Key West" or "Q West" because its Iraqi name is difficult for them to pronounce. As the Iraqi military closed in on the base last week, Islamic State fighters quickly fled and the Iraqis, who lost control of it in 2014, faced little resistance. Iraqi military officials said in interviews on Monday that there was substantial damage to the air base that would require repairs.
"We were surprised by how destroyed the base was and how they had done it in an organized way," said Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, the commander of Iraqi counterterrorism forces, who planned the operation.
Mr. Assadi said one of two runways at the airfield had been badly damaged, along with some buildings. A small group of American forces surveyed the airfield shortly after the Iraqis seized it, but American military officials said it was still unclear how much time it would take before cargo planes and other aircraft could begin landing there.
The official estimate of 4,647 troops in Iraq understates the actual number of American military personnel in the country. The Pentagon uses a system for counting troops that excludes commandos and those who are supposed to be stationed in the country for less than four months.
All told, Defense Department officials have said there are probably more than 5,000 Americans in Iraq.
8) Child Care Expansion Takes a Toll on Poorly Paid Workers
By PATRICIA COHEN JULY 12, 2016
Carmella Salinas has worked steadily for 14 years as an early-childhood-education teacher, taking care of 4- and 5-year-olds at the nonprofit Family Learning Center in the hardscrabble community of Española, just north of Santa Fe, N.M. Even so, she rarely earns enough to cover all her bills, and has more than once received a disconnection letter from the water, gas or electric company. A few months ago, she arrived home with her 10-year-old son, Aaron, to find the electricity shut off.
"But Mom," she recalled Aaron saying, "don't they know it's your birthday?"
While the scramble to find affordable child care has drawn a lot of attention, prompting President Obama to label it "a must-have"economic priority, the struggles of the workers — mostly women — who provide that care have not.
Yet the fortunes of both are inextricably intertwined. "You can't separate the quality of children's experiences from the knowledge, skills and well-being of early educators," said Marcy Whitebook, director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.
About two million caregivers look after 12 million children from newborns to 5-year-olds, and they are among the lowest-paid workers in the country, sometimes earning little more than minimum wage, said Ms. Whitebook, who is an author of a state-by-state comparison of the early-child-care work force that was released last week. Caregivers also get few benefits and scattershot training, and they are subject to a tangle of requirements and regulations that can vary from one program to the next.
Scientists established decades ago that the crucial first years of life, in the words of a 2015 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, "provide a foundation on which later learning — and lifelong progress — is constructed." Blue states and red, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and children's advocates have moved toward supporting universal prekindergarten.
But as the academy researchers concluded, "Adults who are underinformed, under-prepared, or subject to chronic stress themselves may contribute to children's experiences of adversity and stress and undermine their development and learning."
Ms. Salinas, 43, knows such stress too well. After 14 years, she earns $12.89 an hour, but her work week is capped at 32 hours. If she worked more than that, the nonprofit center would have to provide her with benefits, which it cannot afford. In past years, enough parents managed to pay tuition during the summer, but not this time. As a result, she is without a job until state funding for prekindergarten starts to flow again in September.
For a while, Ms. Salinas got a second job to supplement her paycheck, but the extra money meant she no longer qualified for food stamps and Medicaid.
Without public assistance, she was unable to afford the two inhalers — one was $200, the other was $75 — that she needed for her chronic asthma. "I was hospitalized last year from complications from asthma," she said. "I was rationing the medication. I am supposed to have four puffs, but I would think, 'Can I get by with one?'"
Nor could she afford enough groceries. When her food stamps came through a couple of weeks ago, she stocked the refrigerator. Unaccustomed to seeing such a crowd of yogurt, carrots, strawberries, lunch meat, milk and orange juice, her son asked, "Mom, are we rich now?"
"No, baby," Ms. Salinas recalled saying with a laugh. "We're really, really poor."
Ms. Salinas said she could not manage at all if she had not inherited her mother's house a few years ago. But staying on top of the bills is still tough. When her 1999 Dodge Durango broke down last year, it took her four months to save enough to get it fixed.
New Mexico, like some other states, provides limited stipends to help teachers earn the credentials they lack. But the money, Ms. Salinas said, is only enough to cover one class each semester. She has been taking weekend or evening classes since 2005 to get a bachelor's degree.
After eight years of similar part-time schooling, Mona Zamora, now 33, earned her diploma while working at a child care center in Las Cruces. At a job fair, she learned about an opening for a kindergarten teacher in Mesa, Ariz., where she is now moving with her two children. Her salary will be $38,000 a year — almost a third more than she earned in New Mexico — plus health insurance and a retirement program.
"Once I graduated and got my degree, the job that I was working at for over eight years wasn't able to compete with the pay and benefits," Ms. Zamora said.
Public schools, even in poor states, generally pay better than nonprofit and private child care centers. At the same time, elementary school teachers tend to earn twice as much as prekindergarten teachers, and caretakers of toddlers and infants are further down on the income scale, according to the Berkeley report.
Ms. Whitebook at Berkeley acknowledged that while many mothers did not have a bachelor's degree, handling a roomful of children required different skills from caring for one's own. "The work of caring for and educating the youngest children is as complex and requires as much knowledge as working with kids 5 to 8," she said.
She commended states for focusing on improved training and qualifications, but said it was not enough. Child care workers need professional support in the classroom, she said, and "we need to raise the floor so people are making a living wage."
But using standards for teachers at public school as a benchmark troubles Katharine Stevens, an education policy researcher at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
"It's a model that has largely failed disadvantaged kids," Ms. Stevens said, noting that early childhood education offers a particularly potent opportunity to help level the playing field for poor children, who can lag as much as two years behind by the time they start kindergarten. "This is a crucial area and we need people who are good at it," she said. "But a college degree may not be necessary to be a very good caretaker of infants and toddlers."
Child care workers deserve more than poverty wages, Ms. Stevens said, adding: "Leaping to a just-add-water-and-stir solution is going to backfire. We don't know what credentials or what training leads to child care workers and teachers being effective with very young children."
And raising wages would also make child care more expensive — putting it further out of reach for low- and moderate-income families, and stretching already tight state budgets.
The Berkeley researchers counter that the push to expand child care has come at the expense of the poorly paid women who do the work. "A major goal of early childhood services has been to relieve poverty among children, yet many of these same efforts continue to generate poverty in the predominantly female, ethnically and racially diverse early-childhood-education work force," the report states.
Despite all of her own financial hardships, Ms. Salinas in Española said there was no other job she would rather have. "I realized that this was my calling in life," she said, making the discovery after finding a part-time job at a day care center when her two older daughters were living at home.
Even so, Ms. Salinas and her colleagues have families of their own to support. On a trip to lobby for education funding at the state Capitol in Santa Fe, she remembered meeting with a senator who told her, "You don't get into this for the money; you're paid in love."
"Really?" she replied. "When my landlord comes, can I just give him a hug?"
9) 7 Teenage Deaths, but No Answers for Aboriginal Canadians
By IAN AUSTEN JULY 13, 2016
THUNDER BAY, Ontario — They were teenagers from tiny indigenous Canadian communities, isolated by a maze of lakes and forest. Thunder Bay, a metropolis by comparison, offered them their only opportunity for a high school education.
Instead, the students met death.
Starting in 2000 and over the span of more than a decade, the bodies of Jethro Anderson, Curran Strang, Reggie Bushie, Kyle Morrisseau and Jordan Wabasse were found, one by one, floating in the rivers that meander past Thunder Bay's grain elevators, shopping malls and rail lines, emptying into Lake Superior. Bodies of two other indigenous students, Robyn Harper and Paul Panacheese, were found elsewhere in Thunder Bay, a predominantly white city of 121,000.
Indigenous leaders and parents of the dead had long called for investigations, suspecting the students were victims of hate crimes. But among the broader population, the deaths largely went unnoticed until last year, when the Ontario coroner's office opened an inquest.
Despite months of testimony, the inquest's jury, which released findings and recommendations in June, was unable to reach a conclusion as to what had led to the deaths of four of the students, and found the others to be accidental.
But unlike many tragedies involving indigenous Canadians, these victims were linked by important common denominators: All were young people from remote towns. All were unaccustomed to city life. All were forced to stay in privately run boardinghouses — a lonely, unsupervised life for students as young as 14.
The inquest became a window into broader questions over how Canadahandles education for such a vulnerable population. Testimony underscored that despite Canada's national pride over inclusiveness, a racial line often separates indigenous Canadians from the rest of society.
"There's racism here," said Sara Brady, an Ojibway teacher who runs a team of workers who assist indigenous students at a high school in Thunder Bay. "You have kids who have never experienced racism before, and that's a big thing for some of them. They don't understand what that is until they get here."
Among the statistics offered at the inquest, a calculation by Dr. David Eden, the presiding coroner, stood out. Two of the students, Kyle Morrisseau and Robyn Harper, came from Keewaywin, population around 300, about 350 miles northwest of Thunder Bay. For Thunder Bay to suffer a proportionally similar tragedy, he said, 700 high school students would need to die.
Kyle Morrisseau's death offers a glimpse into his failed jump from one world into another, and its devastating effect on his family.
He was a celebrity in Keewaywin, which consists of little more than an airstrip, nursing station, school, general store and post office. He was the third generation of his family to find success in selling art. He and his father, Christian Morriseau (some family members use a single "S" in the surname), painted aboriginal mythology images sold in galleries in Ottawa and elsewhere. His grandfather Norval Morrisseau was one of Canada's best-known aboriginal painters.
Since Kyle's death, Christian Morriseau's marriage has dissolved and his house has burned down. He now lives part time in another house, condemned and filled with mold, in between annual trips to paint in Toronto.
When his son started attending high school in Thunder Bay, Mr. Morriseau said in an interview, he had little concern. Two cousins worked at the high school, and an uncle coordinated programs for indigenous students in the city.
"We had family there," he said.
Mr. Morriseau planned trips to Toronto and Ottawa to meet with art collectors so that he could change planes in Thunder Bay and spend time with Kyle.
One night in October 2009, while they shared a hotel room, Kyle told his father that he wanted to return to Keewaywin, only to abruptly reverse himself the next day, promising to "tough it out," Mr. Morriseau said. Kyle was found dead less than a month later.
Mr. Morriseau said he has agonized over Kyle's change of mind ever since. "He was just lonely, I guess," he said.
He said the evidence at the inquest showed that there were bruises on Kyle's body, suggesting that his son may have been attacked. The jury also heard how at least one other indigenous student had been assaulted by young white men and thrown into the river. That student, fearing for his life, left Thunder Bay and returned home.
Regardless, Mr. Morriseau said he was convinced that Kyle had not committed suicide. While many Canadian aboriginal communities have exceptionally high rates of suicide and attempted suicide, statistics presented at the inquest showed that hanging is overwhelmingly the most common method. Drowning is not even a category.
The inquest jury listed the means of Kyle's death as "undetermined."
Asked what he thought had happened, Mr. Morriseau, 46, looked down, replying: "Who knows, man. Only he does — him and the creator knows what happened."
"Somebody else does know something out there," he continued, "but I don't think it will ever come up, or maybe it's too late to come up."
Educating indigenous Canadians has long been considered one of the country's most troubling issues. For much of Canada's early history, native children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to residential schools largely run by churches. Physical, mental and sexual abuse were widespread. The program was less about education, a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission found last year, than it was about "cultural genocide."
Today, schooling for most Canadians is financed with a mix of provincial and local taxes, and the federal government is responsible for educating only indigenous children who live on reserves.
The result is a stark disparity. The inquest found that Thunder Bay's Roman Catholic French-language school board has a budget of roughly 27,000 Canadian dollars, or about $20,000, per student. Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, where six of the dead students were enrolled, gets 11,000 Canadian dollars per pupil. Not every high school student on a reserve in northwestern Ontario attends Cromarty, or D.F.C., as it is commonly known. Many attend the Pelican Falls First Nations High School, a boarding school nearer to the reserves.
But Jonathan Kakegamic, the principal at D.F.C., said that he believes its location provides greater learning opportunities and makes it easier to attract and retain good teachers.
The school partly compensates for the budget disparity with fund-raising that helps pay for extra teachers, student meals and after-school sports.
But as he used a stationary bicycle late one afternoon in the school's weight room, Mr. Kakegamic said that what the school really needed was a dormitory.
"When you have 150 kids staying in private citizens' boarding homes throughout the city, that's a difficult thing to maintain," he said. "There's so many injustices at every level."
Mr. Kakegamic's home community is Keewaywin. He taught elementary school there, and is a cousin of Kyle Morrisseau's family. As he recalled the school's searches for each of its students who were ultimately found dead, tears mixed with the sweat on his face.
"I don't know if I could handle losing another kid," he said.
10) A Haircut for French Taxpayers? Hollande's $10,000-a-Month Stylist Is Revealed
By AURELIEN BREEDEN JULY 13, 2016
PARIS — As heads of state go, this one appears to be quite expensive.
The investigative and satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné reported on Wednesday that President François Hollande's personal hairdresser has been paid 9,895 euros — over $10,000 — per month since Mr. Hollande was elected in 2012, about the same amount as a government minister's salary.
The report is especially jarring for Mr. Hollande, 61, a Socialist who campaigned on the promise that he would be a "normal" and exemplary president but who has seen his private life spill into the open on several occasions.
It would be hard for Mr. Hollande to be less popular. His approval ratings, while receiving a bump from the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, have been persistently low. He has been forced to agree to a primary among left-leaning parties, including his own Socialists, to settle on a candidate for president next year — a first for a sitting president.
Mr. Hollande has not managed to deliver on his promise to significantly lower unemployment, especially among young people. His government has faced months of street protests over an unpopular bill to loosen France's rigid labor laws. And he faces a potential challenge from his economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, who has hinted that he may run for president next year.
The new controversy — the hashtag #CoiffeurGate, "coiffeur" being French for hairdresser, was a trending topic on Twitter on Wednesday — could contribute to the image as a president who is out of touch.
Mr. Hollande is certainly not the first politician to encounter problems with hairdressing.
In 1993, two of Los Angeles International Airport's runways were shut for nearly an hour so that President Bill Clinton's Beverly Hills hairstylist could come aboard Air Force One to give him a haircut. In 2007, John Edwards, a former senator, had to reimburse his presidential campaign $800 to cover the cost of two haircuts. The Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin spent tens of thousands of dollars on hair and makeup in the homestretch of her 2008 campaign.
In France, opposition center-right and far-right parties were, unsurprisingly, critical of Mr. Hollande, and while reactions in his own party were more muted, some struck a harsher tone.
"That's a lot of money for a hairdresser, and for the French in general," Thierry Mandon, the junior minister for higher education and research, told the LCP news channel. "For many people in France that really, really, really is a lot of money."
Still, the revelations have yet to morph into a full-blown political scandal in France, where the financial excesses or abuses of politicians are sometimes met with a shrug. On Twitter, French observers expressed a mixture of amusement and outrage.
"When my 2,600 euros of income tax represent one week of the hairdresser's salary #CoiffeurGate #shameful," one user wrote. "#CoiffeurGate — ah, now I finally understand the expression 'budgetary cuts,'" mused another. Some photoshopped royal wigs, mullets or toupées onto the French president's sparsely adorned head.
The hairdresser, identified by Le Canard Enchaîné only as Olivier B., was first mentioned in a book by two French journalists published in April that aimed to give a behind-the-scenes look at the Élysée Palace, the presidential residence.
The book identified the hairdresser as Olivier Benhamou, and said that his monthly salary was 8,000 euros. When the tabloid magazine Closer wrote an article using that information, Mr. Benhamou sued them; that case is pending.
The work contract Mr. Benhamou signed with the Élysée Palace was recently introduced as evidence in a French court as part of that case, and was obtained by Le Canard Enchaîné, which used it as the basis of its report.
The contract was signed by Mr. Hollande's former chief of staff. It is unclear whether Mr. Hollande knew how much the hairdresser is paid. On Wednesday evening, Valérie Trierweiler, Mr. Hollande's former companion, wrote on Twitter: "Let's be fair: F. Hollande was not aware of the hairdresser's salary. I can attest to his anger when he learned about it later."
The Élysée Palace confirmed the report, telling Le Canard Enchaîné that Mr. Benhamou started his days very early and that "he redoes the president's hair every morning and as much as needed, for each public statement."
A 2015 report by the Cour des Comptes, the French organization that conducts financial audits of the state and other public institutions, found that personnel spending at the Élysée Palace in 2014 — 68.2 million euros, out of the palace's overall budget of 100 million euros — had fallen by 1.6 percent from the previous year and that staff numbers had been cut.
11) Amid Protests Over Police Shootings of Black Men, Latinos Note a Disparity
By RICK ROJAS and SAMANTHA SCHMIDT JULY 14, 2016
The sheriff's deputies arrived at the home in San Antonio on a call that a woman had been injured in a domestic dispute. A bystander started recording a video as they pursued a shirtless man armed with a knife outside the home. Though taken from a distance, the video seemed to show the 41-year-old man, Gilbert Flores, raising his arms as the deputies opened fire, killing him.
The video appeared on television, and local officials opened an investigation. But the case, which took place last year, has drawn limited national attention — a stark contrast with the fatal police shootings of black men in recent days in Louisiana and Minnesota, which have ignited protests and calls for reform around the country.
To some Latino advocates, it is just one example of how the killings of Latinos in encounters with the police do not generate the same level of scrutiny, outrage or discourse as the fatal shootings of blacks.
"Why isn't the community aggressively championing the victims of these crimes?" said Juan Cartagena, the president of LatinoJustice, a legal advocacy group, who sees parallels in the strained relationship many African-Americans and Latinos experience with law enforcement.
There is no federal clearinghouse that tracks all police-related killings, criminal justice researchers say, so it is difficult to quantify how many Latinos are killed in encounters with officers. That has left advocates to rely largely on anecdotal evidence. Even with jurisdictions that include Hispanic or Latino as an option in statistics, the numbers can be unreliable; it is not uncommon for people to be incorrectly classified as white or black.
"You don't know if the tick box is accurate or not," said Geoffrey P. Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina who researches police shootings and called the lack of a national database a "national embarrassment."
But in recent years, multiple cases have roiled Hispanics in different parts of the country. The fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man in Fullerton, Calif., by California Highway Patrol officers this month led to modest protests, and the killing of a 17-year-old girl in Denver in January 2015 spurred similar demonstrations.
The death of a 35-year-old man in 2015 in Pasco, Wash., gunned down after throwing rocks at police officers, stirred the sizable immigrant population there. Some believed the killing, recorded on video, had the potential to become the "Ferguson moment" for Hispanics.
"There are plenty of high-profile incidents across the country that for one reason or another don't seem to get the same attention," said Eric Rodriguez, vice president for public policy at the National Council of La Raza.
"There's sufficient amount of concern and outrage about what's happening," he added. "This tension at the community level, it's palpable."
Activists and researchers say a range of factors, rooted in differences in history and culture, could explain why pockets of anger cropping up after cases involving Latinos have not grown to have a larger national impact. For one, Hispanic does not denote a race, but rather an ethnicity; the sprawling population of Hispanics has differing priorities, depending on region, nationality and citizenship status.
Also, Latino advocates say, they do not have the same level of organization as African-Americans to spread their concerns more widely. For instance, they say, there is no figure with as high a profile as the Rev. Al Sharpton, nor does religion play as big a role in activism among Hispanics. "The Catholic Church," Mr. Cartagena said, "really hasn't used that kind of messaging as a way to galvanize support."
For some, immigration is a more immediate, driving concern; a fear of confronting the authorities holds some back from being more vocal.
"They interact with that whole system in a very different way because they have even fewer rights," said Angelo Falcón, co-founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy. "You have a lot of Latinos who are living without papers, under the radar, who are abused by regular police as well."
But Mr. Cartagena expressed dismay at the idea that certain issues affect only certain groups of people — that police brutality is an African-American issue, or immigration a Latino concern. "We live similar experiences with respect to marginalization of our communities," he said. "For this to really move the dial, it has to be done in solidarity with everyone else."
Some in law enforcement acknowledge the tensions in their relationship with Latinos. Tina Nieto, a captain in the Los Angeles Police Department, said she has seen the police shift from being an "occupying force" in some neighborhoods to one that is more engaged with residents. And as a commanding officer, she has sought to overcome the lingering skepticism toward the police.
"There's a disconnect between what people believe sometimes and what the policing reality is," said Captain Nieto, the incoming national president of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association. "Sometimes it doesn't look pretty, but if you work to establish open lines of communication, we can have that dialogue."
In the case of Mr. Flores in San Antonio, the Bexar County Sheriff's Department has pushed back against the notion that he had his hands up in surrender, despite what the video depicts. (Researchers have noted some shortcomings with video evidence.)
James Keith, a spokesman for the department, said Mr. Flores was moving toward the deputies when he was shot, and earlier, he had tried to attack the deputies. A grand jury declined to press criminal charges against the deputies who shot him, both of whom had Latino surnames.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office is investigating the death of Pedro Villanueva, the 19-year-old killed in California, which happened on July 3, just days before the shooting in Baton Rouge, La. California Highway Patrol officers followed Mr. Villanueva's red pickup truck in their unmarked vehicle for about 10 miles. They tried to pull him over, the authorities said, but he made a U-turn and drove in the direction of the officers, who opened fire.
"How would an innocent boy be killed like that?" David Sainz, Mr. Villanueva's brother, said in a phone interview from the family's Mexican restaurant in the San Fernando Valley. "He was such a good kid. He didn't have to be shot."
The district attorney and the highway patrol declined to comment.
In 2012, Genevieve Huizar's 25-year-old son, Manuel Diaz, was fatally shot by the police in Anaheim, a death that came during a spate of killings in the city that set off protests there. In the years since, Ms. Huizar has traveled across California protesting police-involved shootings. She helped found the Young Survivors Legacy Support Network, which organizes picnics and vigils for relatives who have lost loved ones.
On Wednesday night, almost four years to the day since her son's death, she is planning another vigil.
"All these lives matter," she said. "I believe it should be one movement to make the change for everybody."
12) Taser International Dominates the Police Body Camera Market
By DAVID GELLES JULY 12, 2016
When Micah Johnson went on a deadly shooting rampage in Dallas last week, body cameras worn by police officers were rolling, capturing at least 170 hours of video of the mayhem.
That footage is now stored on a sophisticated cloud computing system that lets police manage digital evidence and hosts more hours of video than Netflix has available to stream.
These paired offerings — body cameras for police and cloud storage — have transformed policing in recent years, adding a new level of transparency and accountability but also raising questions about privacy and who has the right to view those videos.
Behind the scenes, one company is at the center of it all: Taser International. Best known for making Taser stun guns, it controls about three-quarters of the body camera business in the United States.
Until recently a one-note provider of electrical weapons, Taser has swiftly cornered the market for body cameras and related software, making it one of the most important suppliers of technology to law enforcement today.
Its Axon body cameras are worn by officers in dozens of big cities including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington and, yes, Dallas. And using computing power from Microsoft and Amazon, Taser runs Evidence.com, the site that lets police host and manage body camera video.
Demand for the products has soared in the two years since Michael Brown was shot dead by an officer in Ferguson, Mo., and analysts now estimate that the market will soon be worth $1 billion a year.
"When the rest of us are snapping pictures and videos, police can't pull out a note pad and start writing," said Patrick W. Smith, the chief executive of Taser. "There's now an expectation from society that they're getting good documentation of what they're involved in. It's in everyone's interest to know what happened."
Mr. Smith and his brother, Thomas, founded Taser in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1993, and the company now is worth about $1.3 billion. Taser cameras have captured thousands of altercations between the police and the public and several controversial police shootings, including ones in Albuquerque and Cincinnati.
Yet as Taser works to sell cameras and software to more departments, it is coming under fire for questionable business practices. In some instances, it has paid police chiefs to travel to Taser conferences. In other cases, chiefs who have bought Taser products have joined the company as consultants shortly after leaving public service. And several cities have awarded contracts to Taser without competitive bidding.
So far, these issues have done little to blunt Taser's momentum. Last quarter, for the first time, Taser booked more sales for body cameras and related software than it did for its stun guns.
Interest in body cameras was already picking up two years ago, as police departments around the country started responding to calls for greater accountability. Then, in August 2014, a white police officer killed Mr. Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in Ferguson. The officer was not wearing a body camera, and witnesses disputed his account of the altercation that led to the shooting. The officer was not charged, and critics said that had he been wearing a body camera, the outcome might have been different.
Video captured by body cameras can be difficult to interpret. Yet as more Taser cameras are deployed around the country, the grainy images they produce are playing an increasingly important role in the aftermath of deadly shootings.
At times, the video can exonerate officers. In 2009, shortly after Taser began selling its cameras through its Axon division, Sgt. Brandon Davis shot and killed a man in Fort Smith, Ark. Video recorded by his body camera captured the shooting, and Mr. Davis was cleared of wrongdoing.
In other instances, the footage can portray police as needlessly aggressive. In 2014, a Taser Axon camera worn by an officer in Albuquerque captured the fatal shooting of a homeless man by officers who did not appear to be threatened. The two officers have been charged with second-degree murder and are expected to stand trial soon.
Even when body cameras are worn, they are not always effective. When two police officers fatally shot Alton B. Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., on July 5, they were wearing body cameras made by a Taser competitor. A police spokesman said the cameras became dislodged during the altercation with Mr. Sterling, and the video was unlikely to reveal much; Baton Rouge is making a transition to Taser cameras.
In another incident last week, the officer who killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., was not wearing a body camera. But Mr. Castile's girlfriend streamed the aftermath on Facebook Live.
"The whole world wants to know what the heck happened in the moments leading up to that shooting," said Mr. Smith of Taser. "Would a body camera have changed the behavior? Maybe. But it sure would have answered some questions."
Just a few years ago, many police were reluctant to wear body cameras, fearing that their every action would be scrutinized.
"There was a real hesitation at first," said Officer Jeff Garwacki, who oversees the body camera program at the Fort Worth Police Department.
But as the devices have become more common, many police officers have come to rely on them. In Fort Worth, which has bought 800 body cameras from Taser and uses its Evidence.com service, Mr. Garwacki said most officers wanted to wear cameras at all times. "The body cameras are showing that the officers are doing what they say they're doing," he said.
Though research is limited, some studies suggest that the use of body cameras can reduce the use of force by officers and complaints by the public. In a study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, researchers found that when officers in Rialto, Calif., began wearing body cameras, use of force by officers dropped 59 percent, and complaints against officers dropped 87 percent.
"When police use body cameras and tell people that they are using them, it tends to produce better behavior by both the police and the public," said Chad Marlow, advocacy and policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Yet Mr. Marlow expressed concern that Taser had achieved such dominance in the body camera industry so quickly.
"The fact that a lot of police departments are familiar with Taser has created an inclination to go with them," said Mr. Marlow. "Other companies are not getting the opportunity to show off their products."
Some of Taser's rivals, Mr. Marlow said, were developing software that made it easier to redact identifying features of people captured on camera, better protecting their privacy.
There is no doubt that Taser has managed to use its longstanding relationships with police departments, which have used the company's stun guns for decades, to gain its early lead in the market for body cameras and related software.
But several competitors, and some city officials, accuse the company of cozying up to police chiefs to secure lucrative contracts. Nearly all of the roughly 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States have bought Taser's stun guns. "Taser is very much intertwined with police departments," said Mark Strouse, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase.
In several instances around the country, Taser has either paid for the travel of police chiefs who went on to award the company contracts, or hired recently retired chiefs who had awarded Taser contracts.
In other cases, cities have skipped traditional steps like competitive bidding and city council approval, and awarded contracts to Taser with little oversight. Investigations by The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal turned up examples of such practices in Fort Worth, Memphis, Los Angeles and Chicago. The New Mexico attorney general has opened a criminal investigation of former Chief Ray Schultz of the Albuquerque police in connection with a $2 million contract his department awarded Taser.
"We think there's an ongoing pattern of police chiefs getting lucrative consulting contracts after they retire, if they give Taser contracts," said Robert McKeeman, chief executive of Utility, which makes a rival body camera.
Taser defended its sales tactics, saying they were commonplace, and said that many police departments were familiar with the company. It now makes law enforcement officials wait a year after leaving government service before it will hire them as consultants. Taser also said that while it was sometimes awarded sole-source bids, the departments doing the purchasing have often run a competitive process to test other cameras.
"If you're going to solve customers' needs, you have to have close relationships," Mr. Smith said. "I don't think we did anything that was misleading."
Taser was initially founded to sell electrical weapons. The Smith brothers' partner, Jack Cover, was an engineer who worked with NASA and went on to develop the original technology used in the stun guns.
The company struggled for several years. Ill-fated brand extensions like the Auto Taser, a device that electrified steering wheels to prevent car theft, nearly bankrupted the company.
But sales picked up when Taser introduced a powerful electrical weapon, the M26, which resembled a handgun. Taser went public in 2001.
Sales soared in the years after, with thousands of law enforcement agencies buying Taser stun guns. Though the guns were designed to be nonlethal, many people shot with Tasers died, miring the company in controversy.
The company began selling video recorders that worked with Taser weapons in 2006, and it introduced its first body camera, the Axon Pro, in 2009.
Mr. Smith predicted that sales of Axon cameras and Evidence.com would soon dwarf sales of Taser's weapons, and that the company would one day be renamed to reflect the growing prominence of its body camera business.
"We had a very successful business selling Taser weapons," Mr. Smith said. "Now it's not just about weapons, but about providing transparency and solving related data problems."
13) A Bank Too Big to Jail
Have you ever wondered why the crippling 2008 financial crisis generated almost no criminal prosecutions of large banks and their top executives?
Then take a moment to read the congressional report issued on July 11 titled "Too Big to Jail." Citing internal documents that the United States Treasury took three years to produce, the report shows how regulators and prosecutors turned a potential criminal prosecution of a large global bank — HSBC — into a watered-down settlement that insulated its executives and failed to take into account the full scope of the bank's violations.
The report, prepared by the Republican staff of the House Financial Services Committee, does not examine a matter related to the mortgage crisis. Rather, it looks at the Department of Justice's 2012 settlementwith HSBC, the British banking behemoth, after accusations that it laundered nearly $900 million for drug traffickers and processed transactions on behalf of Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Myanmar, or Burma, when those countries were subject to United States sanctions.
HSBC and its American subsidiary, HSBC Bank USA, agreed to pay almost $2 billion under the settlement, striking a deferred prosecution arrangement that remains in place. Under such deals, the government agrees to delay or forgo prosecution of a company if it promises to change its behavior.
In spite of the settlement's size, it did not represent a body blow to the bank. Announced in late 2012, the HSBC agreement was almost a footnote to the earlier fallout from the mortgage crisis. Still, the facts outlined by prosecutors were damning enough to raise questions about why the bank had not been subject to harsher treatment, fueling the view that large financial institutions are not only too big to be allowed to fail but also are too significant to be prosecuted criminally.
The report on HSBC was not adopted by the full House committee, but neither did it generate a dissent from others on the committee. It was released, the staff said, "to shed light on whether D.O.J. is making prosecutorial decisions based on the size of financial institutions and D.O.J.'s belief that such prosecutions could negatively impact the economy."
There doesn't seem to be much doubt about that. Indeed, the report concluded that the Justice Department's leadership overruled an internal recommendation to prosecute HSBC, citing concerns "that prosecuting the bank 'could result in a global financial disaster.'"
This will surprise few Americans who learned during the financial crisis that banks and their officials are rarely held to account.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said it was "committed to aggressively investigating allegations of wrongdoing at financial institutions, and, along with our law enforcement partners, holding individuals and corporations responsible for their conduct." Since 2014, he said, It has prosecuted numerous individuals for corporate misconduct, including top executives.
Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general, did not return a phone call seeking comment about the report.
Quoting from internal Treasury records, the report said that once the Justice Department decided not to prosecute HSBC, its officials began softening the deal offered to the bank. One change involved releasing the bank's employees, officers and directors from potential prosecution.
The original agreement provided no protection from prosecution for employees who "knowingly and willfully" processed financial transactions with countries under American sanctions, the report said.
But the final deferred prosecution agreement gave a conditional release from liability for transactions disclosed to investigators during the period covered by the settlement.
David A. Skeel, a professor of corporate law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, said he was struck by this change. "This is one case where it looks like the government might have been able to prosecute misbehaving executives during the crisis period, yet it waived its right to do so," he said in an email.
Another modification involved penalties to be exacted from executives if HSBC failed to live up to compliance requirements.
While initial terms called for voiding the entire year's bonus compensation at the bank if it did not meet compliance hurdles, the final deferred prosecution agreement said only that a failure could potentially void the bonuses. This revision, the report said, "apparently leaves open the possibility for executives to get their bonuses, despite failing to meet compliance standards."
Another disturbing element turned up by the House committee: The settlement terms were given to HSBC before officials in the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or O.F.A.C., had assessed the full extent of the bank's sanctions violations.
The Justice Department called for HSBC to pay $375 million to settle the sanctions violations. But officials in charge of analyzing those violations were still awaiting additional information from the bank when this figure was submitted. Therefore, they could not be sure the amount was adequate.
"No matter that our sanctions numbers might come in higher than that," an official at the Treasury office wrote in an email to colleagues. "We weren't consulted. We were told."
As a result, the report said, officials of the Office of Foreign Assets Control "decided to hastily resolve internal concerns about the extent of HSBC's sanctions violations and 'frame' O.F.A.C.'s final settlement number to mirror the $375 million 'deemed settled' value proposed" by the Justice Department.
Mary Kreiner Ramirez, a professor at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kan., and a former assistant United States attorney, said she was startled by how much influence officials at the Financial Services Authority — Britain's top financial regulator at the time — had on the Justice Department's process in the HSBC matter, according to the report.
"It would seem that in making the decision with respect to HSBC, Holder gave more attention to the concerns expressed by the F.S.A. than he did with respect to our own agencies," Ms. Ramirez said in an interview. "And think about it: Congress spent three years trying to uncover this information that F.S.A. was getting at the time the events were unfolding."
That it took the House committee so long to receive the information from the Treasury Department once again raises questions about transparency in government, something the Obama administration has called a top priority.
"Treasury improperly impeded the committee's investigation" for nearly three years before producing certain subpoenaed records, the report said. The department's production of records "is missing dozens, if not hundreds, of pages," the report said.
Joshua Drobnyk, a Treasury spokesman, disputed this characterization, saying the department had cooperated extensively with Congress. "Treasury made hundreds of pages of documents available to the committee more than two years ago, in April 2014, and committee staff reviewed the materials five separate times," Mr. Drobnyk said in a statement.
But Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who heads the House Financial Services Committee, doesn't buy it. "If an incomplete response to the committee after three years and the threat of deposition subpoenas isn't stonewalling, I don't know what is," he said in a statement. "After these revelations, if the Obama administration refuses to be transparent, produce the documents that it is withholding and address the urgent questions that this report has raised, the American people need to ask why."
By shedding light on the HSBC matter, the report is "the best kind of anticorruption action," said Edward J. Kane, a professor of finance at Boston College and an authority on regulatory failures. "The fact that so many of these cases are settled rather than going to court means we don't get an airing of facts and challenges of facts."
The report should be viewed as "evidence of an abuse of the regulatory system," Mr. Kane added. "And unless proven otherwise, this is just the tip of the iceberg."
14) Some Predict Tuition Increases Under Hillary Clinton's College Plan
By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM JULY 16, 2016
WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton's plan to allow most Americans to attend public universities at no cost could have the perverse effect of driving tuition higher as the federal government chased a tuition target that universities would simply raise at taxpayers' expense, some experts warn.
In recent decades, the federal government has significantly expanded tuition subsidies, only to watch the cost of college climb even faster. Some experts see evidence that colleges have responded to past increases in federal subsidies by raising prices.
A 2015 study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that colleges pocketed up to 60 cents from every $1 increase in subsidies, either by increasing tuition or by cutting their own aid packages. The government pumps in money, and the colleges soak it up.
"The basic economics are pretty straightforward," said Taylor Nadauld, a finance professor at Brigham Young University and a co-author of the study. "Colleges have the opportunity to extract money from the federal government, and they do it."
College affordability has emerged as a major issue in Democratic Partypolitics. Americans now owe more money in student loans than in credit card debt. The share of average household income required to attend a four-year college keeps climbing, up in 45 states since 2008, according to a recent report.
The Obama administration has responded by reducing the cost of loans and increasing the availability of grants. Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, borrowed from her primary campaign rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, to develop her proposal to pay the cost of public, in-state college for students from families with incomes below $125,000. It would also reduce rates on existing loans. The Clinton campaign said the costs would be covered by tax increases.
The plan also nods at the other side of the equation: An outline released by the campaign promises to hold colleges "accountable for reining in costs." But it does not explain how, and the campaign did not respond to a request for details.
Joni E. Finney, the director of the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania, said Mrs. Clinton's plan could make a meaningful dent in an important problem. "Low- and middle-income students really do find themselves borrowing way too much to attend postsecondary education," Ms. Finney said. "And this is at a time when the country needs more highly educated people."
First, however, Mrs. Clinton would need to win both congressional approval and the participation of state governments, which would be required to provide some of the funding. The resistance to the Obama administration's expansion of Medicare, a broadly similar initiative, suggests that uniform cooperation is unlikely. Gov. Scott Walker, Republican of Wisconsin, has already expressed opposition.
The average cost of attending an in-state public college or university increased by more than 40 percent over the past decade, after adjusting for inflation. Public institutions have spent heavily to attract students — and to keep pace with private competitors — even as many state legislatures have cut funding.
Colleges also have shifted their pricing models, charging higher list prices but offering more aid, so that lower-income students may actually pay less.
The idea that the federal government is contributing to the problem first gained widespread attention in 1987 when William Bennett, the secretary of education at the time, wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times that colleges were raising prices in part because they were confident the federal government would provide more aid. The idea still is often described as the "Bennett hypothesis."
The logic is straightforward. Imagine if the government started handing out gift cards that could only be used to buy Broadway theater tickets. As there are only so many seats available, the price of tickets would probably begin to climb.
But efforts to measure the effect on tuition costs have ranged widely. Some studies have found little evidence of a significant impact. The New York Fed study, however, looked at three different increases in federal subsidies in recent years and found that each had produced a significant increase in college tuition.
Another piece of evidence: The government limits the total amount undergraduates can borrow, but for the last decade it has allowed graduate students to borrow unlimited sums. Before the change, undergraduate tuition was rising more quickly than graduate school tuition. Since the change, the pattern has reversed, according to Andrew Gillen, an independent education analyst based in Washington.
"Schools are under tremendous competitive pressure to raise as much revenue as possible from every possible source," Mr. Gillen said.
There is some evidence the impact is larger at private institutions. A sense of public mission or legislative barriers may prevent public schools from raising costs.
The effect also appears to be larger when aid is extended to higher-income families. "Institutions know those families can afford to pay, and that they're going to send their kids to school anyway," Ms. Finney said.
Under Mrs. Clinton's plan, most students would not feel the pain of tuition increases. The government would pay their bills regardless. But that could make it easier for colleges to raise prices, as they would not need to fear a loss of customers.
It would replicate the dynamic in the health care industry, where patients generally do not consider cost when seeking treatment, and doctors do not consider cost when providing treatment, because bills are paid by insurers or the government.
That puts the burden of cost control squarely on the government's shoulders. But even if prices do rise, the government may still be getting a good deal. Federal wage data shows that the value of a college education is higher than it has ever been.
"Purely from an economic standpoint, it has never been a better investment," Mr. Nadauld said. "Even though costs are obscene, the returns are obscene, too."
15) Philando Castile, Fatally Shot in His Car, Was a Magnet for Minor Traffic Stops
ST. PAUL — Turning into a parking lot without signaling. Failing to repair a broken seatbelt. Driving at night with an unlit license plate. Driving with tinted windows.
In a 13-year span, Philando Castile was pulled over by the police in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region at least 49 times, an average of about once every three months, often for minor infractions.
His mother, Valerie, who was often called on to help when her son's car was impounded, believes that the police were stopping Mr. Castile not because of his driving but because of his race. "Driving while black," she said.
But Mr. Castile did not follow his mother's advice to lodge an official complaint about biased policing, possibly because he drove for six consecutive years without a valid license, as officers would quickly discover after they pulled him over.
It was also, his mother said, not his nature to complain. "He didn't quite look at it as being profiled," she said.
Mr. Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, had regained his license and had been driving legally for three years when a Hispanic police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, pulled him over in a tiny suburb called Falcon Heights, Minn., on July 6, ostensibly for a cracked taillight. According to his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was in the passenger seat, Mr. Castile tried to tell Officer Yanez that he was carrying a gun with a legal permit. Mr. Castile was reaching for his identification when the officer shot him several times, Ms. Reynolds said.
A lawyer for Officer Yanez said that Mr. Castile had not followed his client's commands and that Officer Yanez had been reacting to Mr. Castile's gun when he fired.
The episode, to many, is a heartbreaking illustration of the disproportionate risks black motorists face with the police. In the past two years, at least two other African-Americans — in Cincinnati and in North Charleston, S.C. — were fatally shot by officers after being pulled over for minor traffic infractions. The killings have helped fuel a growing national debate over racial bias in law enforcement.
"This is years and years of racial profiling," said Rashad Turner, an organizer with the St. Paul chapter of Black Lives Matter. "Now it's come to the death of a pillar in our community, a black man who was taking care of business."
Traffic stops are how most citizens interact with law enforcement, and they tend to shape perceptions of the police. They rarely turn violent, but even peaceful encounters, like all but one of Mr. Castile's, can lead to fines, searches, arrests and days of sitting in courtrooms that disproportionately affect poorer citizens.
In the seven states that collect the most comprehensive data on traffic stops, analysts have found often-striking disparities in how African-American drivers are treated. In two of the states, Connecticut and Rhode Island, changes in traffic enforcement followed.
There has been no such change in Minnesota. A state-commissioned study in 2003 found that minority drivers were more likely than white drivers to be both stopped and searched, even though officers found contraband more often when searching white drivers.
Myron Orfield, a University of Minnesota professor who was a co-author of the study, said that the findings strongly suggested widespread racial and ethnic bias in traffic enforcement.
More recently, a study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that African-Americans and Native Americans in Minneapolis were eight times more likely than whites to be charged with a low-level infraction, such as trespassing or loitering.
Mr. Castile's encounters with law enforcement began when he was a teenager but never went beyond traffic infractions or misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession, which were dismissed. Nor was there ever any indication that he had been combative with the police. When a St. Paul officer pursuing a drug suspect stopped Mr. Castile's car in 2005, the officer wrote that he knew him and that "normally Castile is very cooperative and friendly."
In his first six years as a driver, Mr. Castile received nearly two dozen tickets, mostly for driving without insurance or with a suspended license. He managed to keep getting his license reinstated until late 2007, when it was revoked for a lack of insurance.
Maria Mitchell, an assistant public defender in the county that includes Minneapolis, said Mr. Castile was typical of low-income drivers who lose their licenses, then become overwhelmed by snowballing fines and fees. "Clients just start to feel hopeless," she said. "Kind of like when your credit gets out of control."
St. Paul has limited public transportation, activists said, and Mr. Castile's car allowed him to reach his job with the St. Paul school district, which hired him shortly after he graduated from high school. In the six years after he lost his license, Mr. Castile was pulled over another 21 times, repeatedly convicted of driving with an invalid license, fined and ordered not to drive.
Amid the string of traffic stops was one in Maplewood, another suburb of St. Paul, one afternoon in 2008. Mr. Castile had driven a friend's car, a 1997 black Mercury Marquis, to a Taco Bell for lunch. An officer pulled him over for tinted windows.
The police report gives the following account: Mr. Castile said he had a license but could not produce it or proof of insurance. He was sweating heavily, appeared "very nervous" and fumbled for his wallet. The officer spotted a small bag of marijuana in the ashtray, ordered Mr. Castile out of the car, handcuffed him, undid his belt, loosened his pants and searched inside.
The officer found only $377 in the pants pockets — which Mr. Castile said had come from cashing his paycheck. Mr. Castile was arrested and accused of possession of less than one-third of an ounce of marijuana, a charge later dismissed, and driving with a revoked license, for which he was convicted.
Mr. Castile's sister Allysza said her brother's love of wide-bodied, older-model cars, like the 1997 Oldsmobile he bought for $275 and was driving when he was shot, attracted police officers' attention.
Ms. Castile was pulled over three times when she borrowed his car, she said, because "those are mostly stereotyped as drug dealer-type cars."
"I told him several times, 'We need to go to the police station and report this, because this ain't right,'" Valerie Castile, his mother, said in an interview. "Every time you get in that car and leave out the door you come back with another ticket, or they take it from him and I have to go get it."
By mid-2013, Mr. Castile had at last set his driving affairs in order. He had passed a new driver's test. He had purchased car insurance.
That year and the next, he paid off at least $1,200 in fines, although he apparently still owed about $500. He had some extra cash because in 2014 the school district promoted him to cafeteria supervisor, a job that paid $19.31 an hour.
Mr. Castile had received only one ticket, for speeding, in nearly three years when Officer Yanez and another officer pulled him over in the early evening near the state fairgrounds in Falcon Heights, a spot where residents say traffic stops are common.
The Police Department for the neighboring town of St. Anthony, which patrols Falcon Heights and two other suburbs, had declined to participate in the state's 2003 study of racial profiling in traffic stops, even though the decision meant forgoing police cameras and other incentives, Professor Orfield said.
African-Americans make up at most 8 percent of the residents in the cities policed by the department. But they amounted to 19 percent of those who received tickets and 41 percent of those arrested there last year, statistics show.
Peter Lindstrom, the mayor of Falcon Heights, said residents were stunned and saddened that Mr. Castile had been killed in a town where the biggest controversies tended to be about issues like whether to build a sidewalk.
At a somber City Council meeting on Wednesday, resident after resident, nearly all of them white, demanded changes in policing practices. One of them, Chuck Johnson, said, "I don't want this to be done in my name in this town anymore."
16) In the Age of ISIS, Who's a Terrorist, and Who's Simply Deranged?
JULY 17, 2016
WASHINGTON — In December 2014, a middle-aged man driving a car in Dijon, France, mowed down more than a dozen pedestrians within 30 minutes, occasionally shouting Islamic slogans from his window.
The chief prosecutor in Dijon described the attacks, which left 13 injured but no one dead, as the work of a mentally unbalanced man whose motivations were vague and "hardly coherent."
A year and a half later, after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel slaughtered dozens of people when he drove a 19-ton refrigerated truck through a Bastille Day celebration on Thursday in Nice, France, the authorities did not hesitate to call it an act of Islamic terrorism. The attacker had a record of petty crime but no obvious ties to a terrorist group, yet the French prime minister swiftly said Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel was "a terrorist probably linked to radical Islam one way or another."
The age of the Islamic State, in which the tools of terrorism appear increasingly crude and haphazard, has led to a reimagining of the common notion of who is and who is not a terrorist.
Instances of wanton violence by deranged attackers — whether in Nice or in Orlando, Fla. — are swiftly judged to be the work of terrorists. These judgments occur even when there is little immediate evidence that the attackers had direct ties to terrorist groups and when they do not fit a classic definition of terrorists as those who use violence to advance a political agenda.
"A lot of this stuff is at the fringes of what we would historically think of as terrorism," said Daniel Benjamin, a former State Department coordinator for counterterrorism and a professor at Dartmouth College. But, he said, "the Islamic State and jihadism has become a kind of refuge for some unstable people who are at the end of their rope and decide they can redeem their screwed-up lives" by dying in the name of a cause.
Mr. Benjamin said this also led the news media and government officials to treat violence like the Nice attack differently from other mass attacks, like shootings at schools and churches that have been carried out by non-Muslims.
"If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism," he said.
The spectrum of terrorism is widening and now includes attacks loosely inspired by the Islamic State, those carried out by its affiliate groups and attacks directed by the group's leadership. All have drawn public condemnation and concern, but the plots organized and executed by the Islamic State usually prompt greater concern from the authorities.
On Saturday, a bulletin on the Islamic State's Amaq News Agency channel described Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel as a "soldier of the Islamic State" who answered a call to attack nations involved in the military campaign against the group. But the bulletin gave no specifics about the extent of the attacker's ties to the terrorist network.
On one hand, there is now good reason for government officials to make immediate assumptions after some mass killings that the Islamic State has played a role, however indirect. The group's ideology, spread widely through social media and slick propaganda videos, appears to have inspired a scourge of violence for more than a year: including the shooting in December in San Bernardino, Calif.; the mass killings last month at a gay nightclub in Orlando; and the deadly attack early this month at a cafe in Bangladesh. These were in addition to attacks that top Islamic State operatives apparently planned directly, like the Paris assaults in November and the Brussels bombings in March.
In September 2014, the spokesman for the Islamic State put out a call for the group's followers to attack Westerners by any means possible, and to do so without awaiting further instructions from the group's leaders.
"Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him," the spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, said during a 42-minute recorded statement.
At the same time, governments also see a benefit in linking the Islamic State to what are sometimes random and unconnected acts of violence. It is a way to project order amid chaos, and to try to assure jittery citizens that there is a strategy to end the violence. For example, in the days since the Nice attack, French officials have pledged to increase the resources that the country is devoting to the bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
"Even if Daesh doesn't do the organizing, Daesh inspires this terrorist spirit against which we are fighting," the French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said Saturday, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Similarly, American officials have cited progress in the military campaign as a measure of success in draining the Islamic State's power, resources and influence. Brett H. McGurk, President Obama's special envoy in the fight against the Islamic State, recently told Congress that the group had lost 47 percent of its territory in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria: territory used to extract oil from the ground and taxes from residents, as well as to plot attacks against the West. Top representatives of nations participating in the bombing campaign will meet this week in Washington to assess the progress in the fight.
But terrorism experts caution that because the Islamic State seems to have broad appeal to the mentally unbalanced, the displaced and others on the fringes of society, there are limits to how much any military campaign in Syria and Iraq can reduce violence carried out in other countries on the group's behalf.
William McCants, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and the author of "The ISIS Apocalypse," said there was a large cadre of "men and women who have no organizational ties to ISIS but murder in its name." These irreligious criminals and social misfits, whom he described as "ISIS-ish," are "rebels looking for a cause," he said.
During congressional testimony last week, Nicholas J. Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, gave a sober assessment of the broad campaign against the Islamic State. "It is our judgment that ISIL's ability to carry out terrorist attacks in Syria, Iraq and abroad has not to date been significantly diminished," he said.
"Either lone actors or small, insular groups continue to gravitate toward simple tactics that do not require advance skills or outside training," he said.
The murderous truck-driving rampage by Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, a Tunisian living in France, is the embodiment of this phenomenon. The authorities in France are still trying to piece together what direct ties, if any, Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel had to the Islamic State.
On Saturday, the Islamic State's Bayan radio station said Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel had used "a new tactic" to wreak havoc.
"The crusader countries know that no matter how much they enforce their security measures and procedures, it will not stop the mujahedeen from striking," the station said.
Such ominous warnings about indiscriminate violence create formidable challenges for world leaders, who must strike a balance of raising awareness about the terrorist threat without gratuitously stoking fears.
"As for how governments can calm their citizens, I'm at a loss," Mr. McCants said. "Every attack is discussed endlessly on television and social media, which heightens fear of future attacks, makes citizens scared of one another" and puts pressure on governments to look tough, he said.
And, he added, it "gives politicians a cudgel to club their governing opponents when they don't react strongly enough."
17) Anger Over Police Killings Pervades Memorials on 2nd Anniversary of Garner's Death
JULY 17, 2016
The death of Eric Garner on Staten Island two years ago inflamed a nationwide debate over the treatment of blacks at the hands of law enforcement. To the people who turned out to march and memorialize him at events around the region on Sunday, it seemed that agonizingly little had changed.
On Sunday, the anniversary of his death, friends, family and activists marched with banners and flags on Bay Street on Staten Island, where Mr. Garner had been apprehended by police officers for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, and where he was recorded gasping, "I can't breathe," before he died. It is a phrase that has been taken up to denounce the spate of deaths of black people involving police officers — two more this month in different parts of the country — in protests across the nation in the intervening years.
"Every time you turn around, somebody new is killed by police," said Marvin Flagg, 56, an uncle of Mr. Garner's. "How long must the madness continue?"
The country has continued to convulse. Five police officers were killed in an ambush in Dallas on July 7, and on Sunday morning, three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge, La., the same city where a black man, Alton B. Sterling, was killed by the police this month. (The authorities have not said whether the gunman had targeted police officers on Sunday.) And on July 6, Philando Castile, who was also black, was shot and killed by an officer in a suburb of St. Paul.
News of the shootings in Louisiana had not reached most people at a special service at Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington, N.J., on Sunday morning. Gwen Carr, Mr. Garner's mother, and over a dozen other mothers of black people killed by the police were guest speakers. Kadiatou Diallo, the mother of Amadou Diallo, who was shot by police in 1999, begged for peace but feared it was still far off. "We have not seen the changes so we don't have to lose any more children, so we don't have to lose any more police officers," she said.
The continued calls for calm and unity by President Obama and other leaders this bloodstained July did not seem to temper the anger at the police that pervaded the events on Sunday. Benjamin Lawton, a first cousin of Mr. Garner's, seemed to strike a tone of understanding toward the New York Police Department as he opened the first of two marches along Bay Street to the 120th Precinct police station. "I have no hatred for law enforcement, we need them," Mr. Lawton said, adding that members of his extended family had served in the Police Department, in the military and as corrections officers.
But an hour later, he grabbed a bullhorn and led the crowd, an ethnically diverse group that appeared to be predominantly white, in a chant of obscenities directed at the police.
As Michael Houston, a 20-year-old student, marched, he struck up a conversation with the commander of the Staten Island police, Edward Delatorre, asking what he could do to help. Mr. Delatorre suggested he join the department. Suddenly, Shannon Jones, a member of an organization called Bronxites for NYPD Accountability, interjected, screaming until Mr. Delatorre walked away. "Don't join a racist institution," Ms. Jones yelled.
"How do you expect to change it if you don't get involved?" Mr. Houston asked her. The two debated for several blocks before Ms. Jones became exasperated and moved away. "There's nothing wrong with listening," Mr. Houston called to her.
Another woman in the crowd yelled at Mr. Houston: "Let me know how that listening goes when they got their foot on the back of your neck."
The crowd barreled along Bay Street, a furious flood of waving banners, guarded on either side by the police. Mr. Houston continued on, now solemn. "The anger is so strong now," he said, "that any kind of listening is just inconceivable."
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