Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:










 SF Action to End Police Terror


Thur. July 21, 5pm
Action to End Racist Police Terror!
Gather Powell and Market St., SF

SF protest

Thousands of people across the country are showing their outrage in the streets following the brutal murder by the police of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and in opposition to the epidemic of racist police terror in the United States. ANSWER Coalition chapters have and will continue to organize, support and participate in this wave of struggle.

Every day the numbers continue to climb. As of July 17, the cops have murdered 596 people of color and poor people this year alone, disproportionately African American men and women. That's on average more than 3 people per day! This is state-sanctioned terror directed against Black, Brown and poor people and only a sustained people's movement in the streets can stop it.

As part of a national day of action initiated by the Movement for Black Lives, join us in the streets this Thursday in San Francisco to demand justice for all the victims of police brutality and end to racist police terror.

Call 415-821-6545 or visit www.ANSWERsf.org for more info.

ANSWER Coalition · United States

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The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal 

urges you to attend 

A Labor Fest event: 

The Lessons of the Preparedness Day Bombing for Today

Repression, Frame-up, Labor and Political Prisoners

July 24 (Sunday) 

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM (Free) 

ILWU Local 34 Hall - 801 2nd St. next to AT&T Ball Park

One hundred years ago, the trade unionist and labor activists Tom Mooney and Warren Billings were framed for a bombing that they did not do. After the bombing in San Francisco, unions were raided and the anti-labor business lobby went on a witch-hunt against organized labor, using this incident as a pretext. 

Labor did mobilize to free Mooney and Billings. Hundreds of mass meetings were held and protests were organized. Major unions including the Machinists' Lodge, the Iron Molders' Association and United Steelworkers chose to strike, halting a large sector of the economy to demand their freedom. Two hundred and twenty big unions outside of industrial centers also joined in Mooney's cause.

This forum will look at the use of so-called "terror" incidents to create a new anti-labor political environment. The use of "terrorism" as a political vehicle is a growing pretext for attack on our democratic and union rights.

This forum will look at some of the history of such incidents and political frame-ups of trade unionists and political activists.

It will also look at how labor has helped build a working class political movement to defend political prisoners in the US and around the world.

Speakers include: 

David Duckworth (art and cultural historian) &

Chris Kinder (Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal) 

Sponsored by KPFA WorkWeek. 

Endorsed by Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal



Chelsea Manning Support Network

Send Chelsea your messages of support

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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:


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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.

Please donate today!










Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)




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


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


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. 

New medical records documenting Mumia's deteriorated condition from February and March, will be presented June 6th. Judge Mariani has also instructed the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to provide any updates and changes in DOC hep C treatment and policies which affect the plaintiff's treatment.

Calling into Prison Radio, Mumia noted: 

"My friends, my brothers, it ain't over 'til it's over, but there is some motion. It means that we're moving closer to hopefully some real treatment not of my symptoms, but of my disease. I thank you all for being there. And freedom is a constant struggle. I love you all. From what used to be death row, this is Mumia, your brother."

Mumia remains quite ill. While stable, his curable hepatitis C is still active and progressive. The only treatment Mumia has received over the last 14 months to this day is skin ointment and photo therapy. He has not received the medically indicated treatment for hep C, the very condition that put him in the Intensive Care Unit in March 2015. 

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.

Before the court is the preliminary injunction motion, which demands immediate medical care.

The exhaustion of administrative remedy and the procedural hurdles make it extremely difficult for people in prison to actually get their grievances heard through the review process. The Prison Litigation Reform Act was passed specifically to create these very almost insurmountable barriers to access to the courts.

Please read the New Yorker article, Why it is Nearly Impossible for Prisoners to Sue Prisons.

In Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes, one very telling point was when the DOC's Director of Medical Care, Dr. Paul Noel, took the stand. He said that he had never testified before in court! He has worked for the DOC for over a decade.   

That meant that no prisoner had access to adversarial cross examination. Before Mumia's day in court in late December 2015, no prisoner ever had the opportunity to expose the PA DOC's blatant lies. Lies so bold that Dr. Noel disavowed his own signed affidavit, and in court he stated that he "did not sign it and it was false and misleading". The knowingly false and fabricated document was put in the record by Laura Neal, Senior DOC attorney.

Take Action for Mumia

Call prison officials to demand immediate treatment!

Dr. Paul Noel-Director of Medical Care, DOC
717-728-5309 x 5312

John Wetzel- Secretary of DOC
717+728-2573 x 4109

Dr. Carl Keldie-Chief Medical Officer, Correct Care Solutions
800-592-2974 x 5783

Theresa DelBalso-Superintendent, SCI Mahanoy
570-773-2158 x 8101

    Tom Wolf, PA Governor 

    Phone  717-787-2500

    Fax 717-772-8284                                             

    Email governor@pa.gov

    Sign the Petition now to demand Mumia's right to life-saving hepatitis C care.

    Help Mumia's lawyers prepare to demand access to Mumia's medical records from court!

    Thank you for keeping Mumia in your heart and mind,

    Noelle Hanrahan

    Director, Prison Radio


    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:







    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




    Major Tillery Files New Legal Appeal

    New Evidence Proves Gross Prosecutorial Misconduct—

    The Only Trial Evidence Was Lies Manufactured by the DA & Cops  

    Dismiss the Charges! Free Major Tillery Now!

    Philadelphia, June 15, 2016:  Major Tillery filed a new pro se Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA petition) in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. His newly discovered evidence is the sworn declarations of the two jailhouse informants who testified at Tillery's trial in May 1985: their testimony was lies made up by the prosecutors and police. 

    Major Tillery has always stated his innocence. He's been in prison for over 30 years, twenty of them in solitary confinement, for crimes he did not commit.

    There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded--except for these informant's false testimony. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives saying the shooters were "Dave" and "Rickie." Major Tillery was not a suspect.

    A jailhouse snitch had over thirty criminal charges pending against him when homicide detectives coerced him to provide evidence against at least five men for murders said to be related to drug dealing. In May 1980 this jailhouse informant gave a statement making Major Tillery and William Franklin the poolroom shooters. Now he admits he wasn't even at the scene of the shooting. Everything he testified to was given to him by the prosecution and the cops.

    While he was in custody the police arranged for the snitch to have sexual trysts with his girlfriends in homicide police interview rooms

    In return for his lying testimony about Major Tillery, most of the jailhouse snitch's charges were dismissed and his numerous sentences resulted in just a year and a half in jail.  

    A second false witness at Tillery's 1985 trial was another jailhouse informant who has provided a similar history of being coerced to lie against Major Tillery and given plea deals and sexual favors in return. 

    Based on these new sworn declarations, Tillery's petition states that he is factually innocent, that his case involves "gross prosecutorial misconduct violating the fundamentals of due process" and his conviction is a "fundamental miscarriage of justice that shocks the conscience". The due process violations in this case warrant not a reversal of this conviction and a new trial, but dismissal of the charges and his immediate freedom from prison.

    This case is a particularly grotesque example of the corruption and misconduct of the Philadelphia district attorney's office under Edward Rendell and carried out by Assistant DAs Barbara Christie and Roger King, and Leonard Ross. 

    Tillery's trial took place at the same time as the firebombing of the MOVE Osage Avenue commune on May 13, 1985. During the trial, the prosecution worked to demonize Tillery by repeatedly bringing into evidence that he was a high-ranking official in the Nation of Islam.

    Major Tillery is now 65 years old, and has spent over thirty years in prison for a crime he did not commit, mostly in solitary confinement in max prisons. He has liver problems, arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, a skin rash and Hepatitis C. From prison, he filed and won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens (1990)which forced the PA Department of Corrections to provide mental health and medical care and end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh.Last year stood up for Mumia Abu-Jamal and told SCI Mahanoy prison Superintendent John Kerestes that "Mumia is dying" and needed to be taken to a hospital. For this, prison officials retaliated against Tillery and he was shipped to SCI Frackville, set up for a prison violation and spent months in solitary confinement.

    Major Tillery is an innocent man. He needs your help to overturn his conviction, expose the prosecutors and police who framed him up, and win his freedom. For over thirty years in prison, Major Tillery has fought for himself and other prisoners. He is fighting now for his freedom. To do this he needs your help-- Publicity, Protest and Money!

    To get this new PCRA filed and into court has cost money. Much more is needed to complete the investigation to further expose the corruption of the prosecution and police that led to his conviction. He needs lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please help, now. 

    How you can help1) Financial support:  Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly.    he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom.

     Go to 
    JPay.com; code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    2) Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams:

        Free Major Tillery! He is an innocent man, framed by the police and prosecution.

        Call:   215-686-8711 or  Email: DA_Central@phila.gov.

    3) Write to:

        Major Tillery AM9786

        SCI Frackville

        1111 Altamont Blvd.

        Frackville, PA 17931

    4) For More Information, To Read the New Appeal, Go To: 


        Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009Kamilah29@yahoo.com

        Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com

    For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot


    Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



    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.

    In solidarity,

    James Clark
    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




      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

      Courage Campaign

      Daily Kos

      Democracy for America


      Project Springboard

      RH Reality Check


      Student Debt Crisis

      The Nation

      Working Families



      Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

      Updates from Team Lorenzo Johnson

      Dear Supporters and Friends,

      Show your support for Lorenzo by wearing one of our beautiful new campaign t-shirts! If you donate $20 (or more!) to the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson, we will send you a t-shirt, while supplies last. Make sure to note your size and shipping address in the comment section on PayPal, or to include this information with a check.

      Here is a message from Lorenzo's wife, Tazza Salvatto:

      My husband is innocent, FREE HIM NOW!

      Lorenzo Johnson is a son, husband, father and brother. His injustice has been a continued nightmare for our family. Words cant explain our constant pain, I wish it on no one. Not even the people responsible for his injustice. 

      This is about an innocent man who has spent 20 years and counting in prison. The sad thing is Lorenzo's prosecution knew he was innocent from day one. These are the same people society relies on to protect us.

      Not only have these prosecutors withheld evidence of my husbands innocence by NEVER turning over crucial evidence to his defense prior to trial. Now that Lorenzo's innocence has been revealed, the prosecution refuses to do the right thing. Instead they are "slow walking" his appeal and continuing their malicious prosecution.

      When my husband or our family speak out about his injustice, he's labeled by his prosecutor as defaming a career cop and prosecutor. If they are responsible for Lorenzo's wrongful conviction, why keep it a secret??? This type of corruption and bullying of families of innocent prisoners to remain silent will not be tolerated.

      Our family is not looking for any form of leniency. Lorenzo is innocent, we want what is owed to him. JUSTICE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FREEDOM!!! 

                                Lorenzo's wife,

                                 Tazza Salvatto

      Lorenzo is continuing to fight for his freedom with the support of his lead counsel, Michael Wiseman, The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, and the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson.

      Thank you all for reading this message and please take the time to visit our website and contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!

      Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                  DF 1036

                  SCI Mahanoy

                  301 Morea Rd.

                  Frackville, PA 17932

       Email: Through JPay using the code:

                    Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                    Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com


                    Directly on ConnectNetwork -- instructions here

      Have a wonderful day!

      - The Team to Free Lorenzo Johnson

      Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                  DF 1036

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      1)  Amid Protests Over Police Shootings of Black Men, Latinos Note a Disparity

      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."



      2)  Taser International Dominates the Police Body Camera Market

      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."



      3)  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."



      4)  Some Predict Tuition Increases Under Hillary Clinton's College Plan

      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.

      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."



      5)  Philando Castile, Fatally Shot in His Car, Was a Magnet for Minor Traffic Stops

      JULY 16, 2016




      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."



      6)  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."



      7)  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."



      8)  Board Recommends Releasing Detainee Who Wrote 'Guantánamo Diary'

      JULY 20, 2016



      WASHINGTON — A Guantánamo Bay detainee whose memoir recounting abuse by American interrogators became a best-seller last year has been recommended for transfer out of the wartime prison, the military disclosed on Wednesday.

      The detainee, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, 45, is a Mauritanian and the author of "Guantánamo Diary," which he wrote by hand at the prison in 2005.

      His lawyers fought for years with the government for permission to publish the book. It finally appeared in bookstores in January 2015 — with many redactions — sold briskly, and has since been optioned for a movie.

      Mr. Slahi appeared June 2 before a parole-board-like six-agency panel, the Periodic Review Board, that interviews prisoners and reviews their files. It decides whether they are enough of a threat to national security to continue to be detained. In a July 14 decision memo that was made public on Wednesday, the board determined that Mr. Slahi should be transferred.

      "We are thrilled that the P.R.B. has cleared our client," Nancy Hollander, one of Mr. Slahi's lawyers, said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has helped represent Mr. Slahi. "We will now work toward his quick release and return to the waiting arms of his loving family. This is long overdue."

      The board also decided to recommend transferring an Afghan, Abdul Zahir. He was long accused of working on chemical and biological weapons for Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but documents showed that intelligence officials decided in 2015 that he "was probably misidentified" and had merely been a bookkeeper and translator for Islamist militants.

      Of the 76 detainees remaining at the prison, 31 are recommended for transfer if security conditions can be met in the receiving country.

      In a short statement on its "consensus" decision, the board cited Mr. Slahi's "highly compliant behavior in detention."

      "The board also noted the detainee's candid responses to the board's questions, to include recognition of his past activities, clear indications of a change in the detainee's mind-set," it said. "Furthermore, the board considered the extensive support network available to the detainee from multiple sources, including strong family connections, and the detainee's robust and realistic plan for the future."

      A representative at Mr. Slahi's hearing said the detainee wanted to start a business and write books.

      Mr. Slahi studied electrical engineering in Germany and then joined Al Qaeda to help the Afghan anti-Communist resistance in the early 1990s, a time when Osama bin Laden's mujahedeen fighters were backed by the United States.

      He returned to Germany and later crossed paths with one of the accused plotters of the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Slahi was back in Mauritania by the time of those attacks, and he was arrested and sent to Jordan, which later transferred him to the United States.

      Mr. Slahi was taken to Guantánamo and in 2003 was subjected to a special interrogation approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Mr. Slahi wrote of extensive sleep deprivation, beatings, dousings with ice water, and of being shackled for days in a freezing cell. He denied involvement with terrorism and was never charged with a crime.

      When Mr. Slahi's memoir was published, Mark Danner wrote in The New York Times Sunday Book Review that it was "the most profound account yet written of what it is like to be" collateral damage from the American response to the 2001 attacks.



      9)  French Government Pushes Divisive Labor Law Through Parliament

      JULY 20, 2016



      PARIS — France's government pushed through Parliament a controversial overhaul of the country's labor law on Wednesday, the last step of a lengthy legislative process that has split President François Hollande's Socialist Party less than a year before presidential and legislative elections.

      The law, which eases rules for firing, hiring and setting work hours, was one of the most hotly debated and widely protested measures of Mr. Hollande's term, which began in 2012. For months, angry protesters took to the streets of Paris and other cities for occasionally violent demonstrations against the proposal.

      Recent polls show that 70 percent of the public oppose the overhaul. Proponents of the measure say it is essential to reduce the country's stubbornly high unemployment rate and to make the French economy more competitive.

      France is still reeling from the attack that killed 84 people on Bastille Day last week in Nice, and asking whether it could have been avoidedand who was to blame. The attack, the third major terrorist assault in France in 19 months, turned the nation's attention away from what has been one of the most controversial actions taken by Mr. Hollande's government.

      The government pushed the bill through the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, without a vote, because opposition from rebel Socialist lawmakers meant it did not have a clear majority. It was the third time the government has bypassed lawmakers to advance the law, by invoking a special constitutional provision.

      That provision allows lawmakers to protest by filing a no-confidence motion in the government within 24 hours. But neither the center-right Republicans, the main opposition party, nor the rebel Socialists and other leftists who opposed the bill, are expected to do so, and the measure is expected to officially pass on Thursday afternoon.

      It was not the only economic measure adopted through the constitutional provision, which is supposed to be used sparingly: Last year, it was used to adopt measures put together by the economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, that opened up certain professions to competition and allowed stores in major tourist areas to open on Sundays.

      Opponents of the labor law overhaul argue that it weakens hard-won worker protections and dispute the notion that it will help jump-start economic growth.

      Force Ouvrière, one of the main unions opposed to the changes, said in a statement after the overhaul was pushed through that the bill "was and remains sullied by its antidemocratic character" and vowed to continue fighting against it.

      Although the government watered down some of the measures — removing, for instance, a mechanism to cap payouts to dismissed workers — it never backed down to pressure from those who wanted the bill scrapped entirely.

      Prime Minister Manuel Valls, in a speech on Wednesday at the National Assembly before he invoked the constitutional provision, called the overhaul "indispensable."

      He said: "This bill is a bill of progress. This bill puts an end to rigidities in the labor market."

      Unions opposed to the overhaul took to the streets a dozen times between March and July, organizing nationwide demonstrations that sometimes turned violent and saw protesters clash with the police, with injuries on both sides.

      Last month, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that more than 1,700 people had been arrested during the protests, and more than 550 police officers and gendarmes injured.

      The unions protesting the bill, led by the hard-line General Confederation of Labor, known as the C.G.T., were particularly infuriated by a provision that allows labor agreements negotiated by individual companies — over issues such as hours worked and overtime pay — to take precedence over agreements negotiated at the occupational sector level.

      They argued that unions at the individual company level were in a weaker position to negotiate with their employers. But the government and its allies, like the more moderate French Democratic Confederation of Labor, or C.F.D.T., a union that supported the bill, said that individual companies needed to have the flexibility to adapt to an increasingly competitive global market.

      At times, protesters stopped collecting trash, went on strike at nuclear power plants and blocked gas refineries. The protests quickly became as much about the law as they were about expressing frustration and dissatisfaction with Mr. Hollande, who is expected to run for re-election next year but has struggled to make good on his promise to significantly lower unemployment.

      Lawmakers who oppose the labor law overhaul can still challenge it at France's constitutional court before the law is officially promulgated. The last union protest against the legislation was on July 5 and none are scheduled for the summer, but the C.G.T. and its allies have called for more demonstrations in the fall.

      "The anger is still there," Philippe Martinez, the head of the C.G.T., told the newspaper L'Humanité this month. "The government isn't done with the labor law."



      10)  The Loneliness of Being Black in San Francisco

      JULY 20, 2016





      SAN FRANCISCO — Gerald Harris was walking along Ocean Beach, the blustery coastline at the western edge of the city, when he passed Danny Glover, a star of Hollywood action movies and a San Francisco native. The men exchanged glances.

      "We were the only two black people in the area," Mr. Harris said.

      San Francisco was once a national beacon of African-American culture, home to a thriving jazz scene that had so many clubs it was known as the Harlem of the West. But these days, blacks say they take notice when they see another African-American in affluent and middle-class neighborhoods.

      The jazz clubs of the Fillmore neighborhood have been replaced with upscale shops. Marcus Books, a cultural anchor of the black community and one of the first bookshops in the nation to focus on African-American topics, closed in 2014. Other black landmarks that have long since disappeared are commemorated with remembrances embedded in the sidewalk like tombstones to a forgotten culture.

      The decline has been steady and noticeable. One of seven residents was black in 1970. Today, it is nearly one of 20, with most of the city's 46,000 blacks living in public housing.

      "My prediction is 10 years from now, we won't have 20,000 blacks in this city," said the Rev. Amos C. Brown, the pastor of Third Baptist Church, a historically black church founded in 1852.

      While San Francisco residents agree that the loss of black culture is palpable, there is disagreement over what to do about it. City officials say they are trying to retain the remaining black population, largely through expanding and improving public housing, and want to lure more affluent blacks to the city. They are also confronting accusations of racial profiling by the police force, which has spurred protests throughout the city.

      Yet one of the city's most prominent African-Americans, Willie Brown, a former mayor and former speaker of the California State Assembly, said he did not believe the shift could be reversed. There is no point in trying to engineer the city's ethnic population, he said.

      Continue reading the main story

      "I don't think I would put a whole lot of time and energy into doing anything," Mr. Brown said, "except making sure there's equal access and equal opportunity and equal resources."

      He called the current mix — with whites, Asians and Latinos making up the largest segments of the population — a "new reality."

      The reasons for the migration are in large measure economic: Skyrocketing real estate prices fueled by high-paying tech jobs have priced out middle-class residents of all ethnicities. But the exodus was also accelerated by a domino effect of black businesses and families moving away, many of them to Oakland and other cities along the East Bay.

      When black communities, which were splintered into three areas in San Francisco, lost their barber shops, restaurants and clubs, they lost their centers of gravity, according to Mr. Brown. Black residents moved to places where they felt more "comfortable socially," he said.

      The tech industry, the motor of San Francisco's economy in recent years, has accelerated the decline. The tech industry skews white and Asian. John William Templeton, a local historian and an advocate for greater black participation in the industry, said it was disappointing that blacks were not more involved in one of America's most successful industries.

      Around 1 percent of employees at tech companies in the Bay Area are black, down from 4 percent in 1998, according to Mr. Templeton.

      The shift was also partly encouraged by what is now recognized as an extensive and misguided city policy of eradicating what was called "urban blight." Thousands of homes in black neighborhoods were razed in the name of redevelopment from the 1950s to the 1970s. Theodore Miller, an aide to Mayor Edwin M. Lee, called it a "terrible undertaking that had catastrophic consequences."

      The final draft of a city-commissioned report, published in January, said redevelopment benefited prominent members of the business community whose "real motivation was the replacement of low-value 'slums' with high-value commercial and residential development."

      The city is by no means empty of African-Americans, especially in the business district; many blacks commute to work from other cities in the Bay Area.

      Still, Mr. Harris said he often found that he was the only African-American in restaurants or at the Commonwealth Club, where he helps organize seminars on science and technology.

      Frederick E. Jordan, a business leader who talks about the need for a "Marshall Plan" to woo more blacks to the city, says "there are no jobs and no contracts" for blacks.

      "Our backs are against the sea; we're almost out," said Mr. Jordan, who owns an engineering firm and is the chairman of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce.

      "We have to rebuild our African-American middle class," said Mr. Miller, the mayor's aide. The majority of blacks who remain are disproportionally poor, with median incomes for blacks at $27,000 compared with $89,000 for whites, a disparity twice as large as the national average.

      Blacks who remain have been subject to racial profiling by the police, according to the public defender's office, and a recent reportcommissioned by the city cited a host of actions by the police against blacks that appear to be discriminatory.

      The report found that while African-Americans make up about 6 percent of the city's residents, they constituted about 40 percent, 20 of 51, of the victims of officer-involved shootings from January 2010 through July 2015. In addition, the study found evidence of racial disparities in the rate of police stops and searches of African-Americans.

      Those racially charged shootings, including of a black man and woman, forced the police chief, Gregory P. Suhr, to resign in May.

      From the days of the gold rush, San Francisco was a place of opportunity for pioneering blacks, as it was for Jews, Italians, Irish and other ethnic groups. The city's black population was small until around World War II, when tens of thousands of blacks migrated from the South to work in shipyards and other wartime jobs. The African-American population increased by nearly 800 percent in the 1940s and reached its peak around 1970, when 13 percent of the city was black.

      San Francisco also played a role in the civil rights movement. In 1968, black students at what was then San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University) held a prolonged strike that led to the creation of the nation's first black studies program, a campaign chronicled in the recent documentary "Agents of Change."

      Mr. Glover, who took part in the protests as a student, said the black exodus from the city made him "sad and angry."

      The larger question, he said, is whether San Francisco is becoming an enclave for the rich.

      "It's a question about who we are and our responsibility to build our communities," he said, "and not just based upon who has the ability to pay."

      The frustration is keenly felt among those whose neighborhoods have lost their core. Many say they feel like strangers in their own city.

      "You get the feeling that people are thinking, 'You're still here?'" said Barbara Gainer, a probation officer and a jazz singer. She lives in the western reaches of the city, a neighborhood that was once predominantly black but now is mostly Asian-American, a segment that now makes up 34 percent of the city's population, up from 13 percent in 1970.

      Ms. Gainer says she is regularly asked if she wants to sell her house; her mailbox fills up with solicitations. The inquiries were flattering at first because they reminded her of the value of her property, but now she feels singled out. She remembers one couple in particular who approached her four or five times about selling. She tried to dissuade them.

      "I said: 'Even if I sold you my house and you gave me this big price, why would I do that? Where would I live?'"

      The reply stunned her: "You should go to Antioch. That's where your people go."

      Antioch, a city about 50 miles northeast, has a sizable African-American population.

      At Mr. Brown's Third Baptist Church, attendance has been steadily declining; on a recent Sunday, around 150 parishioners worshiped in a sanctuary that seats 1,100. "We pray that we would never be cut flowers, that we would always have roots," Mr. Brown told the congregation.

      Mr. Brown then told the story of hearing a radio program lamenting the looming extinction of a type of butterfly.

      "And yet," he said, "we don't have the basic compassion and common sense to realize that blacks are an endangered species in the city of San Francisco."



      11)  Groups Unite Across America to Protest Police Shootings

      JULY 21, 2016





      Washington, D.C. — A coalition of black racial-justice organizations started a series of coordinated demonstrations in more than a dozen cities across the United States on Thursday to protest police shootings.

      One of the earliest to kickoff the Movement for Black Livesdemonstrations was in Washington, D.C. where a small, mostly white, crowd stood near the entrance of the Office of Police Complaints holding signs printed with "Black Lives Matter" and "Stop Killing Black People."

      Most came to the protest with Showing Up for Racial Justice, an organization that encourages white people to rally around social justice causes, especially those related to race in America. The white protesters would not speak on the record, saying they did not want white voices to drown out the concerns of the black activists they aimed to support.

      One organizer from another group, the Stop Police Terror Project, thanked the crowd for coming out.

      "We have to move beyond being allies to being comrades in this struggle," Sean Blackmon said into a megaphone aimed at the crowd of protesters. "The police are an institution that investigates itself and finds itself not guilty as a matter of habit."

      Mr. Blackmon said he was happy to see white residents among the protesters. "Black people don't have a monopoly on suffering," he said. "Black people don't have a monopoly on being killed by police."

      The protests, called Freedom Now, were organized before the most recent shooting, when an officer in North Miami, Fla., on Wednesday wounded a black therapist who had been trying to help an autistic patient on a street, and who was on the ground with his hands up. The protests also come in the wake of other shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota that have stoked racial tensions in the United States, and ambushes of police officers in Louisiana and Texas.

      Demonstrations kicked off early in other cities, unifying the message online with #BlackLivesMatter and #FreedomNow, the name given to the collective call to action.

      In New York, Showing Up for Racial Justice posted a series of photographs of their followers at police precincts and of a Black Lives Matter banner unfurled at the entrance of a tunnel.

      In Austin, a group held a sit-in outside of the police department.

      Other cities including St. Louis, Chicago, Chattanooga, Tenn., Oakland, Calif., and Detroit are planning lunches, meetings, marches and demonstrations during the day.

      The message has also attracted support in other countries: Protests have been announced in Malmo, Sweden.

      The actions in Washington, D.C. included signs and fliers that urged passers-by to call the Office of Police Complaints and demand more transparency in the investigation of the fatal officer-involved shooting in June of Sherman Evans, a 63-year-old man who pointed a pellet gun at officers and refused to drop what the police said looked like a real firearm.

      Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington decided to release body camera footage of the shooting this month although the internal investigation was still in its earliest stages.

      A small group of the protesters entered the police complaints office when it opened around 8:30 a.m. to file a formal complaint demanding that the office make the Sherman killing a priority and provide updates.

      By 9 a.m., nearly all the demonstrators had left, leaving the street corner quiet and passable for people walking by on their way to work.













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