Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:










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!

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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

                  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













      1)  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.



      2)  In Africa, Birds and Humans Form a Unique Honey Hunting Party

      Their word is their bond, and they do what they say — even if the "word" on one side is a loud trill and grunt, and, on the other, the excited twitterings of a bird.

      Researchers have long known that among certain traditional cultures of Africa, people forage for wild honey with the help of honeyguides — woodpecker-like birds that show tribesmen where the best beehives are hidden, high up in trees. In return for revealing the location of natural honey pots, the birds are rewarded with the leftover beeswax, which they eagerly devour.

      Now scientists have determined that humans and their honeyguides communicate with each other through an extraordinary exchange of sounds and gestures, which are used only for honey hunting and serve to convey enthusiasm, trustworthiness and a commitment to the dangerous business of separating bees from their hives.

      The findings cast fresh light on one of only a few known examples of cooperation between humans and free-living wild animals, a partnership that may well predate the love affair between people and their domesticated dogs by hundreds of thousands of years.

      Claire N. Spottiswoode, a behavioral ecologist at Cambridge University, and her colleagues reported in the journal Science that honeyguides advertise their scout readiness to the Yao people of northern Mozambique by flying up close while emitting a loud chattering cry.

      For their part, the Yao seek to recruit and retain honeyguides with a distinctive vocalization, a firmly trilled "brrr" followed by a grunted "hmm." In a series of careful experiments, the researchers then showed that honeyguides take the meaning of the familiar ahoy seriously.

      The birds were twice as likely to offer sustained help to Yao foragers who walked along while playing recordings of the proper brrr-hmm signal than they were to participants with recordings of normal Yao words or the sounds of other animals.

      "The fact that the honeyguides were responding more to the specialized sound implies they recognize the specific information content in the signal," Dr. Spottiswoode said. "It's not simply a cue to human presence. It's a signal that the person will be a good collaborator."

      John N. Thompson, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said: "I think it's an absolutely terrific paper. This is one of those 'just-so' natural history stories we've known for years, and now we've got some hard-won data to show it really is so."

      The report describes in detail the trans-species collusion to enjoy the fruits of bee labor. Bees transform gathered nectar and pollen into honey for food and wax for honeycomb housing. As honey is among the most energy-rich foods in nature, it is not surprising that bees guard it with their lives.

      African bees are particularly aggressive and will swarm any intruder that so much as jiggles an adjoining branch. Even our closest relatives are loath to disturb a beehive.

      "Chimpanzees want to eat honey at least as much as humans do," Brian M. Wood, a biological anthropologist at Yale University, said. "But they don't possess the technologies that have allowed us to tap into that resource."

      The Yao know what to do to subdue bee defenses. They wedge a bundle of dry wood wrapped in palm fronds onto a long pole, set the bundle on fire, hoist it up and rest it against a beehive in a tree. When most of the bees have been smoked out, the Yao chop down the tree, tolerate the stings of any bees that remain and scoop out the liquid gold within.

      Much harder for the Yao is finding the hives. That's where the honeyguides come in. Not only can they easily flit from tree to towering tree; they have unusually large olfactory bulbs, and they are good at smelling wax, which makes up a good part of their diet.

      "It's decidedly odd to eat wax, but if you've got the metabolism to break it down, it's a good source of calories," Dr. Spottiswoode said.

      The birds can nibble on waxy plants, waxy insects, the waxy detritus in an abandoned bee nest. Or they can summon human honey hunters to crack open a felled and toasted hive, remove the honey and leave the fresh waxy infrastructure to them.

      The birds can recruit helpers with a chatter, or be recruited with a trill-grunt. They can show their human companions the right trees with more chatters or a flick of their white-tipped tails. When assisted by honeyguides, Yao hunters found beehives 54 percent of the time, compared with just 17 percent when unaided.

      Researchers have identified a couple of other examples of human-wild animal cooperation: fishermen in Brazil who work with bottlenose dolphins to maximize the number of mullets swept into nets or snatched up by dolphin mouths, and orcas that helped whalers finish off harpooned baleen giants by pulling down the cables and drowning the whales, all for the reward from the humans of a massive whale tongue.

      But for the clarity of reciprocity, nothing can match the relationship between honeyguide and honey hunter. "Honeyguides provide the information and get the wax," Dr. Spottiswoode said. "Humans provide the skills and get the honey."

      How the alliance began remains mysterious, but it is thought to be quite ancient.

      "It appears to depend on humans using fire and hand-axes," Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropologist at Harvard University, said. Those talents date back to the lower Paleolithic, "so the relationship could be more than a million years old."

      The bird might even have played a role in the emergence of fully modern humans and their energetically demanding brains. Honey is a vital resource for many subsistence cultures, Dr. Wrangham said, "sometimes supplying 80 percent of calories in a month."

      It is beloved by all who depend on it. Among the Hadza of Tanzania, Dr. Wood said, "it's the top choice of what people claim they would like to eat — the sweet, delicious meal they'll go for when given the chance."



      3)  Lawsuit Forces Texas to Make It Easier for Immigrants to Get Birth Certificates for Children

      JULY 24, 2016


      After Nancy Hernandez gave birth to a baby girl in a hospital in Texas in 2013, she went to a county office to get a birth certificate, just as she had after her first two children were born in the state.

      But officials told Ms. Hernandez, a Mexican immigrant living in the United States illegally, that the rules had changed. Without valid documents, she would not be able to get a birth certificate to show that her daughter was an American-born citizen.

      Last year, Ms. Hernandez and about two dozen other immigrants sued, saying they could not obtain the documents Texas officials were demanding to prove their identities. On Friday, Texas agreed to a settlement that will expand the types of documents parents can present, allowing those without legal immigration status to obtain certificates for their children again.

      The babies whose parents brought the federal suit were born in Texas medical facilities, so it was not in doubt that they were citizens. Lawyers for the parents said the settlement would be "life-changing" for them.

      "The bottom line is, there was a category of people who were being locked out of obtaining a birth certificate to which they are entitled constitutionally as citizens born in the United States just because of the immigration status of the parents," said Efrén Olivares, the legal director of the Texas Civil Rights Project's South Texas office and a lead lawyer in the lawsuit.

      In the settlement, Texas made no changes to the basic rules for birth certificates, which it argued were designed to ensure that the essential documents were correctly issued. But the state agreed to accept several documents from parents that it had started to reject.

      The change in practice by Texas registrars dated to 2013, when state leaders were taking steps to stem a surge in illegal border crossings by families from Central America. The next year, Texas sent National Guard troops to the border. Texas led 26 states in a federal lawsuit in 2014 to halt President Obama's immigration programs to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation, which state officials said encouraged more illegal crossings. A tie decision by the Supreme Courtin June effectively ended those programs.

      The Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, added new fuel to the debate about the children of undocumented immigrants, saying he would cancel their right to citizenship if he became president.

      Texas county offices began to require that foreign passports presented by parents include a valid United States visa. Officials also stopped accepting photo identity cards, known as matrículas, that Mexicans obtain from their consulates in the United States. In 2013, the lawsuit said, Texas stepped up enforcement of the new rules.

      Parents said they could not obtain the required documents. They had not been able to baptize their children, enroll them in school or sign them up for public health programs so they could be vaccinated. With no legal document proving the babies were their children, parents feared that if they were deported, their families might be separated or that the children might not able to return to the only country where they were citizens.

      In court, Texas did not deny its policy, but said that the immigrant families did not need birth certificates to gain access to state programs. But the judge hearing the case, Robert L. Pitman of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, had signaled he was skeptical of that argument.

      In a ruling in October, Judge Pitman said Texas' claim that a birth certificate was not a vital document "simply begs credulity."

      Under the settlement, Texas confirmed that Mexican immigrants will be able to present a Mexican voter identification card. Under a recent change by Mexico, its citizens can now obtain those cards from consulates in the United States.

      Parents from three Central American countries — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — will be able to present documents certified by their consulates. Texas has also set up a review process for parents whose applications were rejected, as well as training for more than 450 county officials who issue birth certificates.

      The judge agreed to a monitoring period of nine months to make sure Texas was complying.

      Juana Gomez, 34, a Mexican immigrant without legal status, said she was relieved that her two daughters, born in South Texas hospitals, would get their certificates. Ms. Gomez, who has been living in this country for 20 years, said she had to delay their baptisms, and Border Patrol agents had demanded to see their birth certificates at checkpoints well inside the United States.

      But Ms. Gomez said she decided to join the lawsuit and risk exposure as an undocumented immigrant because she was concerned that her daughters would grow up without being able to vote.

      "It's just about respecting what is in the Constitution," Ms. Gomez said of the settlement. "I don't think of it as just good for me. A lot of mothers are happy and satisfied."



      4)  A Fish Outlived the Dinosaurs. Can It Outlast a Dam?

      What has no teeth, no rib cage, is covered in bony scales and managed to outlive the dinosaurs? The answer is the pallid sturgeon. But after millions of years of survival, only about 125 of these wild "dinosaur fish" remain. And if something isn't done to save this endangered species, it could vanish forever — all because of what's going on at a single dam in Montana.

      Pallid sturgeon were once abundant along the Missouri River, which flows east from Montana and south until it empties into the Mississippi River in Missouri. They swam up it to spawn, and their fertilized eggs developed as they drifted down the river and through its tributaries. The larvae turned into fish that could grow up to six feet long, weigh up to 90 pounds and live about as long as the average human.

      "Glaciers have come and gone. The dinosaurs have come and gone" said Steve Forrest, a representative for Defenders of Wildlife, "and throughout all of that, they have persisted."

      That was life for the pallid sturgeon and its ancestors for millions of years, but then we built dams.

      The Intake Diversion Dam in Montana along the Yellowstone River, a tributary of the Missouri, provides water to around 55,000 acres of farmland. But dams like this make it hard for the pallid sturgeon. And this is the last stronghold of sturgeon that have not interbred with another species of the fish. Stuck between this dam and the Fort Peck Dam to the northwest, the pallid sturgeon can no longer travel far enough up the fragmented rivers to ensure their eggs will make it to a healthy place to develop.

      Normally, the fertilized eggs drop to the bottom of the river and are at the current's mercy until they develop tiny tails, kind of like tadpoles, to propel them around. But the dinosaur fish usually can't get past dams. So the eggs end up trapped in reservoirs like Lake Sakakawea, with a lot of sediment, a lot of bacteria and very little oxygen. There they suffocate and die.

      "The headwaters of Lake Sakakawea is a dead zone," said Christopher Guy, a biologist at Montana Cooperative Fishery Unit, who published a paper about the same thing happening around Fort Peck Dam last year.

      The fate of these ancient fish rests in restoring their ability to swim freely on a long river. But how to make this happen is caught up in a legal dispute between government agencies, who want to build a passageway, and wildlife protection groups, who want to get rid of the Intake Diversion Dam altogether. Last year, biologists and conservationists got a judge to temporarily block dam construction while the agencies conducted a more thorough study of the options and their possible effects on the pallid sturgeon. Based on this assessment, federal agencies have put out a draft proposal that is open for public comment until July 28.

      The Bureau of Reclamation, part of the Department of Interior, has joined with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers in wanting to replace the Intake Diversion Dam with a new one. It would have a bypass channel intended to allow the fish to get past the dam. This proposal costs around $60 million and would mean less upkeep for the farmers using the water to irrigate their crops.

      "This project is about balancing the needs of the endangered wild pallid sturgeon and the needs of the local agricultural industry," Tyler Johnson, a public-affairs officer for the Bureau of Reclamation, wrote in an email. "These are difficult decisions."

      But the environmental groups are critical of the proposal.

      "It's a wasteful expenditure of money because it's very likely not to work," Dr. Forrest said. Passages have worked for some fish, but have never worked for the sturgeon. As old fish grow older and new fish learn to navigate the water, "time is not on our side," he said.

      Defenders of Wildlife say the only sure way to let the fish through is to get rid of the dam and replace the irrigation system with pumps. This has been successfully done in California, where the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, on the Sacramento River, was removed to allow passage for salmon. But making the switch would not be cheap. It could cost around $80 million to $138 million, depending on who you ask, and the farmers who use the water aren't keen on changing a system they've used for more than a century.

      With the future of their long river being held up in court, the fish, and their future, await our decision.



      5)  Keep Your Mouth Closed: Aquatic Olympians Face a Toxic Stew in Rio

      JULY 26, 2016


      RIO DE JANEIRO — Health experts in Brazil have a word of advice for the Olympic marathon swimmers, sailors and windsurfers competing in Rio de Janeiro's picture-postcard waters next month: Keep your mouth closed.

      Despite the government's promises seven years ago to stem the waste that fouls Rio's expansive Guanabara Bay and the city's fabled ocean beaches, officials acknowledge that their efforts to treat raw sewage and scoop up household garbage have fallen far short.

      In fact, environmentalists and scientists say Rio's waters are much more contaminated than previously thought.

      Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city's waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant "super bacteria" that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.

      Researchers at the Federal University of Rio also found serious contamination at the upscale beaches of Ipanema and Leblon, where many of the half-million Olympic spectators are expected to frolic between sporting events.

      "Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms," said Dr. Daniel Becker, a local pediatrician who works in poor neighborhoods. "It's sad, but also worrisome."

      Government officials and the International Olympic Committee acknowledge that, in many places, the city's waters are filthy. But they say the areas where athletes will compete — like the waters off Copacabana Beach, where swimmers will race — meet World Health Organization safety standards.

      Even some venues with higher levels of human waste, like Guanabara Bay, present only minimal risk because athletes sailing or windsurfing in them will have limited contact with potential contamination, they add.

      Still, Olympic officials concede that their efforts have not addressed a fundamental problem: Much of the sewage and trash produced by the region's 12 million inhabitants continues to flow untreated into Rio's waters.

      "Our biggest plague, our biggest environmental problem, is basic sanitation," said Andrea Correa, the top environmental official in the state of Rio de Janeiro. "The Olympics has woken people up to the problem."

      Foreign athletes preparing for the Games have long expressed concern that waterborne illnesses could thwart their Olympic dreams. An investigation by The Associated Press last year recorded disease-causing viruses in some tests that were 1.7 million times the level of what would be considered hazardous on a Southern California beach.

      "We just have to keep our mouths closed when the water sprays up," said Afrodite Zegers, 24, a member of the Dutch sailing team, which has been practicing in Guanabara Bay.

      Some athletes here for the Games and other competitions have been felled by gastrointestinal illness, including members of the Spanish and Austrian sailing teams. During a surfing competition here last year, about a quarter of the participants were sidelined by nausea and diarrhea, organizers said.

      Officials have been grappling with a welter of challenges as they scramble for the opening ceremony on Aug. 5. The Zika virus epidemic has dampened foreign ticket sales, crime is soaring, and the federal government has been paralyzed by the impeachment proceedings against Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff.

      Last month, the acting governor of Rio de Janeiro, Francisco Dornelles, declared a state of emergency, claiming that a lack of money threatened "a total collapse in public security, health, education, transport and environmental management."

      Still, Olympic organizers say the sports venues are nearly complete, and the federal government has provided emergency funds to the state. Many athletes expect the Games will proceed without serious complications.

      The city's contaminated waterways, however, are another matter.

      "It's disgusting," said Nigel Cochrane, a coach for the Spanish women's sailing team. "We're very concerned."

      For many, the sewage crisis is emblematic of the corruption and mismanagement that have long hobbled Latin America's largest country.

      Since the 1990s, Rio officials claim to have spent billions of dollars on sewage treatment systems, but few are functioning.

      In its 2009 bid for the Games, Brazil pledged to spend $4 billion to clean up 80 percent of the sewage that flows untreated into the bay. In the end, the state government spent just $170 million, citing a budget crisis, officials said.

      Most of the money in the state's sanitation budget has been spent on trash-collecting boats and portable berms to stop the sludge and debris that flow into the bay.

      Critics say they are cosmetic measures.

      "They can try to block big items like sofas and dead bodies, but these rivers are pure sludge, so the bacteria and viruses are going to just pass through," said Stelberto Soares, a municipal engineer who has spent three decades addressing the city's sanitation crisis.

      Mr. Soares said he laughed when he heard officials promise to tackle the sewage problem before the Games.

      An earlier, multibillion-dollar effort financed by international donors yielded a network of 35 sewage treatment facilities, 500 miles of conduits and 85 pumps, he said. When he last checked, only three of the pumps and two of those treatment plants were still working; the rest had been abandoned and mostly vandalized, he said.

      Asked what had happened, he threw up his hands. "In Brazil, they say sanitation doesn't get votes."

      Romario Monteiro, 45, a second-generation fisherman who has spent a lifetime plying Guanabara Bay, recalls when the waters were crystalline and the fish were plentiful.

      Now his net often yields more trash than fish, including television sets, dead dogs and the occasional dolphin killed by ingesting plastic bags.

      "It's disgusting," Mr. Monteiro said.

      He has sailed past more than a few dead bodies, including the corpse of a man — his legs bound in rope — bobbing in the water last month.

      But Mr. Monteiro is most concerned with the shoreline factories that discharge chemical waste and the oil tankers that flush out their holds, giving the water's surface a multicolored sheen.

      As he pulled out from the harbor near his home on Governador Island, he pointed to a half-dozen pipes, exposed at low tide, belching out human waste from the island's 300,000 residents.

      "When you open up the fish, their innards are black with oil and muck," he said. "But we clean them with soap and eat them anyway."

      For many residents, especially those who live in the slums, or favelas, the lack of sanitation causes misery. Hepatitis A is endemic among favela residents, health experts say, and children are frequently sickened by the pathogens that seep from sewage-laden culverts into jury-rigged drinking water pipes.

      Irenaldo Honorio da Silva, 47, who heads the residents committee in Pica-Pau, a favela with 7,000 residents, said local officials had been promising to address the sanitation crisis for decades.

      "They come, and then they go," he said.

      Heavy rains turn Pica-Pau's streets into a putrid stew. One edge of the community is bounded by a fetid canal, its banks lined with homes, abandoned cars and food vendors.

      The odor is overwhelming.

      "This is nothing," Mr. da Silva said. "In summer, it's unbearable."

      Every few days, the State Environmental Institute tests bacteria levels in the city's waters and posts them in a color-coded graph online. Many showcase beaches are consistently rated "unsuitable" for human activity.

      That includes Flamengo, the bayside cove where the Olympic boating competitions will take place, and the iconic beaches that front some of Rio's wealthiest neighborhoods.

      Residents still throng the beaches on the weekend, but Renata Picão, a microbiologist at the Federal University of Rio, has refused to step foot in the water since she began sampling it three years ago.

      Ms. Picão documents high levels of drug-resistant microbes at five of the city's best-known beaches. The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a government-run lab, found super bacteria in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, a body of water ringed by high-priced condominiums.

      She said the pathogens, potentially fatal to those with compromised immunities, probably come from local hospitals that discharge untreated waste. Although super bacteria might not pose a threat to healthy people, the organisms can remain in the body for years, and wreak havoc if a person becomes sick with other ailments.

      Ms. Picão and other health experts say that unlike residents, who have been repeatedly exposed to sewage-borne pathogens, foreign visitors are more likely to fall ill after contact with contaminated waters.

      And she is not optimistic about future cleanup efforts.

      "If they couldn't clean things up for the Olympics, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I'm afraid it might never happen," she said.



      6)  Australia Promises Inquiry After Video Shows Abuse in Juvenile Detention

      JULY 26, 2016


      SYDNEY, Australia — Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced an investigation on Tuesday into the treatment of juvenile detainees in Australia's far north, saying he was "shocked and appalled" by a news report that showed boys being stripped, sprayed with tear gas at close range and, in one case, shackled to a chair while forced to wear a hood.

      The report, broadcast on Monday night on "Four Corners," a news program of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, documented abuses at a number of facilities in the Northern Territory, including the Don Dale children's prison in the town of Berrimah, near the city of Darwin. That prison was closed in 2014, but previous inquiries into allegations of abuse there had not uncovered some of the details shown in the report, and some of the new video contradicted official accounts of past episodes.

      "This is a shocking state of affairs," Mr. Turnbull said in an interview on ABC radio on Tuesday morning. "Like all Australians, I've been deeply shocked, shocked and appalled by the images of mistreatment of children at the Don Dale center. We will be establishing a Royal Commission into these events." A Royal Commission has the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.

      The minister responsible for the Northern Territory's juvenile justice system, John Elferink, was dismissed from that job on Tuesday morning, though he continues to hold other government posts. The territory's chief minister, Adam Giles, said at a news conference that "anybody who saw that footage on television last night on 'Four Corners' would undoubtedly describe it as horrific footage."

      According to the report, children as young as 10 were jailed at the Don Dale prison, and some as young as 13 were held for long periods in solitary confinement. Children were locked in small, high-security cells that had no running water and no natural light, the report said. Young boys were subjected to brutal and degrading treatment, including one who was stripped and another who was hurled across his cell by a prison guard.

      The report included closed circuit television footage of two teenage boys scrambling and cowering under bedsheets and a mattress as tear gas is sprayed into an anteroom adjoining their cells. The boys, and four others, also tear-gassed, are shackled and dragged outdoors, crying and gagging, where they are sprayed with a fire hose.

      That episode occurred in August 2014. Mr. Elferink had said at the time that the boys were trying to escape from the center and had armed themselves with metal bars and glass from broken windows. But the video shows some of them playing cards when the tear-gassing begins, and the entire episode appears to have taken place within a secure area.

      Jared Sharp, a lawyer with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, said there had been "a deliberate effort to mislead the public about what had occurred."

      Elaine Pearson, director of Human Rights Watch Australia, said that an independent Northern Territory agency responsible for protecting children had exposed abuses in the juvenile detention system last year but that no action had been taken. "Excessive force is an abuse, and the perpetrators of such abuses should be held to account," Ms. Pearson said.

      Later Tuesday, eight inmates at a Northern Territory correctional facility, the Alice Springs Adult Prison, climbed onto the prison's roof to protest the treatment of juvenile detainees, according to a spokesman for the police in Alice Springs, which is about 930 miles south of Darwin by road. A police negotiator had been called to speak with the prisoners, a spokesman for the Northern Territory Correctional Services Department said. He said that the inmates were unarmed and that no one had been injured.

      Ninety-eight percent of juvenile detainees in the Northern Territory are Aboriginal, according to the Law Council of Australia. John B. Lawrence, a lawyer who has written reports on juvenile detention in the territory, said that Aboriginals were imprisoned there at a much higher rate than the general population and that the imprisonment of juveniles, often for petty offenses, had "gone through the roof."

      "It is a bad situation, and it is getting worse," Mr. Lawrence said.

      Mr. Lawrence said images in the "Four Corners" report of a 17-year-old boy shackled to a chair and forced to wear a hood were particularly disturbing. "You are looking at a child," Mr. Lawrence said by telephone from Darwin. "He has been set upon by a number of fully grown, large guards, and strapped in this chair. He's tied up, manacled and left there for hours. It takes you to a whole other dystopia."

      Mr. Turnbull said that the public inquiry, which is likely to be led by a former judge, would be held in conjunction with the Northern Territory government. "We want to know why there were inquiries into this center which did not turn up the evidence and the information we saw on 'Four Corners,' " Mr. Turnbull said.

      But Mr. Lawrence said that it was important that the Royal Commission be fiercely independent. "The only involvement the Northern Territory government should have is as witnesses," he said.



      7)  Nine-Year-Old Child Worker Dies in Bangladeshi Textile Mill

      JULY 25, 2016


      DHAKA, Bangladesh — A supervisor at a textile mill was arrested after a 9-year-old worker died over the weekend, and the boy's father accused the supervisor and others of killing him because he had protested against abuse.

      Ismail Hossain, the officer in charge of the Rupganj police station in Narayanganj District in central Bangladesh, said that Nazmul Huda, an assistant administrative officer at the Zobeda Textile Mill, had been taken into custody for questioning, and that others would also be detained as the inquiry continued.

      The father of the boy, Ratan Barman, 70, filed a complaint on Sunday with the Rupganj police, accusing supervisors at the mill of killing his son by pumping air from a compressor machine into his rectum.

      The boy, Sagar Barman, had been working at the mill for seven months, along with his parents, his father said in a telephone interview on Monday.

      "I thought, as we are poor, it will be helpful to run our family if my son Sagar can do some work in this factory," Mr. Barman said. "I used to gather empty bobbins," putting them into a trolley, he added. "My son also used to do the same work."

      Last year, a 12-year-old boy died in a similar manner at the motorcycle repair shop where he had worked. Though the official minimum working age is 14, child labor has long been widespread in Bangladesh, and the government does not keep records of workplace deaths or injuries involving children. But cases like Sagar's capture the public's attention.

      Mr. Barman, in his police complaint, said he and his son had arrived at work at 6 a.m. on Sunday, as usual. Around noon, Sagar went to the compressor to clean dust from his body. Soon after, a female worker told Mr. Barman that Sagar was lying on the floor.

      The father said he had rushed over and found his son unable to speak. The boy's abdomen was swollen. Sagar was taken to a nearby hospital, then to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

      In the complaint, the father accused four identified and four other unknown people at the mill of being involved in the boy's death, including Mr. Huda.

      According to the police complaint, Mr. Barman said those men and several other linemen and supervisors used to speak abusively to him and his son, and beat them when there were small mistakes in their work. He said that his son was killed because he had protested about the abuse.

      The complaint accused the factory's owners, Mozammel Haque Bhuiyan, Mazharul Islam Bhuiyan, Azharul Haque Bhuiyan and Zafar Hossain Bhuiyan, of using child laborers in their factory.

      The factory owners and supervisors could not be reached for comment on Monday night.

      Mr. Hossain said the police were still investigating how the air got into the boy's body, and whether "air was pumped by someone else into his body through the rectum or air went into his body through his mouth when he was cleaning his body."

      He said the mill was established in 1985 and produced yarn from cotton, which was sold at local markets to make fabric.

      About 3,000 workers are employed at the mill, an estimated 10 percent of them children. They were not recruited but were employed at the request of the adult employees who wanted "some light work" for their children to perform so that "they can earn some money for their family," Mr. Hossain said.

      The management hired the children as a "humanitarian" gesture, according to Mr. Hossain.

      Sagar had earned 3,100 taka, or about $40 a month.

      The air compressors were mostly used to clean dust from machines and accessories in the factory, Mr. Hossain said. But he said the boy and some other workers also used the compressors to clean themselves of factory dust.



      8)  Charges Dropped in Freddie Gray Case Against 3 Last Baltimore Officers

      JULY 27, 2016




      Prosecutors in Baltimore on Wednesday dropped all remaining charges against three city police officers awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray, ending one of the most closely watched — and unsuccessful — police prosecutions in the nation.

      The decision brought a stunning end to a sweeping prosecution that began with criminal charges against six police officers last May, announced with the city still in the grips of violent protest after the death of Mr. Gray, who was found unresponsive and not breathing after he rode unsecured in a police transport wagon after his arrest on a bright morning in April 2015. Mr. Gray later died of a spinal cord injury.

      But prosecutors were unable to secure a single conviction during the first four trials, the first of which, for Officer William G. Porter, began in December and ended in a mistrial that led to months of delays. Officer Edward M. Nero, who participated in the initial arrest, was acquitted in May; Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the vehicle in which Mr. Gray was transported, was acquitted in June; and another officer present for the initial arrest, Lt. Brian Rice, was acquitted earlier this month.

      Mr. Gray's death, and the protests that followed, catapulted Baltimore to the center of a national reckoning over race and policing. The state's attorney, Marilyn J. Mosby, helped quell the unrest by announcing the prosecutions and telling protesters that she had heard their calls for "no justice, no peace."

      The prosecutors' decision to drop the remaining charges on Wednesday was disclosed during a pretrial motion for Officer Garrett Miller, whose trial was scheduled to begin this week. Lawyers from Ms. Mosby's office announced that the state would not prosecute that case or the two remaining ones — against Sgt. Alicia D. White and against Officer Porter, the first officer to be tried.

      There had been little public hint of the decision; Judge Barry Williams of the Baltimore City Circuit Court had imposed a strict gag order on all the lawyers, defendants and witnesses, seeking to tamp down publicity surrounding a death that had sparked violent protests and riots last spring. A court spokeswoman said Wednesday that the gag order has now been lifted.

      "I think this was bowing to the inevitable," said David Jaros, a law professor at the University of Baltimore who was in the courtroom Wednesday. "Ultimately, a prosecutor under the rules of ethics has to believe that they have sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Given what they had, given what was insufficient in the prior cases, I think it became clear after the last verdict that there wasn't an avenue forward that would result in a conviction."

      Ms. Mosby appeared in court for pretrial motions Wednesday, the first indication that something unusual was about to happen, Mr. Jaros said. Ms. Mosby has not argued the cases herself. The table was cleared of papers and briefs. "They didn't look like attorneys about to start a case," Mr. Jaros said.

      Whether Ms. Mosby or any other lawyers or defendants will speak out was unclear; Mr. Jaros said they left the courtroom quickly. But abandoning the charges was a clear blow for Ms. Mosby, who had pressed forward with the prosecutions even as doubts mounted about whether she could get convictions. After a jury deadlocked in the case of Officer Porter, her team pushed to force him to testify against other officers — even as his own retrial was pending.

      "At every turn this prosecution pursued the aggressive path toward trying to get a conviction," Mr. Jaros said. The decision to drop the charges, he said, is "not to say that the state's attorney doesn't believe that a crime occurred — only that they concede at this point that they could not prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt."

      The announcement came as a deep disappointment to those who believed the legal proceedings had highlighted important issues about the city's police force, even as prosecutors lost case after case.

      "I personally wanted them to go through with it, even if it was a no-win situation," said Tessa Hill-Aston, the president of Baltimore's NAACP chapter, in a phone interview conducted as she headed to the Sandtown neighborhood, where Mr. Gray was arrested, to talk with people.

      Ms. Hill-Aston said she did not think justice had been served "as far as people on the streets, and people seeing that the police officers got away with murder."

      "Because at the end of the day right now," she said, "Freddie is dead and someone caused his death."



      9)  Bill O'Reilly Says Slaves Who Helped Build White House Were 'Well Fed'

      JULY 27, 2016



      Addressing Michelle Obama's remarks about slaves having built the White House, Bill O'Reilly said Tuesday on his Fox News program that those slaves were "well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government." His response drew swift rebukes online.

      In a 90-second segment near the end of his show, Mr. O'Reilly delved into the history of the White House dating to George Washington's selecting the site for it in 1791. Mr. O'Reilly, a conservative pundit and the author of historical books like "Killing Kennedy," appeared to be attempting to fact-check a statement the first lady made on Monday at the Democratic National Convention, calling her words "a positive comment" and adding that "the history behind her remark is fascinating."

      "Slaves that worked there were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802," he said. "However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working, as well."

      Twitter users seized on his comments, which were criticized as making light of the slaves' treatment and regurgitating the antebellum view of the "happy" or "content" slave.





































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