Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:










Chelsea Manning Support Network

Chelsea faces charges related to suicice attempt

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Chelsea Manning threatened with indefinite solitary confinement for suicide attempt

Yesterday, (July 28) Chelsea Manning found out she is yet again being threatened with the possibility of indefinite solitary confinement.

In a jarringly callous move, Army officials are charging Chelsea with "offenses" related to her suicide attempt earlier this month.

If convicted, her punishment could be indefinite solitary confinement,reclassification into maximum security, and an additional nine years in medium custody. Her chance of parole may be negated.

Read the charge sheet here, dictated over the phone by Chelsea to a Support Network volunteer.

"It is deeply troubling that Chelsea is now being subjected to an investigation and possible punishment for her attempt to take her life. The government has long been aware of Chelsea's distress associated with the denial of medical care related to her gender transition and yet delayed and denied the treatment recognized as necessary," said ACLU Staff Attorney Chase Strangio. 

"Now, while Chelsea is suffering the darkest depression she has experienced since her arrest, the government is taking actions to punish her for that pain. It is unconscionable and we hope that the investigation is immediately ended and that she is given the health care that she needs to recover." Read more here

Chelsea has already faced indefinite solitary confinement threats last year, for innocuous institutional offenses, such as having an expired tube of toothpaste.

Sign the petition

Our friends at Fight for the Future have created a petition where you can sign on to a letter condemning the US Army's attack on Chelsea.

Write the Secretary of the Army

Pressure the Secretary of the Army to take a personal interest and dismiss these cruel and absurd charges against Chelsea.



WASHINGTON, DC 20310-010

Help us pay for Chelsea's legal representation

This May, Chelsea's appellate team filed a brief beginning her appeal process. Your support is critical, not just to continue fighting these ongoing threats from prison officials, but to help challenge Chelsea's draconian 35-year prison sentence and her unjust Espionage Act conviction.

Thank you to those who have already contributed, and to everyone who continues to support Chelsea during this long and strenuous process.

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 Battles On

    For over 31 years, Major Tillery has been a prisoner of the State.

    Despite that extraordinary fact, he continues his battles, both in the prison for his health, and in the courts for his freedom.

    Several weeks ago, Tillery filed a direct challenge to his criminal conviction, by arguing that a so-called "secret witness" was, in fact, a paid police informant who was given a get-out-of-jail-free card if he testified against Tillery.

    Remember I mentioned, "paid?"

    Well, yes--the witness was 'paid'--but not in dollars. He was paid in sex!

    In the spring of 1984, Robert Mickens was facing decades in prison on rape and robbery charges. After he testified against Tillery, however, his 25-year sentence became 5 years: probation!

    And before he testified he was given an hour and a ½ private visit with his girlfriend--at the Homicide Squad room at the Police Roundhouse. (Another such witness was given another sweetheart deal--lie on Major, and get off!)

    To a prisoner, some things are more important than money. Like sex!

    In a verified document written in April, 2016, Mickens declares that he lied at trial, after being coached by the DAs and detectives on the case.

    He lied to get out of jail--and because he could get with his girl.

    Other men have done more for less.

    Major's 58-page Petition is a time machine back into a practice that was once common in Philadelphia.

    In the 1980s and '90s, the Police Roundhouse had become a whorehouse.

    Major, now facing serious health challenges from his hepatitis C infection, stubborn skin rashes, and dangerous intestinal disorders, is still battling.

    And the fight ain't over.

    [©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]

    Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support

    Major Tillery is an innocent man. There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives naming others—not Tillery or his co-defendant—as the shooters. Major wasn't charged until 1980, he was tried in 1985.

    The only evidence at trial came from these jailhouse informants who were given sexual favors and plea deals for dozens of pending felonies for lying against Major Tillery. Both witnesses now declare their testimony was manufactured by the police and prosecution. Neither witness had personal knowledge of the shooting.

    This is a case of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption that goes to the deepest levels of rot in the Philadelphia criminal injustice system. Major Tillery deserves not just a new trial, but dismissal of the charges against him and his freedom from prison.

    It cost a lot of money for Major Tillery to be able to file his new pro se PCRA petition and continue investigation to get more evidence of the state misconduct. He needs help to get lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please contribute, now.


      Financial Support: Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly and he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom!

      Go to JPay.com;

      code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

      Tell Philadelphia District Attorney

      Seth Williams:

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

      Call: 215-686-8711 or

      Write to:

      Major Tillery AM9786

      SCI Frackville

      1111 Altamont Blvd.

      Frackville, PA 17931

        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.



          10)  After Yemeni's 13 Years in Guantánamo, Freedom for the Soul Takes Longer

          JULY 29, 2016




          TALLINN, Estonia — When guards brought Ahmed Abdul Qader to the plane that would take him away from the Guantánamo Bay prison a year and a half ago, he asked permission to pause before boarding. Closing his eyes, he tried to leave behind the burden of his 13 years of captivity.

          Mr. Qader was about 17 — an overweight Yemeni teenager suspected of being a terrorist — when the United States military brought him to Guantánamo. When he left, he was past 30, his hair thinning, and about to start a new life in Estonia, a tiny Baltic country he had never heard of before it had decided to resettle a detainee a few months earlier.

          A day later, he was in his new home, a modestly furnished studio apartment in Tallinn provided by the Estonian government. But the past, he soon realized, was not so easy to escape. Snow was falling, and he was eager to touch it. He started for the door, then suddenly panicked, fearful that something — he was not sure what — could go wrong if he went outside.

          "Any trouble I get myself in now — even an honest mistake — will be a hundred times worse than if any normal person did it," Mr. Qader said recently, trying to explain how that sense of paralysis has stayed with him.

          "I thought that after two months' release, I'd be back to normal," he said. "But I cannot live my life regularly. I try, but it is like part of me is still at Guantánamo."

          Mr. Qader is one of about 780 men who have been held at the prison since the Bush administration opened it after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. A central part of the war on terrorism, Guantánamo was an experiment: using indefinite detention without trial, a tool of traditional wars, for an open-ended conflict in which distinguishing truly dangerous enemies from people caught on the periphery can be particularly difficult.

          President Obama inherited 242 detainees when he came into office vowing to close the prison. Today 76 remain, 32 of them approved for transfer to a stable country willing to accept them. Congressional Republicans oppose closing the prison and further transfers, pointing to the minority of former detainees accused of recidivism.

          In the long and contentious debate over Guantánamo's future, former detainees who have been transferred and caused no problems have been largely forgotten. But while their files may have been closed, the ambiguity surrounding their release — deemed safe enough to transfer, but never proven guilty or innocent — continues to brand them.

          Mr. Qader recently told me his story in a series of conversations over several days this spring — in his apartment, strolling through Tallinn's medieval Old Town, and riding a city bus to Estonia's Islamic Center.

          He expressed gratitude to Estonia for taking him in. Its refugee program provides him with the apartment, health care, language classes, a small monthly stipend and a mentor to help him navigate daily life.

          He smiled often and spoke with optimism about the future when we talked. But he also lapsed into despondency about his separation from his family, his lost youth, and his "hurt" when people call him a terrorist. He portrayed himself as paralyzed by anxiety about what others — the police, potential friends or employers — will assume about him.

          "Thirteen years of my life I wasted, and it's not because of something I did," he said. "It's because something went wrong around me, and I got the blame for it."

          Arrest on Thin Grounds

          Mr. Qader was arrested with about a dozen other Arabs at a guesthouse in Pakistan in March 2002. That night, the Pakistani police also raided another guesthouse in the same city, capturing a prominent terrorism suspect, Abu Zubaydah.

          The police conflated the two houses, saying both harbored what were thought to be cells of Al Qaeda. But the evidence linking the group to Mr. Qader's house, where many residents claimed to be religious students, was thinner.

          Mr. Qader was transferred to American custody, and that June, he was flown to Guantánamo. He vividly recalls the "long, long, long" flight to Cuba — limbs immobilized, eyes and ears blocked, destination unknown.

          At first, Mr. Qader said, guards were often rough. An Estonian doctor is treating him for ligament damage in his knees and shoulder — the result, he said, of treatment like being kicked into the kneeling position or being forced to kneel on concrete with his arms extended.

          Asked what provoked punishment, he sang a lyric from a prisoners' song in "Les Misérables": "Look down, look down / Don't look 'em in the eye."

          Every few months, Mr. Qader was brought to a trailer and questioned. He told interrogators that after completing the ninth grade in Yemen in 1999, he had traveled to Pakistan intending to study religion and computers, and to do charitable relief work. With the financial support of his father, he traveled around, staying for several months at a time in different guesthouses.

          He also crossed into Afghanistan, where he said he met several Taliban members who invited him to an area north of Kabul behind the front lines in their war against the Northern Alliance. He lived there about 10 months.

          Continue reading the main story

          Reports summarizing his early interrogations say he was "issued" a rifle and "trained" to use it. Mr. Qader, claiming translators had put an exaggerated gloss on his words, told me a Taliban member spent a few minutes showing him how to hold and shoot a rifle, and he never "owned" one.

          Either way, Mr. Qader insisted, then and now, that he never fought or enlisted with any group, and in late 2001, he returned to Pakistan, where he was eventually arrested.

          "As unusual as this source's story sounds, I don't think he is hiding the truth," an interrogator wrote about Mr. Qader in January 2003.

          But when the interrogators showed his photograph to other detainees, some claimed he was involved with Al Qaeda. The military compiled his story and those accusations in a 2008 dossier, which described him as a Qaeda member. The dossier was leaked, and it is readily available on the internet.

          Over the years, Mr. Qader said, his bewilderment at being in Guantánamo gave way to routine. Conditions gradually improved. By reading books and talking to guards, he learned English.

          Still, the 2008 dossier described him as "noncompliant and hostile to the guard force." Mr. Qader said that in 2007, believing certain guards treated him unfairly, he "pushed back" by refusing for a while to obey orders, like to leave a yard when his outdoors time was up.

          In 2009, a six-agency detainee review task force re-evaluated Mr. Qader and, according to someone who read its report, concluded he had not conducted or facilitated any terrorist activity against the United States or its allies.

          That finding, officials said, is echoed in many reports about low-level detainees, and it is ambiguous: It could either mean he was innocent or, though part of the enemy, did nothing specific. Either way, the task force deemed him a low enough risk to be transferred.

          But after an unsuccessful attempt by Al Qaeda's Yemen branch to set off a bomb on a Detroit-bound plane that Christmas, Mr. Obama halted repatriations to Yemen until its security improved. The moratorium spurred the Justice Department to appeal government losses in habeas corpus lawsuits, and in 2010, an appeals court instructed judges to interpret ambiguous evidence more toward the government.

          Detainee victories ceased. Mr. Qader's lawsuit, brought by Wesley Powell, a New York lawyer, reflected the pattern: A judge ruled his detention lawful.

          By then he lived on a cellblock for the most compliant and westernized detainees — those who liked watching American movies despite actresses with uncovered heads. When a hunger strike swept the prison in 2013, they did not participate, he said, although he had sometimes participated in earlier such protests.

          Finally, in 2014, the Obama administration stopped waiting for Yemen to stabilize and began pressing other countries to resettle stranded Yemenis. After Russia intervened in Ukraine, Estonia — another former Soviet republic, and a NATO member — agreed to take one.

          "Estonia understood the value in demonstrating its reliability as a friend and ally and was willing to help us," recalled Jeffrey Levine, then the American ambassador to Estonia.

          Ian Moss, the chief of staff in the State Department office that negotiates transfers, remembers watching Mr. Qader's interview with Estonian officials. He was struck by Mr. Qader's reply when asked when he was born. (He says November 1984; some files say 1983.)

          "My birthday will be the day I leave Guantánamo," Mr. Qader said.

          'Like a Newborn'

          At first, he recalled, he processed everything in his new country "like a newborn," unaware that his transfer was controversial.

          But the timing was terrible — his release, on Jan. 14, 2015, came a week after a terrorist attack in Paris and as the Syrian refugee crisis was mounting. In the United States, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, told Fox News, "It is insane to be letting these people out of Gitmo to go back to the fight."

          Some Estonians were upset, too, like the reader of a news article about his arrival who appended the comment: "I say out of the country, now!"

          Mr. Qader recalled thinking: "I think I will never be free until I get my name cleared. I will always be 'that guy who was in Guantánamo.' "

          He decided to keep a low profile, declining interviews and telling few people about his past.

          That summer, a shop in Tallinn gave Mr. Qader an apprenticeship. The owner later told me how he came to suspect that the refugee was the Guantánamo detainee he had read about in the news media.

          He found the dossier online but concluded that its terrorism accusations were "all bullshit." One morning, he told his apprentice that he was "famous." Mr. Qader acknowledged who he was, expecting to be told to leave.

          Instead, the owner invited him to visit his mother on an Estonian island. Mr. Qader — apprehensive about leaving Tallinn — hesitated for days but went.

          Not all Estonians were as welcoming.

          Last fall, a drunken neighbor began hassling him about being a foreigner, Mr. Qader said. When it escalated — the neighbor threatened him with a gun and put garbage at his door — he called the police. The harassment ceased.

          But days later, two police officers showed up and grilled Mr. Qader — asking where he came from and got money. When he explained, they conferred in Estonian; he understood the word "Cuba."

          They said not to worry. But he said he could not sleep for four days.

          Now, when Mr. Qader contemplates the future, he said, he feels like a man holding a "small candle."

          "People tell me 'don't look back, look forward,' but the problem is when I look forward, it is dark," he said. "That is what scares me the most."

          Estonia recently extended his residency permit by two years. But its population of 1.3 million people includes only a few thousand Muslims and fewer Arabs. Halal food is scarce, and Mr. Qader interprets stares on the bus as hostile.

          He would like to return home, but he said he feared that Yemeni or American security forces might mistakenly decide he was working with terrorists and jail him again — or kill him with a drone.

          Estonia will permit family visits, but obtaining travel documents has proved difficult. His father, who had a heart attack after finding out he was at Guantánamo, calls him daily, and his mother has taught him to cook over Skype.

          Last year, Mr. Qader's family helped arrange for him to become engaged to one of his sisters' friends. Estonia permits spouses to join refugees, so they were married in December by a Yemeni judge over Skype. They now talk daily, he said, but his wife has not managed to come yet, either.

          In theory, he could visit nearby European countries — he is supposed to consult Estonian officials first — but he has not dared leave. Comforted by the thought that the Estonian government is monitoring him, he fears that if he travels abroad and a bomb goes off nearby, he might be unable to prove his innocence and would be scapegoated and imprisoned again.

          Asked what he thinks about the United States, Mr. Qader said he understood why, after Sept. 11, it would detain him. Still, he said, it should have freed him after a year or two; imprisoning him for so long "hurt me very bad."

          Emphasizing that he is "not out for revenge," he "begged" American officials to consider helping him move on by clearing his name.

          "Now you let me go," he said. "Thank you very much. No hard feelings. But just let me go for real. Say, 'This guy, we hold him this long and we were mistaken, we're sorry,' and show people the truth."

          But Lee Wolosky, the State Department's special envoy for the closing of Guantánamo, demurred, saying "no apology is warranted" for Mr. Qader's detention, given the circumstances.

          "The United States was correct to pick him up when and where we did and to detain him for a period of years," he said. "We were also right ultimately to release him subject to security assurances."

          Either way, Mr. Qader knows some things are up to him.

          Not long ago, he said, he heard a story about elephants who died in a circus fire. They were tied with a flimsy rope but had been trained in chains as babies, learning not to try to break free.

          "When this story hit me, I was thinking, 'I don't want to be locked inside my own Guantánamo,' " he said. "I promised myself that I have to break free from myself. And I told my wife, 'I will take you to Paris.' "

          Mr. Qader said his wife, who has never left Yemen, replied that when she finally reached Estonia: "I will explore the world with you. I will hold you to your word."



          11)  Pacific Northwest Weighs Response to Risks Posed by Oil Trains

          JULY 31, 2016




          MOSIER, Ore. — The Chinook salmon that Randy Settler and other Yakama tribal fishermen are pulling from the Columbia River are large and plentiful this summer, part of one of the biggest spawning runs since the 1960s. It is a sign, they say, of the river's revitalization, through pollution regulations and ambitious fish hatchery programs.

          But barely four miles upstream from the fishermen's nets, state workers are still cleaning up after a major oil train derailment in June. About 47,000 gallons of heavy Bakken crude bound from North Dakota spilled when 16 Union Pacific cars accordioned off the tracks. All of it, Oregon environmental officials said, might have gone into the river but for a stroke of luck that carried the oil instead into a water treatment plant a few hundred feet from the riverbank.

          That juxtaposition — the rebounding river coming a hair's breadth from disaster — has resonated across the Pacific Northwest and brought about a day of reckoning. From ballot boxes to the governors' desks in Oregon and Washington, a corner of the nation that seemed poised only a few years ago to become a new energy hub is now gripped by a debate over whether transporting volatile, hazardous crude oil by rail through cities and environmentally delicate areas can ever be made safe enough.

          "Communities around this state have awoken," said Oregon's governor, Kate Brown, a Democrat. Washington's governor, Jay Inslee, who is also a Democrat, said he thinks that all oil transit should be halted until more stringent track inspection rules can be put into place. "Can it be transported into the Pacific Northwest safely?" he said. "That answer now is no."

          The volume of oil being shipped by rail across most of the rest of the nation has plummeted, as low oil prices and more pipeline capacity have reduced the need for trains. The number of rail cars carrying petroleum is down about 40 percent from the peak in 2014, according to the Association of American Railroads.

          But here along the Columbia River gorge, about 60 miles east of Portland, the trains have continued to rumble through Oregon and Washington in numbers near their peak. Even with lower oil prices, railroad industry experts said, crude heading by rail to refineries in the Pacific Northwest has a shorter distance to travel from North Dakota, making the route cost effective.

          In the tense environment since the derailment, the idea that the Northwest is now bearing a disproportionate burden of energy transport risk has accelerated local efforts to stop the trains or make them safer.

          Last month, the City Council in Vancouver, Wash., where one of the biggest oil terminals in the nation is under review, voted to ban any similar proposals from even being considered in the future.

          In Spokane, Wash., a city built by the railroad industry and one through which almost all oil trains pass, voters will decide in November whether to outlaw that transit. The City Council voted to put the proposal on the ballot, mandating a $261 fine for every rail car carrying oil or coal, even though the railroads have said they would file a lawsuit to overturn the statute as a violation of interstate commerce.

          Both of Oregon's United States senators have proposed the legislation, called The Mosier Act, that would require the Department of Transportation to reduce levels of volatile gases in crude oil and give greater teeth and resources to crash investigators.

          Greater transparency in oil shipments is also on the horizon. Railroads have generally refused to divulge specific oil train schedules, citing security concerns, but starting in October, details about every oil train through Washington will have to be shared with state officials, who will then distribute reports to emergency management agencies through a secure system. The information will be shared with the public on a quarterly basis, starting in December.

          Mr. Inslee, who is running for re-election, as is Ms. Brown in Oregon, will have the authority under state law to decide whether the oil terminal in Vancouver will go forward, a question that could reach his desk this fall. He said that he is keeping an open mind and awaiting the recommendation from the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which wrapped up a month of hearings on the terminal this week.

          Some environmental groups are already calling the Vancouver project all but dead, saying that an approval by Mr. Inslee would run counter to the governor's often-expressed convictions about climate change — not to mention the book he wrote on the virtues of renewable energy — and would also mean imposing a project on a city that has said it does not want it. Washington's attorney general, Bob Ferguson, announced his opposition to the terminal on Friday, the last day of the hearings.

          "For the railroads, the politics have turned for the worse," said Clark Williams-Derry of the Sightline Institute, an environmental research and advocacy group in Seattle.

          Railroads and oil companies said they have responded to public concerns and that oil transport can be safe.

          A spokesman for Union Pacific, Aaron Hunt, said in an email that lag bolts — a track-fastening system that failed in Mosier, according to the preliminary federal investigation — are being replaced with more secure rail spikes and that the railroad had enhanced its inspection processes.

          Dan Riley, a spokesman for Tesoro Petroleum, a partner in the Vancouver terminal project, said that the company has been a leader in shifting to newer, more secure tank cars and that the attention since the Mosier accident will only accelerate those safety enhancements. "It's an opportunity to improve the entire system," he said in an interview.

          But railroads have also resisted rules that might have mitigated the Mosier accident and other derailments around the country, said Sarah E. Feinberg, the administrator at the Federal Railroad Administration, specifically outfitting trains with modern braking systems, called electronically controlled pneumatic braking.

          "These trains are basically operating with a braking system from the Civil War era, and we have said to the railroads, 'You must upgrade,'" she said. "And we get a tremendous amount of pushback from the industry: It's too expensive, it's too complicated, it's logistically complicated."

          Tribal fishermen like Mr. Settler, 61, who has been piloting boats on the Columbia River since he was 9, said he fears that for the river, the worst is not over. State officials said recently that oil from the spill had seeped into the groundwater, which connects with the river. In any case, Mr. Settler said, it is clear to him that human failure and inadequate track maintenance, not bad luck, caused the crash.

          "They knew it was a high-risk area," Mr. Settler said on his boat on a recent morning off Mosier's shoreline. "But it didn't stop the trains from coming."



          12)  U.S. Conducts Airstrikes Against ISIS in Libya

          AUG. 1, 2016



          WASHINGTON — The United States escalated its war against the Islamic State in Libya on Monday, conducting airstrikes in the coastal city of Surt as part of a new military campaign against the extremist Sunni terrorist group's stronghold in North Africa.

          President Obama approved the strikes last week after Libya's fragile United Nations-backed unity government asked for help in its fight against the Islamic State, administration officials said.

          The strikes, which American officials have forecast for months, are intended to help break an impasse between Libyan militias and the Islamic State fighters they have cornered in a grinding urban battle in Surt's downtown.

          American officials, who estimate that there are fewer than 1,000 Islamic State fighters in Surt, say that American warplanes could provide a decisive advantage to the attackers and help break the stalemate along the fighting fronts in the southern and western part of the city. But they also say that the Islamic State's modest numbers in Surt belie their determination, if not desperation, and that with escape routes from Surt largely cut off, the Islamic State fighters may fight to the death.

          American warplanes conducted only two airstrikes on Monday, but officials said there would be a steady series of strikes in coming weeks. The Monday strikes, by both drones and manned warplanes, hit a tank and troop supply and transport vehicles, military officials said. Reconnaissance drones, flown in from Italy, were also used in the operation.

          The Obama administration has been negotiating for weeks with the Libyan government on how to use American airstrikes to support the limited capability of Libyan warplanes to hit targets in Surt. The American military brings the ability to strike in a dense urban area more precisely — whether by drones or manned warplanes — and thus reduce civilian casualties.

          Although there have been American Special Operations forces on the ground in Libya for several months, American spotters did not call in the airstrikes, military officials said. Instead the Pentagon used the same model it has with some Syrian rebel groups: Libyan ground forces, who were given rudimentary instruction by American Special Operations trainers on the ground, provided basic identification and targeting information for the warplanes.

          Fayez Serraj, the head of Libya's unity government, said in a televised statement that no American ground forces would be deployed to aid the effort, and that Monday's airstrikes caused "major casualties." But Pentagon officials said they did not know how many Islamic State fighters may have been killed.

          Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in January that the United States planned to take "decisive military action" against the Islamic State in Libya. Since then, United States and British special operations teams have been conducting clandestine reconnaissance missions in Libya to identify militant leaders and map out their networks.

          Separate teams of American Special Operations forces have also been trying to court allies from a patchwork of Libyan militias that remain unreliable, unaccountable, poorly managed and divided by region and tribe.

          In March, American military planners had concluded that airstrikes against up to 40 targets in four different areas of the country would have crippled the group's Libya affiliate, opening the door for Western-backed Libyan militias to fight Islamic State fighters on the ground. That same month, the Pentagon presented the White House with a detailed set of military options for attacking what was then a growing Islamic State threat in Libya, including a range of strikes against training camps, command centers, munitions depots and other militant targets. The plans were centered around Surt.

          But the plan was abandoned because administration officials concluded that the political process in Libya, particularly regarding the talks surrounding the establishment of the government of national accord, was too fragile. Administration officials feared that the strikes would undercut the political process that had produced the government.

          The American intervention poses significant political risks for Mr. Serraj, who is already fending off accusations from Islamist critics that his unity government is little more than a proxy for Western interests.

          Those sensitivities were revived last month after three French Special Forces soldiers died in a helicopter crash near the eastern city of Benghazi. The French government attributed the crash to an accident. A local militia, not aligned with Mr. Serraj, claimed to have shot down the aircraft.

          Jonathan Winer, the American special envoy for Libya, said on his Twitter account that the airstrikes on Monday reinforced "our call for all parties in Libya to work through the GNA" referring to the Government of National Accord, the official title for unity government.

          Peter Cook, the Pentagon press secretary, said the legal authorization for the Surt strikes — like the legal authorization for strikes against other militant Islamic groups like the Shabab in East Africa — came from the Authorization for Use of Military Force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks enacted by Congress.

          By linking the Libya action to the authorization for force, the administration will not have to officially notify Congress. That means that the campaign in Libya can continue indefinitely, or until the administration concludes that the airstrikes have accomplished their objective.































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