Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:










Mexican and Central American Independence Day Celebration
A New Grito for Change

On September 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo delivered the Grito de
Dolores, a declaration of independence from Spanish colonialism; and a
call for the abolition of African slavery, for an end to the caste
system exploiting Indians, and for social and economic reform.

Join us to support a delegation traveling in October to Nogales, Arizona
and Sonora, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.

► to participate in a national convergence at the border to highlight
the militarization of the southern border and the U.S.-sponsored
militarization of Central American borders, and the human rights crisis
of an unjust immigration system

► to support maquiladora workers, highlight the failures of the North
America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in protecting workers rights and
demonstrate the dangers of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in
further depressing wages in Mexico and the United States

music by Francisco Herrera; Elizabeth, Nancy and Mario Esteva; Manuel
Trujillo and Artemisa Flores; Diego Sardaneta
poetry by the Juana Briones Cultural Committee and the Revolutionary
Poets Brigade
dance by Grupo Folklorico Maiz

Thursday, September 15
6 p.m. – doors open
6:30 p.m. - program
2940 – 16th Street, San Francisco
(between Mission and South Van Ness Ave.)

$10 –admission
Free for children under 12 years old

A benefit for the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition, Las Hormigas of
Ciudad Juarez, Trabajo Cultural Caminante and Bay Area Committee in
Solidarity with the People of El Salvador

For more information, contact 415-863-1225 or sflivingwage@riseup.net
or visit www.livingwage-sf.org



UNACpeace@gmail.com           518-227-6947              www.UNACpeace.org

Join UNAC at the No War 2016 conference in Washington, DC, September 23 - 25, 2015

For more information:  http://worldbeyondwar.org/NoWar2016/

Save the Date.
The next UNAC conference will be held in Richmond, VA from April 21 - 23, 2017

Also, UNAC is a co-sponsor of the Southern Human Rights Organizers' Conference, which will be held in Mississippi from December 9 - 12.  UNAC has been making important inroads in the South for the movement against the wars at home and abroad.  This will be an important conference for the movement as a whole and UNAC will also contribute financially to make it a success.  If you can help with this effort by making a contribution for the conference, please contribute here:https://www.unacpeace.org/donate.html and the money will be used for the SHROC.

UNAC has added a page on political prisoners in the U.S. to our web site.  Please see:https://www.unacpeace.org/political-prisoners.html

UNAC will also be adding a blog to our web site with articles, video and more from our members and friends.  More information will follow soon.

* All reports and articals represent the ideas of the author and not necessarily of UNAC or any of its affiliated groups.

If your organization would like to join the UNAC coalition, please click here: https://www.unacpeace.org/join.html



Don't forget to save dates for Ali Abunimah speaking in Berkeley on Oct. 18, Chivvis Moore's book event on Sept. 27 in Oakland -- and Noura Erakat in Oakland Nov. 17!

Tickets for Ali's event will be available very soon, more info on all these events below.


Book Reading with Bay Area Author/Activist Chivvis Moore
Tuesday, September 27 in Oakland

Please Join Us!

Book Reading with Bay Area Author/Activist CHIVVIS MOORE

& her new memoir:

First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God: 

An American Feminist in the Arab World

Tuesday, September 27, 7pm

360 42nd Street, Oakland

FREE -- and we hope you'll buy Chivvis' book, which benefits MECA!

What begins as a trip to meet Hassan Fathy – Egyptian author of the influential Architecture for the Poor – becomes a 16-year odyssey, one that stretches from a year working in a master carpenter's shop in Egypt to 11 years teaching English in Palestine. Offering a portrait of a land and a people not found in headlines or sound bytes, Chivvis' book humanizes the misunderstandings and tragedies that arise when we fail to appreciate the humanity at the core of us all.

"I have been reading your beautiful, sad, and deeply moving story, learning a lot of disturbing history about something I thought I knew about but never saw in such depth. This is an important memoir that…evokes tears and also some laughter, with a great sense of compassion and empathy."

–Alan Rinzler, former editor, Simon & Schuster

"I cried all the way through reading First Tie Your Camel. The tone, the genuine and honest description of reactions and feelings about the experiences, enabled me to truly understand for the first time why, as a Palestinian living in the West Bank, I always feel so upset and physically ill."

– Muna Giacaman, Instructor, Bir Zeit University, West Bank

"Chivvis takes us on a journey that is fascinating, eye-opening, and ultimately heart-breaking – initially as a fresh-eyed newcomer working in a 1970's community in Cairo that most Americans have never seen – to life in occupied Palestine, before and after the 2nd intifada…She leads from the heart, earning hard-won respect from Palestinian neighbors, students, colleagues. Honest, unassuming and vulnerable, she asks the hard questions."

– Penny Rosenwasser, MECA staffer & author, Hope into Practice, Jewish women choosing justice despite our fears

Chivvis Moore lived 16 years in the Arab world, including 11 years in the West Bank. She has earned her living as a journalist, carpenter/general building contractor, editor and teacher.

Wheelchair accessible

Cosponsored by Joining Hands, Jewish Voice for Peace/Bay Area

Electronic Intifada co-founder/director Ali Abunimah
Tuesday, October 18 in Berkeley

Electronic Intifada co-founder/director ALI ABUNIMAH!

Tuesday, October 18, 7pm

First Congregational Church of Berkeley

2345 Channing Way (@ Dana)

Ali Abunimah is a Palestinian-American journalist and author of "The Battle for Justice in Palestine" -- which won the 2014 Palestine Book Award -- and "One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse." He received the 2013 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship and has been an activist on these issues for over 20 years.

Alice Walker calls him "a special voice to champion us, one that is… fierce, wise -- a warrior for justice and peace -- someone whose large heart, one senses, beyond his calm, is constantly on fire."

Tickets available soon!

Benefit for MECA, wheelchair accessible

Cosponsored by KPFA, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), Jewish Voice for Peace/Bay Area

COMING UP NOVEMBER 17 IN OAKLAND: Palestinian Activist/Scholar/Human Rights Attorney 

NOURA ERAKAT, Back in the Bay!


Rumi's Caravan: Recitation of World Poetry -- benefiting MECA

Saturday, September 10 in Oakland

Copyright (C) 2016 Middle East Children's Alliance All rights reserved.

Middle East Children's Alliance

1101 8th Street

Berkeley CA 94710 United States



Chelsea Manning Support Network

Chelsea faces charges related to suicice attempt

Is this email not displaying correctly?

View it in your browser.

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)  False Hope and a Needless Death Behind Bars

          On July 26, John MacKenzie went before the parole board at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, N.Y., and made the case, once again, for his freedom. He had been locked up since 1975 for shooting and killing a Long Island police officer, Matthew Giglio, during a bungled robbery attempt. His sentence was 25 years to life — the maximum under state law.

          On Aug. 2, he learned that the board had voted 2 to 1 against him. It was the 10th time in 16 years that he had been denied parole.

          Later that day, he sent a handwritten letter to his daughter Denise, saying that "they're hell bent on keeping me in prison" and "I don't believe I'll last much longer."

          On Aug. 4, another inmate found Mr. MacKenzie hanging by the neck from a bedsheet tied to the window bars of his cell. He was 70.

          John MacKenzie was no ordinary prisoner. In the more than 40 years he spent behind bars, he became one of the most respected inmates in the state's penal system. He had a spotless disciplinary record. He took full responsibility for the murder of Mr. Giglio. He earned degrees in business and the arts. He started a program to give victims the opportunity to speak directly to inmates about the impact of their crimes. The state's own risk-assessment program found that he posed little to no risk of re-offending. Prison guards, judges, clergy members and prosecutors wrote letters supporting him.

          None of this seemed to matter to the parole board. Because of the seriousness of his crime, one denial said, his release would "undermine respect for the law." Another referred to "significant community opposition." The wording would vary, but the message was always the same: Mr. MacKenzie's sentence, which appeared to give him a real chance at freedom after 25 years, was a sham. No matter what he did to atone for his crime, he was never getting out.

          Some see this as a just result, particularly law enforcement groups, which steadfastly opposed Mr. MacKenzie's release. But New York criminal law provides for the possibility of parole, which is based on the idea that people can change.

          Under state law, the parole board is required to weigh a prisoner's entire history: his degree of remorse, his behavior behind bars and the likelihood that he will be able to live lawfully outside prison. Those factors never got more than a cursory mention, at best, when the board denied Mr. MacKenzie's requests. In May, a State Supreme Court justice, Maria Rosa, held the board in contemptfor failing to give any reason for denying Mr. MacKenzie parole other than the nature of his crime. Justice Rosa wrote that "if parole isn't granted to this petitioner, when and under what circumstances would it be granted?" She ordered the board to hold a new hearing, with different board members. The state appealed that order. The case was still pending when Mr. MacKenzie killed himself.

          Certainly crime victims and police officers should have a voice in the parole process, but they should not have a veto. Otherwise, parole is a meaningless promise.

          Some years ago, Mr. MacKenzie wrote an essay about the frustrations of living at the whim of parole commissioners. "If society wishes to rehabilitate as well as punish wrongdoers through imprisonment," he wrote, then "society — through its lawmakers — must bear the responsibility of tempering justice with mercy. Giving a man legitimate hope is a laudable goal; giving him false hope is utterly inhuman."




          Zach Cartwright 


          The Seattle Seahawks will become the first NFL team to join Colin Kaepernick's silent protest during the national anthem this Sunday.

          In their home opener against the Miami Dolphins, the Seattle Seahawks have planned a "big surprise" during the national anthem, according to starting linebacker Bobby Wagner. Wagner emphasized that the entire roster will take part in the protest, though he didn't specify if the team would sit or kneel.

          "Anything we want to do, it's not going to be individual. It's going to be a team thing. That's what the world needs to see. The world needs to see people coming together versus being individuals," Wagner told the Seattle Times.

          The team has the support of head coach Pete Carroll, who recently stood up for cornerback Jeremy Lane when he sat during the national anthem in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last Thursday before Seattle's final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.

          "[Lane]'s pretty clear on what he did and what he was trying to express and I think it is very simple and so we'll leave that up to him," Carroll told the Times.

          In addition to Lane and Wagner, starting wide receiver Doug Baldwin has publicly expressed support for Kaepernick on social media. After Kaepernick started receiving blowback for refusing to stand up for the national anthem, Baldwin defended the protest and cast Kaepernick's critics as ignorant of what free speech entails.

          Kaepernick's silent protest has also been recently joined by U.S. Women's National Team soccer player Megan Rapinoe, and several members of the West Virginia Tech volleyball team. Kaepernick, who said he refuses to "stand to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people," has said he'll continue his protest until police brutality is no longer an issue.

          Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email at zachcartwright88@gmail.com and follow his work on the Public Banking Institute blo



          3)  20 Marines Face Discipline After Muslim Recruit's Death Is Ruled a Suicide

          SEPT. 9, 2016




          The Marine Corps has concluded an investigation into the death of a Muslim recruit, Raheel Siddiqui, saying that he committed suicide at a training camp where hazing and abuse took place.

          A statement said that the investigation had identified 20 trainers at the Parris Island, S.C., camp for possible legal or administrative action — a reflection of the wider investigation that was prompted by Mr. Siddiqui's death on March 18. Some commanders, senior advisers and drill instructors have already been let go, the statement said.

          "Siddiqui's death was the result of suicide," a statement said. "Additionally, the investigations revealed departures from the policies and procedures established for Marine Corps recruit training."

          The investigation focused on allegations of abuse and maltreatment at the recruiting depot on Parris Island and found that there was recurrent physical and verbal abuse of recruits by drill instructors, and insufficient oversight.

          The statement also said that a drill instructor had been assigned for duty while already under investigation for previous allegations of assault and hazing. Among the measures that have been taken in the wake of the investigation were suspensions of personnel who are under investigation for recruit abuse, hazing or maltreatment.

          The family of Mr. Siddiqui, who was 20, said in an interview in Junethat they did not believe the official explanation they were given about his death: that he had fainted, sought medical attention, and then jumped 40 feet to his death off a stairwell or balcony.

          The family could not be reached early Friday for comment; a lawyer for the family, Nabil Ayad, did not immediately return a telephone call.

          Another family lawyer, Shiraz Khan, told The Detroit Free Press that the family was reviewing the findings.

          The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller, said the Corps would "take every step necessary to prevent tragic events like this from happening again."

          The case is still under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a spokesman, Ed Buice, said.

          Mr. Siddiqui had arrived at the camp 11 days before he died. He had yearned to be a jet mechanic in the Marines, and eventually an F.B.I.agent, saving money and helping his close-knit Muslim family to a better life.

          He had been recruited while studying robotics and engineering at the University of Michigan's Dearborn campus.

          "He liked challenges and didn't want something easy," said his sister, Sidra, in June, while recalling why he chose the Marines over other services. "He liked the respect that the Marines got."

          "My brother wasn't a quitter," Sidra said.



          4)   In Connecticut, a Wealth Gap Divides Neighboring Schools

          SEPT. 11, 2016




          The two Connecticut school districts sit side by side along Long Island Sound. Both spend more than the national average on their students. They prepare their pupils for the same statewide tests. Their teachers, like virtually all the teachers in the state, earn the same high marks on evaluations.

          That is where the similarities end: In Fairfield, a mostly white suburb where the median income is $120,000, 94 percent of students graduate from high school on time. In Bridgeport, the state's most populous and one of its poorest cities, the graduation rate is 63 percent. Fifth graders in Bridgeport, where most people are black or Hispanic, often read at kindergarten level, one of their teachers recently testified during a trial over school funding inequities.

          Seemingly intractable contrasts like those last week led Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher to tell the state that it had 180 days in which to rethink almost its entire system of education. Ruling in a case known as Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell, Judge Moukawsher of State Superior Court in Hartford said the state was allowing children in poor districts to languish, while their wealthier neighbors soared.

          Across the country, school funding cases have often resulted in more money being funneled into poorer districts to help offset the effects of poverty on their students. That may well be the end result in Connecticut.

          But more than anything, Judge Moukawsher seemed offended by the irrationality of the state's education system: He said its funding of new school buildings was driven not by need, but rather by how much clout individual legislators might have; he criticized the teacher evaluation system and said the high school graduation standards were all but meaningless. He told the General Assembly it first had to determine how much money schools actually need to educate children and then must allocate the funds in a way that met that goal.

          Philip Dwyer, the chairman of Fairfield's Board of Education, said on Friday he felt the judge's view of Connecticut's system lacked nuance.

          "The problem I have is his writing almost encourages the legislature to boil this down to an urban versus suburban question," Mr. Dwyer said. "That would avoid the fundamental question of what is a more creative way to fund our constitutional obligation that every child deserves a free and appropriate education. This 'we' versus 'they' approach his decision sets us on is a path I think is a mistake."

          But Bridgeport's interim superintendent of schools, Frances Rabinowitz, said much of the ruling sounded right. Ms. Rabinowitz started in Bridgeport as a teacher, then left the city 14 years ago for positions elsewhere, including a job as an associate commissioner for education for the state. When she returned to the district in 2014, she said, it was in even worse shape than when she left.

          "The stripping of resources was amazing to me," she said.

          In the morning, school buses line the circular driveway of Fairfield Ludlowe High School, dispatching a stream of students into the sandy-brick building buffered by an expansive, tree-lined lawn.

          At Bridgeport's Warren Harding High School, there is no line of buses. As Judge Moukawsher noted, the city cannot afford them for its high school students.

          By the sixth day of his senior year at Warren Harding, Markus Simmons had his morning commute down cold: He wakes at 6 a.m. and walks to a city bus stop where he catches a ride to the Bridgeport bus terminal. There, he boards the No. 13 bus to school. The trip takes him about 40 minutes.

          Mr. Simmons, 18, is in Harding's honors program and is eager to go to college, rattling off a list of schools he might apply to: Wesleyan University, the University of Connecticut, Clark University in Atlanta, Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.

          But three of his friends, he said, had dropped out of high school.

          "They just decided they didn't want to come anymore," Mr. Simmons said. "I'm not sure why, to be honest."

          While Harding's graduation rate is a dismal 54 percent, Judge Moukawsher said the number masks a worse reality of students being passed along year after year without acquiring the skills they needed, starting in elementary school.

          Some students arrive at Harding High School reading at a third-grade level, said Aresta Johnson, an assistant superintendent who oversees the district's high schools. And in many cases, she said, students simply have not attended school consistently enough to learn how to read fluently.

          "We face a huge issue with chronic absenteeism," she said. Cuts to athletic programs, which are a big draw for some students, have only made the situation worse.

          "And keep in mind, when our students come to high school in ninth grade we can pretty much get them in the door," Dr. Johnson continued. "Once they turn 16, they become eligible to work full-time jobs, and sometimes serve as the sole supporter for their families."

          Bridgeport has about 147,000 residents and an unemployment rate of about 12 percent, according to the judge's decision. At 21,000 students, its school district is roughly twice the size of Fairfield's.

          Both districts spend more on each of their pupils than the national average, which was about $10,800 per student, according to the most recent federal statistics.

          In the 2014-15 school year, Bridgeport spent about $14,000 per student while Fairfield spent nearly $16,000. The difference between those numbers is not enough to explain the yawning disparities in results.

          Because schools are heavily supported by local property taxes, as the judge pointed out, a property-poor town like Bridgeport has less money for its schools, even while taxing its residents at higher rates. And when funds fall short — for things as basic as paper, as they sometimes do — there is no way to make it up.

          That is not true in Fairfield, Mr. Dwyer, the chairman of the board of education, said. While his is not the highest-spending district in the state — several districts spend more than $25,000 per student — Fairfield parent associations raise money for field trips, white boards or boxes of school supplies.

          And then there is what residents spend out of school. "A suburban family can get their kids to museums, they can travel, can get special tutors, they can get enrichment classes," Mr. Dwyer said. "Poverty is a word, but what really separates the two districts is suburban children have more enrichment activities before they even start public school than the typical urban child, and that makes a difference."

          Harding High School, a once-grand red brick building now long past its heyday, sits on Central Avenue in Bridgeport. Ground has been broken on a new $106 million school nearby, on a site of a former General Electric plant.

          But for now, the school's 1,100 students make do with crumbling walls, peeling paint and classrooms that on Friday were sweltering. By late morning, teachers and students mopped sweat from their faces as they marched through the building.

          Finding and keeping qualified teachers, especially those certified to teach math and science, is a battle, administrators said. Dane Brown is in his seventh month as interim principal at Harding, and over the summer, he had 16 positions to fill. Special-education teachers are especially difficult to find, and roughly 20 percent of Harding students qualify for special-education services, he said.

          Presented with the challenges of Bridgeport, many teachers look for jobs in neighboring Fairfield, Greenwich or Stratford, Dr. Johnson, the assistant superintendent, said. That creates a competitive disadvantage that is nearly impossible to overcome.

          "They can go 10 minutes away," she said, "and make $25,000 to $30,000 more."

          Indeed, the districts' proximity not only magnifies their differences, it makes matters worse, education experts say.

          Erica Frankenberg, an education professor at Penn State who studies school segregation, said: "Over time, districts that are right next to each other become very much identified as on very different trajectories, and that has a range of impacts on the kinds of schooling kids get. There is an idea of what certain districts are, and they just diverge."



          5)  I Want to Win Someday': Tribes Make Stand Against Pipeline

          SEPT. 8, 2016


          NEAR CANNON BALL, N.D. — Verna Bailey stared into the silvery ripples of a man-made lake, looking for the spot where she had been born. "Out there," she said, pointing to the water. "I lived down there with my grandmother and grandfather. We had a community there. Now it's all gone."

          Fifty years ago, hers was one of hundreds of Native American families whose homes and land were inundated by rising waters after the Army Corps of Engineers built the Oahe Dam along the Missouri River, part of a huge midcentury public-works project approved by Congress to provide electricity and tame the river's floods.

          To Ms. Bailey, 76, and thousands of other tribal members who lived along the river's length, the project was a cultural catastrophe, residents and historians say. It displaced families, uprooted cemeteries and swamped lands where tribes grazed cattle, drove wagons and gathered wild grapes and medicinal tea.

          That past has now become a poignant backdrop to protests over a $3.7 billion oil pipeline project that would cross a rancher's land just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation and plunge under a dammed section of the Missouri River. The company building the Dakota Access pipeline across four states and 1,170 miles says it will transport oil safely and reliably. Opponents say a spill or break could poison the river.

          The protests have drawn thousands here to the Plains, stirring a new environmental movement for dozens of Native American tribes across the country who are supporting the Standing Rock Sioux's efforts here to block the pipeline. The fight is nearing a pivotal moment as a federal judge in Washington prepares to rule by Friday on whether to allow or block construction of a section of the pipeline near the tribe's land.

          History, like a river, runs deep here. And residents like Ms. Bailey say the pipeline battle has dredged up old memories and feelings about lost lands and broken treaties with the United States government, as well as their worries about the future of land and water they hold sacred.

          "The trauma we deal with today is a residual effect of 1958, when the floods came," said David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

          The federal government has paid millions in compensation over the years to tribes affected by the dam project, including more than $90 million held for the Standing Rock Sioux. But people here say they are still haunted by the memories of being told to leave their homes and seeing families drift apart. The tribe has spent more than 20 years trying to gain control of 19,000 acres of waterfront land that was taken through eminent domain during dam construction.

          "Even though it's been more than half a century, they still feel this loss," said Michael L. Lawson, the author of "Dammed Indians," a history of the government's dam projects along the Missouri. He said about 56,000 acres of Standing Rock Sioux land had been condemned for the dams and 190 families relocated. Theirs was one of 23 reservations affected by the project.

          "Just about every part of their economy and living situation was impacted," Mr. Lawson said. "They lost their most important resources in the bottom lands."

          For years, the legacy of the dam was perhaps the headline struggle for the Standing Rock Sioux. Now the pipeline has brought widespread attention, intense news media coverage and thousands of environmental pilgrims to this serene stretch of North Dakota.

          The Standing Rock Sioux have sued the Army Corps of Engineers, which approved an important permit for the pipeline, saying that building the pipeline would destroy sacred cultural and burial sites and raising concerns that a leak or spill would poison their water supply. The tribe has asked for a preliminary injunction.

          The Corps says it reached out extensively to tribes before it gave approval for the Dakota Access pipeline to cross bodies of water, including the Missouri. The Standing Rock Sioux, it says, canceled a meeting to visit the pipeline's proposed crossing across Lake Oahe. The tribe says it was not properly consulted.

          In legal filings, the Corps said the Standing Rock Sioux also could not point to specific sites that would be harmed by the pipeline. A tribal history expert later walked the route of the pipeline, and said he had found stone cairns and rocks arrayed in circles, spirals and other patterns that he said probably marked burial sites.

          As the judge's decision nears, tensions and fears of violence are rising.

          Last weekend, protesters upset that pipeline work crews were bulldozing what the tribe calls sacred ceremonial sites broke down a wire fence and surged onto a construction site. The sheriff's office here in Morton County called it a "riot," and said protesters had kicked workers, hit them with sticks and sent one to the hospital. Tribal officials say that the demonstrators were provoked, and that six were bitten by guard dogs brought in by the pipeline company's security guards.

          On Thursday, Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced that he was sending about a dozen National Guard troops to help state troopers at a traffic checkpoint about 30 miles up the road from the protest, and that he was putting others on standby. Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier of Morton County said his officers would increase their patrols and their visibility around the demonstration itself.

          "The worst fear is that this gets escalated in some way and someone gets hurt," Sheriff Kirchmeier said in an interview this week. "At some point, there has to be an end game. This can't be going on for long periods of time."

          A total of 37 people have been arrested on trespassing and other charges, but no one has been charged in connection with the clashes on Saturday. Sheriff Kirchmeier said his office was still investigating.

          The protests have attracted activists, actors and politicians. This week, Jill Stein, the Green Party's presidential nominee, camped out with protesters and was seen on videos spray-painting a bulldozer that sat at a pipeline construction site. On Wednesday, Morton County officials said they had filed misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and trespassing against Ms. Stein and her vice-presidential running mate, Ajamu Baraka.

          The Texas company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, said that it was operating entirely within the law and its agreements with landowners, and that it had all the necessary state and federal permits to build the pipeline. The company sued the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribal members, accusing them of illegally disrupting the pipeline's construction.

          Theresa Pleets, 81, said she had a deep personal stake in coming out to the protest camp, a field speckled with teepees, campers, tents and fire rings. She grew up in a two-room log house along the Missouri River, where her parents would fill barrels with drinking water. After the river was dammed, she said, her parents were relocated to a small, government-built house.

          "I want to beat the Corps," she said. "I want to win someday."

          The house where Ms. Bailey was born had just one room, she said. She arrived during a January blizzard in 1940, and her grandfather, Albert No Heart Sr., took a horse-drawn sleigh eight miles south to the town of Fort Yates to fetch a midwife, she said. She went away to boarding school, and worked for decades in tribal administrative offices. Now, she said, she tells stories of gathering firewood and wild berries in land that is covered by water.

          "My kids don't believe it," she said, "when I tell them how things were."



          6)  Facebook Censors Iconic Vietnam War Photo Over Nudity

          SEPT. 9, 2016


          Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, has been criticized by one of Norway's largest newspapers after the social network deleted a post that included a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph from the Vietnam War of a naked girl fleeing napalm bombs.

          In an open letter to Mr. Zuckerberg published on Friday, Espen Egil Hansen, the editor in chief of Aftenposten, asserted that Facebook and its chief executive were harming press freedom by limiting what could be published on the social network.

          The criticism of Facebook's perceived heavy hand toward the news media comes soon after the technology giant was accused of intentionally suppressing conservative news articles in the United States so that they did not appear in its Trending Topics listing.

          Many of the world's largest newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, increasingly rely on Facebook to communicate with the social network's 1.7 billion users worldwide.

          The tech company earns billions of dollars from advertising based on individuals' posts and has signed deals with global media brands to get them to use its products. Almost half of American adults now rely on Facebook as their main source of news, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

          But amid seemingly constant changes to the Facebook algorithm that decides what content people see on the social network, a growing number of media companies and analysts have raised concerns that Facebook may hold too much sway over what can be read, watched and shared online.

          "Facebook not only has become a media company, but Mark Zuckerberg is the most powerful editor in chief in the world," Mr. Hansen, whose newspaper has a print circulation of 200,000, said in an interview on Friday. "As the position of traditional media companies gets weaker and Facebook becomes stronger, the responsibility for Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg grows."

          In response, Facebook said that it was difficult to decide whether a photograph of a naked child could be published in one instance, but not in others. It added that it tried to find a balance between allowing people to express themselves online and protecting child safety.

          "Our solutions won't always be perfect," Lena Pietsch, a Facebook spokeswoman, said in a statement, "but we will continue to try to improve our policies."

          The controversy began when Tom Egeland, a Norwegian author, wrote a Facebook post in August that included seven photographs about the history of warfare.

          One image — by The Associated Press photographer Nick Ut and showing people, including the naked Vietnamese girl, fleeing for their lives — was removed by Facebook, which cited its standards policy. After Mr. Egeland criticized the removal, according to Mr. Hansen, he was barred from posting on the social network for 24 hours.

          Mr. Hansen said that he was taking a stand on behalf of Mr. Egeland and others, as Facebook is increasingly able to set the standards for what can, and cannot, be shared online. He met with his editorial team on Thursday to discuss whether to publish the open letter on the front page of Aftenposten's print edition, adding that the newspaper's Facebook page was "important, but not crucial" to its overall digital strategy. The letter also appeared on the newspaper's website and on its Facebook page.

          The Norwegian journalist's stance against Facebook's editorial policies also received backing from national politicians. On Friday, Prime Minister Erna Solberg and cabinet ministers posted the Vietnam War photograph on their Facebook pages. "Facebook gets it wrong when they censor such images," Ms. Solberg wrote in her post.

          Yet soon after Ms. Solberg published that Facebook post, the social network removed it, citing the company's standards policy.

          "At least it shows that Facebook doesn't discriminate," Mr. Hansen said.



          7)  It's High Time for Mass Mobilization to Free Mumia!

          By Jack Heyman and Eric Clanton

          Counter Punch, September 9, 2016


          Could Mumia Abu-Jamal, one of the twentieth century's most high profile political prisoners, a powerful and renowned author and a former Black Panther, have hope of being released after 34 years in prison, 30 of those years on death row? Could Mumia, unlike the anarchists, Sacco and Vanzetti, or the Communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed by the state, finally see the light of day after decades in prison like former Black Panthers Geronimo Pratt, the Angola Three and Eddie Conway?

          A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Williams v. Pennsylvania, could provide a legal precedent to open the door for Mumia's release. But that will not end the police vendetta against him as demonstrated by the bitter experience of unending persecution by courts, cops and prison authorities. For every legal principle there is a "Mumia exception." There can be no reliance on the courts for justice, in large part because Mumia is falsely accused of killing a cop. As in the case of Angela Davis, it will require mass mobilizations to free Mumia, mobilizations from trade unions with large Black memberships and community organizations like Black Lives Matter.

          In the meantime, Mumia's life is in grave danger as a federal court judge refused to grant an injunction to require that the state of Pennsylvania give him proper medication for his life-threatening Hepatitis C. And yet the judge found the state prison system's protocol for treating prisoners with Hep-C unconstitutional! Another Mumia exception, no doubt.

          As prisoners are commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising on September 9 by organizing a nationwide strike protesting the horrid conditions of mass incarceration, we outside the prison walls, need to be demonstrating in sympathy with their demands and calling for freedom for class war political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal.

          Ron Castille and the racist frame-up of Mumia

          The new Supreme Court ruling establishes a precedent for the court to vacate all of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's denials of Mumia's post-conviction appeals. On August 7, 2016 a motion was filed with the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. This legal action "provides a path in the courts to overturn Mumia's conviction and win his freedom" according to Rachel Wolkenstein, a former attorney of Mumia. This legal action could result in a new appeal process and then a new trial. But again, in Mumia's case (and so many others), such legal precedents are routinely overridden when the state is prepared to go to the wall against a defendant.

          Still this new decision offers a new opportunity for Mumia and his supporters to forcefully challenge the blatant frame-up that lead to his conviction, and, to bring broader exposure to a racist system of injustice.

          After decades of frustration and disappointment the fight for Mumia's freedom could see a breakthrough. The new precedent–setting decision in Williams v. Pennsylvania has established that judicial bias occurs when a judge participating in a criminal appeal had "a significant personal involvement as a prosecutor in a critical decision regarding the defendant's case." Ronald D. Castille has played the central role of both prosecutor and judge in the course of Mumia's legal nightmare. He was the Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia during Mumia's 1982 trial, was the elected Philadelphia District Attorney during Mumia's direct appeal, and as a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice in 1998 and 2002 rejected a motion demanding his recusal from decisions concerning Mumia's case.

          Castille and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court have stood in the way of each of Mumia's attempts to appeal his post conviction decisions, including those appeals, which argued that Castille's participation constituted a conflict of interest. From the beginning Castille showed prejudice. As DA he made a training video on how to exclude Blacks from a jury when Blacks were nearly 40 percent of Philly's population. 

          Mass mobilizations must bolster Mumia's court fight

          By extension, this struggle must link the Black Lives Matter movement on the streets to the mass incarceration of Black lives behind prison walls. But Mumia's fight for freedom can only happen if his case gains traction through mass labor and Black mobilizations like the one organized by the San Francisco longshore union on April 29, 1999 or the Oakland teachers' union that organized a city-wide teach-in on the death penalty and the frame-up of Mumia a few months before that.

          At that time the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) organized a one-day coast-wide shutdown and led a march of 25,000 people through the streets of San Francisco to demand freedom for Mumia and call attention to racist repression and the plight of class war prisoners. Actions like this succeeded in bringing attention to Mumia's case but at this late date there needs to be much more now. Left to the courts alone, he will certainly die by "legal lynching" from medical mistreatment of Hepatitis C, in the same way that the apartheid regime of South Africa handled its imprisoned opponents.

          From young Black Panther to "slow death row"

          Mumia, who takes his name from Kenyan anti-colonial fighters, was already in the crosshairs of the police when as a teenager he was Minister of Information for the Black Panther Party. After the Panthers split in 1971, Mumia went to college to study radio journalism and began a career of reporting and broadcasting. Throughout his years as an award-winning radio broadcaster, Mumia used his platform to direct attention to police brutality and other forms of state violence, most notably exposing the Philadelphia Police Department's (PPD) targeting of the militant back-to-nature organization MOVE.

          Mumia's speaking truth-to-power reporting made him the target of escalating hounding by the police, especially former Philly "top cop," Mayor Frank Rizzo. In December of 1981, PPD Officer Daniel Faulkner was killed while conducting a traffic stop of Mumia's brother, William Cook. Mumia Abu-Jamal, who had been driving a taxi part time, arrived at the scene to see what was happening. As Mumia approached, he was shot, critically wounded and beaten by police.

          Mumia's subsequent trial was a case study of a political frame-up in capitalist America today: police corruption and a federal investigation, judicial misconduct, denial of basic rights, witness tampering, and evidence fabrication. Most grotesquely, in his chambers the presiding judge Albert Sabo, an honorary member of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), was quoted as saying by the court stenographer of the impending legal proceeding, "I'm going to help them fry that n—-r." Having had his right to self-representation revoked and barred from his own trial, Mumia was convicted in 1982 and later sentenced to death. Mumia's case is an ironclad frame-up by the state and FOP. In a gross understatement Amnesty International calls Mumia's trial "unfair."

          Mumia spent 30 years in solitary confinement on death row Pennsylvania. Yet, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, has said that solitary confinement of more than ten days is inhumane treatment.

          After a lengthy, hard-fought appeals process Mumia, in 2011, had his sentence commuted to life without the possibility of parole or as he calls it "slow death row." When continued medical mistreatment led to near-fatal diabetic shock, Mumia, was finally diagnosed with the deadly hepatitis C virus. He was then denied the curative medication, without which, he will certainly die. That's why the urgency is to keep him alive and fight for his freedom.

          International labor solidarity rallies to save Mumia

          As the searing protest letter sent to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf from comrades of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa NUMSA

          "The refusal to health-care reminds us of the conditions we were put in under Apartheid prisons where sick detainees were allowed to die in very deplorable lonely conditions in solitary as part of the punishment for their role in the struggle."  

          Mumia has continued writing and publishing numerous volumes about racism, his experience on death row, and the depredations of capitalism. Called the "voice of the voiceless," he has won audiences around the world.

          The International Dockworkers Council (IDC), which represents the most militant port workers is meeting later this month in Miami. On July 7, the IDC organized dockworkers to simultaneously shutdown ports around the world for one hour to highlight the injuries and deaths caused by this most profitable, yet dangerous industry. The IDC has already taken a stand on social issues like racist police terror in the U.S. They've sent a letter this year to the Pennsylvania governor citing Mumia's unjust imprisonment and demanding proper medical treatment and his "immediate and unconditional release" from prison.

          International attention and protest are key to the effort to free Mumia. In light of this new legal opening, a renewed international campaign, can not only win Mumia's release, but will continue to highlight the racist and class oppression that is constantly perpetrated by this justice system that enforces the law and order of capital.

          ·       Solidarity with the Nationwide Prisoners Strike!

          ·       Stop the Death of Hep C Prisoners! Hep C Meds for All!

          ·       Save the Life of Mumia Abu-Jamal!

          ·       Release Mumia From Prison Now!

          Jack Heyman, is chair of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, and member of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.

          Eric Clanton, member of Ghostown Prisoners Support



          8)  How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat

          SEPT. 12, 2016


          The sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, newly released historical documents show.

          The internal sugar industry documents, recently discovered by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that five decades of research into the role of nutrition and heart disease, including many of today's dietary recommendations, may have been largely shaped by the sugar industry.

          "They were able to derail the discussion about sugar for decades," said Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at U.C.S.F. and an author of the JAMA Internal Medicine paper.

          The documents show that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today's dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease. The studies used in the review were handpicked by the sugar group, and the article, which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, minimized the link between sugar and heart health and cast aspersions on the role of saturated fat.

          Even though the influence-peddling revealed in the documents dates back nearly 50 years, more recent reports show that the food industry has continued to influence nutrition science.

          Last year, an article in The New York Times revealed that Coca-Cola, the world's largest producer of sugary beverages, had provided millions of dollars in funding to researchers who sought to play down the link between sugary drinks and obesity. In June, The Associated Press reported that candy makers were funding studies that claimed that children who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who do not.

          The Harvard scientists and the sugar executives with whom they collaborated are no longer alive. One of the scientists who was paid by the sugar industry was D. Mark Hegsted, who went on to become the head of nutrition at the United States Department of Agriculture, where in 1977 he helped draft the forerunner to the federal government's dietary guidelines. Another was Dr. Fredrick J. Stare, the chairman of Harvard's nutrition department.

          In a statement responding to the JAMA journal report, the Sugar Association said that the 1967 review was published at a time when medical journals did not typically require researchers to disclose funding sources. The New England Journal of Medicine did not begin to require financial disclosures until 1984.

          The industry "should have exercised greater transparency in all of its research activities," the Sugar Association statement said. Even so, it defended industry-funded research as playing an important and informative role in scientific debate. It said that several decades of research had concluded that sugar "does not have a unique role in heart disease."

          The revelations are important because the debate about the relative harms of sugar and saturated fat continues today, Dr. Glantz said. For many decades, health officials encouraged Americans to reduce their fat intake, which led many people to consume low-fat, high-sugar foods that some experts now blame for fueling the obesity crisis.

          "It was a very smart thing the sugar industry did, because review papers, especially if you get them published in a very prominent journal, tend to shape the overall scientific discussion," he said.

          Dr. Hegsted used his research to influence the government's dietary recommendations, which emphasized saturated fat as a driver of heart disease while largely characterizing sugar as empty calories linked to tooth decay. Today, the saturated fat warnings remain a cornerstone of the government's dietary guidelines, though in recent years the American Heart Association, the World Health Organization and other health authorities have also begun to warn that too much added sugar may increase cardiovascular disease risk.

          Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, wrote an editorial accompanying the new paperin which she said the documents provided "compelling evidence" that the sugar industry had initiated research "expressly to exonerate sugar as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease."

          "I think it's appalling," she said. "You just never see examples that are this blatant."

          Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, said that academic conflict-of-interest rules had changed significantly since the 1960s, but that the industry papers were a reminder of "why research should be supported by public funding rather than depending on industry funding."

          Dr. Willett said the researchers had limited data to assess the relative risks of sugar and fat. "Given the data that we have today, we have shown the refined carbohydrates and especially sugar-sweetened beverages are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but that the type of dietary fat is also very important," he said.

          The JAMA Internal Medicine paper relied on thousands of pages of correspondence and other documents that Cristin E. Kearns, a postdoctoral fellow at U.C.S.F., discovered in archives at Harvard, the University of Illinois and other libraries.

          The documents show that in 1964, John Hickson, a top sugar industry executive, discussed a plan with others in the industry to shift public opinion "through our research and information and legislative programs."

          At the time, studies had begun pointing to a relationship between high-sugar diets and the country's high rates of heart disease. At the same time, other scientists, including the prominent Minnesota physiologist Ancel Keys, were investigating a competing theory that it was saturated fat and dietary cholesterol that posed the biggest risk for heart disease.

          Mr. Hickson proposed countering the alarming findings on sugar with industry-funded research. "Then we can publish the data and refute our detractors," he wrote.

          In 1965, Mr. Hickson enlisted the Harvard researchers to write a review that would debunk the anti-sugar studies. He paid them a total of $6,500, the equivalent of $49,000 today. Mr. Hickson selected the papers for them to review and made it clear he wanted the result to favor sugar.

          Harvard's Dr. Hegsted reassured the sugar executives. "We are well aware of your particular interest," he wrote, "and will cover this as well as we can."

          As they worked on their review, the Harvard researchers shared and discussed early drafts with Mr. Hickson, who responded that he was pleased with what they were writing. The Harvard scientists had dismissed the data on sugar as weak and given far more credence to the data implicating saturated fat.

          "Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind, and we look forward to its appearance in print," Mr. Hickson wrote.

          After the review was published, the debate about sugar and heart disease died down, while low-fat diets gained the endorsement of many health authorities, Dr. Glantz said.

          "By today's standards, they behaved very badly," he said.



          9)  Black Health Experts Renew Fight Against Menthol Cigarettes

          SEPT. 13, 2016




          WASHINGTON — Menthol cigarettes account for about a third of all cigarettes sold in the United States, and they are particularly popular among black smokers — about four out of five report smoking them, according to federal surveys.

          The effects are devastating: About 45,000 African-Americans die each year from smoking-related illnesses — the largest cause of preventable death, more than homicides, AIDS and car accidents. Black men have the highest lung cancer mortality rate of any demographic group.

          Three years ago, the Food and Drug Administration seemed poised to take action. It said research showed that the mint flavoring made it easier to start smoking and harder to quit, meaning that the substance harmed public health, a finding that activists and experts believed laid the groundwork for banning menthol.

          But nothing has happened, and on Tuesday, a group of African-American activists and health experts made an appeal to President Obama, arguing that the issue was not only one of health, but also of social justice.

          "What we're trying to do is involve the president of the United States in this discussion," said Phillip Gardiner, a chairman of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council. "We die disproportionately of cancer-related diseases. Part of what has taken place here is the use of menthol cigarettes."

          Black leaders have tried for years to get the federal government to deal with menthol without success. One obstacle has been divisions among African-Americans on the issue. The tobacco industry had longprovided economic support to African-American organizations like the N.A.A.C.P., according to industry documents made public during the federal government's settlement with tobacco companies in 1998, which weakened the fight.

          But that might be changing. An invigorated public conversation about race in the United States seems to be breathing new life into the issue. In July, the N.A.A.C.P. voted to support state and local efforts to restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes, a drastic departure from the past.

          A spokesman for the N.A.A.C.P. says the group receives no funding from the tobacco industry.

          "It's been a pivotal year," Dr. Gardiner said. "There's been some motion."

          Menthol has a long history among African-Americans. Valerie Yerger, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who has studied the tobacco industry, said documents showed that cigarette companies targeted low-income, African-American neighborhoods.

          She said Lorillard, the maker of Newport, the most popular menthol brand, ordered its sales representatives in the 1980s to "stay out of the suburbs and go into tough inner-city neighborhoods."

          Maura Payne, a spokeswoman for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which owns Lorillard, said she could not comment because the documents were written long before the company acquired Lorillard in 2015.

          Lisa Henriksen, a researcher at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, said she had documented patterns of racial disparities in tobacco marketing. In a 2012 study of tobacco sales near California high schools, she found the higher the enrollment of African-American students, the higher the percentage of advertisements for menthol cigarettes. Newports were cheaper, she found, near schools with higher shares of African-American students.

          Ms. Payne said it was her understanding that Lorillard's retail programs "were offered uniformly on a statewide basis."

          Spending for magazine advertising of menthol cigarettes went from 13 percent of total ad spending in 1998 to around 76 percent in 2006, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. From 1998 to 2002, Ebony was nearly 10 times as likely as People to have menthol advertisements.

          Dr. Henriksen argued the marketing had an effect. While smoking rates have been declining across the nation, rates for menthol cigarette use among those 18 to 25 climbed to 16 percent in 2010, from 13 percent in 2004, according to a 2011 federal report. From 2008 to 2010, about 57 percent of youth smokers used menthol cigarettes, according to the Legacy Foundation, an antismoking research group.

          The F.D.A. said it had received more than 175,000 public comments in response to its 2013 findings on menthol. A spokesman, Michael Felberbaum, said the agency "is continuing to consider regulatory options related to menthol."

          Carol McGruder, a chairwoman of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, said the group had sent a letter to Mr. Obama; his wife, Michelle, and a number of heads of federal agencies, including the F.D.A. So far, she said, it had not received a reply. But it still hopes to.

          "Our children deserve protection from the police," she said. "They deserve protection from the deadly silent predator: the tobacco industry."



          10)  U.S. Finalizes Deal to Give Israel $38 Billion in Military Aid

          SEPT. 13, 2016


          JERUSALEM — The United States has finalized a $38 billion package of military aid for Israel over the next 10 years, the largest of its kind ever, and the two allies plan to sign the agreement on Wednesday, American and Israeli officials said.

          The State Department scheduled a ceremony to formally announce the pact, which will be signed by Jacob Nagel, the acting national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the under secretary of state for political affairs. Susan E. RicePresident Obama's national security adviser who handled negotiations, plans to be on hand.

          The package represents a major commitment to Israel's security in the waning months of Mr. Obama's presidency after years of fractious relations with Mr. Netanyahu over issues like the Iran nuclear agreement. Mr. Netanyahu agreed to several concessions to cement the deal rather than gamble on winning better terms from the next president.

          The package will provide an average of $3.8 billion a year over the next decade to Israel, already the largest recipient of American aid, including financing for missile defense systems that defend against rockets fired by groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Under a previous 10-year agreement that expires in 2018, the United States provides about $3 billion a year, but lately Congress has added up to $500 million a year for missile defense.

          "The United States has invested significantly in many of Israel's most effective defenses against terrorist threats," Daniel B. Shapiro, the American ambassador to Israel, said in a speech this week. He cited the Iron Dome antimissile system and the delivery by the end of this year of the first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

          Looking ahead to the next decade, Mr. Netanyahu initially sought as much as $45 billion, but Mr. Obama refused to go that high. Money for missile defense is included in the package, and the two sides agreed not to seek additional funds from Congress over the next decade unless both agree, such as in case of a war.

          The new deal will also phase out a special provision that allowed Israel to use about a quarter of the money to buy Israeli arms, an exception once intended to strengthen the small state's defense industry. Now, with Israel a robust arms exporter competing with American firms, it will have to use the American money to buy American military systems, just as other aid recipients are required to do.

          "The most important thing about this is the strategic message," said Ilan Goldenberg, the director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. "The fact that Obama and Netanyahu are able to get this done even when they don't agree on a lot of things and they don't have a very good personal relationship is a very strong signal that this is a vital alliance and each side recognizes it transcends politics and personalities."

          Dennis Ross, a former Middle East adviser to Mr. Obama and other presidents, noted that the agreement follows one negotiated by George W. Bush. "If nothing else, it shows the basic American approach to Israel is, in fact, bipartisan," said Mr. Ross, author of "Doomed to Succeed," a history of Israeli-American relations.

          But the completion of the deal after nearly a year of discussions comes against the background of continuing friction between the two nations' leaders. Just in recent days, the Obama administration publicly chastised the prime minister for a provocative video in which he accused Palestinian leaders of favoring "ethnic cleansing" by demanding a Jew-free Palestinian state through opposing Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Palestinians said he twisted reality.

          The aid package hardly signals the end of such tension. Mr. Obama's foreign policy team is debating whether he should make a final effort after the November election to lay out terms of a possible peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Such a move could come in a presidential speech or potentially, though less likely, a resolution at the United Nations Security Council.

          The idea would be to break out of what American officials consider the trap of waiting for one or both of the parties to step forward. While Mr. Obama's statement would hardly settle the issue, some advisers argue it might break the logjam or at least lay down a marker. Other advisers doubt it would be worth Mr. Obama's political capital in the lame-duck period after the election and worry it would be unwelcome if Hillary Clinton wins.

          Mr. Netanyahu strongly opposes such an American move, especially if it were made at the United Nations. His camp has expressed concern that once the aid agreement was finalized, Mr. Obama might feel emboldened to go ahead over Mr. Netanyahu's objections because the president could argue he had already addressed Israel's security needs.

          As a result, the finalization of the aid package may not leave either side feeling especially satisfied. "My take is, given the context, nobody feels like throwing a big party," said Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East peace negotiator now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

          Critics of Israel's policy toward the Palestinians said the United States was effectively subsidizing operations it regularly criticized.

          "We are helping the Israelis sustain the costs of the occupation we claim is unsustainable," said Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a group advocating Palestinian rights.

          "The whole policy is outdated," he added. "It goes back to an era when there were major Arab-Israeli wars and when Israel was in a very different place economically. Those conditions no longer exist, even though the occupation does, and it is high time we address our complicity in it."

          Mr. Obama, however, promised to bolster Israeli security last year when he sealed an international agreement with Iran intended to curb its nuclear program. Mr. Netanyahu vociferously opposed that deal, describing it as a naïve capitulation to Tehran that will ultimately free it from international sanctions without effectively restraining its hostile ambitions.

          Negotiations on a security package since then have progressed fitfully, but White House officials insisted the aid would underscore unparalleled American support for Israeli defenses. "Through word and deed, this administration has done more for Israel's security than any other in U.S. history," Ms. Rice told Congress over the summer in a letter also signed by the budget director, Shaun Donovan.



          11)  Chelsea Manning Told She Can Have Gender Reassignment Surgery, Lawyer Says

          SEPT. 13, 2016




          Chelsea Manning, who announced that she was female the day after being sentenced to prison in 2013 for leaking government files, has been told that the United States military will allow her to proceed with gender reassignment surgery, her lawyer said on Tuesday.

          "Chelsea has received word from the military that they are moving forward with the recommendation for surgery," said Chase Strangio, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. Mr. Strangio said that he did not know whether the Army had clarified who would pay for Ms. Manning's treatment.

          Lt. Col. Patrick R. Seiber, an Army spokesman, declined to comment because the matter concerned the health of an inmate.

          In a statement provided by her lawyer, Ms. Manning, 28, praised the decision, but wondered why it had not come sooner.

          "I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing," she said. "I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted — for them to let me be me. But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long."

          "The surgery was recommended back in April 2016," she said. "The recommendations for my hair length were back in 2014." As a result of the military's decision, Mr. Strangio said, Ms. Manning ended a five-day hunger strike.

          News of the approval for gender reassignment surgery was reported by BuzzFeed on Tuesday evening.

          The decision to allow Ms. Manning to proceed with the surgery appeared to be emblematic of a gradual shift in the military's position on transgender service members.

          In August 2013, Ms. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking government files to WikiLeaks. A day after her sentencing, Ms. Manning, who was then known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, issued a statement saying that she was female and was changing her name to Chelsea. She requested hormone therapy "as soon as possible."

          At the time, a spokeswoman for the Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where Ms. Manning was being held, said that the prison did not provide hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery.

          In February 2015, the Defense Department approved Ms. Manning's request for hormone therapy. The next month, a military court recognized her as a woman.

          A Department of Defense memo dated June 30, 2016, overturned a ban on open service by transgender people in the military and made it clear that the military would allow active service members to transition genders. Before, service members who were receiving medical treatment related to gender transition were discharged.

          Ms. Manning had not believed that the change in policy would apply to her, Mr. Strangio said, and she was later charged by the military with offenses stemming from a suicide attempt in early July. She still faces those charges, he said.

          "It was clear that one of the main drivers of her mental health crisis was that there was really no hope that she would ever receive the care that she needs," Mr. Strangio said. "This is a really important beacon of hope for her."

          Mr. Strangio said that Ms. Manning had been given "some indication" on Monday that a compromise might be worked out with respect to her treatment. On Tuesday, she was shown a treatment protocol that had a number of recommendations for her in writing, he said, confirming that a doctor's recommendation from April that she be treated for gender dysphoria was being followed.

          In her statement, Ms. Manning said, "I hope this sets a precedent for the thousands of trans people behind me hoping they will be given the treatment they need."



          12)  Workers Pay More for Health Care as Companies Shift Burden, Survey Finds

          SEPT. 14, 2016


          State health insurance exchanges created under the new health care laware in turmoil. By contrast, the employer market — where the majority of Americans still get their coverage — seems like a bastion of stability.

          An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation released on Wednesday shows that the share of employers offering coverage remained steady this year, and that the cost of premiums for health plans remained largely unchanged.

          "We see historic moderation in premiums and health spending and costs," said Drew Altman, the chief executive of the Kaiser foundation, a nonprofit in Menlo Park, Calif., that closely tracks the health insurance markets.

          But underneath some of those figures, some important changes are underway. The biggest shift is that workers continue to pay an ever-greater share of their medical bills, a trend for several years now. That is why Mr. Altman said that despite the overall moderation in costs, "it doesn't feel that way to average people."

          Kaiser's annual survey of employer health benefits represents a yearly snapshot of the coverage companies offer their workers, and highlights from the survey are being published online in Health Affairs, an academic journal. About 150 million people are covered by an employer, a much larger group than the 11 million or so who buy coverage on the exchanges created under the federal health care law. On Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported that the percentage of uninsured Americans fell last year, to 9.1 percent, in part because of the strength of the employer market.

          The latest survey helps shed some light on the quickly evolving insurance industry. Here are a few highlights.

          Slow Rise in Premiums

          Annual family premiums rose an average of 3 percent, about in line with the average increase in workers' wages, to $18,142 a year, according to Kaiser, which surveyed more than 1,900 employers.

          This continued a significant slowdown in price increases. In the period since 2011, the premiums for plans covering a family rose 20 percent, compared with 31 percent from 2006 to 2011, and a 63 percent increase from 2001 to 2006.

          How long will this last? Mr. Altman says he is doubtful that the reprieve from sharply rising costs is permanent and that he thinks rates will go up again, especially if the economy heats up. "I don't think we're living in a new world," he said.

          Exactly why the increases have been so modest in recent years is up for debate. The Obama administration argues that some measures in the federal health care law have helped slow the rise in health care costs. Some other experts tend to point to the lingering effects of a sluggish economy as well as the push by employers to shift more costs onto workers.

          Increasing Deductibles

          While employer-sponsored plans typically have much lower deductibles than the most popular plans found on the exchanges, more employees have deductibles, and those deductibles are increasing.

          Over all, employees have deductibles that are about 50 percent higher than they were five years ago. Four out of five covered employees pay a deductible, which averages about $1,500 each, Kaiser found. Employees who get insurance through a smaller company have deductibles that now average $2,100.

          Workers are also paying a greater share of the premiums, contributing $5,277 annually toward a family plan, nearly a third of the total cost.

          The move by employers and insurers to push more health costs onto workers is significant, said Mr. Altman, who describes it as a stealth move to "skimpier insurance." Proponents of higher cost sharing say that asking people to pay more of their medical bills causes them to be more discriminating about what health care they use.

          Networks Shrinking and Rarer Choices

          Remember the days of being able to go to any doctor or hospital of your choice? Many employers still choose plans that let workers visit a doctor out of network, although employees are paying increasingly more for the privilege.

          But more companies are opting for less choice for their employees. This year, slightly fewer than half of workers are enrolled in so-called preferred provider organization plans, or P.P.O.s, compared with 58 percent in 2014. While you pay more when you go outside the plan's network, you are still covered if you go to a doctor or hospital that does not belong.

          Employers started turning to these plans in the 1990s, when resistance to health maintenance organizations, or H.M.O.s, grew. Employers and insurers tend to favor more restrictive plans because they usually contain costs better.

          The tide may be reversing somewhat. The H.M.O. has been rethought in new forms that are without some of the drawbacks of an old-style health maintenance organizations, like requiring people to get permission to go to a specialist.

          As a result, some employers are dropping P.P.O.s in favor of the more restrictive plans, Mr. Altman said. "We're beginning to see that reverse," he said.

          The trend toward narrower networks is also seen in plans offered on the exchanges, where the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform recently estimated that two-thirds were H.M.O.s offering a sharply limited choice of doctors and hospitals this year.

          Employers Staying Put

          The recent Kaiser survey also emphasizes the endurance of the employer market, despite earlier predictions that the health care law would usher in its demise. Most companies are still offering health benefits to their employees, with the percentage virtually unchanged from last year at 56 percent.

          "We're just not seeing a big impact on employers," Mr. Altman said.

          There is also little proof that companies are cutting workers' hours to avoid the law's requirement that they offer full-time workers health insurance. Employers with at least 50 full-time workers are required to offer benefits or pay a penalty. More than 90 percent of companies with at least 50 workers are offering coverage.






          Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com
          Reply via web post Reply to sender Reply to group Start a New Topic Messages in this topic (1)

          Have you tried the highest rated email app?
          With 4.5 stars in iTunes, the Yahoo Mail app is the highest rated email app on the market. What are you waiting for? Now you can access all your inboxes (Gmail, Outlook, AOL and more) in one place. Never delete an email again with 1000GB of free cloud storage.