Message from the National Boricua Human Rights Network 



Hi all:

We are asking all organizations, communities, unions, churches, activists, political parties- to CALL ON THEIR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS to sign this petition and spread the word- this is a time-sensitive request!

We must try to achieve the signing of 100,000 signatures by December 11.

No matter how many petitions you have signed- SIGN THIS ONLINE PETITION and get everyone else to do the same. Do not let anyone tell you they have signed petitions or letters before- this is the one that will be highlighted.



Coordinating Committee

National Boricua Human Rights Network

2739 W. Division Street

Chicago IL 60622



International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity





Dump Trump and his Program!
Fight Back Against Racism, Sexism, and Bigotry! 

Saturday, November 19 at 12pm

UN Plaza, San Francisco

Civic Center BART

Donald Trump is the next President of the United States. His racist, sexist and bigoted program offers false solutions for a real crisis. He will continue the same policies of the establishment and elites that he claimed to be pushing back against.

The same Democratic Party elites that spent the majority of the campaign painting a Trump presidency as a catastrophic threat to the world are now demanding that we unite behind him. They aren't going to stand in the way of the racist, sexist, bigoted forces let loose by Trump's campaign. They aren't going to stand in the way of the plans of a Trump presidency. Only a people's movement can do that.

It is of the utmost urgency that all progressive people take to the streets in defense of immigrants, Muslims, women and all people of color. We take to the streets to advance an alternative vision. A vision of unity and solidarity in the struggle against the ravages of a system that has left half of the country in poverty and the 99% under the boot of an administration threatening to deny climate change, rights for immigrants, women and LGBTQ people, and all historically oppressed communities.

Join us in the streets to continue building a sustained mass movement fighting to take power to the people!

Initiated by the ANSWER Coalition

Trump y Sus Propuestas ¡Fuera!
¡Luchemos Contra el Racismo Sexismo y Intolerancia!

Sábado, 19 de noviembre a las 12pmPlaza de la ONU, San Francisco
BART de Centro Cívico 

Donald Trump es el siguiente Presidente de los Estados Unidos. Su propuestas racistas, sexistas y intolerantes ofrece soluciones falsas para una crisis verdadera. Él continuara las mismas políticas de los elites y apoderados que según él se enfrentará.

El mismo elite del Partido Demócrata que pasaron la mayoría de la campaña pintando la presidencia de Trump como una amenaza catastrófica en el mundo ahora demandan que nos unamos con él. Ellos no se enfrentaran a las fuerzas racistas, sexistas y intolerantes que fueron apoderados por la campaña de Trump. Ellos no resistirán los planes de una presidencia Trump. Solo un movimiento popular puede hacer esto.

Es urgente que toda la gente progresista tome las calles en defensa de los inmigrantes, musulmanes, mujeres y toda la gente de color. Tomaremos las calles para avanzar una visión alternativa. Una visión de unidad y solidaridad en la lucha contra la brutalidad del sistema que ha dejado a la mitad del país en pobreza y al 99% bajo la opresión de una administración amenazando a rechazar al cambio climático, derechos de inmigrantes, derechos de la mujeres y gente LGBT y todas la comunidades históricamente oprimidas.

¡Únase en las calles para continuar creando un movimiento sostenible luchando para dar el poder al pueblo!

Iniciado por la Coalición ANSWER







Please sign this petition urging prison administrations to lift the ban on the SF Bay View newspaper. Help us to expose the unjust censorship of prisoners speaking out against injustice.

Prison administrations in several states have banned prisoners from receiving the SF Bay View National Black Newspaper.The SF Bay View is a grassroots paper that has published articles by and about prisoners for decades, giving them the opportunity to discuss the many injustices they experience.

The bans began in July 2016 in an attempt to silence those preparing for the nationwide prison strike that began on September 9. On that day, thousands of prisoners stopped working in protest of a host of prison injustices, including toxic work conditions, overcrowdedness and extreme deadly heat, and to demand that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution be amended. The 13th Amendment, which purportedly abolished slavery, includes this escape-clause: "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted."

Add your name.

Since the strike began, dozens of prisoners have reportedly been placed in solitary confinement and/or transferred to other distant facilities. At the Kinross Correctional Facility in Michigan, guards have forced prisoners to work by attacking them with weapons and tear gas. In Texas prisons, there has been a spate of suicides.

Articles sent from prisons to the SF Bay View reporting these conditions have been continuously intercepted.

Denying access to the SF Bay View violates prisoners' rights to information, education, and communication with their broader communities. It's a violation of freedom of speech and press.

Sign the petition by clicking here.

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now. 

-- The RootsAction.org Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.


Un-Ban the Bay View!

13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Voice of Detroit: Prisoners Teargassed, Zip-Tied, Left Out in Rain







Black Children Punished for Anthem Protests

After young 11 and 12-year-boys of the Beaumont Bulls football knelt during the anthem to protest police violence against Black youth, their local executive board canceled their entire football season, suspended the coaching staff, and threatened to arrest their parents if they attended any future games, practices or events.

For these young Black kids, the plight of injustice in America is their own. Instead of supporting the boys and their protests, their executive board and league officials abandoned them. The board has decided to strip these kids of the team that they love to punish them for asking for basic rights and dignities. This is about the board reinforcing that police violence in our communities doesn't matter, that our issues aren't important and that speaking onthem makes you subject to punishment.

These kids are brave for refusing to give in to the executive board and for standing against injustice. We need to support the fight of these children and show them that their protest is heard.

To the Beaumont Bulls Executive Board,

Immediately reinstate the Beaumont Bulls coaching staff, apologize to the boys and their parents, and allow them to finish their season.


We need to support the fight of these children and show them that their protest is heard. 





Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:










January 20, 2017, 7:00 A.M.

Freedom Plaza

1355 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.

(14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.)

Washington, D.C.



Chelsea Manning Support Network

Support Chelsea's petition to reduce sentence to time served

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Support Chelsea's petition to Obama:
Reduce sentence to time served

"New York Times, November 14, 2016 -- Chelsea Manning, who confessed to disclosing archives of secret diplomatic and military documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 and has been incarcerated longer than any other convicted leaker in American history, has formally petitioned President Obama to reduce the remainder of her 35-year sentence to the more than six years she has already served."

Sign the whitehouse.gov petition in
support of Chelsea's request today!

White House petition

Official clemency application from Chelsea Manning.

November 10, 2016

Also coverage by the Guardian and the New York Times. November 14, 2016

Washington DC action this Saturday!The White House Committee to Pardon Chelsea Manning invites you to join them this Saturday, November 19th from noon to 2pm in front of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC. They are calling on President Obama to pardon Chelsea Manning. Facebook page for more info.

Fort Leavenworth vigil this Sunday! The Kansas City Peace and Social Justice group is organizing a vigil for Chelsea this Sunday, November 20th at 2pm at the public right-of-way near the long driveway into Ft. Leavenworth, near Metropolitan & North 10th Street.

Chelsea tried committing suicide
a second time in October

Chelsea_Manning-Feb2015_2Chelsea has been informed that the Army will hold another disciplinary hearing on the second attempted suicide, which was prompted by the punishment given by the first disciplinary hearing following her initial suicide attempt.

New York Times

November 4, 2016

Chelsea Manning tried to commit suicide last month as she was starting a week of solitary confinement at the prison barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., her punishment for a previous attempt to end her life in July.

Ms. Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking archives of secret documents to WikiLeaks, disclosed the attempted suicide, which took place Oct. 4, in a statement she dictated over the phone to a member of her volunteer support network. She asked that it be sent this week to The New York Times, according to members of the network who want to keep their identities private.

Chase Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Ms. Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, confirmed the attempt, which raised new questions about the military's handling of the troubled soldier, dating to when she was permitted to deploy to Iraq and kept at her post in a secure facility despite signs of erratic behavior.

Read the full NYT article here

Sign the whitehouse.gov petition in
support of Chelsea's request today!



Letter from a prisoner involved in the current prison strike:

Texas Prison Officials retaliate against me

for protesting prison slavery

By Keith "Malik" Washington

        On October 5, 2016, I was transferred to the Telford Unit from the Coffield Unit. At Coffield, I had become the target of a coordinated effort by the State of Texas to retaliate against me for organizing a campaign that seeks to end prison slavery.
        There are elements and individuals within the Texas Criminal Justice System that don't want to acknowledge the humanity of prisoners. The Slave Plantation mentality is deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of the oppressor and the oppressed.
        Telford, where I am now housed, is the home of a horrible Solitary Confinement control unit. I was sent to this control unit in order to be neutralized.
        Prison officials are also using their new Social Media Ban to punish me when my friends or supporters post any kind of information about me. It is crucially important that you continue to share with the world what is happening to me and to so many other imprisoned Freedom Fighters who are trapped inside Amerikan prisons. This attempt to silence prisoner voices and the voices of our free-world supporters is a gross violation of the U.S. Constitution.
        Journalist Raven Rakia, who resides in New York City, actually traveled to Texas to interview me for an upcoming exposé she is working on. Texas prison officials denied her access to me!! I just cannot describe to you how dangerous this situation is becoming.
        I attempted to place Raven Rakia and other media correspondents and friends on my visiting list. Prison officials denied receiving any updated visitation forms from me!
        Sisters and brothers, I cannot fight these people without your help. I am asking you to call the Telford Unit in New Boston, Texas -- 903-628-3171 -- and demand that I be granted visits from media correspondents, friends, and lawyers. I am requesting that media correspondents and lawyers attempt to visit me and make contact with me so that I can relay to the public how Texas has framed me and isolated me.
        Our struggle begins with amending the 13th amendment: we must abolish Prison Slavery in Amerika!
        Furthermore, we must confront and question law enforcement agencies who attempt to demonize and criminalize #Black Lives Matter! The murdering of Black people by the police must be addressed.
        Prisoner Rights activist Laura Whitehorn said, "Rather than slaughtering black people outright, the prison system carries out genocide through political repression."
        Sisters and brothers, I am taking a risk by communicating these words to you. I am asking you to do something to help me shed light on the nature of the Texas Criminal Justice System.
        Dare to struggle, dare to win! All power to the people!

Keith H. Washington #1487958
Telford Unit
3899 State Hwy 98
New Boston, TX 75570-5669









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

    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

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          Project Springboard

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          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)  Anti-Trump Demonstrators Take to the Streets in Several U.S. Cities

          NOV. 9, 2016




          BERKELEY, Calif. — Chanting "Not my president," several hundred protesters streamed through the streets of Berkeley and Oakland in the predawn hours of Wednesday venting their anger at the election of Donald J. Trump as president. Demonstrations were also reported in Pittsburgh, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

          The California Highway Patrol said that one protester, who was not identified, sustained major injuries after being hit by a car when protesters attempted to move onto a freeway.

          The demonstration was one of the first visible signs of anger in the liberal and heavily Democratic San Francisco Bay Area after Mr. Trump's surprising victory.

          From Pennsylvania to California, Oregon and Washington State, hundreds of people hit the streets, according to reports by local news media and The Associated Press. In Oregon, dozens of people blocked traffic in downtown Portland and forced a delay for trains on two light rail lines. The crowd grew to about 300 people, according to local reports, including some who sat in the middle of the road to block traffic. The crowd of anti-Trump protesters burned American flags and chanted "That's not my president."

          In Seattle, a group of about 100 protesters gathered in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, blocked roads and set a trash bin on fire.

          In Pennsylvania, hundreds of University of Pittsburgh students marched through the streets, with some in the crowd calling for unity. The student-run campus newspaper, The Pitt News, posted on Twitter about an event later Wednesday titled "Emergency Meeting: Let's Unite to Stop President Trump."

          "We can't just sit back and let a racist and sexist become president," said Adam Braver, a 22-year-old political science student at the University of California, Berkeley, who marched with other protesters past empty fast-food restaurants in the early hours.

          "He makes us look bad to the rest of the world," Mr. Braver said, as the demonstrators reached the outskirts of Oakland. The few cars on the road honked in apparent support of their efforts. "This is the beginning of a movement."

          Marchers said the protest had begun spontaneously among students who had gathered on the Berkeley campus to watch the results.

          When it became clear that Mr. Trump would win, students filled a wide avenue and began marching toward neighboring Oakland.

          Daniel Colin, a graduate student in epidemiology and a naturalized American citizen from Guatemala, said the election marked the first time he had voted in the United States. "Now that I'm finally expressing my vote, this happens," Mr. Colin said of Mr. Trump's election. "It's very sad."

          Mr. Colin and a number of other Latino students on the march said they were concerned about what would happen to their friends and relatives during a Trump presidency because of his stance on migrants from Latin America.

          Daniel Austin, an African-American first-year student at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, said he felt threatened by Mr. Trump.

          "I feel like a part of my identity was stolen away from me. Not as a bisexual. Not as a black," Mr. Austin said. "As an American."

          Oakland officers attempted to block the marchers before they reached the police's headquarters. One demonstrator flashed a handmade sign to the police blocking their path that read, "Trump is a fascist pig."

          The protesters dispersed after 3 a.m., but many vowed to return to the streets in the coming days.



          2)  Not Our President': Protests Spread After Donald Trump's Election

          NOV. 9, 2016



          Thousands of people across the country marched, shut down highways, burned effigies and shouted angry slogans on Wednesday night to protest the election of Donald J. Trump as president.

          The demonstrations, fueled by social media, continued into the early hours of Thursday. The crowds swelled as the night went on but remained mostly peaceful.

          Protests were reported in cities as diverse as Dallas and Oakland and included marches in Boston; Chicago; Portland, Ore.; Seattle and Washington and at college campuses in California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

          In Oakland alone, the Police Department said, the crowd grew from about 3,000 people at 7 p.m. to 6,000 an hour later. The situation grew tense late Wednesday, with SFGate.com reporting that a group of protesters had started small fires in the street and broken windows. Police officers in riot gear were called in, and at least one officer was injured, according to other local news reports.

          It was the second night of protests there, following unruly demonstrations that led to property damage and left at least one person injured shortly after Mr. Trump's election was announced.

          The protests on Wednesday came just hours after Hillary Clinton, in her concession speech, asked supporters to give Mr. Trump a "chance to lead."

          One of the biggest demonstrations was in Los Angeles, where protesters burned a Trump effigy at City Hall and shut down a section of Highway 101. Law enforcement officials were called out to disperse the hundreds of people who swarmed across the multilane freeway.

          In New York, crowds converged at Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue at 56th Street in Midtown Manhattan, where the president-elect lives.

          They chanted "Not our president" and "New York hates Trump" and carried signs that said, among other things, "Dump Trump." Restaurant workers in their uniforms briefly left their posts to cheer on the demonstrators.

          The demonstrations forced streets to be closed, snarled traffic and drew a large police presence. They started in separate waves from Union Square and Columbus Circle and snaked their way through Midtown.

          Loaded dump trucks lined Fifth Avenue for two blocks outside Trump Tower as a form of protection.

          Emanuel Perez, 25, of the Bronx, who works at a restaurant in Manhattan and grew up in Guerrero, Mexico, was among the many Latinos in the crowd.

          "I came here because people came out to protest the racism that he's promoting," he said in Spanish, referring to Mr. Trump. "I'm not scared for myself personally. What I'm worried about is how many children are going to be separated from their families. It will not be just one. It will be thousands of families."

          Protesters with umbrellas beat a piñata of Mr. Trump, which quickly lost a leg, outside the building.

          The Police Department said on Wednesday night that 15 protesters had been arrested.

          Bianca Rivera, 25, of East Harlem, described Mr. Trump's election as something that was "not supposed to happen."

          "We're living in a country that's supposed to be united, a melting pot," she said. "It's exposing all these underground racists and sexists."

          Elsewhere in the country, college students gathered in spontaneous marches and asked university leaders to schedule meetings to reflect on the results.

          After Mr. Trump's victory speech, more than 2,000 students at the University of California, Los Angeles, marched through the streets of the campus's Westwood neighborhood.

          There were similar protests at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles; University of California campuses in Berkeley, San Diego and Santa Barbara; Temple University, in Philadelphia; and the University of Massachusetts.

          High school students also walked out of classes in protest in several cities.

          As U.C.L.A. students made their way to classes on Wednesday, they talked about how to make sense of an outcome that had seemed impossible a day earlier.

          "I'm more than a little nervous about the future," said Blanca Torres, a sophomore anthropology major. "We all want to have conversations with each other, to figure out how to move forward. There's a whole new reality out there for us now."

          Chuy Fernandez, a fifth-year economics student, said he was eager to air his unease with his peers.

          "I'm feeling sad with this huge sense of uncertainty," Mr. Fernandez said. The son of a Mexican immigrant, he said it was difficult not to take the outcome personally.

          "We're all just kind of waiting for a ticking time bomb, like looking around and thinking who will be deported," he said. "That's the exact opposite of what most of us thought would happen."

          On Facebook, a page titled "Not My President" called for protesters to gather on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, in the nation's capital.

          "We refuse to recognize Donald Trump as the president of the United States, and refuse to take orders from a government that puts bigots into power," the organizers wrote.

          "We have to make it clear to the public that we did not choose this man for office and that we won't stand for his ideologies."



          3)  U.S. Says It Has Killed 119 Civilians in Iraq and Syria Since 2014

          NOV. 9, 2016


          WASHINGTON — The United States has killed 119 civilians in Iraq and Syria since it began military operations against the Islamic State there in 2014, military officials said Wednesday.

          In each case, the American military followed the proper procedures and it did not violate laws of armed conflict, officials said.

          "Significant precautions were taken, despite the unfortunate outcome," said Col. John J. Thomas, a spokesman for United States Central Command, which oversees American military operations in IraqSyriaand elsewhere in the Middle East.

          "In most every case, when we determined there may have been civilian casualties from one of our airstrikes, we are choosing to list the largest number of possible civilian casualties," he said. "In cases where we just don't have the investigative resources or evidence to determine precisely how many people may have died, we went with the worst-case number to ensure a full accounting."

          Human rights activists over the summer accused the United States of killing scores of civilians during operations against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in northern Syria. Around the same time, Central Command put in place a new process for examining allegations that its strikes had caused civilian casualties.

          As part of that review, the military investigated 257 allegations of civilian casualties and deemed 31 of them credible, according to military officials.

          According to information made public Wednesday, there were at least 24 airstrikes in the past year that caused civilian casualties. In June, there were six, the highest number of any month. On June 15, a strike near Kisik, Iraq, on an Islamic State weapons storage facility is believed to have killed six civilians, military officials said. That same day, a strike near Mosul, Iraq, injured two people after they entered "the target area after the aircraft released its weapon," according to the review.

          American military commanders have said that as forces move closer to the most populated areas in Iraq and Syria controlled by the Islamic State, there are likely to be more civilian casualties. The commanders also said that Islamic State fighters had increased their use of so-called human shields to avoid being struck as they fled.

          "It's a key tenant of the counter-ISIL air campaign that we do not want to add to the tragedy of the situation by inflicting addition suffering," Colonel Thomas said. "Sometimes, civilians bear the brunt of military action, but we do all we can to minimize those occurrences even at the cost of sometimes missing the chance to strike valid targets in real time."



          4)  Canada's Big Dams Produce Clean Energy, and High Levels of Mercury

          NOV. 10, 2016



          OTTAWA — Protests. Hunger strikes. Sit-ins that disrupt construction. At the immense Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam project in a remote and rugged part of Labrador, the indigenous people who live nearby have been raising louder and louder alarms.

          But it is not about the dam itself. The controversy is over what will flow from it.

          The protests are focused on a mostly overlooked side effect of hydroelectric projects all over Canada: The reservoirs behind the dams tend to develop high levels of methyl mercury, leading to mercury poisoning among people who eat fish or game caught downstream.

          The protesters at the Muskrat Falls dam, which is very far along in construction, finally agreed in late October to allow partial flooding of the reservoir behind it to begin. In return, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, which owns the utility that is building the dam, promised to take steps to reduce the mercury problems, based on recommendations from an independent advisory group and independent scientists.

          But Muskrat Falls will probably be just the first of a series of fights over mercury in Canada, where dams now supply about three-fifths of the country's electricity.

          The researchers whose work first raised the issue of mercury at Muskrat Falls published a new paper on Wednesday, saying that similar problems loom at 22 major dams now proposed or under construction close to indigenous communities in Canada. People living there could develop toxic levels of methyl mercury, a particularly dangerous mercury compound, unless corrective steps are taken, the paper said — steps that could be time consuming and costly.

          The findings in the paper, which appeared in Environmental Science and Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society, may inflame protests already aimed at several proposed dams, including a particularly contentious project in British Columbia known as Site C, which has a projected budget of 9.3 billion Canadian dollars, or $6.9 billion.

          "I wouldn't say hydro is bad," said Elsie Sunderland, the lead author of the paper and a professor of public health, environmental science and engineering at Harvard. "But you need to evaluate and look at the pros and cons of any project."

          Dr. Sunderland, who has performed several studies related to Muskrat Falls, said officials were told about the mercury problem but were reluctant to grapple with it for political reasons. "We've been working on this for years," she said. "I've done multiple briefings, and they just didn't care."

          It has been known for decades that concentrations of methyl mercury rise rapidly in waters impounded behind dams. Research by Dr. Sunderland, a Canada native, and others has shown that the compound builds up in fish and game downstream as well as the people who eat them regularly — which in Canada overwhelmingly means indigenous people.

          Mercury buildup caused by dams "is a well-known and well-understood issue," said Jacob Irving, president of the Canadian Hydropower Association, an industry lobby group. But practices to mitigate the problem are also well known, he said, and because of them, "there's never been a recorded public health incident."

          Nonetheless, Dr. Sunderland said that research clearly showed that many aboriginal people in Canada living near electrical dams now have "mercury toxicity." Her research forecasts that methyl mercury levels will double in people living downstream from Muskrat Falls.

          "Chronic exposure to this is detrimental to human health at any level," she said. "You shouldn't impose a harm to the local population."

          Chronic exposure to elevated levels of methyl mercury can cause potentially dangerous changes in heart rate, persistent pins-and-needles sensations in the skin, and problems with muscle coordination that can cause those affected to walk with an improper gait, the research paper said. Children who were exposed while in the womb are more likely to develop attention-deficit disorder.

          Other studies have documented the effects that followed dam construction. According to a 2006 report on a dam project in far northern Quebec, elevated mercury levels in fish, caused by dams built in the province in the 1970s, forced many Cree people to abandon their fisheries, and with it their traditional diet. Rising rates of diabetes and other ailments have followed.

          The problem starts with mercury in the soil. Dr. Sunderland said some occurred naturally and some was deposited by air pollution from, among other things, the burning of coal.

          As long as the soil is exposed to air, the mercury does little harm. But when the soil is underwater, it is largely cut off from oxygen, Dr. Sunderland said, allowing certain types of bacteria that convert the mercury into methyl mercury to flourish.

          The effect tends to peak about three years after a dam's reservoir is first flooded, she said, but elevated methyl mercury levels can persist for decades.

          Methyl mercury is absorbed more easily by living things than inorganic mercury is. Once in the body, it tends to concentrate there rather than being excreted. It especially tends to accumulate in fish, and in anything or anyone eating the fish, including humans.

          Billy Gauthier, an Inuit sculptor who was one of the Muskrat Falls hunger strikers, said his diet depended almost entirely on fish and wildlife from Lake Melville downstream from Muskrat Falls, where Dr. Sunderland has said that methyl mercury levels will rise unless remedial steps are taken.

          When he went to Ottawa last month to press the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene at Muskrat Falls, Mr. Gauthier brought his dickie, the hooded white canvas jacket he and other Inuit men wear to hunt seals with a harpoon at their blowholes in winter ice. Its cuffs are stained by seal blood.

          In general, soils that contain more carbon tend to lead to higher levels of methyl mercury in dam water. Based on analysis of soils surrounding the 22 proposed dams near native communities, Dr. Sunderland's group concluded that at half of those projects, methyl mercury levels in the water will be similar to or greater than those they expect at Muskrat Falls if no preventive measures are taken. (At Site C, in British Columbia, the effect will be significantly lower, the study found.)

          There is no consensus on how to deal with the methyl mercury created by damming.

          Mr. Irving, the president of the utility group, was able to cite only two examples of remediation efforts by industry: warning people downstream to limit or avoid eating fish, and importing fish to communities where the local supply has become contaminated.

          The indigenous protesters, who included people from Innu communities as well as Inuit, want much more to be done at Muskrat Falls. They want Nalcor, the government-owned utility building the dam, to dig up and cart away most of the topsoil that would be covered by the 40-mile-long reservoir. In its agreement with the leaders of three indigenous groups affected by the dam, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador left open the possibility of stripping the land in that way.

          But the cost of large-scale soil removal would only add to the financial burden imposed by the project, which was promoted by earlier Conservative governments when the province was flush with royalties from offshore oil. Since then, oil prices have collapsed, creating financial problems for the historically poor province of 530,000 people. The estimated cost of Muskrat Falls has almost doubled, to 11.4 billion Canadian dollars, and the price it can expect to get for power exported to the United States has fallen.

          Dr. Sunderland said that it may be sufficient to remove only the soil with the highest carbon content and that increasing oxygen or iron levels in the water may also be effective.

          "When you're talking about an $11 billion project, surely you can come up with some creative solutions," she said.

          Though some of the Muskrat Falls protesters are unhappy with the deal between the government and indigenous leaders, Mr. Gauthier is not among them. Still, he said, the mercury issue is far from settled. "I am optimistic," he said from his home in North West River. "But that's not to say my activism is going to slow down. I've got to do more work than ever."



          5)  A Deported Afghan Boy Returns to a Land Nothing Like Home

          NOV. 12, 2016


          KABUL, Afghanistan — Massoud Mosavi is a bright and funny little kid, although these days he is in grim humor. He speaks English well enough that he was able to be interviewed without an interpreter even though he is only 7 — and an Afghan for whom English is his second language.

          His first language is Norwegian. He does speak his parents' tongue, Dari, as well, but so poorly that he does not even know what it is called. He refers to it as "the Afghanistan language." Even when speaking with his parents — his father, Sayed Youssef, and mother, Saeqa — he prefers Norwegian.

          The first time I interviewed Massoud, about two months after he and his family had been deported from Norway and arrived in Kabul, I asked him if he would say something in Norwegian.

          "What should I say in Norwegian?" he asked.

          "Just say, 'Hi,'" I suggested.

          "Hi," he said.

          "I mean in Norwegian."

          "That was Norwegian."

          Massoud and his family had spent the last four and a half years in Norway. On Friday, Aug. 12, without any warning, the Norwegian police came into their house at 2:30 a.m.; handcuffed Massoud's parents and his older brother, Javed, 17; and took them all to a detention center.

          In less than 24 hours, before they could contact a lawyer, they were put on commercial flights back to Afghanistan, accompanied by an 11-person, unarmed Norwegian police contingent who surrounded them the whole trip to make sure they did not try to abscond.

          "They even made us leave the toilet door open when we used it on the plane," Javed said.

          Once in Kabul, they were given $1,200 each by the Norwegian government, and two weeks of free accommodation in a guesthouse. Norway's payments to returning refugees are among the world's most generous, even if its deportation policy is now among the world's most harsh.

          The Mosavis are trying to find a permanent place to stay, but are having trouble finding anything they can afford, because they invested most of the stipends the Norwegian government gave them in hiring a private lawyer to fight their case.

          They are part of a wave of Afghans who are returning this year to a country in the middle of a worsening war. By the end of the year, aid officials expect about 1.5 million migrants to return to Afghanistan — many of them against their will, and including some officially registered as refugees.

          The Mosavis were victims of a hardening in Norwegian government policies and popular attitudes toward asylum seekers. Their daughter, Aghdas, had been the first to reach Norway, arriving in 2011 at age 13 with a group of migrants after she was separated from the family in Turkey. The Norwegian authorities then paid for her parents and siblings to fly to join her on family reunification grounds, in 2012.

          Norway has now become the most determined of all European countries to expel Afghan asylum seekers. Ninety percent of Afghan asylum claims are rejected as invalid, according to the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers, compared with 40 percent to 50 percent in most European countries.

          Norway has returned 442 Afghans this year, 278 of them against their will, said Bjorn Frode Skaaret, the migration attaché at the Norwegian Embassy in Kabul. Other European countries have had more repatriations this year, but none are known to have had so many forcible ones.

          Aghdas, now 18 and in her final year of high school, was allowed to stay in Norway on humanitarian grounds because she had established a strong connection to the country through years of schooling. But she might give up plans to study nanotechnology at college, she said, so she can work and send money to her family in Afghanistan. She has already found a part-time job at a 7-Eleven store in the town where the family had settled, Fredrikstad.

          Their lawyer said members of the family who were sent back to Afghanistan had a similar claim, especially because the two boys have had nearly all their formal education in Norwegian, making them poorly equipped to rejoin Afghan society.

          "My opinion is the Norwegian government has broken the law," said Sigrid Broch, their lawyer. "It's a very integrated family in every way. It's heartbreaking, especially for Massoud, who has never been living in Afghanistan in any way since age 2."

          The family was deported on Massoud's seventh birthday, and it had arranged a party for him, complete with trampolines and other activities. The nine children who were invited were mostly Norwegians, including his best friend, Hans. Massoud was deported before anyone could warn the guests the party was off.

          The boy said he wanted to give Hans and his friends a message, which he did in Norwegian, then translated into English. "I said, 'Hi, I miss you very much, my friends,' and then I said: 'I want to go back. I want really to go back to Norway.'"

          The Norwegian government's position in deportation cases like the Mosavis' is that Afghanistan is safe enough for families, including children, to be returned to — even though greater areas of the country are insecure than at any time since the American invasion in 2001.

          "The right to international protection does not apply for persons who can find safety at another location within their own country," Mr. Skaaret at the Norwegian Embassy said, responding to emailed queries after embassy officials declined to be interviewed in person.

          In early September, a suicide bomb blew out the windows in Kabul's Roshan Plaza Hotel, which was full of recent deportees from Norway. "A flower pot hit my younger daughter in the head," said Mirwais Basharpal, 38, who was there with his wife and four young children. "My kids keep asking, 'Why have you brought us here?'"

          Two days before Mr. Skaaret's response, according to the Afghan police, an improvised bomb had been found and disarmed on the lane where the Norwegian Embassy is, in the Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic quarter, the most heavily guarded part of the capital.

          "How safe Afghanistan is!" said Afghanistan's minister of refugees and repatriation, S. Hossain Alemi Balkhi, with obvious sarcasm. "We all know that Kabul is so safe, the safest place in Afghanistan. So please ask those Norwegian diplomats if Kabul is so safe, is there anywhere outside your embassy where you can go to safely?"



          6)  Jury Deadlocks in Trial of Ex-Officer in Killing of Unarmed Black Driver in Cincinnati

          NOV. 12, 2016




          The murder trial of a white former University of Cincinnati police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black driver last year ended in a mistrial on Saturday after the jurors told the judge they were unable to reach a verdict.

          The jurors first informed the judge on Friday that they were deadlocked, but they were told to continue deliberations. On Saturday morning, the judge declared a mistrial.

          Officer Ray Tensing fatally shot Samuel DuBose, 43, during a traffic stop as Mr. DuBose started to drive off. Mr. Tensing, 26, claimed that he felt that Mr. Dubose's car was dragging him and that he fired at him because he feared he would be run over. The encounter was captured on video and set off protests.

          Mr. Tensing was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter. A murder conviction — which requires jurors to find that he had intentionally killed Mr. DuBose — carries a sentence of 15 years to lifein prison.

          A conviction on voluntary manslaughter — which requires them to find that he acted in a fit of rage or sudden passion — carries a sentence of up to five years.

          The jury of 10 whites and two blacks began deliberating just after noon on Wednesday.

          On July 19, 2015, Mr. Tensing pulled over Mr. Dubose's 1998 Honda Accord a few blocks south of campus for having no front license plate.

          Body-camera video released by prosecutors shows Mr. Tensing asking Mr. DuBose for his license and Mr. DuBose eventually acknowledging he does not have one with him. Mr. DuBose shows the officer the missing license plate in his glove box.

          After the officer starts to open the driver's door, Mr. DuBose pulls it closed and restarts the car. In several chaotic seconds, the engine can be heard revving, the officer reaches into the car with one hand, yells "stop" twice, and draws and fires his gun once with the other hand.

          Mr. DuBose, a father of 12 with a previous conviction for selling marijuana, was shot in the head. The authorities said that several bags of marijuana and more than $2,500 in cash were found in the car. His license had been suspended indefinitely months before.

          The shooting — then the latest in a string of police killings of unarmed blacks, including ones in Staten Island, Cleveland, Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. — caused an immediate uproar. Ten days later, Mr. Tensing was indicted on murder charges as the Hamilton County prosecutor, Joseph T. Deters, called the episode a "senseless, asinine shooting."

          At demonstrations across the country, protesters chanted, "I am Sam DuBose."

          Mr. Tensing was fired after the indictment.

          report by a risk-consulting firmhired by the university said that the video showed that Mr. Tensing was not being dragged, that the car had barely moved before the gunshot was fired and that Mr. Tensing had made several critical errors — including drawing his gun and reaching into the car.

          In January, the university agreed to pay $4.85 million to Mr. Dubose's family and provide an undergraduate education to his 12 children.

          At trial, prosecutors and their expert witnesses told jurors that the video showed that Mr. Tensing was not being dragged.

          Mr. Tensing, who had four years of law enforcement service with various departments, testified on Tuesday that his arm was caught inside Mr. DuBose's car as it began to move and that he feared for his life. Regardless of what the video showed, Mr. Tensing's lawyer said, the officer had the "perception" that he was being dragged and fired in self-defense.



          7)  Owner Was Target, but Restaurant Workers Are Swept Up in Immigration Raids

          NOV. 11, 2016




          BUFFALO — Immigration enforcement agents were supposed to be targeting the restaurant owner. But Antonio Ramos Salazar, a cook, was the one with guns pointed at his head.

          One morning last month the officers burst through the back door at La Divina, a no-frills Mexican market and taco counter in suburban Buffalo, capping a two-year investigation into the labor practices of the restaurant's owner, Sergio Mucino. According to the authorities, Mr. Mucino, 42, a legal permanent resident from Mexico City, along with two associates, had been harboring undocumented workers in homes around Buffalo, transporting them to jobs at his restaurants and paying them off the books.

          Mr. Mucino was arrested at his home on Oct. 18. But two dozen of his workers were swept up in simultaneous raids that morning at all four of his restaurants.

          It amounted to one of the largest immigration workplace sweeps in recent years. In the days after the presidential election, immigrant rights advocates and supporters of immigration restriction alike wondered whether these raids were a preview of the stricter enforcement policies that President-elect Donald J. Trump promised during his campaign.

          The sweeps hark back to the workplace actions of President George W. Bush's administration, and deviated significantly from the Department of Homeland Security's longstanding enforcement strategy of avoiding roundups of unauthorized workers and instead targeting abusive employers.

          During the raids, the authorities discovered that nine workers had re-entered the country after having been deported, which is a federal crime. Three more, including Mr. Salazar, were charged with immigration violations — which are administrative offenses only — and were ordered deported. The remaining 10 workers were released.

          "The targets of the investigation were the employers," a homeland security spokesman, Khaalid Walls, said. "After investigating the case, we alleged that many of the employees were either subject to criminal charges or immigration violations, and we charged accordingly."

          Camille Mackler, the legal director of the New York Immigration Coalition, which oversees immigrant advocacy groups, said, "There's always collateral damage in a criminal investigation, but the workers in this case are victims."

          Now, Ms. Mackler added, workers and advocates fear that this could be the blueprint for future raids under Mr. Trump — "and that would be on the small side."

          Mr. Trump pledged that in his first year in office he would deport unauthorized immigrants with criminal records, putting their number at two million, while increasing enforcement operations to deal with an undocumented population of more than 11 million people in the United States.

          "I don't see Mr. Trump as the kind of individual who is going to make such a large promise and neglect to keep it," said Tom Bauerle, a Buffalo native and conservative talk show host on WBEN, who voted for Mr. Trump. "I expect the law to be enforced."

          Mr. Bauerle said that after the raids the radio station received numerous comments from listeners cheering the actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "At the same time," he added, "they are disappointed because apparently these places made awesome tacos."

          The authorities said the raids were set in motion more than two years ago, thanks, in part, to a tip from a former employee who was fired.

          According to the workers and their lawyers, Mr. Mucino paid weekly salaries for 11-hour days that worked out to be below the minimum hourly wage of $9. Two workers interviewed said salaries started at $450 a week for a dishwasher and increased at different positions in the kitchen. The federal complaint stated that each restaurant grossed $50,000 per week, which was not reported for state or federal taxes. The authorities said Mr. Mucino operated some of the business on the books, endorsing payroll checks to 28 employees.

          "Building and supporting a business through the intentional use of people not lawfully authorized to work here is a model that H.S.I. will not tolerate," said Kevin Sibley, the acting special agent in charge of the Homeland Security Investigations office in Buffalo. He added that such practices undermine competition and "often come at the peril of the workers."

          But the United States attorney's office for the Western District of New York did not charge Mr. Mucino or his associates with human trafficking, nor have tax evasion or labor violation charges been filed.

          Nicole Hallett, a University at Buffalo law professor who is representing three workers in their immigration cases, called the government's actions counterintuitive.

          "If you are concerned about the exploitation of workers, you should not be prosecuting or deporting worker victims, because that discourages workers from coming forward in situations where they are being exploited," Professor Hallett said.

          In interviews, four workers said they were not mistreated at the restaurants. They noted that the pay was better than that at agricultural or factory jobs they held previously.

          Mr. Salazar, the head cook at La Divina, is now wearing an electronic ankle monitor as he awaits deportation proceedings, though he is charged only with a civil offense. "If this is just from being here to work," Mr. Salazar said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter, "what would happen if I actually committed a crime?"

          He said he had earned a law degree in Mexico, but was unable to find work there to support his family of three.

          Sergio Roblero, 19, said he had paid a recruiter in Mexico $4,480 for a guest worker's visa and travel expenses to pick blueberries in Georgia. He was told he would be making $10.59 an hour; he made only $3, he said. Mr. Roblero was unable to leave the farm unless he paid $1,000 to get his passport back. To recoup his losses, he moved four months ago to Buffalo, where a friend from Mexico was working for Mr. Mucino's restaurants.

          "I'm afraid that other people are going to go through what I did," Mr. Roblero said. "I know that the economy in Mexico is always going to be bad and people are always going to come to this country."

          According to statistics from 2014 released this month by the Pew Research Center, nearly eight million undocumented people in the United States were part of the work force or seeking employment. In New York State, undocumented immigrants represented 6 percent of the labor force.

          While some of his workers are still detained, Mr. Mucino was released on $85,000 bail and reopened La Divina, though his other restaurants, which are full service, remain closed.

          Mr. Mucino parked a black Mercedes sport utility vehicle behind the store last week and spoke of his employees. "All of them are very nice people and they're hard workers," he said. "I feel very bad for everything that happened." He declined to comment further on the charges.

          According to the authorities, an incident in August accelerated the investigation. Fourteen men went to play basketball after their shifts around 10 p.m., at a suburban Buffalo playground.

          The local police answered a call about the group and asked for identification. When some of the men could produce only Mexican identification cards, the police called the United States Border Patrol. By 1:30 a.m., 10 people were detained and five were arrested, charged with having illegally re-entered the country.

          Later, a manager, Manguin Sanchez, a United States citizen, went to collect the men's cash, which had been seized by immigration officers, and told the authorities it was their pay. According to the federal complaint, he also said restaurant workers lived in properties he owned. It was confirmation for investigators.

          In addition to Mr. Sanchez, 22, and Mr. Mucino, the authorities arrested another manager, Jose Sanchez-Ocampo, 37. The men provided two houses and nine apartments for their employees' housing.

          Leticia and Saul Sanchez-Ocampo — Jose Sanchez-Ocampo's brother — live in one house, along with four children, all of whom are United States citizens.

          Ms. Sanchez-Ocampo, who had started working with her husband at La Divina only two days before the raids, said the family moved in 2015 from Los Angeles to Buffalo to be closer to relatives. Her daughter, Magali, 17, is the best student in the family, she said, and had saved more than $9,000 in cash for her college fund. It was confiscated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers during a raid of the house.

          "It's been like a nightmare for the whole family," Ms. Sanchez-Ocampo said in Spanish, through an interpreter.

          The workers have received support from local churches, community organizations and a national workers' rights group, Movimiento Cosecha, which organized several protests in Buffalo.

          Some Buffalo residents have put aside questions of immigration policy and the exploitation of immigrant labor in favor of their taste buds. Since opening in 2015, La Divina has drawn rave reviews and long lines for its authentic, overstuffed $2.50 tacos.

          Gaetano Augello, 60, acknowledged that he felt uncomfortable hearing that workers might have been taken advantage of. "Of course, who wants to subsidize that? That's not a feel-good story," he said.

          But he had returned for the tacos. And now that Mr. Mucino has hired replacement cooks to make the recipes?

          "I don't know if they're quite as good," Mr. Augello said. "They're good, don't get me wrong."



          8)  Protesters Take Anti-Trump Message to His Doorstep, and Plan Next Steps

          NOV. 12, 2016




          Thousands of demonstrators filled public squares, parks and streets in the country's three largest cities on Saturday to protest President-elect Donald J. Trump, part of a wave of dissent that has swelled since the presidential contest last week.

          They were transgender people, the children of immigrants, and parents toting infants on their back. They were families, students, and men and women of all ages and races. Many carried cardboard signs — "Show the world what the popular vote looks like," read one, "Putin Won," said another. As throngs marched through city streets, the participants joined in a cry of "Not my president!"

          In one of the largest anti-Trump demonstrations since his election on Tuesday, a mass of people marched from Union Square in Manhattan to Trump Tower, the headquarters and home of Mr. Trump. Protesters marched around one of Mr. Trump's buildings in Chicago. In Los Angeles, thousands of people marched up Wilshire Boulevard, forming a crowd that stretched for nearly a dozen blocks.

          "I'm just doing my part in democracy," said Alfred Diaz, 25, who joined the protest in Los Angeles. "I feel that this is a way for me to voice my opinion."

          "I disagree with a lot of Trump's stances, so I'm just out here practicing my rights," said Mr. Diaz, who was born in Los Angeles but whose family is from Mexico. "I'm unsure and I'm unsatisfied."

          The demonstrations followed a week of protests, as thousands of people have taken to the streets. Demonstrations have taken place in Oakland, Calif.;Baltimore; Kansas City, Mo.; Milwaukee; Miami; and Portland, Ore.

          Students have walked out of classes, protesters have blocked highways and demonstrators have clashed with the police. Speakers and protesters have talked about their fears of deportation, reduced access to to birth control, a rollback of same-sex marriage and the potential for racially motivated violence.

          "We need to protest what we believe to be a disturbing turn in politics this week," said Kimie Liu, 40, as she stood near Trump Tower in New York with her 14-month-old son, Kellan, strapped to her back. "My son is here because this is the future. Trump stands for so many things I find abhorrent, and we won't sit down when hate wins. We stand for what we believe in."

          The demonstrations have mostly been organized on the fly by local activist groups, although national organizations like Showing Up for Racial Justice and the National Action Network have supported the protest efforts. The calls to participate have come largely through Facebook and other social media.

          Most of the gatherings have remained peaceful, but tempers have flared sporadically. Demonstrators burned trash cans in Oakland on Wednesday night, and tried to block a highway on Thursday before the police intervened. In Portland on Thursday night, one marcher was shot, according to local reports. And after the protest there thinned out, dozens of people the police described as anarchists remained in the streets, clashing with officers. Car windows were smashed and smoke filled the air during what the police deemed a riot.

          In New York on Saturday, protesters were quick to describe their motivations for marching.

          Shaké Topalian, 71, a child of Armenian immigrants, said she was fearful of a genocide like the one her parents had survived. "I want to make sure that this does not happen again," she said. "I refuse to be a bystander."

          Fin Justin Ross, 20, a transgender man from New Jersey, said he had woken up around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday to pick up friends for the rally. "When Trump won, my first thought was I needed to go back into the closet," he said.

          Virginia Jimenez, 45, a Mexican-American from Long Island said she came to the protest to show that "not all Mexicans are bad people," she said, adding, "I raised three sons without asking for any handouts."

          Lisa Harris, also of Long Island, spoke about her father, a Holocaust survivor. "I know hate," she said.

          Many protest leaders had supported Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Democratic primary race and either did not vote or chose a third-party candidate in the general election, said Ben Becker, an organizer with the Answer Coalition, an antiwar and antiracism activist group based in New York. Their anger, he said, had been exacerbated by the conciliatory tone shown to Mr. Trump by President Obama and Hillary Clinton after Mrs. Clinton's defeat.

          More protests are planned for the coming days, and preparations already are underway for a large demonstration at Mr. Trump's inauguration in January.

          It is uncharted territory for a modern American presidency. One would have to go back to Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860 to see these types of widespread demonstrations in response to the election of a president, said Douglas G. Brinkley, a presidential historian who teaches at Rice University in Houston.

          President Lincoln won only about 40 percent of the popular vote and was not even on the ballot in some Southern states. Spontaneous protests broke out across the country after the Lincoln victory, Professor Brinkley said.

          For many of the people who have turned out for the current protests, it has been a kind of group therapy, and already seem to be cementing new, cross-sectional liberal coalitions. People with "Nasty Women" T-shirts have stood with signs that read "Climate change is real." Black Lives Matter protesters have marched alongside those proclaiming themselves "Undocumented and Unafraid."

          But beyond the commotion in the streets, activists are pursuing strategies for what they think will be tumultuous times during a Trump administration.

          In Wisconsin, the Latino rights group Voces de la Frontera has scheduled forums to provide emotional support to Latinos and other minorities, and to brainstorm ways to help immigrants fight policies that might hurt them.

          Cat Brooks, a co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project in Oakland, said her group and other leaders in the city were planning to raise money to provide direct services for social programs they feel certain will be cut under a Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress. They were making plans, for example, to find ways to offer diabetes testing and counseling if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

          Ron Gochez, an organizer with Unión del Barrio, an immigrants rights group in Los Angeles, said that it will gather community organizations to discuss what to do if mass deportations occur. It will also train undocumented immigrants to use their cellphone cameras if immigration enforcement agents show up at their door, and help people set up emergency phone lists so they can call neighbors if they are picked up for deportation proceedings.

          "It's not just saying that we're against Trump, we have to defend ourselves against the policies he's promising to create," he said.

          Leaders from several black civil rights groups like the National Action Network and the N.A.A.C.P. have been holding conference calls to form a legislative strategy, the Rev. Al Sharpton said.

          They plan to lobby Congress on criminal justice reform and expanding voting rights, highlighting what they believe are the negative effects of voter identification laws and reductions in early voting periods, Mr. Sharpton said. They hope to use the stories of millions of newly insured Americans to highlight the devastating consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act. They will fight any new stop-and-frisk policies in court, Mr. Sharpton said, and bring witnesses to congressional hearings to challenge cabinet appointments they see as questionable.

          Their efforts will kick off with a rally and a march in Washington for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, just days before Mr. Trump is inaugurated, Mr. Sharpton said. "We're not going to go away and say, because we lost an election, that we, therefore, lost our right to stand up for civil rights and civil liberty," he said. "This, in many ways, we feel is bigger than one election."

          As the protest began to wane in Los Angeles, Jay Brown Jr., 42, surveyed the large group around him.

          "If you look around, there are a lot of families out here," he said. "That should say something to you. People are trying to teach their kids what's acceptable."



          9) Assange Is Questioned in London Over Rape Accusation in Sweden

          NOV. 14, 2016


          LONDON — Six years after the Swedish authorities opened an investigation into a rape accusation made against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, he faced questioning about the matter on Monday.

          The questions were prepared by prosecutors in Sweden, where an arrest warrant for Mr. Assange was issued in 2010, but were posed by a prosecutor from Ecuador under an agreement the two countries made in August. Ecuador granted Mr. Assange political asylum in 2012, and the interview occurred at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Mr. Assange has lived in the embassy since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape accusation.

          WikiLeaks has published damaging and confidential information from the United States and many other governments. Before last week's presidential election, WikiLeaks distributed hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, while Mr. Assange has excoriated Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.

          No formal charges have been filed against Mr. Assange, a 45-year-old native of Australia. He denies the rape accusation, originally made in 2010, but has refused to go to Sweden to face questioning because he says he fears he would then be extradited to the United States. Swedish officials say those fears are ungrounded.

          On Monday morning, a Swedish deputy chief prosecutor, Ingrid Isgren, and a police inspector, Cecilia Redell, arrived at the Ecuadorean Embassy, in the Knightsbridge section of West London, as journalists gathered outside.

          The Swedish officials, who did not answer questions, also planned to ask Mr. Assange's consent to take a DNA sample.

          In a phone interview with Radio Sweden, Mr. Assange's Swedish defense lawyer, Per E. Samuelsson, said that he had been shut out of the meeting, and that only the Swedish officials, along with an interpreter, were present. He questioned the validity of the interview in the absence of Mr. Assange's lawyers.

          "For some reason that I am not aware of, I am not on the list of approved persons that Ecuador has established," Mr. Samuelsson told Radio Sweden. "Our Ecuadorean defense lawyer is trying to find out right now why I am not on the list. He thinks I will be invited, so I am on standby here at the hotel to go to the interview as soon as he gives the go-ahead."

          Mr. Samuelsson added: "I, as his Swedish defense lawyer, must be present. I am the one who knows the case."

          Mr. Samuelsson did not respond to messages left on his cellphone on Monday. An official at the embassy, María Cristina Muñoz, declined to answer questions about the proceedings.

          The interview with Swedish officials was the latest chapter in a bizarre diplomatic and legal standoff.

          In August 2015, prosecutors dropped their investigation into two possible charges — one of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion — because they had run out of time to question Mr. Assange. But he still faces the more serious accusation of rape.

          In October 2015, the London police ended their round-the-clock surveillance outside the embassy, citing the drain on public resources, but they said they remained ready to arrest Mr. Assange if he tried to leave.

          "After UN & court findings condemning 6 years of abuses by Sweden against Assange, Sweden finally takes his statement for the first time ever," WikiLeaks said on Twitter on Monday.

          It was in part a reference to a February report by a United Nationshuman rights panel, which found that Mr. Assange's continued stay at the embassy amounted to being "arbitrarily detained in violation of international law." It is not clear, however, what court findings the statement referred to. British and Swedish courts have repeatedly upheld the extradition order.



          10)  Chelsea Manning Asks Obama to Cut Sentence to Time Served

          NOV. 13, 2016




          Chelsea Manning, who confessed to disclosing archives of secret diplomatic and military documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 and has been incarcerated longer than any other convicted leaker in American history, has formally petitioned President Obama to reduce the remainder of her 35-year sentence to the more than six years she has already served.

          In a statement accompanying her petition, a copy of which her lawyer provided to The New York Times, Ms. Manning again said she took "full and complete responsibility" for her actions, which she called "wrong." She also described her difficult life, including the turmoil she faced at the time of her leaks as she came to grips with gender dysphoria while deployed to Iraq, her treatment in prison, and her multiple suicide attempts.

          "I am not asking for a pardon of my conviction," she wrote. "I understand that the various collateral consequences of the court-martial conviction will stay on my record forever. The sole relief I am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members."

          Ms. Manning's petition was accompanied by letters of support from Daniel Ellsberg, who is famous for leaking a classified history of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers; Morris Davis, a former military commissions chief prosecutor; and Glenn Greenwald, a legal commentator and journalist who has been an outspoken supporter.

          While military prosecutors portrayed Ms. Manning — formerly known as Pfc. Bradley Manning — as a traitor, many open-government advocates consider her a whistle-blower and a hero.

          In interviews, both Mr. Davis and Mr. Ellsberg said they hoped that Mr. Obama would give special consideration to her request in light of the election of Donald J. Trump, suggesting that the president-elect would be less likely to give her favorable consideration.

          "I believe now, in the six and a half weeks we have remaining, we all have to ask President Obama to do with his powers good things before he leaves, before a new president comes in, and I really believe that he should commute Chelsea Manning's sentence to time served," Mr. Ellsberg said.

          A member of Ms. Manning's volunteer support network said that a formal announcement and publicity campaign were scheduled for Monday. Several celebrities, including Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, are coordinating efforts aimed at building public support for Ms. Manning's release. Both have previously made videos in support of her.

          While working as an intelligence analyst in a secure information facility at a forward operating base in Iraq, Ms. Manning copied and later sent to WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of incident logs from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a quarter-million diplomatic cables from American embassies around the world, dossiers about Guantánamo detainees, and a video showing an American helicopter strike on a group of people in Baghdad in which two Reuters journalists were killed.

          WikiLeaks later made the documents public, working with various traditional news media organizations, including The New York Times. After her arrest, Ms. Manning was tried by a court-martial, where she confessed to the leaks and pleaded guilty to a lesser version of the charges against her without any plea deal to cap her sentence.

          Military prosecutors pressed forward with the trial and convicted her of most of the more serious versions of the charges, including multiple counts under the Espionage Act, a World War I-era law that makes it a crime to disclose potentially harmful military secrets to someone not authorized to receive them. The law applies even if the defendant's motivation was to inform the American public, rather than to help a foreign adversary.

          A military judge imposed a prison sentence of 35 years, dramatically longer than the sentences other accused leakers have received. While only a few leakers have been successfully prosecuted under the Espionage Act — the first such conviction came in 1985 — most of those convicted have received sentences of between about one year and three and a half years.

          In some leak cases, Espionage Act charges were dropped as part of plea deals. John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. official who was accused of discussing with journalists the identities of fellow intelligence officials involved in interrogating terrorism suspects, was initially charged under the Espionage Act, but those charges were dropped as part of a plea deal in which he was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Mr. Kiriakou, who has finished serving his sentence, has applied for a pardon, the Justice Department said.

          Still, Ms. Manning is different from him and most other accused leakers because she disclosed a large volume of documents covering many topics, rather than one or two particular secrets. In that sense, her case more closely resembles that of Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who came forward in June 2013 as the source of a leaked archive of classified documents about surveillance.

          Mr. Snowden has also been charged under the Espionage Act, but he is living as a fugitive in Russia. In September, a group of Mr. Snowden's supporters asked Mr. Obama to pardon him, although the White House has already ruled that out.

          Ms. Manning had petitioned for a full pardon three years ago, shortly after she was convicted and announced that she was transgender and was changing her name. She wrote in her statement that she now understood that her request had been premature and that "the relief requested was too much."



          11)  Safety Pins Show Support for the Vulnerable

          NOV. 14, 2016





          The recent presidential election inspired a notable amount of accessorizing, with hats and T-shirts, as impassioned voters wore their positions on their sleeves (or head or chest). The postelection atmosphere suggests this trend is not slowing down any time soon.

          The latest political fashion statement? The safety pin.

          After the election of Donald J. Trump, fears are growing that segments of his base may physically or emotionally abuse minorities, immigrants, women and members of the L.G.B.T. community. As a show of support, groups of people across America are attaching safety pins to their lapels, shirts and dresses to signify that they are linked, willing to stand up for the vulnerable.

          "It's a matter of showing people who get it that I will always be a resource and an ally to anyone and everyone who wants to reach out," said Kaye Kagaoan, 24, a graphic designer from the Philippines who lives in Brooklyn. "When I saw it on Facebook, it was so simple. It resonated with me."

          On Friday, the actor Patrick Stewart posted a photo of himself to Twitter wearing a pin on his jacket, and the photographer Cass Bird shared an Instagram post about why she's wearing one that started with "If you wear a hijab, I'll sit with you on the train" and ended with: "If you need me, I'll be with you. All I ask is that you be with me, too." Between the two statements, sentences began with "If you're a person of color … " and "If you're a refugee … " and offered various forms of support. The actress Jaime King posted the same words to her Instagram account.

          In wearing the safety pin, participants are taking a page from protesters of the Brexit referendum results. After British citizens voted to leave the European Union in June, the nation experienced a 57 percent rise in reported xenophobic incidents. An American woman living in Britain tweeted a suggestion that people wear safety pins to show support to those experiencing abuse. Two days later, #safetypin was trending on Twitter.

          The woman, who used a Twitter account, @cheeahs, that has been deleted, had been inspired by the #illridewithyou movement in Australia, in which people offered to take public transportation with Muslims fearing a backlash after a Muslim gunman held people hostage in a cafe in 2014.

          Those who've donned the pin over the last week are quick to point out that their message isn't necessarily in opposition to the president-elect. "More than anything, it's pro-kindness," said Sabrina Krebs, 22, a Barnard student from Guatemala City. "I wouldn't say it's resistance towards Trump. It's a form of resistance to hate and to negativity."

          It is also, Ms. Krebs noted, a readily accessible item. "Everyone has safety pins in their house," she said. "It's something everyone can join." (But in case someone wants a more haute kind of protest, fashion has already jumped on the movement, with Fashionista suggesting "13 Safety Pin Brooches to Wear Now and for the Next Four Years," with items ranging from a rhinestone-covered pin to one with crystal embellishments.)

          And it's easy to put on. "It doesn't take much to wear a safety pin," said Robert Clarke, 52, a truck driver from Harrington Park, N.J. "I have them on several jackets, so I don't have to think about it."

          Some Twitter users voiced criticisms of the safety-pin trend, calling it "slacktivism," a word that blends "slacker" and "activism." They expressed concern that wearing something doesn't equate to action. Wearers responded by acknowledging the critique. "I recognize that wearing a #safetypin is not sufficient action and does not supplement provide active, constructive work," @OliviaHungers wrote. "Donate time. Donate money. Support people in your community with action. If you still wear the pin be sure to be ready to back it up."

          For his part, Mr. Clarke said that the pin isn't just a signal of allegiance to those he encounters, but a constant reminder to himself. "A big part of wearing it is the mental preparation on my part," he said. "If I do see something, I've thought it through, and I'll stand up and say something and not be a silent witness."



          12)  UPS Air Maintenance Workers Vote 98 Percent to Authorize Strike

          NOV. 14, 2016, 9:57 A.M. E.S.T


          CHICAGO — Air maintenance workers at United Parcel Service Inc have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against the world's largest package delivery company as contract talks remained deadlocked over health-care benefits, the workers' union said on Monday.

          Teamsters Local 2727 said 98 percent of those who took part in a mail-in ballot voted to authorize strike action. Eighty percent of the local's 1,200 members participated in the ballot.

          Contract talks have been ongoing for three years. If they remain deadlocked Monday, union representatives say they will begin the process that could lead to a strike within 60 days.

          The main sticking point has been healthcare benefits. The Teamsters say UPS is demanding major concessions, including a massive spike in retiree contributions for health-care costs.

          "UPS wants huge concessions and our members are not willing to take them," Local 2727 President Tim Boyle said. "We're not asking for anything we don't already have and this demonstrates our members are willing to strike."The air maintenance staff work at hubs around the United States, with more than one-third in Louisville, Kentucky, which is UPS' main hub.

          "UPS continues to negotiate in good faith for a contract that is good for our employees, our customers and our company," a UPS spokesman said. "We are confident talks will be completed successfully."

          The company said it was also hopeful that contract talks can be concluded "without any disruption" to customers.

          A strike could ground UPS' airplanes, affecting packages shipped by air. While it would not halt all deliveries, it would be a major disruption.

          The air maintenance workers are governed by the U.S. Railway Labor Act, which only permits strikes after negotiations and mediation have failed.

          If talks remain deadlocked Monday, the Teamsters say they will ask the federal mediator overseeing negotiations to release the union from the bargaining table. If there is no resolution after a 30-day cooling-off period, a board appointed by the president would have to rule on a strike, which would take up to 30 days.

          A strike would be highly unlikely during UPS' crucial holiday peak season this year. But it could go before the presidential board before President Barack Obama leaves office in January.

          Kevin Gawlik, an air mechanic for 20 years who works at a UPS air hub in Rockford, Illinois, voted to strike. He said the work is tough and can result in health problems, including hearing loss from working around jet engines.

          "That's why I'm willing to walk out and strike to keep my benefits," Gawlik, 49, said.

          In trading on the New York Stock Exchange, UPS shares were down 0.3 percent at $113.94.

          (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)



          13)  Squash, Rice and Roadkill: Feeding the Fighters of Standing Rock

          NOV. 16, 2016




          CANNON BALL, N.D. — On any given night, supper lines here at the dusty prairie camps near the Missouri River where the last piece of a 1,170-mile pipeline is set to be placed might include young Navajo women from Arizona who have never camped in the cold, and older white women for whom chaining themselves to a fence for a cause is nothing new.

          There are protest tourists in new boots, Lakota elders who spend hours in prayer, parents from the suburbs who have dragged the children away from their video games.

          They have all driven for hours — sometimes days — to join hundreds of protesters at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. And they all need to eat.

          The camps grew fast over the summer, sometimes swelling on the weekends to what both organizers and the North Dakota state patrol said was well over 3,000 people. The original intent was to stop or at least change the route of the Dakota Access pipeline, a $3.7 billion project that will stretch across four states.

          The camps have since broadened into a gathering of people focused on bringing attention to environmental issues and the rights of indigenous people. As the number of teepees and yurts built to withstand the brutal North Dakota winter has grown, so, too, have the camp kitchens.

          No one is directly in charge of the chaotic but robust network of what amounts to several free restaurants, which reflect both the broad spectrum of the nation's diet and its battles over food politics.

          "There is no rhyme or reason, but everyone gets fed," Rosetta Buan, 40, a cook from Asheville, N.C., who is on her third trip here, said Sunday. "There are little miracles every day. Dishes get washed. Bellies get filled."

          The roster of cooks can change daily, bringing the kind of cutthroat power plays any chef will tell you is inherent in many professional kitchens. Writing a daily menu is a challenge. The voluminous stream of food donations might produce 50-pound bags of rice, cases of Funyuns, butternut squash from an urban farm in Detroit and roadkill deer. Supplies, supplemented by runs to Bismarck, about an hour's drive away, are spread among pop-up and permanent tents, refrigerated trucks and wooden palettes on the ground.

          Anyone who is hungry heads to the dining tent, grabs a plastic plate from a mismatched pile and lines up under a sign that reads, "Lakota Rules: Women and children first." All that is asked is that you take a minute to wash dishes, sort food or find some other way to pay for your meal with labor.

          Ms. Buan, who owns the vegetarian restaurant Rosetta's Kitchen in Asheville, was called upon during one trip to help figure out what to do with a donated buffalo that was hanging from the bucket of a bulldozer. On this visit, she is setting up a snug vegetarian kitchen that will feed about 30 of her family members and friends who plan to stay through the winter even if Energy Transfer Partners, the Dallas-based company building the pipeline, meets its goal and finishes the project by January.

          Like almost every cook here, she will feed anyone who walks in.

          The main kitchen is at the Oceti Sakowin camp, the biggest of four camps within a short hike of one another. Most of the meals are prepared in a military tent outfitted with a 12-burner propane stove and a few other large pieces of cooking equipment, including a black smoker just outside the door.

          Members of the news media are warned that no images can be captured from within the main food tents, for fear that health inspectors might spot violations and use them as an excuse to shut down the camps.

          "It's hard to be up to code when you are camp cooking, but we're getting there," said Mateo Cadena, 29, who took a break from his kitchen job at the Yellowstone Club, a private resort in Big Sky, Mont., to cook at the main kitchen for several days earlier this month.

          The clash of food cultures is writ large here. A sizable contingent of vegans and vegetarians struggle in a culture that is based on hunting game.

          Although everyone tries to be respectful, a kitchen shift can get tense. At the nearby Sacred Stone camp, the Lakota woman who runs a kitchen that can feed up to 200 people a day struggles with a white cook from Montana who insists that using propane is disingenuous when they are fighting an oil company, and that children should not be fed white sugar.

          Caitlyn Huss, 25, a manager of a vegan hostel in Los Angeles, was closing up late one night last month when the tent flap opened and someone dropped off a deer that had just been killed by a car.

          "We knew we had to find an elder from the sacred fire to come and bless it, then find someone who could skin it for us," she recalled. "It was crazy."

          Brian Yazzie, a Navajo chef who works for the Sioux Chef, a native food company based in Minneapolis, said the cultural gap even among tribe members can be wide. He spent a few days last month cooking at the camps, and is gathering donations so he can head back during the week of Thanksgiving.

          He cooks food he describes as pre-colonization: local meat and vegetables and no gluten, dairy or processed products. It's difficult at the camps, he said. When he first surveyed the supply tent, he saw stacks of flour, canned goods and vegetable oil. "It was like the mid-1850s when my ancestors were put on reservations or internment camps and given government rations to eat instead of their natural resources."

          At the camp, he made hominy and bison soup and roasted pumpkin with quinoa flavored with maple syrup. It was not an automatic hit.

          "The palates of most of my people are used to that survival food," he said.

          Savannah Jo Begay, 29, a Navajo from Pinon, Ariz., spends her evenings making fry bread from flour, water and lard. It's the kind of food Mr. Yazzie battles against, but something a lot of people at the camps crave.

          "You put some love into the fry bread and it makes it feel like home," she said.

          That desire for homey food led to breakaway kitchens run by different tribes that have the feel of extremely rustic neighborhood bistros. Pueblo cooks might serve bowls of red chili stew while the Oglala Sioux fry venison. One night last week, the Upper Klamath Basin kitchen offered elk stroganoff.

          Winona Kasto, 47, a Lakota cook from Green Grass, a small community on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, ran the big kitchen for a time. She left to start a little kitchen she calls the Soup Kettle House. With help from a rotating band of volunteers, she turns donations delivered by sympathetic national food companies and whatever else shows up into meals that Lakotas want to eat.

          "I just want to feed the people and our ancestors the proper way," she said.

          When a donated buffalo was butchered, she got the lungs and some other internal organs. She boiled them into soup. That day, some young protesters tried to swim across the river to the construction site and clashed with the police. Someone rushed into her kitchen and said they needed hot soup at the front lines.

          "I packed it up and they ran it out there," she said. "Even the white people were eating that lung soup."



          14)  Old Treaties and New Alliances Empower Native Americans

          I heard my grandfather say, 'If the world ever ends, it's going to be us killing ourselves,' Mr. Housty said as he leaned against a fish-cleaning station at a tribal salmon hatchery. 'And that's all it is,' he said, gesturing to the world around where he stood. 'At the end of the day, we need to manage ourselves.'"

          NOV. 15, 2016





          The simmering standoff between the police and Native Americans and their allies who oppose a giant oil pipeline project in North Dakota is the most visible sign of an emerging movement that is shifting the debate about how public lands across North America should be managed.

          From the rocky, pebbled beaches north of Seattle, where the Lummi Nation has led the fight against a proposed coal terminal, to southern Utah, where a coalition of tribes is demanding management rights over a proposed new national monument, to the tiny wooded community of Bella Bella, British Columbia, 350 miles north of the United States border, Native Americans are asserting old treaty rights and using tribal traditions to protect and manage federally owned land.

          "If you want to own it, you have to act like you own it," said Kelly Brown, the director of resource management for the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella. The Heiltsuk pressed the Canadian government for joint management of the local herring fishery and won this year through a campaign of sit-ins and political lobbying.

          The force for change comes in part from tribes' forming new alliances as they defend territorial claims and manage resources. In some places, the focus is on fossil fuels and pollution; in others, on an awareness that climate change could have a disproportionately harsh impact on tribal populations because of where they live, in coastal or forest areas, or their dependence on natural resources or foods.

          "The tribal voice, and their concerns and what happens on those lands — that's accelerating right now, and where it's going to go, I don't know," said John Freemuth, a professor of public policy at Boise State University who studies public lands. "It's a big story and a growing story."

          Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, in particular, where the Sioux and others are fighting the construction of the 1,170-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline, has been one battleground.

          Native Americans and environmental activists say the project threatens the region's water supply and would harm sacred cultural lands.

          The Army announced late Monday that it had finished reviewing its process for approving the pipeline's route on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. But it said it needed more study and wanted input from the Standing Rock Sioux before it allowed the pipeline to cross under a Missouri River reservoir.

          Pipeline protesters, linking their effort to demonstrations over the last week in many American cities in opposition to President-elect Donald J. Trump, held rallies on Tuesday in cities from Albuquerque to Buffalo.

          A vast stretch of deep-green temporal rain forest bigger than Maine and stretching from northwest Washington to Alaska — called the Great Bear in British Columbia — has emerged as a laboratory for change. An agreement signed this year between British Columbia and 27 tribal nations, including the Heiltsuk, protects much of the forest from commercial logging and shifts some management authority to the tribes.

          In southern Nevada, the Moapa Band of Paiutes is seeking federal protection for lands that now lie within the ranch owned by Cliven Bundy, the father of Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who were recently acquitted of criminal charges for their roles in the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon this year.

          In Idaho last summer, tribal representatives from 19 states met for what organizers said was the biggest Native American workshop on climate change, and they concluded that global environmental changes transcended national boundaries.

          "This is how land resource decisions are going to be made in the future — through co-management with people who have been on the land forever," said Hadley Archer, the executive director of the Nature Conservancy Canada, which helped put together the Great Bear forest agreement. To that end, the University of Victoria law school in British Columbia will begin enrolling students next year in a degree program that will combine the traditional study of court precedents and legislation with the study of tribal law.

          People like Chantal Pronteau, a member of the Kitasoo/Xai'Xais Nation(pronounced hay-hay), are walking this uncharted road.

          Last year, Ms. Pronteau, 22, put on a uniform as a member of the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, a Native American patrol, to monitor the environment and guard against poachers and illegal tree-cutters from Klemtu, her community's tiny home village of about 300 people. The village, in British Columbia, is reachable only by boat or air.

          Changes are everywhere, she said. Grizzly bears have been swimming across fjords and rivers to colonize islands where they have not been seen before, as salmon become harder to find. Whales are wintering off the coast rather than heading to Hawaii, breaking another ancient pattern. A treasured culinary seaweed disappeared this year.

          "We're the eyes and the ears," Ms. Pronteau said as she walked a stretch of rocky beach in her black Coastal Guardian Watchman jacket. The importance of her work patrolling the tribe's territory by boat and on foot, she added, "feels beyond what words can describe, because of what we're working for, who we're working for and why we're working."

          The great mossy forest belt of the Pacific Northwest — culturally, environmentally and economically crucial to people here for millenniums — was where this new power dynamic began. In the mid-1990s, indigenous people began protesting the clear-cutting of trees in the Great Bear forest. Involvement of conservation groups like the Nature Conservancy then led to a series of agreements that were capped this year with the tribes and the government of British Columbia banning or strictly limiting industrial logging in nearly half of the forest.

          An endowment fund created earlier in that process, in 2007, linked economic development and tribe-led science and management in the Great Bear forest. That fund helps back programs like the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, which involves at least 14 tribes in the Great Bear area out of 27 that signed the agreement.

          Like climate change itself, though, there are few certain outcomes. Governments can override Native arguments. Coastal Guardians like Ms. Pronteau also sometimes have the delicate task of trying to persuade trophy game hunters that tribal rules ban bear hunting in their territory, even though the hunters may have legal permits. Some hunters respond and retreat, she said; others do not.

          Legal wrinkles echo across a century or more. Many First Nations in British Columbia, for example, including the Kitasoo/Xai'Xais, never signed treaties with the Canadian government, which means that, unlike most other tribes across Canada and United States, they never ceded any dominion over their lands. The future, those tribes say, is an open book.

          But in other places, the legal power of treaties has been reinforced. When the Army Corps of Engineers said this year that a proposed coal terminal in northwest Washington State would threaten fishing rights guaranteed to the Lummi Nation in 1855 — and again this week, when it said a "government-to-government" relationship with the Sioux was necessary to discuss the North Dakota pipeline — it sent a thunderclap across tribal lands. Treaties still have teeth.

          The echo also hangs heavy in these ancient lands. Archaeological evidence shows a human presence in the Pacific Northwest dating back more than 13,000 years.

          "What it comes down to is our cultural history, and the land that we've been handed down by our ancestors to take care of," said William G. Housty, the chairman of the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department.

          "I heard my grandfather say, 'If the world ever ends, it's going to be us killing ourselves,'" Mr. Housty said as he leaned against a fish-cleaning station at a tribal salmon hatchery. "And that's all it is," he said, gesturing to the world around where he stood. "At the end of the day, we need to manage ourselves."



          15)  M.T.A. Proposals Could Raise Subway Fare to $3

          NOV. 16, 2016





          The price of a MetroCard swipe could rise by a quarter to $3 in March, officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Wednesday.

          The authority's board is considering two proposals for a 4 percent increase in fares and tolls across the system's trains, buses, tunnels and bridges. Board members are expected to vote on the proposals in January after the authority holds a series of public meetings.

          One proposal would raise the base fare for subways and buses to $3, while increasing the bonus on pay-per-ride MetroCards to 16 percent from 11 percent, when riders put at least $6 on a card. A second proposal would keep the base fare at $2.75, but reduce the current 11 percent bonus to 5 percent, when riders put at least $5.50 on a card.

          Under both plans, a weekly MetroCard would rise by $1 to $32. A monthly pass would increase by $4.50 to $121. Fares and tolls would rise by about 4 percent on commuter railroads and at tunnels and bridges.

          The authority has said it plans to raise fares every two years, but the climbing cost has frustrated riders who complain of worsening subway delays, overcrowding and slow buses. Under the last fare and toll increase, in March 2015, the base fare for subways and buses rose by a quarter to $2.75.

          The regularly scheduled increases are part of a financial rescue plan approved by the New York State Legislature in 2009. Officials at the authority argue that its policy is better than those of other transit systems, like New Jersey Transit, whose fare increases, including a 9 percent rise last year, are less predictable.

          With another fare increase on the horizon, some transit advocates and elected leaders have called on Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, to pay for a program to offer half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers living in poverty. The Seattle area introduced discounted fares for low-income riders last year and has already signed up tens of thousands of people.

          A new authority board member, David R. Jones, said he planned to address the plight of low-income riders during the board discussion on Wednesday. Mr. Jones, who was nominated to the board by Mr. de Blasio, has pressed the mayor to support the half-price MetroCard plan.

          In September, the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, said the authority's financial outlook had improved recently because of the economic recovery and low energy costs and interest rates. But Mr. DiNapoli has repeatedly warned about the agency's growing debt, which he said could reach $41 billion by 2020.



          16)  New York City Helps to Keep Police Records Secret

          NOV. 15, 2016






          Mayor Bill de Blasio, who promised an open government, has been far from transparent when it comes to the conduct of police officers. Last year, his administration appealed a well-reasoned state court decisionthat ordered it to release summaries of misconduct findings against the officer who used a choke hold in the 2014 arrest of Eric Garner. More recently, under a narrow reading of state law, it shut down access to Police Department records containing routine personnel information that had been open to the news media for decades.

          The law, enacted in 1976, says that an officer's personnel record cannot be publicly released or cited in court without judicial approval. But the definition of "personnel record" has become so broad that some courts and cities have mistakenly applied it to virtually any information pertaining to an officer's background. New York City should be contesting this view instead of acquiescing to it.

          The latest misinterpretation of the 1976 law involves a lawsuit brought by the union representing guards at the notoriously violent Rikers Island jail complex. The suit was filed on behalf of Aubrey Victor, a guard whose conduct reflected a longstanding culture of brutality at Rikers that left guards free to batter or even torture inmates without fear of reprisal — a culture documented by the Justice Department in 2014. A Department of Correction investigation, based partly on video, had found that Officer Victor repeatedly stomped on an inmate's head as the man lay on the floor.

          The department referred the case to the city's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings — known as OATH — an independent municipal tribunal that holds over 300,000 hearings a year for civil servants and others. The judge found that Officer Victor had used deadly force unnecessarily and recommended that he be fired.

          During the hearing, Officer Victor asked to have his name excised from OATH records so that it did not become part of the public record. The judge correctly rejected the request, noting that the state law was not intended to apply to records that are controlled by an independent entity. Nevertheless, the union now argues that state personnel records law requires that these administrative court findings stay secret and that guards are entitled to have their names and identifying information expunged.

          The city could have made much the same argument as the judge in its response to the lawsuit. But it chose to object on a technicality. The union interpreted the city's response as proof that the law applies to OATH records.

          The job of making the opposite case was left to The New York Times and the New York Civil Liberties Union, which made forceful arguments in their amicus briefs that a law originally intended to protect personal information about public employees should not suddenly be applied to OATH records as well. The public clearly has a right to know about misconduct by the city's police and correction officers.


















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