12/01/2016

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2016



CONTRASTS:



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Well, certainly picked a strange holiday marketing strategy.


ACE HARDWARE STATEMENT UPDATE:
Please note below (sentence enlarged) that they are only stocking and selling 1-pound propane canisters! All normal grills use at least 15-pound canisters. This is a purposeful attack on the Water Protectors who are trying to survive in sub-freezing weather in North Dakota. Everyone should demand they keep their stores in the area stocked up fully! Human lives depend on it! This is outrageous! --Bonnie Weinstein, bauaw.org

Oak Brook, Ill.,
December
01,
2016

Ace Hardware statement on North Dakota protest and product sales

Update: As of Thursday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. local time, Ace Hardware stores in Bismarck, N. D., are in-stock and selling 1 lb. propane canisters. 
At Ace, our local store owners take great pride in serving their neighbors and it is our policy to serve all customers without discrimination and to follow all laws in each respective community.
We understand the concerns that have been shared with us regarding product sales related to the recent protests in North Dakota and have been working very hard to gather all of the facts from our locally-owned Ace stores that operate in the area and local authorities. To be candid, we've been working feverishly to unearth all of the facts, which have been cloudy at times.
In an effort to clear any misunderstanding and/or misinformation, Ace Hardware can now confirm that there is no ban on the sale of products at our locally-owned Ace stores; customers should feel free to check with their local store for inventory availability. 
http://newsroom.acehardware.com/ace-hardware-statement-on-north-dakota-protest-and-product-sales/

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North Dakota: Stop Using Cold Water to Blast Unarmed Protestors in Sub-Freezing Temperatures

13,333 SUPPORTERS
14,000 GOAL
As we gear up to celebrate Thanksgiving, Native Americans are fighting for their right to their own land, clean water and now, their lives. On Sunday night, Dakota Access Pipeline unarmed protesters were blasted with tear gas, mace, rubber bullets and water cannons for hours in 23-degree weather, all while simply trying to clear the road for emergency services.
While all of this violence is unacceptable, the freezing cold water cannons are especially cruel given the temperature; protesters could easily get hypothermia and even die! Please join the Standing Rock medics in begging Morton County law enforcement to stop the use of water cannons on peaceful protesters immediately.
Protesters were simply trying to clear the road to allow emergency services to get to their camp when the militarized police force assaulted them for hours on end. The medics at the scene said 300 people were injured, 23 of whom ended up in the hospital. The majority of the injured got hypothermia from the freezing water cannons.
Frontline journalists were also targeted and shot with rubber bullets, press drones were shot down and some protectors were shot in the head with rubber bullets and fell unconscious.
This dangerous, potentially lethal treatment of peaceful protesters cannot stand. These people are using legal and unarmed tactics to simply protect their water supply and Morton County may end up killing them. Add your name to ask them to cut the worst of their tactics out: using a freezing water cannon in sub-freezing temperatures.
Sign Petition Here:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/253/888/166/?z00m=28621731&redirectID=2245909653

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Message from the National Boricua Human Rights Network 
SIGN THIS PETITION NOW!

PLEASE FORWARD FAR AND WIDE WE ARE TRYING TO GET 100,000 SIGNATURES IN 30 DAYS.







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.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/president-obama-free-oscar-lopez-rivera-he-ends-his-term-president

WE ARE FREEING OSCAR LÓPEZ RIVERA

Coordinating Committee
National Boricua Human Rights Network
2739 W. Division Street
Chicago IL 60622
www.boricuahumanrights.org
@free_olr
International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity



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

http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/black-children-punished-anthem-protests/?sp_ref=239333099.176.176140.e.558213.2&referring_akid=6495.1114646.XlU2ME&source=em_sp

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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:

A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

B. ARTICLES IN FULL



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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL NOW! 
FREE HEP-C MEDS FOR ALL INFECTED PRISONERS! 
Rally and March
Friday December 9, Rally Oscar Grant Plaza, OAKLAND, 4pm 
Followed by March to OPD Headquarters 

Join us for a National Day of Action on December 9 to FREE MUMIA NOW!
 and Demand: FREE HEP-C MEDS FOR ALL PRISONERS! 
in coordination with his Philadelphia and New York supporters 

Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther who police tried to execute on the streets of Philadelphia in 1981, was framed by a racist judicial system and sentenced to death. Like other Black Panthers he was an innocent target of the FBI's repressive COINTELPRO campaign. From death row Mumia, became known as the "voice of the voiceless", exposing deplorable prison conditions and fighting racist police killings, imperialist wars and capitalist oppression. International protests got him off death row, but now they are trying to kill him by medical neglect. They are withholding life-saving Hep C medication he and 7,000 other Pennsylvania prisoners desperately need. After 35 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, it's time to mobilize to FREE MUMIA and other political prisoners like him now! 

A recent US Supreme Court decision, "Williams vs. Pennsylvania" could open the door for Mumia's freedom but only if this fundamentally racist judicial system is confronted with mass protests like those that got him off death row. This decision ruled that a prosecutor cannot later sit as judge over the same defendant's appeal. This is exactly what happened in Mumia's case. On this basis Mumia's attorneys have filed a new legal action. If successful, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rulings that upheld his conviction would be overturned. Mumia could then re-appeal the issues of his innocence, jury bias and falsified evidence to win an outright dismissal of charges or get a new trial. Mumia was framed by corrupt cops, prosecutors, and judges for the murder of a policeman that he did not commit!! 

We say: Free Mumia Now! 

 Endorsers for the December 9th Free Mumia Coalition: 
Angela Davis; ANSWER Coalition; Anti Police-Terror Project; BAMN; Black Panther Commemoration Committee, NY; (Former) Black Panthers: Cleo Silvers, Eddie Conway, Larry Pinkney, William Johnson; Cal BSU; Code Pink, Freedom Socialist Party-Bay Area; Haiti Action Committee; International Action Center; John Brown Society; Justice for Palestinians-San Jose; Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal; Love Not Blood Campaign/Uncle Bobby; National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party; Oakland Socialist Group; Oakland Teachers for Mumia; Oasis Hepatitis C Clinic; Occupy 4 Prisoners; Oscar Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and State Repression; Party for Socialism and Liberation; Peace and Freedom Party; Socialist Organizer; Socialist Viewpoint; Speak Out Now; Veterans for Peace – East Bay; Workers World Party

See you at Oscar Grant Plaza (City Hall), Oakland, 4 pm, December 9th

More Info: Tova, 510-600-5800; Jack, 510-501-7080; Gerald 510-417-1252

(This message from: Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal).

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In Philadelphia on December 9th:



3-6pm - Rally outside next to the hated Rizzo statue across from City Hall in Thomas Paine Plaza 
6-9pm - Indoor event at Arch Street Methodist Church, Arch and N. Broad Street streets (food will be available.)

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January 20, 2017, 7:00 A.M.
Freedom Plaza
1355 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.
(14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.)
Washington, D.C.

Here in San Francisco:

Fri. Jan. 20, 5pm
SF Protest: Say NO to Trump and the Trump Program on Inauguration Day
Fight Racism, Sexism and Bigotry—Defend Immigrants!
UN Plaza, near Civic Center BART, San Francisco

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter
Sign up to volunteer! Become an organizer in the fightback movement against Trump!
n8 sf
Progressive people from all over the country will be descending on Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2017, to stage a massive demonstration along Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day along with corresponding actions in San Francisco and other West Coast cities.
Trump’s appointees are a motley and dangerous crew of billionaires, white supremacists and other extreme rightwingers. They have nothing good in mind for anyone but the banks, oil companies and the military-industrial complex.
It is more important than ever that we keep building the grassroots movement against war, militarism, racism, anti-immigrant scapegoating and neoliberal capitalism’s assault against workers’ living standards and the environment.
Real social change comes from the bottom, the mobilized grassroots, and not from the centers of institutional power, the professional politicians or the capitalist elites.
This country needs a real political revolution. Millions of people feel entirely disenfranchised by a political system that delivered the least favorable and trusted candidates in U.S. history. Many hoped that the Bernie Sanders campaign would represent a new direction and opportunity to take on entrenched power and extreme inequality, for a higher minimum wage, to defend Social Security, rebuild the labor movement, provide universal health care and free tuition.
Donald Trump is a racist, sexist bigot. On Inauguration Day, thousands will be in the streets to give voice to the millions of people in this country who are demanding systemic change and who reject Trump’s anti-people program.
Join us on January 20, 2017, for a massive mobilization of the people!
More info: www.ANSWERsf.org or 415-821-6545. 

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Read more about this action at:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_lsTTIlJff6anpUaUdoYWUwVU0/view

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Chelsea Manning Support Network
Support Chelsea's petition to reduce sentence to time served
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View it in your browser.

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!

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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)

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013RU5M4S



Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

Click HERE to view in browser

http://www.iacenter.org/prisoners/freepinkney-1-28-15/

UPDATE:

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
REV. PINKNEY NOW.

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

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.

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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.


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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

    SUPPORTERS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL, AND FREE QUALITY HEALTH CARE FOR ALL:
    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:

    PUBLIC HEALTH, NOT CORPORATE WEALTH!


    WE DEMAND:

    PUBLIC HEALTH, NOT CORPORATE WEALTH!

    IMMEDIATE AND FREE TREATMENT FOR ALL HCV-INFECTED PRISONERS!

    NO EXECUTION BY MEDICAL NEGLECT!

    JAIL DRUG PROFITEERS, FREE MUMIA!

    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!
     

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    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
    Signed,
    Luqman Abdullah-ibn Al-Sidiq

    https://www.causes.com/actions/1671495-the-forgotten-imam-jamil-abdullah-al-amin-h-rap-brown?utm_campaign=post_mailer%2Fcampaign_update.cb_71432&utm_medium=email&utm_source=causes

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    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.

    HOW YOU CAN HELP
      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
        Call/Write:
        Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com





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        Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

        Sign the Petition:
        http://www.savekevincooper.org/pages/petition.php


        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

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          CANCEL ALL STUDENT DEBT!

          Sign the Petition:

          http://cancelallstudentdebt.com/?code=kos



          Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:


          Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.

          I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private.

          American Federation of Teachers
          Campaign for America's Future
          Courage Campaign
          Daily Kos
          Democracy for America
          LeftAction
          Project Springboard
          RH Reality Check
          RootsAction
          Student Debt Crisis
          The Nation
          Working Families


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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
                                                or
                        Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com
                                               or
                        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
                                               or
                        Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com

          freelorenzojohnson.org

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          B. ARTICLES IN FULL


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          1)  Land Mine Casualties Jump 75% as Funding for Their Removal Declines
           NOV. 22, 2016
          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/world/land-mine-casualties-annual-report.html?ref=world

          Despite a global treaty that bans land mines, casualties from those weapons and other unexploded munitions lurking in current and past war zones rose sharply last year to the highest point in a decade, a monitoring group said Tuesday in its annual report.
          The group, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, also said that financial contributions toward efforts to remove land mines plunged by nearly a quarter last year. It was the third consecutive annual decline in funding, imperiling a pledge by treaty members to complete mine clearance by 2025.
          In another setback to the treaty's goals, the number of countries and areas where land mines are known to exist rose to 64 last year, from 61 in 2014, the report said. It attributed the increase to the use of antipersonnel mines in Nigeria, including improvised mines, and to new data on mines that had already been present in Palau and Mozambique.
          The casualty increase was primarily because of the armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen, according to the report, which said better availability of data on victims was also a factor.
          It said that 6,461 people were known to have been wounded or killed by land mines and other explosive remnants of war in 2015. That was a 75 percent increase from 2014 and the highest reported casualty total since 2006's figure of 6,573.

          "The decade-high number of new casualties caused by land mines and unexploded ordnance, and the continued suffering of civilians, more than a third of whom were children, proves again that these indiscriminate weapons should never be used by anyone," said Loren Persi Vicentic, one of the editors of the annual report, Landmine Monitor 2016.
          The land mine treaty, which took effect in 1999, bans the use of mines and other victim-activated explosive devices placed on or under the ground. They are designed to detonate when a person unwittingly walks over them or is nearby, and they can remain lethal even after lying dormant for many years.
          Land mines have long posed a safety threat to civilians, particularly children, who step on the explosives or find them, sometimes well after a conflict has ended.
          Landmine Monitor 2016 was released in advance of the 15th meeting of countries that have signed the treaty. The meeting is to begin Monday in Santiago, Chile. At least 162 countries have signed the treaty. Thirty-five countries remain outside the treaty, including China, Russia and the United States. Most of them do not use or produce land mines.
          More than 50 countries manufactured land mines before the treaty, a number that has since dwindled to 11. The Landmine Monitor report said the most active producers were India, Myanmar, Pakistan and South Korea.


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          2)  Trump Foundation Won't Pay Any of $25 Million University Settlement
           NOV. 21, 2016
          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/business/dealbook/trump-foundation-wont-pay-any-of-25-million-
          university-settlement.html?ref=business&_r=1&mtrref=www.nytimes.com

          Donald J. Trump's charitable foundation will not be paying any of the $25 million settlement to resolve a series of lawsuits concerning Trump University, the president-elect's defunct for-profit education venture that drew customer complaints about price gouging.
          Representatives for Mr. Trump sent a one-paragraph letter on Friday to Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State attorney general, stating that no funding for the settlement would come from "any charitable foundation or other charitable entity."
          A copy of the letter, from Alan Garten, executive vice president and general counsel for the Trump Organization, was reviewed by The New York Times. Mr. Garten did not respond to a request for comment.
          In the past, Mr. Trump has used money from his charitable foundation, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, to settle lawsuits arising from his business and personal activities. Last month, in the heat of the presidential campaign, The Washington Post reported that more than a quarter of a million dollars from Mr. Trump's charity had been used to settle legal disputes.

          "Given Mr. Trump's reported history of using his charity's money to fund his and his businesses' legal settlements, we demanded written assurance that the Trump University settlement would not be paid for by any charitable entity," said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general.
          Mr. Schneiderman sued Trump University in 2013, and his office helped negotiate the settlement, which also resolved two class-action lawsuits filed in federal court in San Diego. One of those suits was scheduled to go to trial in a few days. The settlement foreclosed the possibility of a potentially embarrassing situation for Mr. Trump as he moves forward in putting together his administration.
          During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump said he did not like settling lawsuits and insisted that students found Trump University to be "wonderful" and "beautiful." He took to Twitter early Saturday to say: "The only bad thing about winning the presidency is that I did not have the time to go through a long but winning trial on Trump U. Too bad!"
          The lawsuits said that Trump University, which was in business from 2004 to 2010, cheated students out of thousands of dollars in tuition through high-pressure sales tactics and deceptive claims about the program. About 7,000 students will be eligible to recoup some of the money they spent on tuition. The settlement still requires the court's approval.
          Some Trump University students paid as much as $35,000 in tuition. One of them, Jeffrey Tufenkian told The New York Times in 2011 that his experience at Trump University "was almost completely worthless." He said the program had wiped out much of his and his wife's savings.
          It was not known whether an insurance policy taken out by Trump University would cover any part of the settlement.
          Customarily, settlements can be taken as a tax deduction by a business, and that appears to be the case in this situation. However, a $1 million penalty for violating state education laws in New York, which is part of the settlement package, may not qualify for a deduction.

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          3)  Mr. Trump: I Am an Immigrant With a Criminal Record
           NOV. 24, 2016
          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/24/opinion/mr-trump-i-am-an-immigrant-with
          -a-criminal-record.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-
          heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.
          nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

          WASHINGTON — I arrived in the United States on Nov. 12, 1981, when I was 1. My parents had fled the Pol Pot genocide in Cambodia, in which over two million people were murdered. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand before moving to California, and then Virginia.
          None of these facts may seem important, but I assure you, they are. My parents and I were granted legal permanent resident status; my brother and sister, who were born here, are citizens. The three of us were typical American kids, eating Cheerios for breakfast and taking the bus to school. We went to Disneyland and religiously watched the Fourth of July fireworks from the beach. As a teenager I attended school dances in all of their crepe glory. I am not an American citizen, but there is no way I am not an American.
          Donald J. Trump said that his administration will "get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million." He continued, "We are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate. But we're getting them out of our country."
          I'm not a gang member. I'm not a drug dealer. But I have a criminal record, and I'm afraid.
          My parents were very strict when I was growing up. We were expected to come straight home after school to do our homework and then start on our chores. No extracurricular activities. Although it was a happy home, I struggled to find independence.
          I think that's partly why, when I started college at George Mason University, I was very naïve — and very foolish. My new friends introduced me to drugs. I had no idea of the consequences behind the choices I made.
          In the spring of 2000, I was walking along the street with an American-born friend when we were stopped by a police officer. I was carrying seven tablets of Ecstasy. I was arrested for possession with intent to sell, which is a felony in Virginia. On the advice of my lawyer — and feeling that a trial would increase my family's suffering and embarrassment — I pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in jail. My sentence was suspended, so I spent only three months in the Virginia Department of Corrections. I then served four years on probation, and my level of supervision was gradually reduced as I demonstrated good behavior.
          I used the freedom that was given to me to better myself. I moved back in with my parents, began working full time at a mortgage company, and enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College. I paid my taxes, contributed to society and tried to make my parents proud.
          Then, in 2004, I went for what I thought was a routine visit to my probation officer. I had even brought along my most recent report card to show the growth I had made. What I encountered was a multitude of officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, instructing me to hand over my possessions and stand spread-eagle against the wall. As my probation officer gave me an apologetic look, they escorted me out of the office, handcuffed me and eventually took me to Hampton Roads Regional Jail, in southern Virginia.
          I was dumbstruck. I had been following all the rules. I could not understand why I was being arrested again. Immigration officers eventually informed me that my conviction meant I would most likely be deported from the United States. For me this was a second punishment for the very same crime, and this one, though never discussed or even mentioned three years earlier when I pleaded guilty, was worse than the first.
          If I was deported, I would be sent to Cambodia. But I had never even been to Cambodia! Our entire family had moved to the United States at this point; we knew no one there. I was terrified.
          I was held in a detention center for nearly nine months before being released under the supervision of the immigration agency. I returned once again to college and started working at a university as an enrollment counselor. I married and had a son.
          This spring, I received a pardon from the governor of Virginia that mentioned my "commitment to good citizenship." But immigration law is separate from criminal law, and my record still exists. Even though the state has forgiven my crime, the federal government could still decide to deport me. I am not eligible for citizenship.
          Yes, I did make a mistake at a very young age. I fully understand that, but I have also embraced the tremendous consequences of that mistake. I served my time in jail without complaint. The only part of my punishment that I ask for leniency on is my deportation.
          Deporting me may be within the authority of the law, but I implore Mr. Trump and his supporters to look past my mistakes. Every year I stay here is one more year I grow and acquire skills and knowledge that allow me to contribute more to this country. By giving me the tremendous opportunity to remain here, you would be allowing me to truly live how I've felt I've lived my entire life: as an American.

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          4)  In a California Valley, Healthy Food Everywhere but on the Table
           NOV. 23, 2016
          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/us/in-a-california-valley-healthy-food-everywhere-but-on-
          the-table.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-
          column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

          SALINAS, Calif. — As Americans gather around Thanksgiving tables, chances are that the healthier parts of their menus — the tossed salads, broccoli casseroles or steaming bowls of roasted brussels sprouts — were grown here in the Salinas Valley.
          A long strip of deep and fertile soil pinched by sharply rising mountains, the valley has more than doubled its output of produce in recent decades and now grows well over half of America's leaf lettuce.
          Yet one place the valley's bounty of antioxidants does not often appear is on the tables of the migrant workers who harvest it.
          Public health officials here describe a crisis of poverty and malnutritionamong the tens of thousands of farmworkers and their families who tend to the fields of lettuce, broccoli, celery, cauliflower and spinach, among many other crops, in an area called the salad bowl of the nation.
          More than a third of the children in the Salinas City Elementary School District are homeless; overall diabetes rates are rising and projected to soar; and 85 percent of farmworkers in the valley are overweight or obese, partly because unhealthy food is less costly, said Marc B. Schenker, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who studies the health of farmworkers.
          "The people who grow our food can't afford to eat it, and they are sicker because of it," said Joel Diringer, a public health specialist and advocate for farmworkers. "It's an incredible irony that those who work in the fields all day long don't have access to the fresh produce that they harvest."
          For decades, the fields of the Salinas Valley have been a revolving door of migrants, from the Okies of John Steinbeck's writings to the Latin American immigrants who tend the fields today. Ninety-one percent of farmworkers in California are foreign born, primarily from Mexico, according to the United States Department of Labor.
          While the valley's vegetables are reaching an ever-growing number of American households, public health officials say there are no signs of improvement in the living conditions and diets of farmworkers.
          The popularity of sugary drinks and cultural preferences for filling but high-calorie foods like tacos and tamales contribute to the obesity of farmworkers and their families, public health officials say. Because an estimated half of agricultural workers in the Salinas Valley are in the country illegally, many do not have health insurance and go without treatment until symptoms become acute.
          The combination of high rents and low incomes — wages typically fall in the range of $10 to $15 an hour — leaves farmworkers with minimal and often inadequate money for food and is a contributor to the housing crisis in Salinas.
          Homelessness has risen so steadily in recent years that the Salinas City Elementary School District now has a liaison for students without permanent housing.
          Cheryl Camany, the school district's homeless liaison, listed the types of dwellings where some farmworkers slept: "Tents, encampments, abandoned buildings," she said. "They could be living in a toolshed, a chicken coop."
          Poverty and neglect among farmworkers is by no means new. Steinbeck, the valley's most famous native son, wrote in the 1930s about the "curious attitude toward a group that makes our agriculture successful."
          "The migrants are needed, and they are hated," he wrote, a sentiment that residents here feel has been revived with the election of Donald J. Trump as president and his promises to deport undocumented workers.
          At a diabetes and nutrition awareness class held at a nursery school in King City, overweight women from farmworker families were given a barrage of statistics on the dangers of poor diets, especially those excessive in sugar.
          "Two in five Americans will develop diabetes," Lisa Rico, the instructor, told the class in Spanish. "But for us it's one in two."
          The class was run by the Natividad Medical Foundation, a nonprofit that is part of Natividad Medical Center, a large hospital in Salinas.
          Ms. Rico read to the class the findings of a survey of 1,200 young people in Monterey County, which includes Salinas: 72 percent of children under 10 years old and 83 percent of teenagers said they drank at least one soda a day; adolescents drank 4.5 times as many sugary drinks as water.
          study published in March by the U.C.L.A. Center for Health Policy Research reported that 57 percent of residents in Monterey County had diabetes or prediabetes, just slightly above the California average of 55 percent.
          But Dr. Dana Kent, the medical director for health promotion and education at the Natividad Medical Foundation, said estimates among farmworkers might be low, especially among those who are undocumented and fearful to obtain medical services.
          "We get a sense that there are a lot of people out there who are undiagnosed," Dr. Kent said.
          On a recent afternoon, workers from Mexico and El Salvador harvested heads of iceberg lettuce in a field in Gonzales, a city in the heart of the Salinas Valley. The workers moved so quickly — slicing, trimming the outer leaves and putting the heads of lettuce into plastic bags — that they looked like actors in a film played at an accelerated speed.
          Angelica Beltran, the supervisor, said her workers typically ate six to eight tacos while at work and had two or three sodas during their shift.
          "No one drinks diet soda," she said. "It doesn't taste good."
          Despite the frenetic pace of the work, farmworkers suffer from what Melissa Kendrick, the head of the Food Bank for Monterey County, calls the "obesity paradox of the poor."
          "They are fat, yes, but they are malnourished because all they are eating is garbage," she said.
          The consumption of cheap, starchy food has been a major contributor to the epidemic of obesity across America. But the rates among farmworkers here are significantly higher: 85 percent are overweight or obese compared with 69 percent nationally.
          Some farmworkers in the Salinas Valley sleep next to the vegetables they cannot afford to buy.
          In a row of dusty, barracks-style apartments straddled by railway tracks and vast fields of broccoli, Maria Hernandez, 60, pays $520 a month for two tiny rooms, each about 18 feet across. Her extended family are Mexican immigrants who have spent their lives farming and picking strawberries, celery and other crops. She became aware of the need to eat healthily when both her mother and her sister were diagnosed with diabetes.
          "Although we are surrounded by it, we don't eat it because it's expensive," said Antonia Tejada, Ms. Hernandez's daughter, who works the night shift at McDonald's. "We will buy a big bag of beans instead of a little thing of broccoli for $2 that won't feed even one person."
          Only an hour south of Silicon Valley, the Salinas Valley is a rural setting with urban prices.
          Israel de Jesus, who works as an interpreter at the Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, crowded into a home that rented for $1,600 a month when he was doing farm work.
          "There's no way to save money because of the bills and the rent," Mr. de Jesus said. "But you have to save money so you can make it through the winter."
          Even when vegetables and other healthy foods are available or affordable, farmworkers sometimes opt for the satisfaction of comfort food.
          Brigita Gonzalez rises every day at 3:30 a.m. to prepare food for her husband, who leaves for the fields an hour later. When she made him a salad once to accompany his tacos, he returned in the evening with the salad unfinished.
          Ms. Gonzalez says her husband was needled by co-workers for eating a salad: "Everybody was like, 'What are you eating?'"
          Ms. Kendrick of the food bank said demand was strong for healthy foods, cultural preferences notwithstanding. The food bank gives out about five million meals a year and is raising money to build a large food warehouse on a six-acre plot.
          Ms. Kendrick, who previously worked in Silicon Valley, said she was motivated by the idea that malnutrition and hunger were fixable in a country with so much wealth.
          "I've spent time in India, the Middle East, Southeast Asia — third world countries where poverty is everywhere," she said. "It's shocking when it's in your home state."

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          5)  Thanksgiving Turkeys May Have Been Tamed 1,500 Years Ago in Mexico
          As Americans get ready to carve Thanksgiving turkeys, ponder this question: When was this famous fowl first tamed?
          Archaeologists are not exactly sure, but recent research suggests that humans domesticated the big bird at least 1,500 years ago. The evidence comes from a clutch of intact eggs found in an old fortress in Oaxaca, Mexico. The researchers believe that the eggs, which date to between 400 and 500 A.D., were used by ancient people as some sort of ritualistic offering or sacrifice to their gods.
          "Finding those eggs intact was mind-blowing," said Gary Feinman, an archaeologist from the Field Museum in Chicago. "I've been excavating for decades and I have never ever found intact eggs like that in that quantity ever."
          Dr. Feinman and his colleagues uncovered several whole eggs buried together beneath two households in the Mitla Fortress in 2009. The fortress was once inhabited by the Zapotec people, a Mesoamerican civilization that was a neighbor of the Mayans, who lived there between 300 and 1,200 A.D. The Zapotecs were known to offer blood sacrifices, sometimes during important events such as burials, marriages and births, or for healing and agricultural rituals. Before constructing a new home, they would sometimes sacrifice a turkey hatchling, eat it and then bury its remains beneath the floors or within the walls.
          "We were not surprised to find offerings per se, but we were surprised to find an offering of a cluster of turkey eggs," said Dr. Feinman.
          They found four offerings and a grave that had turkey eggs and bones. The biggest offering contained five whole eggs and about seven baby turkey skeletons beneath the floor. The researchers said that in order for the residents to have both baby turkeys and turkey eggs within their houses, they must have been breeding and raising the birds nearby.
          "It's the earliest solid evidence of domesticated turkey in southern Mexico that we have to date," Dr. Feinman said. He and his colleagues published their results in The Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports in a paper that was published online in July and will appear in print in an upcoming issue on turkey domestication.
          Within the houses in Mitla Fortress, the team found several eggshells and more than 400 bones belonging to baby and adult turkeys. About a quarter of the bones were fashioned into tools or jewelry, but most appeared to have been discarded in trash pits. Turkeys weren't the only animals that the Mitla Fortress residents domesticated. They also raised dogs to eat and sacrifice.
          Heather A. Lapham, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the lead author of the study, analyzed the bones and showed they belonged to turkeys. She and the other researchers also confirmed with a scanning electron microscope that the eggs were from turkeys as well. The team is still awaiting DNA analysis of the bones to determine which of the three subspecies native to Mexico the remains belong to.
          The findings are the earliest evidence of tamed turkeys in southern Mexico, moving back the oldest known signs that turkeys were being raised by people. The oldest examples in northern Mexico date to around 500 A.D., although most archaeological evidence in the region does not appear until 900 A.D., according to the authors. In the Southwest United States some of the earliest domestic turkey evidence comes from sites that date to around 600 A.D.
          The authors note that there was an older turkey bone found in a cave in southern Mexico that is dated to 180 A.D., but they argue that the evidence from that lone bone is not enough to suggest that it was domesticated instead of wild.
          Joel L. Cracraft, curator of the department of ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History, was not involved in the study and said the paper provided clear evidence of turkey domestication by the Zapotecs some 1,500 years ago.
          "It seems that it pushes domestication back another 100 to 200 years," he said.

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          6)  Mothers in Prison
          "Prison got me sober, but it didn't get me anywhere."
          By   NOV. 25, 2016
          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/opinion/sunday/mothers-in-prison.
          html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module
          =opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=
          opinion-c-col-right-region

          TULSA, Okla. — The women's wing of the jail here exhales sadness. The inmates, wearing identical orange uniforms, ache as they undergo withdrawal from drugs, as they eye one another suspiciously, and as they while away the days stripped of freedom, dignity, privacy and, most painful of all, their children.
          "She's disappointed in me," Janay Manning, 29, a drug offender shackled to a wall for an interview, said of her eldest daughter, a 13-year-old. And then she started crying, and we paused our interview.
          Of all America's various policy missteps in my lifetime, perhaps the most catastrophic was mass incarceration. It has had devastating consequences for families, and it costs the average American household $600 a year.
          The United States has recently come to its senses and begun dialing back on the number of male prisoners. But we have continued to increase the number of women behind bars; two-thirds of women in state prisons are there for nonviolent offenses. America now incarcerates eight times as many women as in 1980, and only Thailand seems to imprison women at a higher rate.
          And the situation may well worsen under the Trump administration; the president-elect's nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has in effect defended mass incarceration.
          The global capital for female incarceration may be right here in Oklahoma, which incarcerates 142 out of every 100,000 women, about 10 times the rate of low-ranking states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I wouldn't argue that mass female incarceration is worse than mass male incarceration — they're both counterproductive — but the imprisonment of women has heartbreaking collateral damage, because women are disproportionately likely to be primary caregivers, and 60 percent of American women in state prisons have children under 18.
          "There's a devastating impact on the children," said Amy Santee of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which supports an alternative to imprisonment for women. "They're put in chaotic homes, they're more likely to be sexually abused, they're more likely to be imprisoned themselves."
          Research shows that prison routinely fails at helping women straighten out their lives — although it does mess up their children.
          "I felt my life was going to repeat my mom's, and it did," said Alisia Hunter, 37, who said her mother was imprisoned for financial offenses while she was a child. Hunter then ended up having a baby at age 16 by one of her father's buddies, and she soon began doing stints in prison for drug offenses.
          "Prison got me sober, but it didn't get me anywhere," Hunter told me. Each time she went to prison, she would get clean, and then once out she would return to drugs.
          She did try to get into a drug rehabilitation program. But the state, while willing to pay to imprison her, was unwilling to pay for drug rehab except for the most serious addicts; she didn't qualify.
          One reason mass incarceration doesn't get fixed is that society regards felons with a mix of fear and contempt. In fact, the women should evoke sympathy; even more than male prisoners, they have been through the wringer.
          A quarter of women in state prisons reported having been sexually abused as children, one 1999 Justice Department study found. A different study found that 43 percent of women in jails that were examined had serious mental health problems, and 82 percent had drug or alcohol problems.
          Anessa Rabbit, 31, says she grew up in a family of addicts and was born with drugs in her system. I can't confirm her life story, but she told how she was molested by her father beginning when she was 7, began smoking methamphetamine daily when she was 11, moved in with a man when she was 13 and dropped out of school in the ninth grade.
          Like many female felons, Rabbit seems to have gotten in trouble because of a boyfriend who manipulated her into committing crimes.
          "He always put me in the position of doing the dirty work," Rabbit said, speaking of a boyfriend who used to choke and beat her when he wasn't coercing her to commit crimes. She says they committed robberies and other offenses, sometimes she at his behest; he ended up with a sentence of four years probation and she faced a possible sentence of 26 years in prison.
          Prosecutors often understand what's going on but threaten the women with long sentences (sometimes based on conspiracy laws) to get them to testify against their men. That's how the criminal justice system works, but when the women refuse to cave, they go to prison for many years — and the guys then drop them.
          When men are in prison, they seem to get visits frequently from girlfriends, who also add money into their commissary accounts so they can buy small items and make phone calls. But the prisoners and social workers I spoke to said that when women are imprisoned, they get fewer visitors and their accounts are often empty.
          Mass incarceration also has an abysmal record. Recidivism is high, and imprisonment breaks up and impoverishes families. A newly published study from the Russell Sage Foundation found that incarceration of a family member is associated with a 64 percent decline in household assets, magnifying poverty and the race gap in America. And the 2.6 million American children who have a parent in prison or jail pay an enormous price — which, as Rabbit's story shows, isn't always necessary.
          Rabbit was diverted from prison to a model program in Tulsa called Women in Recovery. (Hunter also is in the program.) It reduces the numbers of women in prison, saves money and has had remarkable success helping troubled women shake drugs and restart their lives.
          It has a two-generation approach that works with both the women and their children. The program offers counseling, intensive support, coaching on budgeting and conflict resolution, and help getting high school equivalency diplomas, housing and jobs.
          The upshot is that Rabbit has now been clean of drugs for nine months — the longest since she was a young child — and has a job in a warehouse with some prospects for promotion. She has custody on weekends of her son, 12, and daughter, 11, and is trying to rebuild relationships with them.
          Women in Recovery programs last 17 months and cost $19,700 on average; after that, the woman is in a job, and recidivism over the next three years is just 4.9 percent. Without the program, the state might imprison the women for years at a much greater cost — and end up with a much higher recidivism rate.
          So if we want to reduce female incarceration, we have a solution here in Tulsa that will also reduce crime and pay for itself.
          I know some of you are glaring at this article and thinking: It's their own fault. If they don't want to go to prison, they shouldn't commit crimes!
          That scorn derives partly from a misunderstanding of drug abuse, which is a central reason for mass female incarceration in America (and a major reason for mass incarceration of men as well, although to a lesser degree). As Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the surgeon general, noted in releasing a major report this month: "It's time to change how we view addiction. Not as a moral failing but as a chronic illness." In short, we should think of drugs not primarily through the criminal justice lens but as a public health crisis.
          If you think all this is just coddling criminals, consider for a moment Michelle Vavrick, 24. I can't independently verify her story, but her counselors believe it, and it tracks what many other women in her position have experienced.
          Vavrick says she was raised in a chaotic and violent home with alcohol and drugs. Beginning at age 7, she says, a pedophile named Sean began picking her up at her house and taking her away to rape her on an almost daily basis. She responded by acting out, self-mutilating and becoming violent.
          "At 10, I became uncontrollable," Vavrick remembered. "Sean and his friends would shoot me with heroin so they could do what they wanted to me. Six of them."
          Vavrick self-medicated with alcohol and drugs, went through rehab programs that didn't work and ran away at 18. She lived on a park bench, sold sex, connected with a gang and robbed people. "I was a big ball of anger," she recalled. "I couldn't stand being in my own skin."
          Last year she was finally arrested for drug running and faced a sentence of 15 years to life. Fortunately, she was diverted to Women in Recovery, underwent intensive cognitive processing therapy — and transformed. She has now been clean for 10 months and is warm and hopeful. Instead of sitting sullenly in a prison cell, she works in a bakery, loves it, and hopes to run her own bakery some day.
          At one point when I was interviewing her about her past, she began crying. Alarmed, I quickly apologized, but she shushed me up. "This is progress," she said, beaming through her tears. She wants to let herself feel again.
          Reporting these kinds of topics is often tough: I see people stuck in cycles of poverty, drugs and incarceration, with their children often headed in the same direction. Even well-meaning help is sometimes rejected, for we humans have an astonishing capacity for self-destructive behavior — just as society does, with policies like mass incarceration. That backdrop makes it exhilarating to see a program like Women in Recovery succeed, and an individual like Michelle Vavrick blossom through it into a new future.
          "I know how precious my life is, and I never want to stick a needle in my arm again," she said. "I want to live."

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          7)  Donald Trump and the Lawsuit Presidency
           NOV. 25, 2016
          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/opinion/donald-trump-and-
          the-lawsuit-presidency.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&click
          Source=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=
          opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=
          0&mtrref=www.nytimes.com&assetType=opinion

          Donald Trump will take office as president facing a tsunami of litigation over his business practices and personal behavior. He may have settled the fraud suits involving Trump University, but at least 75 other lawsuits are underway against him or his companies, according to USA Today. Its investigation found more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades, ranging from contract disputes to real estate battles to harassment and discrimination claims.
          In short, Mr. Trump could find himself in a near-constant stream of court fights while he tries to focus on running the country. Even in advance of any decisions, there is a degree of poetic justice here, since the scorched-earth approach has long been standard practice for Mr. Trump; as a businessman, he thrived on no-holds-barred legal conflict and hauled out the heavy artillery for even minor disputes. Less than three weeks before the election, he threatened to sue at least 11 women who had recently come forward with allegations that he sexually assaulted them.
          Now consider all the potential conflicts of interest if this litigiousness should come to, or from, the Oval Office. What happens if there is litigation involving a building he leases from the federal government? Or if the Internal Revenue Service — an executive-branch agency — recommends civil or criminal penalties based on an audit of Mr. Trump's taxes?
          The Trump University lawsuits — two class actions filed in a San Diego federal court and a state fraud case brought by the New York attorney general, representing about 7,000 plaintiffs in all — show that these conflicts would not be limited to the federal government. Court documents revealed a dishonest operation that was marketed as a way for regular people to make lots of money by following Mr. Trump's "secrets" to real estate investing.
          But according to Trump University employees, Mr. Trump's investing techniques were never part of the program. Instead, salespeople were trained to exploit vulnerable "students" by pressuring them to pay thousands of dollars to attend seminars and "personal mentorship programs," many run by people with little or no experience in real estate. One sales manager called the entire business model a "fraudulent scheme."
          Mr. Trump initially said he would never settle the suits, a claim he has often made in other cases. But in fact, Mr. Trump settles lawsuits quite often — in more than one-third of the cases whose outcome is on the public record, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Politics. As soon as he was elected, he changed his tune on the Trump University suits, surely realizing that it would not look good for a sitting president to take the stand in his own defense against charges of fraud and racketeering.
          Unsurprisingly, Mr. Trump presented this latest settlement — which did not require him to admit liability — as a personal sacrifice in the national interest. "The ONLY bad thing about winning the Presidency," the president-elect tweeted on Saturday, "is that I did not have the time to go through a long but winning trial on Trump U. Too bad!"
          It is as if Mr. Trump views the courts as a casino: You win some and you lose some. But luckily for him, even when he loses, he wins: Most of the $25 million settlement will be a tax write-off.

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          8)  Power Imbalance at the Pipeline Protest
           NOV. 23, 2016
          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/opinion/power-imbalance-at-the-pipeline-protest.html

          When injustice aligns with cruelty, and heavy weaponry is involved, the results can be shameful and bloody. Witness what happened on Sunday in North Dakota, when law enforcement officers escalated their tactics against unarmed American Indians and allies who have waged months of protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
          They drenched protesters with water cannons on a frigid night, with temperatures in the 20s. According to protesters and news accounts, the officers also fired rubber bullets, pepper spray, percussion grenades and tear gas. More than 160 people were reportedly injured, with one protester's arm damaged so badly she might lose it.
          The confrontation happened at Backwater Bridge, on a highway linking the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Bismarck, N.D. Burned-out trucks and a police barricade have made the bridge impassable. Protesters say this is a needless threat to public safety — forcing emergency vehicles to detour about 20 miles — as well as a spiteful attempt to keep them away from the pipeline construction site. The violence erupted after some of the protesters tried to remove the truck carcasses on Sunday.
          "We're just not going to let people or protesters in large groups come in and threaten officers, that's not happening," said the Morton County sheriff, Kyle Kirchmeier. The Sheriff's Department's Facebook pagelinked to a video of the armed and armored officers, the water cannon drenching the crowd, and a rock flying overhead.
          The pipeline, all but built, is meant to ship crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Built almost entirely on private property, the pipeline crosses ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, passing less than a mile from the tribal reservation. Tribe members fear contamination of their drinking water and damage to sacred sites. They are trying to persuade the federal government to deny permits allowing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River near their reservation.
          The department's video was meant to portray the protesters as dangerous troublemakers, but the photos and videos in news reports suggest a more familiar story — an imbalance of power, where law enforcement fiercely defends property rights against protesters' claims of environmental protection and the rights of indigenous people. American Indians have seen this sort of drama unfold for centuries — native demands meeting brute force against a backdrop of folly — in this case, the pursuit of fossil fuels at a time of sagging oil demand and global climatic peril.
          The Army Corps of Engineers has called for more study and input from the tribe before it decides on whether to grant a permit. The pipeline company has asked a federal judge to give it the right to proceed with its plan to lay pipe under the river. There is no firm timeline for either decision.
          In the meantime, President Obama could step in to protect everyone's safety and pressure the sheriff's officers to stand down. Barring that, resolute protesters, a heavily militarized police force unwilling to budge, a company that refuses to consider an alternate route and an onrushing Great Plains winter — how can this possibly end well?

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          9)  Race and Marijuana Arrests
           NOV. 25, 2016
          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/opinion/race-and-marijuana-arrests.html?rref
          =collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fnyregion&action=click&contentCollection=
          nyregion&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=
          4&pgtype=sectionfront&mtrref=www.nytimes.com&assetType=opinion

          Mayor Bill de Blasio, who took office in 2014, has made some progress in cutting back on the unfair and sometimes illegal police practices under which thousands of New Yorkers are arrested every year for possessing trivial amounts of marijuana.
          But despite research showing that whites and minority citizens use marijuana at similar rates, black and Latino New Yorkers are still far and away more likely to be singled out for low-level arrests that have little public safety value, but seriously damage their lives.
          These petty possession cases are typically dismissed after the person stays out of trouble for a year. But during the waiting period, people with otherwise clean records can be denied jobs, housing or entry into the armed services.
          This problem dates back to the 1970s, when affluent parents grew angry seeing the futures of their college-educated children ruined as a result of arrests for tiny amounts of marijuana. The New York Legislature responded to this anger by forbidding police officers from arresting people for small amounts of marijuana unless the drug was being smoked or displayed in public.
          There were fewer than 1,000 such arrests in 1990. But eventually police officers began to illegally charge people with public display of marijuana after forcing them to remove the drug from their backpacks or pockets. In 2011, an astonishing 50,000 people were arrested on charges of public possession. The number began to plummet under Mayor Michael Bloomberg after the city instructed police officers to obey the state law.
          There were just over 26,000 arrests in 2014 — the year Mr. de Blasio took office and introduced a policy under which people with tiny amounts of the drug were typically issued the equivalent of a traffic summons instead of being dragged through the legal system. Last year, there were about 16,600 such arrests.
          But the racial disparity in arrests persists. A new analysis of state data by the Police Reform Organizing Project found that about 85 percent of those arrested over trivial amounts of marijuana in the first nine months of this year were black or Latino. It also shows that marijuana arrests edged up by about 12 percent in the first nine months of this year, as compared with the same period in 2015.
          The Police Department attributes this racial disparity to the fact that black and Latino people tend to live in higher crime neighborhoods that are more heavily policed. But criminal defenders and police reform advocates have a different interpretation. They argue that, despite department policy, officers are still wrongly charging people with public possession, and that police officers turn a blind eye to marijuana use in affluent white areas while bearing down on it in minority communities.
          The city's marijuana enforcement system is more sensible than it was five years ago. But the Police Department needs to get to the bottom of the racial disparity in arrests that continues to harm minority citizens and undermines faith in the fairness of the law.

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          10)  Wells Fargo Asks Court to Force Customers to Arbitration in Fake Accounts Cases
           NOV. 24, 2016
          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/24/business/wells-fargo-asks-court-to-force-customers-to-arbitration-in-fake-accounts-
          cases.html?ref=business&_r=0&mtrref=www.nytimes.com

          Wells Fargo has asked a Federal District Court to order dozens of customers who are suing the bank over the opening of unauthorized accounts to resolve their disputes in private arbitrations instead of court, according to legal documents.
          The motion, filed in the United States District Court in Utah on Wednesday, is in response to the first-class action lawsuit filed against Wells since it agreed to pay $185 million in penalties and $5 million to customers for opening up to 2 million deposit and credit-card accounts in their names without their permission.
          The scandal has shaken Wells, the third-largest American bank by assets. It has been put under tougher regulatory scrutiny, its chief executive, John Stumpf, has stepped down and its reputation has been damaged as it faces multiple inquiries.
          Wells Fargo has begun an advertising campaign to win back customer loyalty in the wake of the scandal.
          A spokesman for Wells Fargo declined to comment on the filing.
          In a written response to questions from lawmakers, published last week, the bank said it would stand by its arbitration policy but is offering free mediation services to affected customers.
          Mandatory arbitration rules inserted into account-opening agreements prohibit customers from joining class actions or suing Wells Fargo. Instead, the agreements require individual, closed-door arbitration.
          Mandating arbitration when signing up for financial products has become standard practice after a Supreme Court decision in 2011 validated the practice. But customer advocates say it improperly denies customers the legal protections of court proceedings, such as the right to appeal, and helps to conceal corporate misconduct from the public and regulators because the related documents and hearings are not made public.
          Customers trying to recover small sums of money are also unlikely to find lawyers to represent them in arbitration, critics say, and the cases do not set a legal precedent to help other affected individuals.
          Last year, a court dismissed an earlier lawsuit against Wells Fargo, saying that customers had signed arbitration clauses when opening their accounts.
          The bank has been criticized for its mandatory arbitration clauses from Democratic lawmakers in Congress, including Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
          The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering rules to prohibit banks, credit-card issuers and other companies from forcing customers to submit to arbitration and waive their right to join class-action lawsuits. But the bureau could find its powers scaled back by President-elect Donald J. Trump and a Republican-led Congress, according to members of both political parties, lobbyists and lawyers.

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          11) Forest Fires Raging Across Palestine
          Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh for Salem-News.com
          The European pine tree, not indigenous to Palestine, is highly flammable.
          Nov-25-2016 16:40 Follow @OregonNews



          Palestine fires
          Fires ablaze in Palestine. 
          Image: http://mekomit.co.il/


          (LONDON / BETHLEHEM) - Over 200 forest fires are raging in Palestine (now renamed the Jewish State of Israel including its occupied Palestinian territories). Many countries are helping put out the fires including four teams of Palestinian firefighters (no body helped Gaza when it was being fire-bombed by white phosphorous). 

          But the fascist racist government of "Israel" blamed the Palestinians for the fires! Even some decent Israelis pointed out that fires are raging across Western Asia (aka the "Middle East"). 

          Here is a map (link) put out by one Israeli website of location of fires across the region including in Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey.

          Perhaps coincidentally or otherwise, right after war criminal Netanyahu blamed Palestinians, new fires erupted near Palestinian communities. If you really want to know who is to blame for the damage, it is clearly Zionism as I wrote in many articles and books before. 

          In 1901 at the World Zionist Congress and despite objections of conscientious Jews, a Jewish National Fund (Keren Keyemet Li'Israel, or KKL) was establish to further "Jewish colonization" (the term they used) of Palestine. 

          One of the tasks was to raise money and they used the gimmick of collecting money for trees. Indeed they did plant trees but it was unfortunately the highly flammable European pine tree.

          After 1948-1949 when some 500 Palestinian villages and towns were depopulated, their lands (cultivated with figs, almonds, olives and other trees) were razed to the ground and again resinous and inflammable pine trees were planted. 

          The same happened after 1967 when here Palestinian villages were demolished and their village lands planted with the same European pines, one of those villages is the biblical Imwas (see photos before and after here: freepaly.wordpress.com/tag/environmental-racism.

          The choice of European pine trees was because a) they grow fast, b) they give a European look to the otherwise "Arab" landscape, c) their leaves on the ground make acidic preventing growth or regrowth of endogenous trees. In total, KKL boasts that it planted 240 million pine trees. 

          Resinous pine is like petrol and burns with a ferocity. This was not the only environmentally catastrophic decision by the Zionist movement in Palestine (others include draining the Hula Wetlands and the diversion of the water of the river Jordan and now the Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal). 

          Environmentally, the current fires are deadly to all living creatures regardless of their origins and they do spread t the remaining few indigenous forests and to human dwellings (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist without distinction).

          We environmentalists (Palestinian and Israeli) have longed warned of the catastrophic consequences of politically driven decisions guided by colonial ideology but devastating to native animals and plants.

          So here we are the remaining native Palestinians watching our lands go up in flames and being blamed for it. This is not unusual and we are the victims of others from long ago. We even paid the price of what happened in WWII (by Europeans to fellow Europeans). 

          I am thinking now if a meteor hits earth, we Palestinians will also pay a disproportionate price. 7 million of us are refugees or displaced people.

          We in the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (http://palestinenature.org) urge protection of our nature. Environmental conservation is a priority for all decent human beings including guarding biodiversity (and human diversity).

          My presentation in Paris: DESCLAUX_SALACHAS/slideshow

          How did Zionism became the dominant feature among Jews in the world?
          Here is a clue from 1942 that, however, does not even mention that Palestine had its native population who are now mostly refugees or displaced people (7 million of 12 million native Palestinian Christians and Muslims). Thanks to this colonial ideology called Zionism...

          "Zionism an Affirmation of Judaism / A reply by 757 Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Rabbis of America to a Statement Issued by Ninety Members of the Reform Rabbinate Charging That Zionism Is Incompatible with the Teachings of Judaism."

          This statement is by "American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs New York 1942" [note that these Rabbis themselves use "colonial" without mentioning natives but that is typical of such movements but also note that they are responding to 90 decent Jewish Rabbis. Alas the struggle continues between the two camps I discussed in my last weekly email].

          Stay human and come visit us


          Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD (formerly of Yale and Duke universities) teaches at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine and chairs the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People. Professor Qumsiyeh has authored over 110 scientific papers in areas of mammalogy, biology, and medicine including mammalian biology and evolution, clinical genetics, and cancer research. He has published over 100 letters to the editor and 30 op-ed pieces in International, national, regional and local papers on issues ranging from politics to environmental issues. His appearances in national media include the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others. He is the founder and president of the Holy Land Conservation Foundation and ex-President of the Middle East Genetics Association, and Prof. Qumsiyeh won the Jallow activism award from the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in 1998. Those are just a small list, visit Mazin Qumsiyeh's amazing and informative Website to learn more: qumsiyeh.org, and also pcr.ps.

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          12)  Even as Trudeau Reaches Out to First Nations, Mercury Rises
           NOV. 27, 201
          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/27/opinion/even-as-trudeau-reaches-out-to-first-nations-
          mercury-rises.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module
          =opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-
          right-region&_r=0

          Billy Gauthier, an Inuk artist who lives in Labrador on Canada's remote northeastern coast, began his hunger strike on Oct. 13 after a plate of salmon. The meal was highly symbolic.
          The Nunatsiavut government in Labrador had released a study from a Harvard mercury researcher on the effects of the newly constructed Muskrat Falls dam. The study showed that water flooding the reservoir behind the dam would contain methylmercury levels "to the point that they exceed regulatory thresholds for exposure," building up over time in fish and other game consumed by the native population.
          And so Mr. Gauthier refused to eat the fish that the Muskrat Falls project would contaminate. Thirteen days later, the provincial government promised to act on an independent assessment of the health risks to the people of Labrador, and Mr. Gauthier celebrated with a plate of arctic char.
          He may have celebrated too soon. Already the government's commitment is looking doubtful, with Stan Marshall, the chief executive of Nalcor Energy, the company responsible for the dam, publicly playing down the methylmercury risks.
          Muskrat Falls has brought up urgent questions for the country as a whole at a turning point in our relationship to First Peoples: How serious are we about the process of truth and reconciliation?
          Muskrat Falls will affect three peoples — the Innu, the Nunatsiavut and the NunatuKavut — who will have to alter their diets, and as such their cultures. Methylmercury has a particularly strong effect on women and children and can lead to intellectual impairments and immune system problems. Some of the hydroelectric dams have already disrupted the hunting and fishing traditions of the Cree living nearby.
          Justin Trudeau, who wears a shoulder tattoo based on the print "Raven Bringing Light to the World" by the Haida artist Robert Davidson, made truth and reconciliation with Canada's First Nations a priority of his election platform.
          Since Mr. Trudeau's election a year ago, changes grand and subtle have been made. At Toronto schools, morning announcements begin with recognizing the original settlers of the land. "I would like to acknowledge that this school is situated upon traditional territories," it begins, before establishing which peoples the territories belonged to (in Toronto's case, the Mississaugas of the New Credit), and concluding, "I also recognize the enduring presence of aboriginal peoples on this land."

          Other changes have been more material. In his cabinet, Mr. Trudeau appointed the first indigenous minister of justice in the country's history, Jody Wilson-Raybould, a woman who had served previously as regional chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations.
          This past summer, the Trudeau government announced a national inquiry into the continuing crisis of murdered and missing aboriginal women. The first Liberal budget added $8.4 billion over five years for indigenous community infrastructure, in order to bring "transformational change" in reserves across the country.
          But in the middle of the well-intentioned festivities, the crisis in Muskrat Falls arrived like a bloody ghost, summoning up the very worst of Canadian history. Muskrat Falls echoes what the Canadian historian James Daschuk has called "the politics of starvation." In his 2013 study, "Clearing the Plains," Mr. Daschuk argued that famine was a conscious settlement strategy to "create ecological conditions in which disease exploded."
          In a famous anecdote, Justin Trudeau's father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, made the same point in a meeting with Marlon Brando when the American actor wanted to discuss native rights.
          "There are differences in the way we treated our natives," he said. "You hunted them down and murdered them. We starved them to death."
          A flip remark, but one based in history. Recent historical research has uncovered evidence that federal government officials, in remote communities in northern Manitoba in the 1940s, used malnourished indigenous peoples to test theories of vitamins. In 1947, they tested on 1,000 hungry children in half a dozen residential schools, deliberately withholding milk rations to get a "baseline reading" of the effects of malnutrition.
          Nutritional questions have always been cultural questions for the indigenous peoples of Canada. Hunting and fishing are more than a traditional way of life. The land is the connection to the larger world and to history. High methylmercury levels would render the land untrustworthy. If you cannot trust the land, what can you trust?
          When the Harvard study of Muskrat Falls was released, Nalcor initially proposed simply putting up advisory warnings to limit the consumption of fish. The company had resisted the obvious, expensive solution — clearcutting the land for the dam's reservoir and stripping the topsoil before flooding, which removes the buildup of methylmercury in organic matter.
          "I'd like to say I was surprised, but I wasn't surprised," Mr. Gauthier declared, renewing his promise to resume the hunger strike if Nalcor failed to live up to its commitments.
          Will Canada live up to its commitments? Mr. Trudeau represents a new generation in Canadian politics, literally and figuratively. He has brought in a new, much younger, team to Ottawa. That generation, like President Obama's eight years ago, came to power with the idea they were better than those who went before.
          Now they are facing the oldest confrontation in Canadian history: the power of economic motives against indigenous claims to the land with the federal government in between as, at best, a dubious intermediary. Well-meaning phrases at the school announcements will not suffice. How can you atone for a crime while you're still in the middle of committing it?

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          13)  Ace Hardware Stores Near Standing Rock Stopped Selling Supplies to Protestors After Police Requested It
          By Megan Reynolds, Jezebel
          01 December 16
          http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/40591-ace-hardware-stores-near-standing-rock-stopped-selling-supplies-to-protestors-after-police-requested-i

          n the heels of an emergency evacuation order from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple and fines of $1,000 set for those who would deliver supplies like water and food, it seems like Ace Hardware has fallen in line with law enforcement and is refusing to sell supplies to protestors. 

          Singer Neko Case tweeted what appears to be an official statement from Ace Hardware that plainly states that they will be complying with law enforcement's desires and will "refrain from selling materials that could be used at the camps."

          Citing the "safety" of their employees, customers and services, but clarifying that their refusal to sell goods to the protestors is "not a reflection of any corporoate viewpoint on the pipeline project," the statement rightfully infuriated many people. On Wednesday night, the hashtag #BoycottAceHardwarestarted making the rounds on Twitter. 

          The fines are one thing –nefarious and unnecessarily cruel–but Ace Hardware refusing to sell supplies to these protestors is somehow worse. With 2,000 veterans pledging to stand in solidarity as a "human shield" on December 4, Ace Hardware's compliance with law enforcement's attempt to cut the protest off by literally starving them out and hitting them with water cannons and rubber bullets could very quickly make a bad situation even worse. 

          Update, 12:38 A.M.: A statement from Ace Hardware clarifies that there is "no ban on the sale of products" at "locally-owned Ace stores" and that they have been "working feverishly to unearth all of the facts, which have been cloudy at times."

          Comments   

          We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.
          General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.
          Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.
          - The RSN Team 
          +1# librarian1984 2016-12-01 10:18
          Boycott Ace Hardware!

          Call them and tell them you're boycotting them for that reason. Let's get these economic actions started.

          ********

          I just called their customer service line at this number:

          1-888-827-4223

          I was told they have issued an online statement saying they ARE still selling to protestors.

          http://newsroom.acehardware.com/ace-hardware-statement-on-north-dakota-protest-and-product-sales/
          +2# indian weaver 2016-12-01 10:46
          Copy this ad on paper and hand it to your ACE hardware and tell them then, in person, you won't buy anything from them as long as they are doing this. I am going to do this today here in Cortez, CO. This is ratcheting up slowly. I'm waiting for 100s of veterans in bring in their own supplies and armament to enable delivery. Something like that will happen next. We could well see a military confrontation between them and these goons from "law enforcment". I can only hope it comes to that. This event at Standing Rock seems likely to ignite the revolutionary war we need. Just depends on 1000s if not 10s of 1000s showing up at Standing Rock to overwhelm the goons and for citizens to keep on coming until all the liars and cowards like obama understand this is the time to get honest or ...
          0# danireland46 2016-12-01 11:21
          Big Brother is not only watching, he's in charge of the local economy.
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          14) Obama administration expands elite military unit’s powers to hunt foreign fights globally
          Washington Post November 26, 2016

          WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is giving the elite Joint Special Operations Command - the same organization that helped kill Osama bin Laden in a 2011 raid by Navy SEALs - expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe, a move driven by concerns of a dispersed terrorist threat as Islamic State militants are driven from strongholds in Iraq and Syria, U.S. officials said.

          The missions could occur well beyond the battlefields of places like Iraq, Syria and Libya where Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has carried out clandestine operations in the past. When finalized, it will elevate JSOC from being a highly-valued strike tool used by regional military commands to leading a new multiagency intelligence and action force. Known as the "Counter-External Operations Task Force," the group will be designed to take JSOC's targeting model - honed over the last 15 years of conflict - and export it globally to go after terrorist networks plotting attacks against the West.
          The creation of a new JSOC entity this late in the Obama's tenure is the "codification" of best practices in targeting terrorists outside of conventional conflict zones, according to the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss administration deliberations. It is unclear, however, if the administration of President-elect Donald Trump will keep this and other structures set up by President Obama. They include guidelines for counterterrorism operations such as approval by several agencies before a drone strike and "near certainty" that no civilians will be killed. This series of presidential orders is known as the "playbook."

          The new JSOC task force could also offer intelligence, strike recommendations and advice to the militaries and security forces of traditional Western allies, or conduct joint operations, officials said. In other parts of the world, with weak or no governments, JSOC could act unilaterally.
          The global focus is reminiscent of when U.S. forces first went after al-Qaeda in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. As approaching U.S. troops forced militants to flee their safe havens in Afghanistan and scatter across the globe, the United States followed in pursuit, using CIA assets to grab suspected al-Qaeda operatives in dozens of countries, sometimes capturing, imprisoning and torturing them under murky legal authorities.
          Some in the Pentagon hope to see the new task force working in tandem with the CIA, elevating a sometimes distant relationship to one of constant coordination to track and go after suspected terrorists outside of traditional war zones.
          In recent years the agency's involvement in global paramilitary operations has waned - with fewer strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, and its armed drones in Syria transferred to the Pentagon. It's still unclear how much the CIA may be willing to cooperate with JSOC and more broadly with the Pentagon following the White House's decision.
          The agency, with its broad contacts overseas, espionage networks and long experience in covert operations still has much greater reach than JSOC.
          The CIA declined to comment.
          The new JSOC task force will report to the Pentagon through the U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, according to U.S. military officials, creating a hybrid command system that can circumvent regional commanders for the sake of speed.
          In the past, units such as the Army's Delta Force - which is part of SOCOM and its subordinate command JSOC - were usually deployed under those regional commanders, known as geographic combatant commands. The new task force, however, will alter that process by turning SOCOM's chief, Army Gen. Raymond "Tony" Thomas, into a decision-maker when it comes to going after threats under the task force's purview.
          The task force will essentially turn Thomas into the leading authority when it comes to sending Special Operations units after threats.
          "Now [Thomas] can request whatever he wants and . . . unless there's some other higher competing priority, the combatant commanders have to cough it up," said a former senior defense official.
          Turning SOCOM into a command with a global reach has been on the table for the last 15 years. In 2001, Air Force Gen. Charles Holland, then SOCOM's commander, was hesitant to create a command structure that would effectively put SOCOM on the same level as the geographic combatant commanders. He believed it would cause too much friction with regional commanders. Instead, he decided that only in rare instances would SOCOM actually direct Special Operations forces.
          It remains to be seen if the new organization will generate tensions between Special Operations Command and the generals in charge of U.S. forces in places such as the Middle East or Europe. In his March congressional confirmation testimony, Thomas suggested that assigning more authorities to SOCOM would allow for "synchronized operations" against nonstate threats that span geographic boundaries. But regional commanders, all four star generals, guard their turf carefully.
          Officials hope the task force, known throughout the Pentagon as "Ex-Ops," will be a clearinghouse for intelligence coordinating and targeting against groups or individuals attempting to plot attacks in places like the United States and Europe.
          According to officials familiar with plans for the task force, it will initially draw on an existing multinational intelligence operation in the Middle East that tracks foreign fighters, called Gallant Phoenix, and one of JSOC's intelligence centers in Northern Virginia.
          While in the past the smaller task forces, such as Gallant Phoenix, were staffed by representatives from different intelligence agencies, the new task force aims to have decision-makers present, ensuring that the targeting process happens in one place and quickly.
          "Layers have been stripped away for the purposes of stopping external networks," said a defense official. "There has never been an ex-ops command team that works trans-regionally to stop attacks."
          The defense official said U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies will support JSOC personnel as they synthesize information and offer recommendations on how to handle specific threats.
          Over the past decade JSOC has also built strong relations with police agencies in Germany, Britain, France and Turkey, as they have moved to combat the flow of foreign fighters returning to their home countries.
          The number of participating intelligence agencies, both internationally and U.S.-based within the task force is in flux, the official added, as intelligence-sharing laws and internal friction have kept some on the periphery of the organization.
          JSOC - rarely mentioned by name by U.S. officials due to the clandestine nature of its work - was cited specifically by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter last month in Paris after he and Thomas met with defense ministers involved in the fight against the Islamic State. The command "has been put in the lead" of countering the Islamic State's external operations outside conflict zones, Carter said, surprising some defense officials in Washington.
          The White House, asked to comment on the plan, issued a statement that did not use JSOC's name, but acknowledged the role Special Operations forces play in tracking foreign fighters away from the battlefield.
          "These forces on the ground, operating in close concert with our partners, have gathered critical intelligence off the battlefield, and have shared that information with our coalition partners and allies," the statement said. "This information is helping us ramp up actions against [Islamic State] leaders and operatives planning attacks, track foreign fighters returning to their home countries and improve law enforcement actions aimed at interdicting potential plotters."


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          15)  Blackwater-Linked Private Military Firm Exposed Coordinating Intel for Police at Standing Rock
           November 29, 2016
          http://thefreethoughtproject.com/private-military-firm-coordinating-intelligence-police-standing-rock/


          In an interview with Democracy Now, award-winning national security journalist Jeremy Scahill revealed stunning connections between a private security firm called TigerSwan, operated by a former Delta Force operative, and law enforcement intelligence operations at Standing Rock.
          Co-founder of the Intercept, Scahill, has spent years reporting on private security contractors such as the private security firm TigerSwan. In these most recent revelations, Scahill exposes how TigerSwan has links to the now-defunct mercenary firm Blackwater and is in charge of coordinating intelligence for the Dakota Access pipeline company.

          As the interview was wrapping up, Democracy Now host Juan Gonzalez questioned Scahill as to whether he had found any connections between the Morton County Sheriff’s Office and private security firms.

          “I think we have about a minute left, but, Jeremy, I wanted to ask you, in terms of the—you reached out to the Morton County Sheriff’s Office to try to get some information on the private security firms. What happened?”

          JEREMY SCAHILL:

          “Well, the Morton County sheriffs, they released documents, internal documents, about their investigation into the dog handlers. And what they inadvertently revealed was that this company, TigerSwan, run by these Delta Force guys, was actually in charge of coordinating the intelligence operations against the protesters.

          One word of advice to all the protesters there: Do not believe that your cellphones or your computers are clean and uncompromised. I guarantee you that they’re using the entire suite of surveillance devices. I know that people have been complaining that their cellphones have been down, their internet has been down. That can be caused by surveillance weaponry targeting their devices. It could be because there are so many people using them. But my guess would be that they are using people’s devices, meaning law enforcement and private security, as geo-tracking devices. And people should be very aware that the full CIA/NSA-developed suite of tools that now have made it into the hands of local law enforcement in this country are most certainly trained on those activists and their supporters.”
          Scahill further elaborated on this stunning revelation by noting that,

          “TigerSwan, was founded by a Delta Force operative named James Reese and has done voluminous amounts of covert and overt work for the U.S. military in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. And, you know, you realize that you have this convergence of all that has been so wrong in the post-9/11 world, with these big environment-destroying companies, the stripping even further of indigenous rights, private security forces, the brutality against protesters, the paramilitarization of law enforcement.”

          The reality that tech originally developed for military use in hunting global terror suspects is now being used against peaceful protestors here in the United States should send a shiver down your spine. The fact that this technology is being used in Standing Rock reveals the truly insidious nature of a creeping police state that combines weapons of war with domestic policing to the detriment of free expression and dissent.

          It is important to note that private security forces are not necessarily the problem as they are far easier to hold accountable than government agencies like police. However, what Scahill describes in the situation above is anything but private. It is a non-governmental agency melding forces with government — the de facto definition of corporatism.

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          16)  Great Barrier Reef Threatened by Climate Change, Chemicals and Sediment
          "The report also ignores plans by the Queensland State government to allow the development of one of the world’s biggest coal mines about 200 miles inland from the reef, and it does not acknowledge the damage to the reef that could flow from the mine or from coal-burning."



          YDNEY, Australia — Climate change and the flow of farm chemicals and coastal sediment into the waters that wash over one of Australia’s most significant nature areas, the Great Barrier Reef, pose the biggest threats to its survival, according to a government report to Unescoreleased early Friday.
          The report was intended to reassure the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization that those risks were well managed and that the reef should not be placed on an “in danger” list. But it paints a grim picture of the scale of protecting the 1,400-mile-long reef, and may severely understate the cost of doing so.
          The report also ignores plans by the Queensland State government to allow the development of one of the world’s biggest coal mines about 200 miles inland from the reef, and it does not acknowledge the damage to the reef that could flow from the mine or from coal-burning.
          This week, scientists from the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reported that the reef had suffered the worst coral bleaching and die-off ever recorded, with stretches of its northern reaches dead after the coral was bathed in warm summer waters. The reef extends along much of the eastern coast of Queensland.
          Queensland’s environment minister, Steven Miles, and the federal environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, who is also responsible for Australia’s energy policy, said in the report that “good progress has been made in the first 18 months of this 35-year plan.” They were referring to the governments’ Reef 2050 Plan, released in March 2015.
          The update shows that of 151 planned measures, including the limiting of sediment and chemical runoff from farms and the better management of starfish predators, 32 have been completed and 103 are underway or on track to begin. At least one is stalled, after the Queensland Parliament rejected laws to prevent land clearing, which speeds erosion and can lead to more sediment flowing into the Pacific Ocean.
          But in an introduction to the report, Ian Chubb, formerly Australia’s chief scientist and now the chairman of an independent panel on the reef, warned that climate change posed the most significant threat. “The major impacts on the reef will most likely result from the long-term release of substantial quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” he wrote. The burning of fossil fuels creates emissions that contribute to the Earth’s warming.
          “There are effects already,” Mr. Chubb continued. “This year saw the most significant coral bleaching event ever recorded for the reef. The clear implication of global warming is that bleaching conditions are highly likely to become more frequent and prolonged.”
          Reef 2050 was a response to the Unesco World Heritage Committee’s call for a long-term management plan to ensure the reef retained the World Heritage status it received in 1981. Last year, the United Nations warned that the reef’s outlook was poor, and it asked for an updated report and for evidence of the plan’s effectiveness, as well as an investment strategy to finance the efforts.
          In the interim, the Queensland government commissioned a study to estimate the costs of achieving water quality targets that would significantly improve the reef’s health. Queensland and the federal government have said that halting nitrogen runoff from farms and fine sediment that leeches into the ocean would improve the water quality and allow the reef to better withstand the impacts of climate change and shocks from severe weather like cyclones.
          That study, released in July, said the cost for meeting targets along the length of the reef was 8.2 billion Australian dollars, or about $6 billion, to be spent over 10 years. That figure was sharply higher than the roughly $1.5 billion the state and federal governments said would be spent over the next decade on all measures to protect the reef.
          “The scale of the investment required is commensurate with the scale of the challenge,” the study said. “Virtually all of the relevant science indicates the Great Barrier Reef is in decline.”
          The report to Unesco on Friday said that about $95 billion had already been committed to reef-specific measures over the next five years. That amount is part of the federal and the state governments’ $1.5 billion commitment over a decade.
          The federal and Queensland governments said the study’s overall cost estimate included “some very expensive high-risk actions,” like nearly $4.2 billion for erosion in one valley to prevent the flow of sediment into the ocean. Removal of that big-ticket item brought the study’s report closer into line financially with the government report to Unesco.
          The report on Friday was only an update. It did not offer new spending measures for the reef, nor new targets to reduce pollution. It is likely to draw sharm criticism from environmentalists.
          The government ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change last month. The agreement’s target is to cut greenhouse gas emissions to between 26 percent and 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. But environmentalists say the development of new coal mines highlights the government’s lack of commitment to halting global warming. Opening up a new mine is incompatible with Australia’s environmental obligations, Greenpeace said.

          The report to Unesco said the reef’s scale and resilience meant it could recover from the bleaching this year. It said that managing the risks to the reef would be difficult, but that there was a determination to succeed. “The progress to date does not reduce the urgency to address key issues and risks,” it said.

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