San Francisco, CA




100,000 protest in San Francisco, CA

Pictures From Women's
Marches on Every Continent



PLEASE SHARE!  (apologies for duplications)

Dear Friends,

Has the Great Uprising of 2017 begun? 

The last two days have been extremely inspiring.  Let's hope it's the beginning of a new era of progressive action!

Please join us on Thursday, February 9th,
as we take the battle to one of
the most controversial
corporations in San Francisco:

In November, Medea Benjamin called on local activists to draw attention to Uber's special relationship with Saudi Arabia. 

FACTS: Saudi Arabia is the only nation in the world that DOES NOT ALLOW women to drive. In recent months, Uber has accepted an unprecedented investment from the Saudi royal family of $3.5 billion. Even more important, 80% of Uber's customers in Saudi Arabia are women riders. 

An online petition set up by Code Pink -- linked below -- accuses Uber of directly profiting from the oppression of Saudi women and calls on its CEO to stand up for the right of women in Saudi Arabia to drive

On FEBRUARY 9TH AT 1PM, we will present this petition (currently at over four thousand signatures) to Uber and we are soooooo hoping you will be able to attend!

In the meantime, can you PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD? 

Sign the petition! 

RSVP for the protest!

Further fascinating info: 

On the tail of Donald Trump's corporate takeover, this action seems perfectly timed. 

Please stand up for Saudi women and help RESIST THE CORPORATE COUP D'ETAT!

Michael Stone 

San Francisco



Mumia Abu-Jamal's Hep C Treatment Challenged


The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has filed the (predicted) appeal of Mumia's recent court victory, which granted his right to the curative drug for his Hepatitis-C infection. 

See Mumia"s comment below

Join the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal 

for MLK Day in Oakland:

_  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _


[col. writ. 1/14/17] ©'17 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Several days ago, the Pa. DOC appealed the Jan. 3rd US District Court ruling that granted an injunction against the DOC's so-called 'protocol' covering hepatitis treatment (or should I say lack of treatment?).

The state waited almost 10 days to file an appeal saying they didn't have the time needed to obey a court order that gave them 2 weeks (14 days) to begin the process.

They also ignored the court's order that the DOC was enjoined from using its 'protocol'--they continue to use it, as if no court order was ever issued.

If that ain't contempt of court, what can it be called?

The State violates constitutional rights daily--because it can. What's another court order?

To them, it ain't worth the paper it's printed on.

From the very beginning the DOC has spit in the eye of the judge. They've filed false documents. They've made misleading claims. They tried to intimidate him.

Why should they now be any different?

And yet, the battle goes on, to save the lives of thousands of prisoners in Pa. dungeons.


_  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _

After last month's successful Mumia Action Coalition rally and march in Oakland, the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal is calling all activists to join the labor contingent for the MLK march on Monday January 16. We will be gathering in front of the State Building at 16th St. & Clay in downtown Oakland at 10:45 AM and then moving to Oscar Grant Plaza around the corner to join the main march. We'll have a large Free Mumia banner and posters, but if you have your own bring that.  Let's make Mumia's recent courtroom victories a reality by organizing a spirited contingent demanding his immediate release from prison after 35 years on slow death row! 

For more info: call Gerald at 510-417-1252

About the recently appealed Court victory:

On January 3rd, a federal court granted Mumia Abu-Jamal's petition for immediate and effective treatment for his Hepatitis-C infection, which has hitherto been denied him. The judge struck down Pennsylvania's protocols as "deliberate indifference to serious medical need."

This is a rare and important win for innocent political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal in a court system that has routinely subjected him to the "Mumia exception," i.e., a refusal of justice despite court precedents in his favor. Thousands of Hep-C-infected prisoners throughout Pennsylvania and the US stand to benefit from this decision, provided it is upheld. 

But, it is up to us to make sure that this decision is not over-turned on appeal--something the State of Pennsylvania will most likely seek.

Hundreds demonstrated in both Philadelphia and Oakland on December 9th to demand both this Hep-C treatment for prisoners, and "Free Mumia Now!" In Oakland, the December 9th Free Mumia Coalition rallied in downtown and then marched on the OPD headquarters. The Coalition brought over two dozen groups together to reignite the movement to free Mumia; and now we need your support to expand and build for more actions in this new, and likely very dangerous year for political prisoners. 

John T. Kaye invited you to Moms Clean Air Force's event

People's Climate March

Saturday, April 29 at 9 AM EDT

Washington, District of Columbia in Washington, District of Columbia





Not Interested

Join us April 29th in Washington, DC to let Trump know that we won't let him destroy the environment on our watch. There is no denying it: Donald Trump's election is a threat to the future of our pla...

John T. Kaye and Dave Schubert are going.




Protect Kevin "Rashid" Johnson from Prison Repression!


WHEN: Anytime
WHAT: Protect imprisoned activist-journalist Kevin "Rashid" Johnson
FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1794902884117144/

On December 21, 2016, Kevin "Rashid" Johnson was the victim of an
assault by guards at the Clements Unit where he is currently being held,
just outside Amarillo, Texas. Rashid was sprayed with OC pepper gas
while handcuffed in his cell, and then left in the contaminated cell for
hours with no possibility to shower and no access to fresh air. It was
in fact days before he was supplied with new sheets or clothes (his bed
was covered with the toxic OC residue), and to this day his cell has not
been properly decontaminated.

This assault came on the heels of another serious move against Rashid,
as guards followed up on threats to confiscate all of his property – not
only files required for legal matters, but also art supplies, cups to
drink water out of, and food he had recently purchased from the
commissary. The guards in question were working under the direction of
Captain Patricia Flowers, who had previously told Rashid that she
intended to seize all of his personal belongings as retaliation for his
writings about mistreatment of prisoners, up to and including assaults
and purposeful medical negligence that have led to numerous deaths in
custody. Specifically, Rashid's writings have called attention to the
deaths of Christopher Woolverton, Joseph Comeaux, and Alton Rodgers, and
he has been contacted by lawyers litigating on behalf of the families of
at least two of these men.

As a journalist and activist literally embedded within the bowels of the
world's largest prison system, Rashid relies on his files and notes for
correspondence, legal matters, and his various news reports.
Furthermore, Rashid is a self-taught artist of considerable talent (his
work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and books);
needless to say, the guards were also instructed to seize his art
materials and the drawings he was working on.

(For a more complete description of Rashid's ordeal on and following
December 21, see his recent article "Bound and Gassed: My Reward for
Exposing Abuses and Killings of Texas Prisoners" at

Particularly worrisome, is the fact that the abuse currently directed
against Rashid is almost a carbon-copy of what was directed against
Joseph Comeaux in 2013, who was eventually even denied urgently needed
medical care. Comeaux died shortly thereafter.

This is the time to step up and take action to protect Rashid; and the
only protection we can provide, from the outside, is to make sure prison
authorities know that we are watching. Whether you have read his
articles about prison conditions, his political or philosophical
polemics (and whether you agreed with him or not!), or just appreciate
his artwork – even if this is the first you are hearing about Rashid –
we need you to step up and make a few phone calls and send some emails.
When doing so, let officials know you are contacting them about Kevin
Johnson, ID #1859887, and the incident in which he was gassed and his
property confiscated on December 21, 2016. The officials to contact are:

Warden Kevin Foley
Clements Unit
telephone: (806) 381-7080 (you will reach the general switchboard; ask
to speak to the warden's office)

Tell Warden Foley that you have heard of the gas attack on Rashid.
Specific demands you can make:

* That Kevin Johnson's property be returned to him

* That Kevin Johnson's cell be thoroughly decontaminated

* That Captain Patricia Flowers, Lieutenant Crystal Turner, Lieutenant
Arleen Waak, and Corrections Officer Andrew Leonard be sanctioned for
targeting Kevin Johnson for retaliation for his writings

* That measures be taken to ensure that whistleblowers amongst staff and
the prisoner population not be targeted for any reprisals from guards or
other authorities. (This is important because at least one guard and
several prisoners have signed statements asserting that Rashid was left
in his gassed cell for hours, and that his property should not have been

Try to be polite, while expressing how concerned you are for Kevin
Johnson's safety. You will almost certainly be told that because other
people have already called and there is an ongoing investigation – or
else, because you are not a member of his family -- that you cannot be
given any information. Say that you understand, but that you still wish
to have your concerns noted, and that you want the prison to know that
you will be keeping track of what happens to Mr Johnson.

The following other authorities should also be contacted. These bodies
may claim they are unable to directly intervene, however we know that by
creating a situation where they are receiving complaints, they will
eventually contact other authorities who can intervene to see what the
fuss is all about. So it's important to get on their cases too:

TDCJ Ombudsman: ombudsman@tdcj.texas.gov

The Inspector General:  512-671-2480

Let these "watchdogs" know you are concerned that Kevin Johnson #1859887
was the victim of a gas attack in Clements Unit on December 21, 2016.
Numerous witnesses have signed statements confirming that he was
handcuffed, in his cell, and not threatening anyone at the time he was
gassed. Furthermore, he was not allowed to shower for hours, and his
cell was never properly decontaminated, so that he was still suffering
the effects of the gas days later. It is also essential to mention that
his property was improperly confiscated, and that he had previously been
threatened with having this happen as retaliation for his writing about
prison conditions. Kevin Johnson's property must be returned!

Finally, complaints should also be directed to the director of the VA
DOC Harold Clarke and the VA DOC's Interstate Compact Supervisor, Terry
Glenn. This is because Rashid is in fact a Virginia prisoner, who has
been exiled from Virginia under something called the Interstate Compact,
which is used by some states as a way to be rid of activist prisoners,
while at the same time separating them from their families and
supporters. Please contact:

VADOC Director, Harold Clarke

Interstate Compact director, Terry Glenn

Let them know that you are phoning about Kevin Johnson, a Virginia
prisoner who has been sent to Texas under the Interstate Compact. His
Texas ID # is 1859887 however his Virginia ID # is 1007485. Inform them
that Mr Johnson has been gassed by guards and has had his property
seized as retaliation for his writing about prison conditions. These are
serious legal and human rights violations, and even though they occurred
in Texas, the Virginia Department of Corrections is responsible as Mr
Johnson is a Virginia prisoner. Despite the fact that they may ask you
who you are, and how you know about this, and for your contact
information, they will likely simply conclude by saying that they will
not be getting back to you. Nonetheless, it is worth urging them to
contact Texas officials about this matter.

It is good to call whenever you are able. However, in order to maximize
our impact, for those who can, we are suggesting that people make their
phone calls on Thursday, January 5.

And at the same time, please take a moment to sign the online petition
to support Rashid, up at the Roots Action website:

Rashid has taken considerable risks in reporting on the abuse he
witnesses at the Clements Unit, just as he has at other prisons. Indeed,
he has continued to report on the violence and medical neglect to which
prisoners are subjected, despite threats from prison staff. If we, as a
movement, are serious about working to resist and eventually abolish the
U.S. prison system, we must do all we can to assist and protect those
like Rashid who take it upon themselves to stand up and speak out. As
Ojore Lutalo once put it, "Any movement that does not support their
political internees ... is a sham movement."


To learn more about Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, the abuses in the Texas
prison system, as well as his work in founding and leading the New
Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter, see his website



As Robert Boyle, Esq. said, "The struggle is far from over: the DOC will no doubt appeal this ruling. But a victory! Thanks Pam Africa and all the Mumia supporters and all of you."

"Everyone has to get on board to keep the pressure on. We have an opportunity here that we have never had before. We are going to do it as a unified community, everyone together." - Pam Africa  

Let me be honest. We fundraise like we breathe. We have to. We are going to win-- with your key help. We've got until midnight tomorrow to raise just $2,021! We're 97% there. Please pitch in today to help us reach $60K!

Tomorrow your phone will ring with a special message from Mumia. In it, he says, "This is indeed a serious time for me, and for us all. It is not easy to take on the state and prevail; however, it is right to do so. With your help, we may be able to prevail. This is Mumia Abu-Jamal, thanking you for supporting Prison Radio."

John, the clock's running out- but it's not too late to chip in and help us reach our goal! You can open the airwaves for prisoners to speak out in this urgent time of massive incarceration.

Will you pitch in with a gift of $103, $35 or even $250 to bring us to our goal by midnight and amplify the voices of prisoners?


Thank you for being a part of this struggle.

Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight we win!

Noelle Hanrahan, Director




To give by check: 

PO Box 411074

San Francisco, CA


Stock or legacy gifts:

Noelle Hanrahan

(415) 706 - 5222



Committee to Stop FBI Repression (stopfbi.net)

Rasmea Defense Committee statement - December 21, 2016

Rasmea retrial set for May 16, 2017

Support the defense now!

This morning, Rasmea Odeh and her defense attorney Michael Deutsch were called into Judge Gershwin Drain's courtroom in Detroit, where the judge and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel were in attendance. The parties all agreed on May 16, 2017, as the new starting date for Rasmea's retrial.

The defense committee will continue to send regular updates regarding any pre-trial hearings or other appearances that Rasmea must make between now and the retrial, as well as requests to participate in regular defense organizing and activities.

In addition, we urge supporters to continue to
call U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade
 at 313-226-9100,

or tweet @USAO_MIE

and demand that she stop wasting taxpayer money, that she stop persecuting a woman who has given so much to U.S. society, and that she #DropTheChargesNow against Rasmea.

Lastly, and in the spirit of the season, please help us win #Justice4Rasmea by making your end-of-year donation to the defense fund! We thank you all for your continued support!

Background info

Statement from Tuesday, December 13

U.S. Attorney extends political attack on Rasmea, brings new indictment against the Palestinian American

Today, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced that a grand jury she had empaneled returned a new, superseding indictment against Rasmea Odeh for unlawful procurement of naturalization. This new indictment, just four weeks before her retrial, is a vicious attack by prosecutors desperate after a series of setbacks in their case against the Chicago-based Palestinian American community leader. From the outset, the government has attempted to exclude and discredit evidence of Rasmea's torture at the hands of Israeli authorities, but the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the prosecution, which led to the retrial; and the government's own expert affirmed that Rasmea lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Knowing that it faces the real prospect of losing a retrial before a jury, the U.S. Attorney's office has reframed its case against Rasmea, putting allegations of terrorism front and center. In the first trial in 2014, prosecutors were barred from using the word "terrorism," because Judge Gershwin Drain agreed the word would bias the jury. The new indictment adds two allegations that preclude this protection: first, that the crimes she was forced by torture to confess to are "terrorist activity"; and second, that she failed to report an alleged association with a "Designated Terrorist Organization." Despite the government's claim that this is a simple case of immigration fraud, this new indictment is written to ensure that Rasmea stands before a jury as an accused terrorist.

The Rasmea Defense Committee is urging supporters to call U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade at 313-226-9100, or tweet @USAO_MIE, and demand that she stop wasting taxpayer money, that she stop persecuting a woman who has given so much to U.S. society, and that she #DropTheChargesNow against Rasmea. In addition, the committee is calling on supporters to help win #Justice4Rasmea by donating to the defense and organizing educational events about the case.

"They [the prosecutors] are switching course because they know that a jury will believe Rasmea," says Nesreen Hasan of the Rasmea Defense Committee and its lead organization, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network. "We have always said, from day one, that this is a political case, and that the government is prosecuting Rasmea as part of a broader attack, the criminalization of the Palestine liberation movement. This new indictment is literally the same charge, with the same evidence - immigration forms. Only now, they want to paint Rasmea, and all Palestinians, as terrorists. The real criminals in this case are the Israelis who brutally tortured Rasmea 45 years ago, as well as those in the U.S. government who are trying to put her on trial for surviving the brutality committed against her."

Prosecutors will be disappointed to find that these new allegations fail to erode Rasmea's support. People have mobilized by the hundreds for countless hearings, every day of her 2014 trial, and her appeal earlier this year. "We have people ready to come from across the Midwest to stand with Rasmea in Detroit on January 10, but we are also prepared to adjust those plans to be there whenever we are needed," says Jess Sundin of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, who lives in Minneapolis and has mobilized dozens of Minnesotans and others in support of the defense. "We will redouble our organizing and fundraising work, and make certain Rasmea has the best defense possible."

According to lead defense attorney Michael Deutsch, "We also intend to challenge this indictment as vindictive and politically-motivated."

Visit www.justice4rasmea.org for more information.

### End ###

Copyright © 2016 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.

Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!

Our mailing address is:

Committee to Stop FBI Repression

PO Box 14183

MinneapolisMN  55414

Add us to your address book




Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:


















Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)




Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

Click HERE to view in browser



Today is the 406th day that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan

languishes in prison doing felony time for a misdemeanor crime he did not

commit. Today is also the day that Robert McKay, a spokesperson for the

Free Rev. Pinkney campaign, gave testimony before United Nations

representatives about the plight of Rev. Pinkney at a hearing held in

Chicago. The hearing was called in order to shed light upon the

mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States and put it on an

international stage. And yet as the UN representatives and audience heard

of the injustices in the Pinkney case many gasped in disbelief and asked

with frowns on their faces, "how is this possible?" But disbelief quickly

disappeared when everyone realized these were the same feelings they had

when they first heard of Flint and we all know what happened in Flint. FREE


Please send letters to:

Marquette Branch Prison

Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671

1960 US Hwy 41 South

Marquette, MI 49855

Please donate at http://bhbanco.org (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:

c/o Dorothy Pinkney

1940 Union St.

Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Contributions for Rev. Pinkney's defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.



State Seeks to Remove Innocent PA Lifer's Attorney! Free Corey Walker!

The PA Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed legal action to remove Corey Walker's attorney, Rachel Wolkenstein, in November 2014. On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 the evidentiary hearing to terminate Wolkenstein as Corey Walker's pro hac vice lawyer continues before Judge Lawrence Clark of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas in Harrisburg, PA.

Walker, assisted by Wolkenstein, filed three sets of legal papers over five months in 2014 with new evidence of Walker's innocence and that the prosecution and police deliberately used false evidence to convict him of murder. Two weeks after Wolkenstein was granted pro hac vice status, the OAG moved against her and Walker.

The OAG claims that Wolkenstein's political views and prior legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal and courtroom arrest by the notorious Judge Albert Sabo makes it "intolerable" for her to represent Corey Walker in the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Over the past fifteen months the OAG has effectively stopped any judicial action on the legal challenges of Corey Walker and his former co-defendant, Lorenzo Johnson against their convictions and sentences to life imprisonment without parole while it proceeds in its attempts to remove Wolkenstein.

This is retaliation against Corey Walker who is innocent and framed. Walker and his attorney won't stop until they thoroughly expose the police corruption and deliberate presentation of false evidence to convict Corey Walker and win his freedom.

This outrageous attack on Corey Walker's fundamental right to his lawyer of choice and challenge his conviction must cease. The evidence of his innocence and deliberate prosecutorial frame up was suppressed for almost twenty years. Corey Walker must be freed!

Read: Jim Crow Justice – The Frame-up Of Corey Walker by Charles Brover

Go to FreeCoreyWalker.org to provide help and get more information.



The Oasis Clinic in Oakland, CA, which treats patients with Hepatitis-C (HCV), demands an end to the outrageous price-gouging of Big Pharma corporations, like Gilead Sciences, which hike-up the cost for essential, life-saving medications such as the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, in order to reap huge profits. The Oasis Clinic's demand is:







This message from:

Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • www.laboractionmumia.org

06 January 2016

Mumia Is Innocent!  Free Mumia!




Major Battles On

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

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

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

Remember I mentioned, "paid?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other men have done more for less.

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

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

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

And the fight ain't over.

[©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]

Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support

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

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

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

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


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

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney

    Seth Williams:

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

    Call: 215-686-8711 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

      For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot


      Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



      Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

      Sign the Petition:


      Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.

      "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case

      Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.

      In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.

      Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.

      Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.

      Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."

      Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.

      Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.

      In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.

      In solidarity,

      James Clark
      Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
      Amnesty International USA

        Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org

        Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.

        Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin.  He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence.  In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.

        There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:

          The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?

          The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."

          Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.

          These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.

          The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.

        Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.

        The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.

        The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited…         (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)

             This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015




        Sign the Petition:


        Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:

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

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

        American Federation of Teachers

        Campaign for America's Future

        Courage Campaign

        Daily Kos

        Democracy for America


        Project Springboard

        RH Reality Check


        Student Debt Crisis

        The Nation

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        Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

        Updates from Team Lorenzo Johnson

        Dear Supporters and Friends,

        Show your support for Lorenzo by wearing one of our beautiful new campaign t-shirts! If you donate $20 (or more!) to the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson, we will send you a t-shirt, while supplies last. Make sure to note your size and shipping address in the comment section on PayPal, or to include this information with a check.

        Here is a message from Lorenzo's wife, Tazza Salvatto:

        My husband is innocent, FREE HIM NOW!

        Lorenzo Johnson is a son, husband, father and brother. His injustice has been a continued nightmare for our family. Words cant explain our constant pain, I wish it on no one. Not even the people responsible for his injustice. 

        This is about an innocent man who has spent 20 years and counting in prison. The sad thing is Lorenzo's prosecution knew he was innocent from day one. These are the same people society relies on to protect us.

        Not only have these prosecutors withheld evidence of my husbands innocence by NEVER turning over crucial evidence to his defense prior to trial. Now that Lorenzo's innocence has been revealed, the prosecution refuses to do the right thing. Instead they are "slow walking" his appeal and continuing their malicious prosecution.

        When my husband or our family speak out about his injustice, he's labeled by his prosecutor as defaming a career cop and prosecutor. If they are responsible for Lorenzo's wrongful conviction, why keep it a secret??? This type of corruption and bullying of families of innocent prisoners to remain silent will not be tolerated.

        Our family is not looking for any form of leniency. Lorenzo is innocent, we want what is owed to him. JUSTICE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FREEDOM!!! 

                                  Lorenzo's wife,

                                   Tazza Salvatto

        Lorenzo is continuing to fight for his freedom with the support of his lead counsel, Michael Wiseman, The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, and the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson.

        Thank you all for reading this message and please take the time to visit our website and contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!

        Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                    DF 1036

                    SCI Mahanoy

                    301 Morea Rd.

                    Frackville, PA 17932

         Email: Through JPay using the code:

                      Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                      Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com


                      Directly on ConnectNetwork -- instructions here

        Have a wonderful day!

        - The Team to Free Lorenzo Johnson

        Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                    DF 1036

                    SCI Mahanoy

                    301 Morea Rd.

                    Frackville, PA 17932

         Email: Through JPay using the code:

                      Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                      Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com











        1) What the World Needs Now is Socialism

        Democracy, economic and social equality for all on a world scale

        By Bonnie Weinstein


        2) Bankruptcy of the Liberal Establishment, and the (Stolen) Election of Donald Trump

        By Chris Kinder 


        3)  Wanted: Factory Workers, Degree Required

         JAN. 30, 2017





        4)  Rodrigo Duterte Says Drug War Will Go On as Police Plan Purge

         JAN. 30, 2017



        5)  The Youth Group That Launched a Movement at Standing Rock

        In the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline, Native American activists achieved one of the most galvanizing environmental victories in years — and it all began with a group of teenagers. 

        By Saul Elbein, January 31, 2017


        6)  'Jail Is for the Birds. No One Belongs There.'

        7)  UC Berkeley cancels 'alt-right' speaker Milo Yiannopoulos as thousands protest

        By Julia Carrie Wong, February 2, 2017


        8)  The Police Killed My Unarmed Son in 2012. I'm Still Waiting for Justice.

        FEB. 2, 2017


        9)  Raid in Yemen: Risky From the Start and Costly in the End

        FEB. 1, 2017




        1) What the World Needs Now is Socialism

        Democracy, economic and social equality for all on a world scale

        By Bonnie Weinstein


        Lets get this straight; the USA was NEVER a democracy. This country was founded on the mass murder of tens-of-millions of native Indians that inhabited this land. U.S. capitalists fortressed this invasion on the backs of slaves captured from the African continent and forcefully put to work on the plantations owned by the white man; the annexation of most of Mexico's territory and the slaughter of its native inhabitants; all of Alaska and Hawaii; and on the backs of workers in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

        The new, white rulers were all men. Their "democracy" was only among white, male property owners. Even white women didn't get the vote until 1920. African Americans were not allowed to somewhat-freely exercise their right to vote until August 6, 1965! And tens-of-thousands who have been convicted of a felony have lost the right to vote altogether. And those incarcerated still work as slaves for capitalist enterprise.

        Capitalism is a deadly military dictatorship

        According to the Washington Post's "Fatal Force" count, that is updated daily,1 963 people have been shot and killed by police in 2016! The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Our communities are occupied by a super-militarized police force. Our public schools are crumbling and overcrowded. Our healthcare and college education is un-affordable for most people. We have no say as to whether or not to use our precious resources to go to war and manufacture weapons of mass destruction. We have no say of what we must pay for housing, food, clothing, energy, water, access to the Internet, garbage pickup—everything we are charged is dictated by the wealthy, capitalist elite—including taxes! They make the laws that benefit them, at our expense. They don't pay the bulk of taxes, we do.

        It is a world built upon the enslavement of the working class. That's what capitalism is, the military-enforced enslavement of workers for the benefit of the capitalist class. That's who the capitalist candidates in every country represent and give their allegiance to. 

        Workers' power is based upon our unity and solidarity for a better world for all

        The capitalists promote class, racial, religious, ethnic, gender and educational divides to keep us fighting amongst each other, the purpose of which is to make us blind to our overwhelming common needs and interests. This is how they preserve their power and control over the profits we working people create with our labor.

        None of us have the right to vote for what we want; we only have the right to vote between the candidates the wealthy elite present to us—their candidates. 

        A real democracy is when working people get to decide the issues that affect our lives; like whether or not healthcare should be free and available to all; which, by the way, is what the majority of people in this country want! And all the other issues that effect our lives like wages, housing, education, maintaining a healthy environment on our land, in our homes, and in our workplaces, and bringing an end to the destructive wars that further divide and oppress us. 

        Capitalism is an irrational system designed to increase the rate of profits for the wealthy by any means necessary—including robbing us of our basic human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

        Under capitalism, workers are only entitled to what we can pay for. Our earnings are dictated only by how hard we fight for them. Nothing is given to us that we haven't had to fight for!

        The choices the American working class had in the so-called "democratic electoral process" have become the epitome of lesser-evil politics and the opposite of democracy. The capitalist class and their money dictate our electoral choices—insuring that we have no say in the decision-making that will actually control our lives. 

        The 2016 presidential electoral campaign had everything—a so-called Socialist contender, Bernie Sanders, who lead rebellious youth right back to the camp of Hillary Clinton; the Green Party campaign that led a reform campaign for capitalism that failed to bring about any reforms. And, in fact, the Green Party raised $7 million for a recount of the vote for Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—firmly aligning them with the Democratic Party! 

        An independent, working class party can never align itself with the parties of the capitalist class! That is an oxymoron. 

        And what did we get? The election of Donald Trump, idiot and political "new-comer"—a demagogue that appealed to a populous sick and tired of the status quo, yet still divided along racial, religious, ethnic, gender, educational and class lines—those who still believe that what's good for capitalism is good for them. 

        Workers' future under capitalism is dismal

        According to a December 6, 2016 New York Times article by Patricia Cohen titled, "A Bigger Economic Pie, but a Smaller Slice for Half of the U.S.,"

        "Stagnant wages have sliced the share of income collected by the bottom half of the population to 12.5 percent in 2014, from 20 percent of the total in 1980. Where did that money go? Essentially, to the top one percent, whose share of the nation's income nearly doubled to more than 20 percent during that same 34-year period. Average incomes grew by 61 percent. But nearly $7 out of every additional $10 went to those in the top tenth of the income scale. Inequality has soared over that period. In 1980, the researchers found, someone in the top one percent earned on average $428,200 a year—about 27 times more than the typical person in the bottom half, whose annual income equaled $16,000. ...Today, half of American adults are still pretty much earning that same $16,000 on average—in 1980 dollars, adjusted for inflation—while members of the top one percent now bring home $1,304,800—81 times as much."

        Clearly we are in a life and death struggle. Our living conditions and the planet itself are being assaulted by the capitalist system from all directions—all to make a bigger profit! The planet is on the verge of catastrophic climate change due to capitalism's thoughtless plunder of the environment that will devastate the poorest among us first.

        Socialism—an economy based upon production for need and want, and not profit—is the only solution

        It is up to us to turn all this around because it is in the interests of the vast majority of humanity and the other co-habitants of our planet to do so. It's our only hope for the future. If we don't take charge of these things ourselves the capitalist system will continue along its inevitable path to environmental destruction. 

        The fact is, capitalism is a totally insufficient, dying system. It is chaotic and wasteful, both in human terms and the environment. Nothing is planned rationally according to what people and the planet need to thrive. Its only plan is to increase the rate of profit for the rich. All social needs under capitalism are an impediment to that goal. 

        But it doesn't have to be that way. There is an alternative to capitalism.

        Socialism is a rational alternative to capitalism—a real democratic alternative—that guarantees basic human rights to everyone on an equal basis. Guaranteeing that everyone has the right to food, housing, education and healthcare is paramount to democracy. In fact, economic and social equality is the essence of democracy and the antithesis of capitalism.

        Cuba and socialism

        This was brought home to me upon the death of Fidel Castro and the massive outpouring of the Cuban people to mourn him. 

        The U.S. mainstream media demonized Castro as a bloodthirsty dictator who ruled Cuba with an iron hand—a dictator who kept his people starving, without basic freedoms, and under strict military rule. 

        If you listened and believed this propaganda you would think the people of Cuba would be dancing in the streets upon his death. It happened in Miami among Cuban dissidents of the revolution, but that did not happen in Cuba. 

        In a December 3, 2016 New York Times photo essay by Thomas Munita, Mauricio Lima and Azam Ahmed titled, "A Nation in Mourning: Images of Cuba After Fidel Castro," one of the photos in particular struck me. It was a photo of Cuban military personnel standing on the side of the road waiting for Fidel's ashes to pass by. Hundreds-of-thousands of people did the same.

        But what really struck me was that the military personnel were completely unarmed! In fact, it occurred to me at that moment that in all the nine days of news photos of the masses of Cuban people out in the streets to morn the passing of Fidel you see no armed military or police; no armored tanks with sharp-shooters on their gun turrets as we've seen commonly on the streets of Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland—and on the plains of North Dakota! No police helicopters flying overhead! No riots! No shootouts!

        In fact, there has never been such a scene here in the U.S. Here the local police are armed to the teeth with military-grade armor and weapons watching us at all times! 

        Even the vehicle carrying the ashes of Fidel was open and unarmed! 

        The only way this could happen is that the Cuban people are overwhelmingly and fundamentally in support of their revolution. 

        The Cuban example

        Cuba is a very poor country. They have suffered over 50 years of a U.S. embargo that prevented them from trading for goods and services their tiny country could not provide on its own. Yet while the Cuban people are poor, Cuba manages to provide them with certain inalienable rights. Food, housing, healthcare and education are considered rights in Cuba. And their education is not limited to "common core" subjects. Cuban children can pursue the arts, sports, the sciences, free of charge from preschool to advanced University degrees. Cuba has one of the largest medical schools in the world with students from around the world as well as Cubans. Everyone is guaranteed housing. No one goes hungry or homeless.

        They have a different decision-making process than we do. They decide on policy and issues on the job, in their communities and at their schools. 

        The only way that hundreds-of-thousands of people can take to the streets of their own accord, without any armed military or police force towering over them, in mourning of the leader of their revolution, is if the Cuban people think of the government as their government—functioning for their common good, and in the interests of all Cubans. 

        One man or government cannot dictate over its people without a massive military and police force like the United States must have to keep the power in the hands of its wealthy elite. 

        The Cuban people respected Fidel because he fought to bring economic and social equality to his country as best they could under the circumstances. 

        The images of the massive, peaceful turnout of Cubans mourning the loss of Fidel speak for themselves! Clearly the "dictatorial" Cuban government didn't feel the need to bear arms against its own people!

        What we can do

        We can learn from the Cuban people. We can organize ourselves democratically to fight for economic and social equality and basic human rights for all. That's what the Cuban revolution was all about. We must begin to organize an independent party based upon the needs and rights of the masses of working people to the exclusion of capitalists. 

        This requires that we design and participate in a democratic decision-making process among ourselves. We have to come up with a way to educate ourselves, and come up with a plan of how we can use the profits of our labor to improve the quality of all our lives. We must organize society to satisfy people's needs and wants and restore the health of our planet—to hell with profits for the wealthy elite. 

        We need to form an independent, democratically organized, mass working class party that has the power to challenge the rule of the "one percent" not just here in the U.S., but across the globe. 

        We need a party that is based on solidarity and unity among workers in our fight for economic and social equality and justice—a party powerful enough to overthrow capitalism, and actually establish socialism—a party that understands that an injury to one is an injury to all. 

        Basically, economic and social equality is democracy. Only through the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of socialism can we finally achieve democracy, true freedom, economic and social equality, and justice for all.

        We have nothing to lose but our chains and a world to win!



        2) Bankruptcy of the Liberal Establishment, and the (Stolen) Election of Donald Trump

        By Chris Kinder 


        U.S. politics took a sharp right turn in the elections of 2016, with ramifications that are still unraveling. The victory of a sexist and racist outsider like Donald Trump, brash and irreverent fraud that he is, was quite a comeuppance to the political establishment, both liberal and conservative. With virtually no support from any ruling-class power centers like Wall Street, the media or Republican bigwigs, and nothing to recommend him besides the appeal of his outrageous off-the-cuff diatribes and slanders, his campaign managed to upset the applecart of both Republican and Democratic Party complacency. Yet everything about this startling upset is based on misinformation and false analyses, as well as significant voter suppression. Such is the state of things in the capitalist/imperialist U.S. in the 21st Century.

        "Cholera vs. Gonorrhea"

        The choice, as Julian Assange of WikiLeaks said, was like picking between "cholera and gonorrhea." However, Trump's victory represented a rejection of the elites of both major bourgeois political parties. He swept away his would-be Republican rivals in the primary like so many flies off his back. His ready contempt for Clinton's ties to Wall Street and both parties' connection to devastating trade deals struck a chord with working people who have suffered from job loss and impoverishment since the 1970s. And Clinton and Obama's arrogant contempt for Trump's working class supporters as "deplorable," "irredeemable" and "wedded to their guns and religion," helped pave his way. In short, Trump correctly identified both party establishments as upper-class clubs in which contempt for the cast-off masses of lower middle-class and working people is rampant.

        But it would be a mistake to identify Trump's racist, sexist and reactionary big mouth as representing the views of most of those people. Given all those who didn't vote or were prevented from doing so by voter ID laws, voter suppression measures, and other means, Trump was actually only elected by about one quarter of all eligible voters. And while his victory has led to an ominous surge of bigoted activism and racist attacks—KKK honcho David Duke was ecstatic at Trump's win—this does not represent mass endorsement of Trump's policies. Racism runs deep in the U.S., but working people are generally not for a crackdown on Blacks or immigrants, nor are they yearning to prevent a minimum wage hike!

        Working class motivations

        A solid majority is for increasing the minimum wage; and a majority is against building a wall on the border with Mexico, and for allowing immigrants to stay with the right to apply for citizenship, a number which is up from earlier years. On the healthcare question, the details are tricky, since most national polls simply ask: are you for or against Obamacare? Most respond in the negative; and while most of those say they are for fixing it rather than abolishing it, this leaves open how to fix it. But Trump's privatization idea is a non-starter: support for a national health plan based on the principle of Medicare for all, as well as support for government responsibility to provide the poor with assistance for health insurance, is overwhelming! Requiring employers to provide sick and pregnancy leave also gets high marks. Finally, when asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, positive responses generally outweigh negative ones, even among whites.1

        If anything, this election showed that the U.S. has one political party, with two right wings (to paraphrase Gore Vidal.) The Democrats shot themselves in the foot with their arrogance. "America is already great" was their answer to Trump's chief slogan, and that does not go over with working people who have lost jobs, income and opportunities under the two capitalist parties. It was the Bill Clinton regime that virtually merged the Democratic program with that of the Republicans: neoliberalism, cut-backs to balance the budget, racist mass incarceration, and "abolish welfare as we know it." The Obama regime's real "legacy," despite the fine talk, was one of bailing out the bankers, passing a healthcare law that had no way to curb the outrageous drug price increases of Big Pharma, and presiding over declining conditions for working people, including in Black communities. Little wonder that all racial groups and young voters as well, swung to the Republicans in 2016, proof of the bankruptcy of a Democratic elite that ignored essential class issues.2

        Clinton and Sanders

        The Hillary candidacy terminated even the slightest nod to the working class, and Wall Street robber barons and super rich flocked to her side even more than for Obama. Clinton's phony rejection of the TPP trade deal, obviously made to appease Bernie Sanders' supporters after her lengthy record of supporting such deals, just added to the downfall. And the lies: She couldn't reveal the paid-for speeches to Wall Street—yes she could; she didn't request the payments for those speeches—yes she did (through her agent.) And the corruption: the pay-to-play deals benefitting the Clintons revealed in her emails, combined with her reliance on unelected super delegates and sabotage to beat Sanders in the primary. 

        Sanders himself was no help in this, as he had worked in the Democratic Caucus in the Senate for 20 years, and capitulated humiliatingly to Clinton at the convention, whereupon 700 of his supporters jeered him and walked out, some throwing their credentials over the fence. So much for the Sanders "political revolution." Bottom line: the Democratic Party cannot be reformed any more than can the Republican, and both must be swept away by a revolutionary working class, yet to form a political party.

        Blame-the-Russians run around

        Amid plaintive cries from liberals and many on the left that the Democratic Party needed to be reformed in order to fight the incoming Trump nightmare, the DNC establishment honed in on blaming the Russians for hacking Hillary's emails! Aside from the fact that it was the content of the emails (which were not faked or distorted by the way), not the hacking itself, that defeated Hillary, this Russian-baiting conspiracy theory was "fake news" from the beginning. No such hack took place, so it had to have been an insider leak, according to intelligence veterans, who posted their findings on Consortium News.3

        Assange said the Russians were not the source of the leak; and ex-British ambassador and whistle-blower Craig Murray said it was he who received the emails from a DNC operative who was disgusted "at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders."4 This information has been virtually ignored by the U.S. media, which is incensed that their candidate lost to the gropenfuhrer, a term originally tagged for Arnold Schwarzenegger for his acknowledged history of breast and booty grabbing, and here, referring to Trump. The blame-the-Russians scenario fit in nicely with hawk Hillary's plan to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, where Russian warplanes are actively aiding the Assad regime. This might have set up a showdown between Trump and the national security clique. This poses a danger of nuclear war, and would have made Clinton perhaps even more dangerous than Trump had she won.

        The fake news "fake news" scare

        Along with the blame-the-Russians hoax is the "fake news" scare, kicked off by anonymous "experts" given a bullhorn by the Washington Post (November 24, 2016), which has spread like wildfire through media and social media, with strong McCarthyite implications. The Post reported that a group called PropOrNot had a list of some 200 sites that were dealing in "fake news," i.e., stories that reflected Russian-planted lies or were otherwise out of line with what mainstream media wants to foist on us. 

        The mind boggles that, first of all, a supposedly reputable news source would publish such trash from a source who remained anonymous out of fear of...what, incarceration, torture, assassination? No: simply out of fear of being hacked by the Russians! Worse, this unnamed group soon published its list: a tally of web sites it deemed suspicious. These included Truth-outTruthdigvolairnet.orgCounterpunchWikiLeaksantiwar.com, the Drudge Reportnakedcapitalism.comopednews.com and consortiumnews.com, among many others!5

        With this, the Washington Post and its shady PropOrNot character assassins condemn some of the very reporters which have heroically exposed the actual fake news that the very same Washington PostNew York Times and other "reliable" sources have been pedaling for years, such as the "slam-dunk fact" that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, justifying Bush's 2003 "shock and awe" invasion, which devastated Iraqi society, created sectarian civil war and caused millions of casualties and victims. Now these same fake news perps are hammering us that the Russians hacked the election, for which there is no proof! 

        Investigative journalist Robert Parry, now the editor of Consortium News, points to the fact that it was he who managed to break the Oliver North/Iran Contra conspiracy into the mainstream press when he worked for Newsweek. Other stories he is currently working on include the CIA's internal doubts over who really committed the sarin gas attack in Syria on August 21, 2013, the covered-up role of neo-Nazis in the Ukraine putsch of February 2014 that overthrew an elected government, and the mysterious shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner MH-17 over Ukraine; all issues in which there was a U.S. interest.6

        Voter fraud: going through the looking-glass

        What's behind the made-up saga of Russians having hacked the election—it's covered up by the official media—is the fact that the election was rigged, just not in the way that the DNC, or Trump alleged. "Voter fraud"—the idea that masses of illegal aliens, or felons, or others are voting "many, many times"—is a fake-news hoax, designed to throw you off the track of how elections are actually stolen. Fraud by voters is a felony, but no one is ever arrested for it because it doesn't exist. 

        Starting at the beginning, it should be seen by now that the U.S. is not a democracy, and never has been. At first, it was simple: only property-owning white males could vote. Slaves, poor whites, women, even property-owning Black freedmen (there were a handful) could not vote. Wow, problem solved to keep the elites in power! 

        But that wasn't enough: the Congress had to be rigged to give more weight to southern slave-holding states over the more populous northern states. They all had some slaves, but in most southern states, slaves outnumbered whites by big percentages, which would have meant an imbalance in the number of representatives the slavers could get in Congress. This would have been a deal-breaker in a country whose economy was based on slavery. Hence, the three-fifths rule: slaves could be counted as three-fifths of a person when calculating the number of representatives a state was entitled to have in the House (the Senate was of course also designed to equalize smaller and larger states.) And, lest we forget, the "framers" also invented the Electoral College, the sole purpose of which was to shield the elites from the possibly devastating effects of the popular vote—a bit of nonsense, unknown anywhere else, that we're still dealing with today.

        Flashing forward, we note that Blacks still couldn't vote (except briefly, during Reconstruction) in southern states for about a century after the Civil War, and women couldn't vote until the 1920s. That's a lot of history; but even after the Civil Rights laws and universal suffrage was in place, there was rampant vote rigging through all sorts of mechanisms, such as the infamous "graveyard vote," and the intimidation of Democratic Party machines such as Tammany Hall in New York, and Mayor Daley's corrupt regime in Chicago, which is what got JFK elected. While some of this is old news now, gerrymandering, or the rigging of elections by a party in power in a state by using sophisticated redistricting to isolate its opponents and ensure its success at the polls, is, after a century at least, still with us big time.

        Nixon's "treason" and the October surprise

        Gerrymandering and early 20th Century election rigging were outrageous, but they pale in comparison to the imperialist crimes that have been committed with the intent of influencing domestic U.S. politics. Certainly the Hearst newspaper campaign for war with Spain in the late 1890s set a precedent, but tricky Dick Nixon may have topped the dung heap with his conspiracy to steal the election of 1968. This fully-verified but little-known plot involved Nixon's back channel sabotage of on-going negotiations to end the war in Vietnam, which were in progress in Paris toward the end of LBJ's last term. Johnson hoped to seal a peace treaty before the election, which he hoped would aid Democrat Hubert Humphrey in the up-coming vote. 

        Nixon's campaign agents went behind Johnson's back to convince South Vietnam's U.S. puppet-president Nguyen van Thieu to torpedo the Paris peace talks by not showing up, on the promise that Nixon could get him a "better deal" in the talks when he was in office. Soon Johnson got wind of this plot, and privately referred to it as "treason." Yet on the advice of aides, he never went public, because, according to Defense Secretary Clark Clifford, such an exposure would be "inimical to our country's interests!" The plot worked and Nixon took office, only to radically escalate the bombing to no avail. The eventual peace deal was no different than what was on the table in 1968. Later, Nixon created his notorious team of "plumbers" (who were subsequently caught in the Watergate scandal,) to try to retrieve a missing White House file, which exposed his treason. Nixon's 1968 plot resulted in about one million more Vietnamese deaths over the four years, as well as almost 21,000 additional U.S. casualties.7

        The "October Surprise" caper cost no lives, but was just as devious. President Jimmy Carter was trying to get reelected in 1980, while also attempting to free the U.S. embassy hostages in Iran, who were trapped there following the overthrow of the Shah and the ascendance of the mullahs to power. Carter had earlier tried to free the hostages with a military operation that had failed. The reputation of U.S. imperialism was on the line, for both Democrats and Republicans! What to do? Ronald Reagan's campaign director William Casey, soon to be CIA Director, organized a clandestine effort to prevent the hostages' release until the U.S. Election Day, which ensured Reagan's victory, and sent Carter back to his peanut farm. What's the take-away? U.S. imperialism and its fake "democracy" are both part of the malicious machinations of the same den of thieves.8

        "Whites a minority?" Can't have that

        In the wake of the 1960s, Nixon pioneered the Republican "Southern Strategy," which focused on the take-over of the Southern States from the Dixiecrats, and morphed into a general Republican Party plan to achieve power in state capitols. This in turn has led to tactics by conservatives to deal with the "Browning of America," i.e., the idea that whites are becoming a minority in what the right wing thinks is their country, damnit! Gerrymandering has now become significant in Republican-controlled states such as Texas and Wisconsin, to name two, and it's all aimed at suppressing the vote of Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and poor people generally.

        Gerrymandering is just the oldest of today's many methods of voter suppression. Republicans managed to engineer a Supreme Court decision in 2013 that effectively eliminated key provisions of the Voting Rights Act: states and counties with a history of racial discrimination no longer needed Department of Justice approval to change local voting rules and practices. This led to a tsunami of restrictive measures, such as burdensome voter ID laws, which discriminate against vast numbers of poor and minorities. And that is just the beginning.

        Numerous artifices have been brought into play since 2000 to suppress the minority vote in addition to voter ID laws: purging and "caging" of voter rolls, discounting "spoiled" and provisional ballots, and "flipping" votes using privately-owned electronic voting machines. The evidence for this, developed by investigative reporters such as Jonathan Simon, Victoria Collier and Greg Palast, among many others, is staring the bourgeois media in the face, yet it is still ignored.9

        It started in 2000, with the famous "hanging chad" debacle, in which G. Dubya Bush, with the aid of a Republican Supreme Court, stole the election from Gore. Central to this was the purging of the voter rolls of supposed "felons," most of whom were no such thing. Also involved was the failure to complete the hand recount, which would have shown the intent of the voters whose hanging-chad ballots had been rejected. When the recount was heading toward a Gore victory, Antonin Scalia said it had to be halted because showing that Gore was gaining would "threaten irreparable harm to petitioner Bush, and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election!"10 Never mind irreparable harm to the legitimacy of U.S. elections that was already long gone! Gore's immediate acceptance of this travesty sealed the deal: both parties are in this together.

        Tricks of the trade

        "Caging" is another sneaky trick used to eliminate Black and Brown voters. A letter is sent to voters, no forwarding allowed, asking them to verify that they are registered to vote. Most know they are registered, and don't respond, but failure to respond means you get removed from the rolls without warning: you show up, and you can't vote! Likely you get a provisional ballot, but these are usually not counted. Then there is the "Interstate Crosscheck List," which is distributed by a Koch Brothers-funded program to states to allegedly eliminate thousands who have voted twice in separate states. Yet the common names of those on the list mostly don't match exactly, and when they do, they're still two different people! There is no notice given to those so arbitrarily removed from the rolls. Then there is the "spoiled ballot" factor, in which some inept machine rejects a ballot because of a stray mark or a bubble not filled in. The result of all this is that, for instance, 75,355 ballots were never counted in Michigan. These were mostly from the most populous and mostly Black cities of Flint and Detroit. 

        In all the elections since 2000, there has been a distinct "red shift" in the final vote count, i.e., a significant percentage of votes allegedly cast for the GOP candidates that were not there in the exit polls. In Obama's election and reelection, his totals, though declining, were enough to cancel out the red shift. This discrepancy however, which is always to the right, is statistically impossible without tampering. (Exit polls are accurate. The U.S. uses them to judge other countries' elections, when they're not rigging those elections themselves, of course.)

        A stymied recount

        The recount effort initiated by Jill Stein of the Green Party confirmed that these 75,000 were never counted, but in all three states she contested, the recount was subverted by establishment push-back. And in Michigan, this included the Democrats. While Clinton grudgingly joined the recount effort, she refused to pursue it at a critical point: when Stein was denied legal "standing" in the recount, since she could not have won from the result, Clinton, who could have won, and was an alleged ally in the recount effort, was nowhere to be found. 

        The recount effort was doomed by Clinton's non-participation, and by official state obstruction in all three states that were targeted (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.) In a strange way, that's a good thing, because it shows that the system circled its wagons to protect its secrets, which are many. But Stein's recount effort could never have exposed everything it needed to in the first place, due to the fact that electronic voting machines are privately owned, and can be privately rigged (votes can be "flipped" in off-site locations) with no public oversight possible in most cases. Stein's attempt at a recount, which she said would probably not change the result, but needed to be done to ensure "confidence" in the system, could easily have resulted in legitimizing the system, had it not been for the massive official obstruction.

        If the election had really been free, fair and honest—a utopian dream if there ever was one—Clinton would possibly have won. But that would not have been any sort of "victory," nor would it have changed the fact that the liberal establishment is bankrupt. Democrats have rigged U.S. elections just as much as Republicans over the years, and both parties in power have rigged, subverted and tampered with elections in neo-colonial countries for more than a century, not to mention overthrowing democratically elected governments everywhere. 

        What the imperialists do abroad

        The recent elections in Haiti were travesties rigged by the U.S. and its agents, the only difference being greater brazenness—and much bigger protests—in Haiti than here. In Cité Soleil, a huge impoverished neighborhood of Port-au-Prince which has long been overwhelmingly supportive of the Fanmi Lavalas movement of Jean Bertrand Aristide, the populist priest who was twice elected president only to be overthrown and banned from running again, hundreds of would-be voters frantically searched for their names on registration lists outside polling stations to no avail. Their names had been "hacked" out of existence Haitian style. Ballots are routinely found dumped in garbage bins in Haiti. In one large Cité Soleil precinct, only 59 votes were recorded, all for the handpicked successor of the current pro-U.S. president! The chief U.S. agent is Guy Phillippe, an ex-military drug-runner who is wanted by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration,) but protected as an asset by the CIA, and so never gets arrested despite openly running for office. He has now "won" a seat in the Senate in this rigged election.11 What the imperialists will do abroad, they will do (and are doing) here.

        The 2016 U.S. elections are emblematic of the long, slow and agonizing decline of U.S. imperialism. The liberals and most of the left don't have a clue as to what is really going on. Most want to reform the Democratic Party, and/or defend U.S. "democracy" by somehow reclaiming its legitimacy. Certainly we should expose election fraud by voter suppression, but we must understand what is the real nature of this imperialist republic. That it is a capitalist and imperialist power is superficially clear to many, but how does it really work? It's a bourgeois democracy, right? We do have elections and rights, correct?

        What is bourgeois democracy?

        Yes this is a bourgeois democracy, but the point that is so often missed is that it is a "democracy" only for the ruling class itself. Voting by the masses is controlled by so many mechanisms that even a landslide for a "peoples choice" can produce only an intelligent fraud like Obama. The ruling elite—the bourgeoisie—controls everything; but even in their hallowed halls there is not the kind of "democracy" to which we are accustomed to imagine. There are no fairly-decided democratic decisions among them. And the ruling class is not a united conspiracy of rule; it doesn't even work like that under fascism (which this is not.) The wielders of power are a constantly boiling, frothing, fuming pot of conflicting factions, cliques and conspiracies, united against the working classes and their imperialist rivals, but desperately struggling for power among themselves. Just as the big corporations constantly compete with each other, always trying to dominate and monopolize, so the ruling class as a whole is just a bunch warring cliques. Think all the world's mafias, all competing for turf, and all on billionaire-enhanced steroids. 

        Only with this understanding can we truly know how the 2016 U.S. election really worked. Why did Trump win, when most if not all of the big ruling-class institutions were for Clinton? Of course voter disgust with the corrupt establishment was a factor. But ruling-class actors were playing both sides, and one right-wing faction was playing the racist rig-the-election card: the Koch brothers and their allies in the Republican right, some of whom have gobbled up and privatized the electronic voting machine market, came up with the winning hand this time! Note that the other side quickly fell in line with the winners: the stock market dipped on Trump's win for two days, and then rebounded big time; and the Republican establishment is now helping Trump construct a reactionary billionaire's cabinet like no other. There are some left-outs. But mostly, they're all in the same card game, they all want to grease the palm of the winner, and they all want their hand in for the next round!

        Just as there is an inevitable decline in the rate of profit—which will only get worse with the looming trend of robot-driven production—there is a concomitant decline of this whole boiling cesspool of imperialism that is the U.S. It can only get worse, except for one thing: working people fighting for their own liberation from all this endless rot. 

        Working people had a role to play in this election, as in the class struggle as a whole; but they were missing in action as a class force, as they have been for decades. Many working people and lower middle class elements swung the vote away from the two party establishments to Trump, but did they put forward their own interests? Obviously not. The much talked-about opposition to the incoming Trump regime needs to focus on construction of a revolutionary, working-class party, one which is committed to fighting for the rights of all working people, including immigrants, people of color, women and gays; and to ripping the power out of the hands of the capitalist ruling class. Workers must rule!

        1 See pollingreports.com, which reports on and summarizes dozens of national opinion polls.

        2 "The Myth of the Reactionary White Working Class," www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/11/12/pers-mi2.html

        3 "U.S. Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims," December 12, 2016, www.consortiumnews.com. This report makes it clear that the emails had to have been leaked, not hacked. 

        5 Glenn Greenwald, "Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist..." theintercept.com.

        6 Robert Parry, "Washington Post's 'Fake News' Guilt" 27 November 2016, www.consortiumnews.com.

        7  see "LBJ's 'X' File on Nixon's 'Treason,'" for the complete story, including quotes from taped White House recordings, at consortiumnews.com

        8  See "The Modern History of 'Rigged' US Elections," consortiumnews.com, for a good summary of Nixon's treason and the "October Surprise."

        9 See Jonathan D. Simon, Code Red, Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century, 2016, www.electiondefensealliance.org; Victoria Collier, "How To Rig an Election," Harper's Magazine, November 2012; Victoria Collier, "The 'Shocking' Truth About Election Rigging in the United States," Truth-out, September 5, 2016; and Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, 2016 edition. And see Greg Palast's movie of the same name. gregpalast.com.

        11 See www.haitisolidarity.net, and this edition of Flashpoints, focusing on he Haitian elections: kpfa.org/episode/flashpoints-december-20-2016/



        3)  Wanted: Factory Workers, Degree Required

         JAN. 30, 2017





        When the German engineering company Siemens Energy opened a gas turbine production plant in Charlotte, N.C., some 10,000 people showed up at a job fair for 800 positions. But fewer than 15 percent of the applicants were able to pass a reading, writing and math screening test geared toward a ninth-grade education.

        "In our factories, there's a computer about every 20 or 30 feet," said Eric Spiegel, who recently retired as president and chief executive of Siemens U.S.A. "People on the plant floor need to be much more skilled than they were in the past. There are no jobs for high school graduates at Siemens today."

        Ditto at John Deere dealerships, which repair million-dollar farming machinery filled with several dozen computers. Fixing tractors and grain harvesters now requires advanced math and comprehension skills and the ability to solve problems on the fly. "The toolbox is now a computer," said Andy Winnett, who directs the company's agricultural program at Walla Walla Community College in Washington.

        These are the types of good-paying jobs that President Trump, blaming trade deals for the decline in manufacturing, has promised to bring back to working-class communities. But according to a study by Ball State University, nearly nine in 10 jobs that disappeared since 2000 were lost to automation in the decades-long march to an information-driven economy, not to workers in other countries.

        Even if those jobs returned, a high school diploma is simply no longer good enough to fill them. Yet rarely discussed in the political debate over lost jobs are the academic skills needed for today's factory-floor positions, and the pathways through education that lead to them.

        Many believe that the solution is for more Americans to go to college. But the college-for-all movement, which got its start in the 1970s as American manufacturing began its decline, is often conflated with earning a bachelor's degree.

        Many high school students rush off to four-year campuses not ready for the academic work or not sure why they are there. Government data show that 44 percent of new graduates enroll directly in a four-year college, but based on recent trends, less than half of them will earn a degree within four years. And though two-year colleges have long been identified as the institutions that fill the job-training role, some 80 percent of community college students say they intend to go on for a bachelor's degree, or they leave with generic associate degrees that are of little value in the job market.

        Students in the United States are offered few feasible routes to middle-skill careers — jobs that require more education than a high school diploma but typically not a bachelor's degree. The National Skills Coalition, a nonprofit organization, calculates that middle-skill jobs — in computer technology, health care, construction, high-skill manufacturing and other fields — account for 54 percent of the labor market, but only 44 percent of workers are sufficiently trained.

        "The bachelor's degree is the gold standard, but the higher education system has to create ways for students to choose training and education in their own time and sequence," said Anthony P. Carnevale, the director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. "Higher ed," he said, "needs to respect the dignity of labor."

        Faced with a skills gap, employers are increasingly working with community colleges to provide students with both the academic education needed to succeed in today's work force and the specific hands-on skills to get a job in their companies. John Deere, for example, has designed a curriculum and donated farm equipment to several community colleges to train technicians for its dealer network. About 15 to 20 students come through the program at Walla Walla each semester. Because they are sponsored by a John Deere dealership, where the students work for half the program, most graduate in two years with a job in hand. Technicians start at salaries just shy of $40,000, on average.

        Dr. Carnevale's research has found that 40 percent of middle-skills jobs pay more than $55,000 a year; some 14 percent pay more than $80,000 (by comparison, the median salary for young adults with a bachelor's degree is $50,000).

        Jobs like the ones John Deere offers are still associated in people's minds with students who performed poorly in high school, those considered "not college material." But to succeed in programs like those at Walla Walla, students need to take advanced math and writing in high school, academics typically encouraged only for those going on to four-year colleges.

        Persuading students and their parents to consider the apprenticeship track is a tough sell, especially because companies want students who have a strong academic background.

        Struggling to fill jobs in the Charlotte plant, Siemens in 2011 created an apprenticeship program for seniors at local high schools that combines four years of on-the-job training with an associate degree in mechatronics from nearby Central Piedmont Community College. When they finish, graduates have no student loans and earn more than $50,000 a year.

        "These are not positions for underachievers," said Roger Collins, who recruits apprentices for Siemens at 15 Charlotte-area high schools.

        Chad Robinson was one of those students. Ranked in the top 10 of his high school's senior class, with a 3.75 grade-point average, he had already been accepted to the engineering school at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte when he told his parents he wanted to shift course and apply for the Siemens apprenticeship.

        "They were very against it," he said, until they went to the open house. "A lot of my friends who majored in engineering in college told me they wish they had done the apprenticeship because my work experience will put me ahead of everyone else."

        IT is not uncommon to find executives in Europe who got their start in apprenticeships, which are seen as a respected path to a profession in a variety of fields, from hospitality to health care, retail to banking.

        In the United States, on the other hand, apprenticeships have long been associated with the construction trades and labor unions. That can be traced to a Depression-era labor shortage that led Congress to pass the National Apprenticeship Act. The act formalized standards and empowered the Labor Department to certify training, which was mostly in manual labor occupations. Unions took on the task, tightly controlling apprenticeship opportunities and passing them down through the generations.

        In the decades after World War II, registered programs expanded in number and type, with the addition of fields like firefighting and medical technician. But apprenticeships never caught on, relegated to a second-class career track as college enrollment ballooned in the 1960s and '70s, and more recently mirroring the falloff in the influence and membership of labor unions.

        The Department of Labor's registry now lists 21,000 programs with about 500,000 apprentices, which sounds impressive but represents only 1.5 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in this country and is far short of demand. Still, participation is up 35 percent and the number of programs by 11 percent since 2013.

        Apprenticeships are making a comeback thanks in part to bipartisan support among lawmakers. In the last two years, Washington has allocated $265 million to spur programs. President Obama's secretary of labor, Thomas E. Perez, a strong proponent, attempted to rebrand apprenticeships to appeal to educators and parents. During his tenure, the department established a partnership between registered community colleges and sponsors that allowed on-the-job-training to count as academic credit toward a degree.

        "Apprenticeship is the other college, except without the debt," said Mr. Perez, who had a goal of doubling the number by 2018. Advocates are hopeful that the trend will continue with new leadership in Washington, given President Trump's familiarity with construction.

        While the building trades still dominate, the types of occupations offering internships have expanded to include jobs like pharmacy technician, I.T. project manager and insurance adjuster. Aon, the insurance and financial services company, last month announced a program in Chicago in which high school graduates get training in account management, human resources, financial analysis and information technology while earning an associate degree from Harold Washington College or Harper College.

        Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado wants to make apprenticeships ubiquitous in high schools around his state. Later this year, backed by $9.5 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies and JPMorgan Chase, Colorado will begin offering hands-on training, starting in high school, in financial services, information technology and health care as well as manufacturing. The goal is to make the program available to some 20,000 students at all academic and income levels within the next decade.

        "Apprenticeships can start with a job and end with a Ph.D.," said Noel Ginsburg, who heads up the program and is president and founder of Intertech Plastics in Denver. The initiative was inspired by a visit that Mr. Ginsburg and dozens of politicians and business and education leaders made to Switzerland in 2015. Although German apprenticeships are often held up as the model, Mr. Ginsburg preferred the Swiss approach, which involves a wider range of fields.

        In Switzerland, compulsory education ends after ninth grade, when students can choose either an academic or a vocational path. Between 20 percent and 30 percent of students choose the academic track, which focuses on the few professions, such as medicine and law, that require a university education; nearly 70 percent choose the vocational track, with programs for about 230 occupations.

        Beginning in 10th grade, students rotate among employers, industry organizations and school for three to four years of training and mentoring. Learning is hands-on, and they are paid. Switzerland's unemployment rate for the young is the lowest in Europe and about a quarter that of the United States'.

        ere in the United States, most students are offered a choice between college or a dead end. The college-for-all movement, it seems, has closed off rather than opened up career options. For working-class voters who feel left out in this economy to be able to secure meaningful jobs, educational pathways must be expanded and legitimized — in the process redefining and broadening what is meant by higher education.

        "The silver bullet comes by adding more training opportunities during and after high school," said Dr. Carnevale. "And whatever you do with training, you need to call it college. You want to make people feel good about the path they choose."



        4)  Rodrigo Duterte Says Drug War Will Go On as Police Plan Purge

         JAN. 30, 2017



        MANILA — The top police official in the Philippines said Monday that he would suspend police participation in the nation's bloody drug war while he conducted a purge of rogue officers.

        But President Rodrigo Duterte said earlier on Monday that the crackdown would continue until "the last day of my term," raising questions about whether a suspension would do anything to halt the violence.

        At least 3,600 people, and possibly thousands more, have been killed by the police or by vigilantes since Mr. Duterte came to power. Human rights groups have said the extrajudicial killings of drug dealers and users may have been ordered by the police, a charge officials have denied.

        The head of the Philippine National Police, Ronald dela Rosa, said at a news conference on Monday that the Drug Enforcement Agency would instead have the authority to pursue drug cases. He was responding to criticism after a South Korean businessman was strangled at Police Headquarters last year by officers who later extorted ransom money from his family under the pretense that he was alive.

        "Ready yourselves, you bad cops," Mr. dela Rosa said. "We no longer have a war on drugs, but we now have a war on scalawags. We will clean house now."

        His order came hours after President Duterte rejected calls to fire the police chief, who is one of his most loyal allies.

        Mr. dela Rosa said the suspension would last about a month, during which the antidrug units in the police, which has about 120,000 officers, would be dissolved and overhauled. He said he had already ordered the internal affairs service to submit a list of rogue police officers who had been cleared and for their cases to be reviewed again. He said that the purge would start in the capital, Manila, and the main island of Luzon.

        Mr. Duterte told an earlier news conference on Monday that rogue officers in the police force were committing crimes "on the pretext of doing the drug war."

        He added: "They are now a new strain of the original big-time drug syndicates. And out of this was born corrupt officers who use warrants on the pretext that they are arresting you or searching you for drugs."

        Some rights groups suggested that the suspension amounted to a public relations exercise and did not seek accountability for the thousands of deaths linked to the crackdown on drug dealers and addicts.

        Phelim Kine, deputy director for Asia of Human Rights Watch, said of Mr. dela Rosa: "His willful blind eye to those deaths constitutes a disgraceful betrayal of the public trust and is a telling indicator of his personal contempt for rule of law and the right to life of his fellow citizens."

        Amnesty International said in a news release that the suspension, coupled with Mr. Duterte's declaration that the crackdown would ultimately continue, ignored the root of the problem. "These contradictory statements offer little hope that the wave of extrajudicial executions that has claimed more than a thousand lives a month will end," it said.

        Rights groups tied the killing of the South Korean businessman, Jee Ick-joo, 53, to Mr. Duterte's antidrug campaign, saying that the officers had been emboldened by his promise to shield those involved in the crackdown from prosecution.

        During his election campaign, Mr. Duterte vowed a tough stance on crime, promising to kill 100,000 criminals in his first six months in office and dump so many bodies in Manila Bay that the "fish will grow fat."

        But on Sunday, he indicated that he had underestimated the extent of the drug problem and that he would continue the campaign until the end of his tenure in 2022.



        5)  The Youth Group That Launched a Movement at Standing Rock

        In the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline, Native American activists achieved one of the most galvanizing environmental victories in years — and it all began with a group of teenagers. 

        By Saul Elbein, January 31, 2017


        Jasilyn Charger was 19 when she learned her best friend had killed herself. Charger was Lakota Sioux, and she had left the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota for Portland, Ore., just a few months earlier. But in the summer of 2015, she flew home for her friend's funeral. Then, two days later, while she was still in Eagle Butte — the largest town on the Cheyenne River Reservation with a population of 1,300 — another friend killed herself. Charger was shocked. "It hurt all of us because these were people who we thought we knew but really we had no idea what they were going through," she said. "It really woke us up."

        In the weeks that followed, more teenagers on the reservation killed themselves with belts, knives and handfuls of Benadryl. Native American teenagers and young adults are 1.5 times as likely to kill themselves as the national average, with suicides often clustering in epidemics that hit and fade. Suicide is so common on the reservation that Lakota youth don't bother to say "committed suicide" or "attempted suicide." They just say "attempted" or "completed." By the end of that summer, Jasilyn told me, 30 Cheyenne River kids attempted and eight completed.

        "We said, 'They committed suicide for a reason,' " Charger told me. In Eagle Butte, reasons weren't hard to find. Their elders liked to talk about them as the future, but no one seemed to pay much attention to how their lives were hard, bordering on hopeless. Cheyenne River kids had families struggling with poverty and parents and relatives with serious drug-abuse problems. Often there was violence at home, to the point that many youths had nowhere safe to go at night. And amid all this, there was a hard-edged social pressure to drink or use drugs.

        Charger had seen all of this. Her father died before she was born; her mother, she said, "paid the bills and drank." She and her twin sister, Jasilea, were incredibly close even if, by 13, they were also perfect foils: Jasilea, willowy and bookish, a good student; Jasilyn, chubby and wild, cutting school and running away on the weekends to do odd jobs — mowing lawns, babysitting, breaking horses, selling weed — that helped put food on the table. But her mother called her in as a runaway one too many times, and the South Dakota Division of Child Protection Services took both girls, sending them to group homes on opposite sides of the state.

        "It felt like something had been sawed off," Charger said about her separation from Jasilea. She got so depressed she was moved to a psychiatric unit, where she often got into fights. She aged out of the system at 17, but when she returned to the ranch developments and trailer parks of Eagle Butte, she struggled with depression. She and Jasilea had gone "from knowing everything about each other to being strangers." She fell into a monthslong cocaine binge, crashing in abandoned cars with other homeless kids. Her weight had dropped to 80 pounds by the time that her cousin, Joseph White Eyes, intervened. "He would say, 'You're killing yourself, and we need you,' " Charger recalled. " 'Don't get high, let's go to a sweat.' He got me off drugs and into our culture." She eventually found a job in Rapid City on the production team of the local Fox News affiliate but quit, she said, after her boss made one too many "cowboys and Indians" jokes in response to Native Americans' being shot by the police. In early 2015 she moved to Portland, as far away as she could get. She hadn't intended to return.

        But now she was home, amid a new plague of suicides, and she wanted to do whatever she could to help other teenagers on the reservation. Together with White Eyes and their friend, Trenton Casillas-Bakeberg, she formed a youth group. They raised money for basketball tournaments and for a youth trip to the Red Nation Film Festival in California, where the kids were able to see the ocean for the first time in their landlocked lives. They went to the tribal council, demanding and getting funds for a safe house for young people. Most of all they counseled young people, urging them to look out for one another and get involved. "Yeah, it looks all pretty on Facebook," Charger remembered saying, "but really, what's going on in real life? You can be busy getting on Snapchat while someone's getting bullied."

        As the suicide wave crested and broke, the youth group, now called the One Mind Youth Movement, turned to something more political. They spent that fall as part of the local campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline, whose route would cut under the Cheyenne River just upstream from the reservation that bears its name. And after the Obama State Department denied the Keystone XL permission to cross the U.S.-Canadian border in November 2015, they moved their focus to the neighboring Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, where the company Energy Transfer Partners was trying to build the Dakota Access Pipeline. That pipeline would move half a million barrels of oil a day beneath the Missouri River, the main source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux, which is one of the cousin bands to Cheyenne River, as well as for other downstream Sioux reservations. The youths came to believe that the Dakota pipeline was not only a threat to their drinking water but also a harbinger of the larger environmental crisis their generation was set to inherit.

        Last April, Charger, White Eyes and a few One Mind teenagers and mentors helped establish a tiny "prayer camp" just off the Dakota Access route, on the north end of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Over the next six months that camp grew into an improbable movement that united conservative farmers with the old radicals of the American Indian Movement; urban environmentalists with the traditional chiefs of hundreds of tribes. As Donald Trump pushes forward with the Keystone XL and Dakota Access, he will face a movement emboldened by a victory on Dec. 4, 2016, when the Department of the Army denied an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline and directed the Army Corps to consider an alternate route. It was a rare triumph for both the environmental and land rights movements, as well as for the American left in an otherwise dark moment. But little remarked upon at the time was the unlikely seed from which the movement had grown: an anti-suicide campaign among a tight-knit group of youths, most younger than 25, impelled by tragedy and guided by prophecy.

        At the start, the camp seemed like a quixotic undertaking. Lakota culture is effectively run by the old — traditionally young people are supposed to apologize before they even speak in front of elders — so for the youths to take it upon themselves to lead a movement was a radical act. In March, concerned citizens of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, frustrated with the lack of action from their tribal council, the body that functions as the tribe's official, U.S.-recognized government, put out a call for help to the other Sioux reservations. One Mind Youth made the two-hour drive north to propose setting up a prayer camp modeled on the ones raised against the Keystone XL. The tribal council agreed to set up the camp but offered little other support, pessimistic about the effort. The youths were undeterred. In early April, a handful, joined by a few former Keystone activists, moved into tepees in a protected ravine beside the Cannonball River, on the extreme north end of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

        Those days, the temperatures were in the 30s and there was still snow on the ground. The youths dubbed the camp Sacred Stone and lit the sacred fire. At first, they lived on little more than bologna sandwiches, potato chips and water. But then residents from the small reservation town of Cannon Ball, up the hill from Sacred Stone, began to bring donations: leftovers from dinner, cut-up wooden corrals for the campfires, a chain saw. Life in the prayer camp was supposed to be lived "in ceremony," a sort of mindfulness or religious retreat in which all things are done with the intention of maintaining purity. Days began with a water ceremony; the sacred fire had to be regularly fed; meals began with prayer and a "spirit plate" served for the ancestors; alcohol and drugs were strictly forbidden.

        It was, in other words, the sort of safe place that the youths had been insisting was necessary for them. They needed a haven, Charger explained, to "regroup, figure out what you're going to do and not worry about where you're gonna sleep." The previous fall, they rented a hotel room in Eagle Butte as an informal crash house for Cheyenne River youth, where sometimes as many as 20 teenagers stayed, sleeping and showering, safe from bullying or the lure of alcohol or drugs. The prayer camp at Standing Rock provided something similar. Members of One Mind would drive home every week to resupply and pick up youths who wanted to experience the camp.

        For Charger and other leaders, as important as the idea of the safe space was the idea that activism would teach children the skills to survive more immediate threats, like bullying and drug abuse. They hoped to pass on skills at the camp that they themselves had been taught by Keystone activists in their community. During the long campaign against the Keystone XL, groups like the Indigenous Environmental Network (I.E.N.) helped set up a "spirit camp" on the Cheyenne River Reservation, about 50 miles southwest of Eagle Butte, where activists prayed and taught the surrounding communities about civil disobedience. The I.E.N. paid for One Mind members to be trained as organizers — they sent Charger to Washington and White Eyes to network with aboriginal climate activists in Australia — and the teenagers and young adults were exposed to ideas and training that linked the pipeline fight to larger struggles in their society. Every direct-action training against the Keystone XL, for example, referenced the prophecy of the black snake, a figure out of Lakota myth that in recent times has been identified with pipelines. But it has a more general meaning: "It symbolizes a darkness, a sickness, whose only intention is to sow dysfunction and loss of life in our communities," said Dallas Goldtooth, an I.E.N. organizer who worked with Charger and other One Mind members. The message was clear: The struggle against the pipeline was part of the same struggle against alcoholism, suicide and abuse.

        After weeks at the Standing Rock camp with minimal tribal support, the young people decided that they needed to carry out some sort of public action. "It was important to make the adults see that if you're going to sit there and argue, we're gonna go wake up our brothers and sisters," Charger said. Bobbi Jean Three Legs, a young mother and long-distance runner from Standing Rock who had become active in the camp, had a vision. Her daughter woke her one night to ask for water, and she suddenly saw a day when, thanks to water pollution, there would be no water to give. Soon after that, she and White Eyes proposed a 500-mile relay run from the Sacred Stone Camp to Omaha to deliver a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, asking it to deny the Dakota Access Pipeline permission to cross the Missouri River. The I.E.N. began a social-media campaign announcing the run and organized a blitz of calls and letters from tribal members on various reservations.

        Within days, far sooner than expected, an Army Corps representative from the Omaha district agreed to meet with members of the tribe. To some, this meant the youths could call off the run. But they insisted on going ahead. Not only did they still want support from the tribal council; they had also begun to believe that this run could bring together young people from all the Sioux reservations. The seven bands of the people commonly known as the Sioux had organized themselves in the Oceti Sakowin, or "the Seven Council Fires," a tribal republic that spread out over a vast area, including the Dakotas, Minnesota, Kansas and Nebraska, until federal campaigns forced its members onto the scattered, tiny reservations they occupy now. One Mind saw water as an issue that could unify all Oceti Sakowin youth. And their run had rich cultural resonance: Before Europeans brought horses, long-distance messenger runners held the scattered tribes of Oceti Sakowin together. Three Legs, White Eyes and Charger mapped a route to pass through as many reservations as possible. The run would use a traditional method in which a messenger ran a short distance, about a mile, and then rested while another runner took his or her place. It allowed people who were not very good runners, like Charger, to go on a long-distance run.

        Three Legs insisted on bringing someone from each of the nine Oceti Sakowin bands, and the run quickly brought in people from reservations that hadn't been involved with the Standing Rock camp. Daniel Grassrope, now 25, came from the Lower Brule, a band whose reservation lay down the Missouri from Cheyenne River. Grassrope, the second-youngest boy of 13 children, grew up disgusted by the abuse and dysfunction around him, "racist," he said, "toward my own people." As a child, he dreamed of being taken away from his family and adopted by whites, something he associated, vaguely, with having his own bedroom and a mother who came to his basketball games. He was getting wasted every night when he saw Three Legs's Facebook posting asking someone to represent the Lower Brule on the run.

        The run immediately gave him what Standing Rock would later give many other youths: a sense of purpose he had been lacking. It also inspired something more radical, in a way, than antipipeline activism: the belief that a group of lost people from scattered nations could still find kinship. Grassrope wrote to Three Legs immediately. "I had been praying for something like this," he said.

        On April 24, the runners set off south from the Sacred Stone Camp. They ran along the Cannonball River to Highway 1806, then down toward Cheyenne River, their first stop. Grassrope ran next to Charger, who was carrying a heavy staff that represented their ancestors. When she got too tired, Grassrope carried it. In doing so, according to Lakota belief, they were literally carrying all those who had come before. They stayed in churches and community centers and women's lodges and private homes. At every reservation, they met not only with tribal leaders but also with reservation youths, whom they talked to just as they had in Cheyenne River, telling them about the old ways and the camp upriver where those ways were being revived. "It really caught them off guard," Charger said, "that they saw youth like them doing it." Because the Native American community has become heavily networked on social media as a modern means to keep the bands united, word spread far beyond the communities they visited. When the youths arrived in Omaha on May 3, a representative of the Army Corps of Engineers met with them on the steps of the office. They still felt motivated as they went back to Standing Rock. Grassrope quit his job in Lower Brule and settled into the camp with them.

        By then time seemed to be running out: The Army Corps of Engineers was still considering the Dakota Access Pipeline's permit, and the Tribal Council still wasn't offering much support. On July 9, through a video released on YouTube, Bobbi Jean Three Legs and several other runners announced an even more ambitious action: a run that would cover 2,000 miles to Washington, where they would deliver a petition to the Army Corps' headquarters. "We need your help," a young woman says in the video. Another woman, with glasses and a long black braid, says, "We're going to be traveling through many of your towns." On July 15, 30 runners set out from Sacred Stone, adding more as they made their way along their route. Jasilyn Charger's estranged twin sister, Jasilea, was one. She was in bed asleep when Jasilyn, passing through Cheyenne River, ran into their house, threw her clothes into a bag and urged her onto their support van. Over the course of the next week or so, a dozen more joined.

        But on July 26, the runners learned the Army Corps of Engineers had approved the Dakota Access pipeline easements. The black snake was on its way. The runners decided to carry on to Washington, but the focus shifted back to the camp, as I.E.N. activists at Standing Rock urged people via Facebook messages to rise to the standard set by the youths. Across the great archipelago of North America's Indian reservations and urban communities, people took notice. They loaded cars and buses and camper vans with donations and headed for Standing Rock.

        Twenty-six-year-old Eryn Wise moved to the camp in late August, at the beginning of what organizers called the big boom, when the population spiked from dozens to thousands. A native of Minneapolis, Wise was raised by her grandmother on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation after a suicide attempt at 11. On the reservation, she was picked on for excelling at school but was surrounded by her siblings, with whom she formed a close bond. But she returned to Minneapolis when she was 16 to care for her mother. When she read an article about the youth run she felt a pull and quit her job. She found her twin siblings, Alex and Lauren Howland, already at the camp.

        Wise arrived just as the elders began to claim more control over the movement the youths had started. The run, Goldtooth told me, had forced their support by transforming the Dakota Access pipeline from a regional Lakota issue into an international one. Standing Rock council members began to visit the camps and pay for emergency services, propane and portable toilets. The camp had expanded onto the floodplain across the river, and grass-roots activists and members of the unelected traditional leadership, which serves as a sort of parallel Oceti Sakowin government, erected a Council Lodge, a large tepee from the tribe's past that the young people had only heard about. The Council Lodge was the traditional meeting place of the Oceti Sakowin in the 19th century, when the bands would gather on the Plains. The Council Lodge tepee at Standing Rock was a sign of a new political awakening, as the traditional chiefs and medicine men collaborated with grass-roots organizers — the youth and other Native American factions that had joined — to restore the old, unified tribal republic. It was part of a larger move toward formalizing the prayer camps under a council government. By then, the protests against the pipeline had, for the traditional leadership, become about far more: They had become a long-prophesied end to history.

        The black-snake, prophesy said, would only be overcome by the Seventh Generation, which would rise up and, as Charger explained, "bring balance to the Earth. Not just to its people. To the Earth." Many of the youths that I spoke with took this to mean the Seventh Generation had a sort of messianic role to help restore order, on behalf of all beings, to a world thrown out of balance by modernity and greed.

        "The Seventh Generation is almost cliché in Indian communities," Goldtooth, the I.E.N. organizer told me. Anyone born between 1980 and the 2000s, he said, "hears about it constantly. The hope that our generation will see a significant shift toward community renewal and nation building and the reminder that our communities expect big things of us." The Seventh Generation tracks roughly with millennials of all races, but they share their own unique history. The generation between Goldtooth, 34, and Charger, now 20, is the first to have grown up free to be Indian. They are familiar with their ancestors' scars but also fluent in mainstream American culture.

        At Standing Rock, the elders, once resistant to their movement, now insisted that the youths accept the responsibility that the prophecy had foretold. In early September, the Seven Council Fires and Chief Arvol Looking Horse, who, for the Lakota Sioux, is something like their head of religion, gave the youths a gift: a chanupa, the ceremonial pipe that is the most sacred element of the Plains religion, a symbol of the knitting together of the human community and nature, ancestors with the living. In a ceremony under the blazing sun, the council deputized the youths as akicita, a Lakota term that means something like "warriors for the people" or "police." It is difficult to overstate the importance of this gesture. The youths, Looking Horse explained to me, "weren't really ready for it, but we told them that they're going to accept it and learn the traditions. We said they had to be of pure mind. They said, 'We'll try.' "

        After the ceremony, the youths, who had begun to call themselves the International Indigenous Youth Council, or I.I.Y.C., to symbolize their desire to unite all nations behind a traditional way of life, moved together into a tepee by the Cannonball River. "A lot of our first month or two living together," Wise said, "was just having someone break down crying." In her short time at the camp, Wise had become a sort of surrogate mother to the other young people — her nickname even became Ina, or "mother" — and she found herself in charge of a group of about 25 who were barely holding it together, despite the leadership they had assumed. The I.I.Y.C. was the first experience of family for many members. "A lot of them never had the opportunity to be kids, because they were always trying to take care of themselves or take care of their parents." This process, one of the youth leaders told me, was "terribly beautiful," an unburdening of the "historical trauma" that had defined their lives. "No one realizes what the repercussions of colonization have been, the repercussions of forced removal," Wise said. It was hard, she stressed, to explain to people that these were things that had happened recently, to her generation's parents and grandparents.

        "I don't blame my mom," Charger told me. "Her mother was murdered." She shrugged. "The abuse lives in our blood."

        Charger was referring to Native American history, not just what happened on the frontier but also in more recent decades. After federal campaigns reduced the Oceti Sakowin in the late 1800s, there were nearly 100 years of calculated assault as the state tried to force Native Americans to assimilate. The unified nation of Oceti Sakowin was broken into widely separated reservations, and after Congress privatized reservation land, many starving Lakota families had to sell off their property to white farmers, further cutting the size of reservations. The U.S. Government banned the Sundance, the Plains religions' most sacred ceremony, with its days of fasting and ritual bloodletting; Native Americans could no longer openly practice their religions. But perhaps most devastating to their psychological health were the boarding schools, in which generations of Indians were sent to schools to be taught white culture. This system reached its nadir in the forced assimilation campaigns of the 1940s and 1950s, when the grandparents of many of the I.I.Y.C. youths were taught English literally under the lash.

        At Standing Rock, the youths felt they were developing the means to overcome that trauma. The key, as Charger explained it, was to let their history go, which they took as an almost holy responsibility: Forgive, and then take action to spare those who are coming in the future. "We don't want our children to inherit this depression," she said. The remarkable thing about this philosophy was that it was deeply practical: not just forgiving "the white man" but also the parent who beat you. For many, this provided a means to re-establish difficult relationships with parents or siblings. But it also helped bind them together into their own sort of family.

        In the final months of 2016, the camps at Standing Rock grew to more than 10,000, filling with indigenous peoples from hundreds of nations, climate-change activists, members of the Rainbow Family and Burning Man communities and those who simply felt a call. By that point, the role of the I.I.Y.C. had become a sort of advance guard, taking risks and pushing actions forward and winning new young converts to the cause.

        Thomas Tonatiuh Lopez Jr. was one. A 24-year-old Lakota and Latino from Denver, Lopez grew up the child of AIM and Chicano activists, and as the adopted grandson of the powerful medicine man Leonard Crowdog. He came to Standing Rock in September on a supply run and hadn't intended to stay. Once he found himself at the camp, Lopez was touched by the message of activism and reconciliation. One afternoon, he was sitting with I.I.Y.C. members, rolling cigarettes for everyone in front of a fire, as Charger talked about the role of youth. "She said one thing that stuck with me: Who better to speak for the past than the voice of the future?" He thought about it as he drove home to Denver, and when he got there, he helped establish a local I.I.Y.C. chapter, drawing from local indigenous and Latino youths. In mid-November, the group took hundreds of Denver high-school students for a march through downtown to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. Another new chapter, in Chicago, galvanized hundreds for Thanksgiving events that drew in members of other activist groups, including Black Lives Matter, which resulted in black community medics going to serve in Standing Rock's volunteer medical corps.

        One factor that helped recruitment into the regional chapters and Standing Rock was the increasing violence by the police at the camps. The images of campers being maced or attacked by dogs spread anger across the country, and many brought that anger to Standing Rock. For traditional leadership, any violence was deeply concerning. Part of the matrix of prophecy that underlies their movement is the idea that should the Oceti Sakowin or their allies resort to violence, they could be wiped out. Among the Native Americans there were strict rules that the protest would have to be done in "peace and prayer."

        The youths took this seriously, even as they found themselves under physical threat. Wise, the camp mom, remembers, for instance, watching on Facebook Live as her sister was maced. Furious, she raced to the scene and threw herself at the police. Suddenly there were six hands on her shoulders: I.I.Y.C. members, pulling her back. She saw her brother Alex, his face white with what appeared to be war paint. "He was pointing over my shoulder and shouting, 'We'll pray for you, we'll pray for you!" His face, she realized, was covered in tear gas, "and he was still praying for them. That brought me back."

        The youths also tried to reach out to the Morton County Sheriff's Department, which in the larger camp had come to be seen as the enemy. After the Army Corps of Engineers withdrew permission for the camp in late November, protesters expected the sheriff's department to violently clear campers off the land. But on Dec. 2, when the department posted on Facebook soliciting donations of granola bars, fruit soda and socks, the I.I.Y.C. showed up with large plastic containers filled with granola bars, warm clothing and water. Lopez, who had returned to the camp to stay in October, made a speech: "Though you have brutalized us, we will not brutalize you." The station was on lockdown; after a while, an officer looking sheepish in his helmet, faceplate and full body armor, opened the door and accepted the containers. From the crowd, someone yelled for Lopez to explain to the officer why they hadn't brought soda. Lopez half turned. "We want you to be healthy!" he yelled. "Mni wichoni! Water is life!"

        It was a small gesture, but one that prompted thanks from the officers and anger from some in the camps. "Why are you supporting them?" Wise remembers people asking. But prophecy was important to the youths; they worried that if the movement became too violent, it would ruin everything they had been trying to build.

        On Dec. 4, 2016, as thousands of military veterans from across the country crowded the camp in solidarity, the Department of the Army announced its decision to deny an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline route. The decision was a shock and an unexpected triumph. That night, as a blizzard descended on the camp, David Archambault II, the chairman of the Standing Rock reservation's official tribal government, presided over a ceremony around the main fire to thank the youths. "When the youth ran to D.C., that's when this really got started," Archambault told the crowd, as people lined up to shake the hands of the gathered runners. "We all came here to stand for something greater than whatever we did at home." Now, with winter bearing down, he said, everyone could begin to go home.

        But the youths didn't want to go home. For them, leaving was more complicated. They thought that the "victory" was too tentative. Energy Transfer Partners had announced it would ignore the Army's decision, and the election of Donald J. Trump had put into office a president who vocally supported both the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines. "Dave Archambault doesn't speak for our entire generation," Jasilyn Charger said. "When he dies, my grandchildren are going to be here, and nobody can speak for them but me."

        There was also a more personal problem. Many of them had nowhere else to go. They had become dependent on the I.I.Y.C. for a support network and a place to live. Over their months spent in close quarters, the members of the youth council had bound themselves together not only as friends but as family. The stakes of dissolving the group had become obvious in a more immediate way, too: One of the youth runners had already attempted suicide and been rushed to the hospital in Bismarck. "It's not safe for them to stay here," Wise told me in mid-December, as temperatures remained below zero and the ground was covered with ice. "But I also don't want that to happen to any of these kids."

        As the camps emptied out, though, there were not enough resources for everyone to stay, and most of the young people dispersed for the winter, leaving behind a skeleton crew of 10. Wise went home to Minneapolis to begin a job as an organizer for Honor the Earth, an indigenous environmental activist group. Grassrope went back to Lower Brule. Charger was couch-surfing with friends in Eagle Butte. Tribal leaders of the Cheyenne River had found a property for the youth safe house that One Mind had fought for, but progress had stalled, and life for the reservation's youths was as hard as it had been before. But the I.I.Y.C. were in the process of setting up a 501(c)(3), a nonprofit organization that would allow them to establish some formal order to what had been an ad hoc group.

        And in January, after a month apart, the I.I.Y.C. youths reunited in Washington for the mass protests against Donald Trump. They were still in Washington when the news came that he had signed executive orders allowing the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines to proceed. After that, Jasilyn Charger made the trip back to Standing Rock. She planned to spend a couple of days there before heading south to Eagle Butte, where she would organize against the Keystone. "My sole purpose," she said, "is to create for the youth what we did in Standing Rock at my home in Cheyenne River. To really challenge the youth in my community to follow in the lead of Standing Rock to fight for their own people, because if they don't, this black snake will not die again."

        All believed their work had to spread, not because they necessarily believed they could stop the pipeline but because the movement had connected, as Lopez told me, "youths who would otherwise never have had much interaction." He offered a practical reason as well: In December, back home in Denver, he got a call from a young person on the verge of suicide. He felt helpless, but he stayed on the phone, "listening to hear, not listening to respond. All I could do was say: 'You are loved, someone cares about you, not necessarily right where you are, but in your community at Standing Rock. Even if you feel no one loves you, no one cares about you, I love you, I care about you. I want to pray with you again. And if you kill yourself now, I won't be able to do that.' "

        He paused. "And my brother is still alive today."



        6)  'Jail Is for the Birds. No One Belongs There.'

        Adalid DeJesus does not remember a lot about his childhood, but he knows this much: It was not a happy time for his family. "It was rough. It was bad," he said.

        Mr. DeJesus arrived in the United States with his parents when he was 2, leaving the mountainous town of Utuado in Puerto Rico for a neighborhood in Brooklyn. They came in search of a better life, but all he remembers are disagreements between his parents and the presence of drugs.

        As he grew up, Mr. DeJesus saw drug runners from his apartment window and drug users in his building's hallways, a temptation right outside his door. He got involved by making deliveries for dealers.

        "You could make $200 or $300 easy," he said.

        Then he went from being a person in the supply chain to a user. "I was my best customer," Mr. DeJesus said. When he was 30, he was arrested on drug charges and awaited trial at the Rikers Island jail for a year. He thought he would receive probation and not face serious time in prison, but he was wrong.

        He was convicted and spent three years at the Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York.

        "It really scared me. Jail is for the birds. No one belongs there," he said. "Prison scared me so deep that I stopped selling altogether."

        Out of prison, Mr. DeJesus could not resist the lure of using drugs, trapped in the revolving door of rehab facilities — at least 15 stints that he can remember — and failing to sustain sobriety.

        "Every time I would come out of the facility, I had money, so it was easy for me to get the drugs," he said. Finally, Mr. DeJesus said, it hit him: It was "time to grow up, time to live my life," he said.

        "It took me 20 years to stop, and I am tired," he said.

        Mr. DeJesus now lives in a so-called three-quarter house in Brooklyn, a branch of outpatient substance-abuse treatment for the poor, and does janitorial work there. He cleans the space and is in charge of unlocking the door in the morning and closing it at curfew.

        Mr. DeJesus said his focus was on trying to avoid trouble and the temptations of drugs. He He calls his sister every day just to stay connected.

        "She worries. She wants to make sure I am alive," he said. "That helps."

        As he is rebuilding, he is trying to experience the life he missed while he was on drugs and in prison. Mr. DeJesus recently visited his son in Florida and learned he is a grandfather.

        "It was amazing to watch her run around," Mr. DeJesus said about his granddaughter. "I couldn't believe it."

        In order to build a life that includes them, Mr. DeJesus still has a lot of changes to make. He needs a job. But with limited income, he worried he did not have the proper clothing for a job interview.

        Mr. DeJesus receives $194 in food stamps and $123 in public assistance a month. He pays $215 a month in rent. With the help of Brooklyn Community Services, one of the eight organizations supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, he received a $150 gift card to Burlington Coat Factory to buy clothes.

        With a newfound confidence for an interview and with hopes of moving into his own apartment, Mr. DeJesus looks forward to spending time with his family.

        "I spent a lot of time on myself," he said. "Now it's all about my family."



        7)  UC Berkeley cancels 'alt-right' speaker Milo Yiannopoulos as thousands protest

        By Julia Carrie Wong, February 2, 2017


        The University of California Berkeley has cancelled a speech by rightwing internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos after thousands of students gathered in protest and a group of black-clad anti-fascist activists shot fireworks at the speech venue.

        The Martin Luther King Jr student union was heavily fortified behind several layers of police barricades when protesters began gathering outside at 5pm on Wednesday, three hours before the event was scheduled to start. 

        The gathering was boisterous but peaceful until about 6pm, when several dozen protesters wearing black face masks and carrying glittering flags arrived. The group quickly attacked the police barricades, then began shooting firecrackers at the building. Some used barricades to smash windows. 

        After about 15 minutes, a police officer announced that the event was cancelled.

        Some cheered when the police announced the cancellation, but others continued to jeer and call for the police to send Milo out to face the crowd. "Milo isn't here," one police officer shouted amid the din. "Milo isn't here."

        Around 6pm local time, Yiannopoulos posted a statement on Facebook claiming that "the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down".

        After the event was cancelled, and after the crowd watched a light pole that had been set aflame burn itself out, the atmosphere in the crowd quickly turned festive. 

        A large sound system was turned on, blasting music. The first song played was YG's Fuck Donald Trump.

        At one point riot police on the student union's second floor appeared to fire non-lethal weapons at the crowd, but it was unclear what kind.

        "We won't put up with the violent rhetoric of Milo, Trump or the fascistic alt-right," said a Berkeley history student who declined to give his name. The student, who was dressed in black and wore a face mask, carried a banner that read "Queers bash back". He said he identified with the "antifa" (anti-fascist) movement.

        "We are willing to resist by any means necessary," he added.

        Lana Wachowski, another protester, defended using extreme tactics to deny Yiannopolous a platform. "The moral imperative is to win," she said. "There's something to be said for fighting according to a code, but if you lose, people are going to die. People are going to get deported.

        "It's absolutely acceptable to use violence. They are 100% certain to use it against us."

        Trump threatened to pull federal funding from Berkeley in a tweet sent early on Thursday morning:

        The Yiannopoulos event, which was sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans, has divided the former home of the free speech movement in recent weeks. Many students, alumni and community members demanded that action be taken to stop Yiannopoulos from spreading his racist and transphobic views.

        Last week, university chancellor Nicholas Dirks defendedYiannopoulos's right to speak on campus, though he described the Breitbart editor as "a troll and provocateur who uses odious behavior in parts to 'entertain', but also to deflect any serious engagement with ideas" whose "act [is] at odds with the values of this campus".

        Dirks also addressed Yiannopoulos's tendency to single out individual students on stage – such as a transgender student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee – for mockery and abuse, which the chancellor said does "not justify prior restraint on his freedom of expression". 

        The Berkeley College Republicans said in a statement that the opportunity to invite Yiannopoulos was "too good to pass up", though it disclaimed that the group "does not agree with everything Milo has said or done, and totally disavow [sic] any violence or hurt that could result from this event".

        Just hours before the protests, Reddit banned an "alt-right" subreddit page, r/altright, that had become a community for white nationalists. The page now reads: "This subreddit was banned due to a violation of our content policy, specifically, the proliferation of personal and confidential information."

        Yiannopoulos is a well-known figure in the rightwing internet, though he was permanently banned from Twitter in July 2016 for instigating racist and sexist abuse of Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones. Since 2015, Yiannopoulos has traveled to university campuses as part of his "Dangerous Faggot" tour, frequently provoking student protests.

        A protester was shot and seriously injured outside a Yiannopoulos speech at the University of Washington on 20 January, reportedly by a Trump supporter who was seeking Yiannopoulos's autograph. 

         This article was amended on 2 February 2017. An earlier version referred to the University of Wisconsin Madison where the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was meant.



        8)  The Police Killed My Unarmed Son in 2012. I'm Still Waiting for Justice.

        FEB. 2, 2017


        Five years ago today, my unarmed 18-year-old son, Ramarley Graham, was unjustly killed when police officers burst into our home in the Bronx and shot him in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother.

        Minutes before, my son was calmly walking down the street with his friends when he paused to pull up his pants. The officers wrongly thought he had a gun in his waistband, followed him home, knocked down our door without cause or a warrant and killed him.

        To this day, none of the officers responsible have been fired.

        In fact, the officer who pulled the trigger, Richard Haste, still works for the Police Department, which paid him $94,000 last year. It has allowed him to accrue time in the department and enjoy the raises that go with that. Although he has been stripped of his gun and put on desk duty, his pay last year was $30,000 more than it was when he killed Ramarley in 2012.

        It was only last month that Officer Haste finally faced a department trial — a disciplinary process that grossly undercharged him for the extent of his misconduct.

        In a department trial, there is no jury, and the person who acts as the "judge" (in this case the department's deputy commissioner of trials) writes a report with recommendations on whether there should be disciplinary action and what it should be. That report then goes to the police commissioner, who makes the final decision (which doesn't have to match recommendations). This process can take months.

        Although more than a dozen officers should be investigated and charged in my son's killing and surrounding misconduct, the department has lodged internal charges against only two besides Officer Haste. It has not even scheduled department trials for the two.

        I was forced to take days off from work to sit in on the trial. I was not allowed to read the firearms discharge report from the night my son was killed or Officer Haste's disciplinary record. And because my family was given so little notice of the proceeding, Ramarley's father could not fly back from Jamaica in time to attend.

        Officer Haste was indicted by a Bronx grand jury, but it was thrown out on a technicality. A second grand jury was convened but failed to indict him. The only measure of accountability left is for Officer Haste to be fired, following departmental trials. If I had not waged a nonstop campaign, even this department trial probably wouldn't have happened. That's because New York City's leadership has also failed to push for justice and now appears to be doing the bare minimum.

        Mayor Bill de Blasio was quick to speak with my family and call for action on my son's killing when he was running for mayor and wanted the votes of black and brown New Yorkers. Just days after Ramarley was killed, Mr. de Blasio said in a statement that "part of the healing process for the Graham family, and for the city as a whole, derives from a fair, speedy and transparent investigation. That work should begin immediately."

        Now that he's mayor, he has refused to meet with me or ensure any accountability that's fair, speedy or transparent. His administration wouldn't even provide me with basic information about the trial and charges against the officers.

        In addition, Mr. de Blasio recently claimed his administration has reformed policing to make the city safer and fairer.

        I wish this were true.

        In New York City, crime statistics are lower and the overall number of reported stop-and-frisks is down. But black and Latino New Yorkers are still disproportionately stopped, and multiple Police Department audits show that around 64 percent of stops go unreported. This harassment continues even though more than 80 percent of stops don't result in a summons or arrest.

        At the same time, there is no accountability for police abuses, which has allowed injustices like my son's killing to go unpunished. Mr. de Blasio is either willfully ignoring racial disparities and Police Department abuses in our communities or has a shallow understanding of the problem. Either way, the harm continues.

        Across the country, we've made little real progress on police reform even though there is more national attention to the problem. That's because the focus is on training, body cameras, "police-community relations" and "neighborhood policing." The value of those reforms can be debated, but they are not much more than catchy sound bites. They are not solutions to the central problem: the lack of accountability for police officers who kill or for police departments that engage in brutality.

        Officers don't act as if they're above the law in our communities because of their training or community relationships. Eric Garner knew some of the officers involved in his killing, because they had harassed him many times before without any consequences.

        Mr. de Blasio exploits the rhetoric of social justice but is unwilling to make the changes to achieve it. He has done nothing to meaningfully fix the systemic accountability problems at the Police Department.

        Worse, after decades of releasing personnel orders — transfers, promotions and disciplinary actions — the city recently began to claim that a state law requires it to keep those records secret. The problem is that the de Blasio administration has decided to interpret the law to withhold records that had been open to the public for many years.

        While the police have told me that my family will learn the outcome of Officer Haste's trial, I have good reason not to believe their promise. And that won't help other grieving families who are seeking justice and transparency. I believe that the current Police Department is even worse than the Giuliani administration when it comes to police transparency.

        Leadership requires more than rhetoric — it comes from confronting police abuse with action. New York City must fire all the officers who engaged in misconduct in my son's killing, and ensure the same for officers guilty of misconduct in all incidents of police abuse. These officers are not safe for our communities and need to be off our streets.

        Until Mr. de Blasio and elected officials across the nation take that responsibility seriously, there will continue to be unjust killings by the police and episodes of police violence in our communities despite any number of body cameras, training sessions or cordial relationships between officers and civilians.



        9)  Raid in Yemen: Risky From the Start and Costly in the End

        FEB. 1, 2017


        WASHINGTON — Just five days after taking office, over dinner with his newly installed secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Trump was presented with the first of what will be many life-or-death decisions: whether to approve a commando raid that risked the lives of American Special Operations forces and foreign civilians alike.

        President Barack Obama's national security aides had reviewed the plans for a risky attack on a small, heavily guarded brick home of a senior Qaeda collaborator in a mountainous village in a remote part of central Yemen. But Mr. Obama did not act because the Pentagon wanted to launch the attack on a moonless night and the next one would come after his term had ended.

        With two of his closest advisers, Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, joining the dinner at the White House along with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Mr. Trump approved sending in the Navy's SEAL Team 6, hoping the raid early last Sunday would scoop up cellphones and laptop computers that could yield valuable clues about one of the world's most dangerous terrorist groups. Vice President Mike Pence and Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, also attended the dinner.

        As it turned out, almost everything that could go wrong did. And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be present as the body of the American commando killed in the raid was returned home, the first military death on the new commander in chief's watch.

        The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed. There are allegations — which the Pentagon acknowledged on Wednesday night are most likely correct — that the mission also killed several civilians, including some children. The dead include, by the account of Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen, the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Qaeda leader who was killed in a targeted drone strike in 2011.

        Mr. Trump on Sunday hailed his first counterterrorism operation as a success, claiming the commandos captured "important intelligence that will assist the U.S. in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world." A statement by the military's Central Command on Wednesday night that acknowledged the likelihood of civilian casualties also said that the recovered materials had provided some initial information helpful to counterterrorism analysts. The statement did not provide details.

        But the mission's casualties raise doubts about the months of detailed planning that went into the operation during the Obama administration and whether the right questions were raised before its approval. Typically, the president's advisers lay out the risks, but Pentagon officials declined to characterize any discussions with Mr. Trump.

        A senior administration official said on Wednesday night that the Defense Department had conducted a legal review of the operation that Mr. Trump approved and that a Pentagon lawyer had signed off on it.

        Mr. Trump's new national security team, led by Mr. Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a retired general with experience in counterterrorism raids, has said that it wants to speed the decision-making when it comes to such strikes, delegating more power to lower-level officials so that the military may respond more quickly. Indeed, the Pentagon is drafting such plans to accelerate activities against the Qaeda branch in Yemen.

        But doing that also raises the possibility of error. "You can mitigate risk in missions like this, but you can't mitigate risk down to zero," said William Wechsler, a former top counterterrorism official at the Pentagon.

        In this case, the assault force of several dozen commandos, which also included elite soldiers from the United Arab Emirates, was jinxed from the start. Qaeda fighters were somehow tipped off to the stealthy advance toward the village — perhaps by the whine of American drones that local tribal leaders said were flying lower and louder than usual.

        Through a communications intercept, the commandos knew that the mission had been somehow compromised, but pressed on toward their target roughly five miles from where they had been flown into the area. "They kind of knew they were screwed from the beginning," one former SEAL Team 6 official said.

        With the crucial element of surprise lost, the Americans and Emiratis found themselves in a gun battle with Qaeda fighters who took up positions in other houses, a clinic, a school and a mosque, often using women and children as cover, American military officials said in interviews this week.

        The commandos were taken aback when some of the women grabbed weapons and started firing, multiplying the militant firepower beyond what they had expected. The Americans called in airstrikes from helicopter gunships and fighter aircraft that helped kill some 14 Qaeda fighters, but not before an MV-22 Osprey aircraft involved in the operation experienced a "hard landing," injuring three more American personnel on board. The Osprey, which the Marine Corps said cost $75 million, was badly damaged and had to be destroyed by an airstrike.

        The raid, some details of which were first reported by The Washington Post, also destroyed much of the village of Yakla, and left senior Yemeni government officials seething. Yemen's foreign minister, Abdul Malik Al Mekhlafi, condemned the raid on Monday in a post on his official Twitter account as "extrajudicial killings."

        Baraa Shiban, a Yemeni fellow for Reprieve, a London-based human rights group, said he spoke by phone to a tribal sheikh in the village, Jabbr Abu Soraima, who told him: "People were afraid to leave their houses because the sound of choppers and drones were all over the sky. Everyone feared of being hit by the drones or shot by the soldiers on the ground."

        After initially denying there were any civilian casualties, Pentagon officials backtracked somewhat on Sunday after reports from the Yemeni authorities begin trickling in and grisly photographs of bloody children purportedly killed in the attack appeared on social media sites affiliated with Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen.

        Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Monday that some of the women were combatants.

        The operation was the first known American-led ground mission in Yemen since December 2014, when members of SEAL Team 6 stormed a village in southern Yemen in an effort to free an American photojournalist held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the raid ended with the kidnappers killing the journalist and a South African held with him.

        That mission and the raid over the weekend revealed the shortcomings of secretive military operations in Yemen. The United States was forced to withdraw the last 125 Special Operations advisers from the country in March 2015 after Houthi rebels ousted the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the Americans' main counterterrorism partner.

        The loss of Yemen as a base for American counterterrorism training, advising and intelligence-gathering was a significant blow to blunting the advance of Al Qaeda's branch in the country and keeping tabs on their plots. The Pentagon has tried to start rebuilding its counterterrorism operations in Yemen, however; last year, American Special Operations forces helped Emirati troops evict Qaeda fighters from the port city of Mukalla.





















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