Lynne Stewart 
Rest in Power
October 8, 1939-March 7, 2017
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of lifetime people's champion, Lynne Stewart.

Financial Appeal for Lynne Stewart Health Expenses

RALPH POYNTER, Organizer for Lynne Stewart Org. Inc.

Dear Friends,

A few minutes ago my dear friend and comrade, Ralph Poynter, called to say that his lifelong companion, Lynne Stewart, passed away. She was 77, of Irish origin, and a born fighter who unswervingly devoted herself to humanity's cause.

Just a few weeks earlier Lynne pledged to meet me in NY in a couple of months, over dinner to be sure, when we would dance once again to demonstrate that her life still had some time to go…  and for joy.

A few years earlier, when prospects looked bleak to win her freedom based on "compassionate release" Lynne insisted that she would prevail and that she would celebrate with us in San Francisco to the tunes of a brass band. Sure enough, a brass band did appear at Lynne's welcome home San Francisco rally, and she and Ralph, surrounded by her loving friends, danced in the streets at 15th and Valencia. It was a victory well worth the effort, allowing Lynne a couple of more years to fight on against all that is evil in this barbarous capitalist world, and to smile at every inch we collectively gained as we fought back.  

Lynne was always surrounded by family and loved ones, with children from her first marriage, and Ralph's too, as well kids together, and grandkids – all filled with admiration for Grandma Lynne – all the recipient of Lynne's warmth, dedication, mindfulness and love.

Lynne was fond of saying, including to the New York Times reporter who interviewed her at her home a few weeks before her death, that she had no intention of leaving this earth quietly. Quoting Dillon Thomas she told The Times, whose reporter, followed the next day with a contemptuous hate piece  recounting his corporate master's ire for everything wonderful in Lynne life and struggles, that she had no intention of "going gently into that good night."

That was Lynne's credo, her detractors notwithstanding. Always the poet's words in mind, Lynne insisted,
"Do not go gentle into that good night, 
Old age should burn and rage at close of day; 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Funds are urgently needed to cover final family expenses. Give generously comrades and friends. We are honoring Lynne's gift to us all and to all who rage against injustice everywhere.

In solidarity,  Jeff Mackler

 Lynne Stewart Organization
1070 Dean St.
 Brooklyn, NY 11216-1st floor
 (make checks payable to Lynne Stewart Org.)

Fund appeal:
On Lynne Stewart's final days...
Dear Friends,
This morning I spoke with Lynne Stewart's husband, Ralph Poynter, at their home in Brooklyn, NY. We managed to do the call via video camera where Ralph and the family were surrounding Lynne, who had just had a second series of mini-strokes that rendered her unable to speak but able to hear what were perhaps my last  words of love and solidarity. Lynne opened her eyes in acknowledgment, bravely trying to muster a smile.
Lynne's cancer has now spread throughout her body, including her brain. Ralph explained that her days are numbered and she is unlikely to make it to her next scheduled medical appointment on March 16.

Lynne and I go back some 63 years, to 1954-58 when we were students at Jamaica High School in Queens, NY. We relished singing the Jamaica High school song together at many a solidarity meeting. Decades later, we taught school in NYC and were union activists in the late 1960's when we opposed the 1968 racist school strike led by the AFT's reactionary leader, Albert Shanker. In those days, young Lynne, now 77, was often seen unconventionally riding on the back of Ralph's motorcycle, on her way to this or that protest. 

Another several decades later, when Lynne faced frame-up charges of conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism stemming from her issuing a press release on behalf of her client, the famous blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rachman, we engaged once again to try to win her freedom. After a long legal battle, where I headed Lynne's defense committee on the West Coast, Lynne was cruelly sentenced to ten years in a Texas prison, after vindictive federal prosecutors appealed a federal Court judge's sentence of some 18 months. After serving three years in prison, we mounted a campaign that won the support of 70,000 social activists across the country. Lynne, cancer ridden, was finally granted "compassionate release" following her prison doctors' diagnosis that she had less then a year to live. Lynne beat the odds and spent almost three years in freedom, continuing her lifelong commitment to defending all those victims of capitalist injustice. 

Lynne was among Mumia Abu-Jamal's most ardent supporters. Lynne's court cases included some of the seminal Weatherman cases in the 1970s as well as an amazing victory on behalf of Larry Davis, who defended himself against a multiple cop shooting invasion of his house where a number of the shoot-first police were killed. 

Pilloried by the corporate media, who mocked her every success in the rigged criminal "justice" system, Lynne never bent to her accusers' contempt for an attorney for those on the other side of the class line, as Lynne aptly described it, no matter how unpopular her client.

Lynne's life was one of dedication to all the people's causes. I valued her friendship, her humor, her sparkle and her hatred for all that is evil and yet love for all that is beautiful. Only Lynne began or ended her speeches by reading from one of the world's great poets, whose universal appeal to what is best in all of us, rang true.

No doubt we will remember Lynne well when we in the Bay Area plan to memorialize her lifelong achievements.

Meanwhile, her family is in dire need of financial support as these last days painfully proceed and the months before. Here's an appeal by Ralph and the family's longterm friend, Betty Davis.

Please send your generous contribution as per the information below.

In solidarity and with the greatest admiration for a comrade and friend whose life set the bar high for all of us who cherish human freedom and dignity.

Jeff Mackler, Past West Coast Coodinator, Lynne Stewart Defense Committee and Director, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jam; 

Once again the clock is ticking for Lynne Stewart. She has been in a state of medical crisis for a week and  all of the expenses are mounting.  We urgently need her supporters and all concerned 'spirit warriors' of 'good will' to  check out the INDIEGOGO Appeal or send a donation  ASAP to the:

Lynne Stewart  Organization
1070 Dean St.
Brooklyn, NY 11216-1st fl.
(make checks payable to Lynne Stewart Org.)



ANSWER Coalition
palestine.jpgNational March and Rally
Support Palestine in D.C.! Protest AIPAC!
Sunday, March 26 - Gather 12 Noon
March from the White House to the Convention Center
At last year's AIPAC conference, Donald Trump made an outrageous pledge: "We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem ... The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable." Now that he is the president, Trump seems dead set on following through on his promise.
This would be an extreme provocation that tramples on the Palestinian right to self-determination. Every progressive person needs to mobilize to stop this.
In the short time since Trump took the oath of office, the Israeli government has already announced thousands of new illegal settler homes in the Palestinian territories seized in the 1967 war. The Palestinian people need our solidarity now more than ever as they resist these wanton acts of aggression.
From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go!
Just like Trump is encouraging Israel to step up its violation of Palestinian rights, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cheer leading for Trump's extreme right agenda. On Jan. 28, Netanyahu sent this outrageous tweet:
The fight for justice for Palestine and the fight to stop the Trump Agenda are one in the same! 

Join the National Rally and March on Sunday, March 26
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right To Return Coalition and the ANSWER Coalition will once again spearhead this National Rally to Support Palestine in DC 2017!
This rally will start at the White House with thousands of people from across the nation and around the world, and end up in front of AIPAC's annual convention! AIPAC is the primary organization lobbying to continue the brutal illegal occupation of Palestine for over 68 years.
We must protest to end this outrageous lobby that ultimately supports the oppression and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Please come out and support the Palestinian people in their noble struggle to be free.

End U.S. aid to Israel — End the occupation now!


ANSWER Coalition · United States
This email was sent to karenlee726@gmail.com.
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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.



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





100,000 protest in San Francisco, CA

Pictures From Women's
Marches on Every Continent





USLAW supports the April 29th DC People's Climate March ... but ...

The organizers of the multi-issue People's Climate March tell us they're discussing whether and how to include peace in the agenda. 
Please encourage them by adding your name to the petition below, by re-tweeting it, by sharing it on facebook, and by forwarding this email.Thanks!!

Will you stand for peace?
A petition to the organizers of the
April 29 People's Climate March

PeoplesClimate.org website calls for a march on Washington on April 29, 2017, to "unite all our movements" for "communities," "climate," "safety," "health," "the rights of people of color, workers, indigenous people, immigrants, women, LGBTQIA, young people," and a much longer list . . . but not peace
Approximately half of federal discretionary spending is going into wars and war preparation. This institution constitutes our single biggest destroyer of the environment. [One reason peace is an environmental issue - see others below.] 
Will you please add "peace" to the list of things you are marching for?


    1. War is an environmental nightmare that continues to poison people and the planet long after the fighting ends.

    2. The Pentagon is the largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world.

    3. The Pentagon is the largest emitter of CO2 gases in the world.

    4. Wars are fought for oil and other energy resources. The U.S. drive for global hegemony is intimately bound up with its aim to control energy resources.

    5. The military consumes 54% of all discretionary spending. War and preparation for war divert financial and human resources needed to meet social needs (including investment in renewable energy and a sustainable energy system).

    6. The manufacture of arms and other military gear adds considerably to the carbon burden of the world.

    7. The military-industrial complex is fully integrated with and dependent upon the fossil fuel energy complex, serving as its enforcer as well as its client.

    8. To successfully address the climate crisis requires creating a sustainable new economy, but that is impossible so long as our economy remains dominated by the military-industrial-security-energy complex.

    9. To achieve a just transition to a new sustainable economy will require the environmental movement see its connection to movements for social justice, economic justice and peace.  The quest for peace is also a social justice struggle.

    The environmental movement must stop avoiding the connection between our militarized foreign policy and the challenge of climate change. 

Your contribution will be greatly appreciated. 

This is a low-volume email list operated by US Labor Against the War

1718 M St, NW #153 | Washington DC 20036 | 202-521-5265 | Contact USLAW



Dear Friend,

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) is now in Contempt of Court

On January 3, 2017, Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani ordered the DOC to treat Mumia with the hepatitis C cure within 21 days.

But on January 7, prison officials formally denied Mumia's grievances asking for the cure. This is after being informed twice by the court that denying treatment is unconstitutional.

John Wetzel, Secretary of the PA DOC, is refusing to implement the January 3rd Federal Court Order requiring the DOC to treat Mumia within 21 days. Their time has run out to provide Mumia with hepatitis C cure!

Mumia is just one of over 6,000 incarcerated people in the PA DOC at risk with active and chronic Hepatitis C. Left untreated, 7-9% of people infected with chronic hep C get liver cancer every year.  

We need your help to force the DOC to stop its cruel and unusual punishment of over 6,000 people in prison with chronic hepatitis C. Click here for a listing of numbers to call today!

Water Crisis in the Prison

Drinking water remains severely contaminated at the prison in which Mumia and 2,500 others are held, SCI Mahanoy in Frackville, PA. Mumia filed a grievance regarding the undrinkable water: read it here.

We are asking you to call the prison now to demand clean drinking water and hepatitis C treatment now! 

Protest Drinking Water Contamination Rally
From 4-6pm on Thursday, Feb 9
Where: Governor's Office- 200 South Broad St, Philadelphia
We're sending our mailing to you, including this brilliant poster by incarcerated artist Kevin Rashid Johnson. Keep an eye out it next week!
Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight, we win!

Noelle Hanrahan, Director

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. 


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






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
        Working Families



        Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

        Updates from Team Lorenzo Johnson

        Dear Supporters and Friends,

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

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

        My husband is innocent, FREE HIM NOW!
        Lorenzo Johnson is a son, husband, father and brother. His injustice has been a continued nightmare for our family. Words cant explain our constant pain, I wish it on no one. Not even the people responsible for his injustice. 
        This is about an innocent man who has spent 20 years and counting in prison. The sad thing is Lorenzo's prosecution knew he was innocent from day one. These are the same people society relies on to protect us.

        Not only have these prosecutors withheld evidence of my husbands innocence by NEVER turning over crucial evidence to his defense prior to trial. Now that Lorenzo's innocence has been revealed, the prosecution refuses to do the right thing. Instead they are "slow walking" his appeal and continuing their malicious prosecution.
        When my husband or our family speak out about his injustice, he's labeled by his prosecutor as defaming a career cop and prosecutor. If they are responsible for Lorenzo's wrongful conviction, why keep it a secret??? This type of corruption and bullying of families of innocent prisoners to remain silent will not be tolerated.
        Our family is not looking for any form of leniency. Lorenzo is innocent, we want what is owed to him. JUSTICE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FREEDOM!!! 

                                  Lorenzo's wife,
                                   Tazza Salvatto
        Lorenzo is continuing to fight for his freedom with the support of his lead counsel, Michael Wiseman, The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, and the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson.
        Thank you all for reading this message and please take the time to visit our website and contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!
        Write: Lorenzo Johnson
                    DF 1036
                    SCI Mahanoy
                    301 Morea Rd.
                    Frackville, PA 17932
         Email: Through JPay using the code:
                      Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC
                      Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com
                      Directly on ConnectNetwork -- instructions here

        Have a wonderful day!
        - The Team to Free Lorenzo Johnson

        Write: Lorenzo Johnson
                    DF 1036
                    SCI Mahanoy
                    301 Morea Rd.
                    Frackville, PA 17932

         Email: Through JPay using the code:
                      Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC
                      Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com












        1)  Trump Plans to Begin E.P.A. Rollback With Order on Clean Water
         FEB. 28, 2017

        WASHINGTON — President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday aimed at rolling back one of former President Barack Obama's major environmental regulations to protect American waterways, but it will have almost no immediate legal effect, according to two people familiar with the White House plans.
        The order will essentially give Mr. Trump a megaphone to direct his new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, to begin the complicated legal process of rewriting the sweeping 2015 rule known as Waters of the United States. But that effort could take longer than a single presidential term, legal experts said.
        An advance copy of the order was viewed by The New York Times on Monday. It is the first of two announcements expected to direct Mr. Pruitt to begin dismantling the major pillars of Mr. Obama's environmental legacy.

        In the coming week, Mr. Trump is also expected to sign a similar order instructing Mr. Pruitt to begin the process of withdrawing and revising Mr. Obama's signature 2015 climate-change regulation, aimed at curbing emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants.
        Because both of those rules were finalized under existing laws long before Mr. Obama left office, they cannot be simply undone with a stroke of the president's pen, legal experts in both the Obama and Trump White Houses have said.
        "The executive order has no legal significance at all," said Richard L. Revesz, a professor of environmental law at New York University. "It's like the president calling Scott Pruitt and telling him to start the legal proceedings. It does the same thing as a phone call or a tweet. It just signals that the president wants it to happen."
        Still, Mr. Pruitt, who was confirmed by the Senate to his new position this month, is expected to enthusiastically dive in to the lengthy task of undoing major environmental rules on clean water, climate change and air pollution. In his former job as attorney general of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt led or took part in 14 lawsuits intended to block the E.P.A.'s major regulations, including the clean water and climate rules that he is now charged with dismantling.
        Speaking over the weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Pruitt told an audience, to applause, "I think there are some regulations that in the near term need to be rolled back in a very aggressive way," and he said those rollbacks would probably begin this week.
        The clean water rule, completed by the Obama administration in spring 2015, was issued under the 1972 Clean Water Act. It gives the federal government broad authority to limit pollution in major bodies of water, like Chesapeake Bay, the Mississippi River and Puget Sound, as well as in streams and wetlands that drain into those larger waters.
        Two Supreme Court decisions related to clean water protection, in 2001 and 2006, created legal confusion about whether the federal government had the authority to regulate the smaller streams and headwaters and about other water sources such as wetlands.
        The Obama administration's water rule, put forth jointly by the E.P.A. and the Army Corps of Engineers, was intended to clarify that authority, allowing the government to once again limit pollution in those smaller bodies of water. Environmentalists have praised the rule, calling it an important step that will lead to significantly cleaner natural bodies of water and healthier drinking water.
        But it has come under fierce attack from farmers, property developers, fertilizer and pesticide makers, oil and gas producers, golf-course owners and other business interests that contend that it will stifle economic growth and intrude on property owners' rights.
        The American Farm Bureau Federation, which has led the legal fight against Mr. Obama's rule, contends that it places an undue burden on farmers in particular, who may find themselves required to apply for federal permits to use fertilizer near ditches and streams on their property that may eventually flow into larger rivers.
        On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump won cheers from rural audiences when he vowed to roll back the rule.
        Despite the controversy over the regulation, it has yet to be put into effect. A federal court delayed it as judges review the legal challenges against it. Mr. Trump's executive order directs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to review the challenges and to consider asking the court to delay a decision on the matter until a new regulation is released.
        That could take several years. To follow the law, Mr. Pruitt will have to withdraw the current Obama administration water regulation and craft a new version of the rule, along with a justification as to why it would be legally superior to the earlier one. That would be subject to a public comment period before it is finalized, and it could face new lawsuits afterward.
        Either way, the fight over who controls the nation's waterways is expected to end up in front of the Supreme Court. In directing Mr. Pruitt's efforts to craft the new water regulation, Mr. Trump's order asks him to consider a 2006 review of the rule that was written by Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court justice who died last year. Justice Scalia, who was long the court's most prominent conservative voice, offered a narrow and tightly constrained interpretation of what would constitute a federally protected body of water. Based on his interpretation, the number of federally protected waterways under Mr. Trump's order would probably be far less than the 60 percent covered by the Obama administration.
        Also on Tuesday, Mr. Trump plans to sign an executive order intended to strengthen the federal office in charge of coordinating support for the nation's historically black colleges and universities. That office has for years been housed in the Education Department, but it will now move to the White House, officials said.
        Aides to the president, who requested anonymity to discuss the executive order before it had been officially announced, said Mr. Trump hoped the move would mean more support for the colleges. They said the president also hoped to enlist the colleges in efforts to help urban centers in America.



        2)  Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending
         FEB. 27, 2017

        WASHINGTON — President Trump put both political parties on notice Monday that he intends to slash spending on many of the federal government's most politically sensitive programs — relating to education, the environment, science and poverty — to protect the economic security of retirees and to shift billions more to the armed forces.
        The proposal to increase military spending by $54 billion and cut nonmilitary programs by the same amount was unveiled by White House officials as they prepared the president's plans for next year's federal budget. Aides to the president said final decisions about Medicare and Social Security would not be made until later in the year, when he announces his full budget. But Sean Spicer, his spokesman, cited Mr. Trump's campaign commitments about protecting those programs and vowed that "he's going to keep his word to the American people."
        In effect, Mr. Trump appears determined to take sides in a generational struggle between older, sicker Americans who depend on the entitlement programs, and their younger, poorer counterparts whose livelihoods are shaped by the domestic programs likely to see steep cuts.

        He also set up a battle for control of Republican Party ideology with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who for years has staked his policy-making reputation on the argument that taming the budget deficit without tax increases would require that Congress change, and cut, the programs that swallow the bulk of the government's spending — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
        "I don't know how you take $54 billion out without wholesale taking out entire departments," said Bill Hoagland, a longtime Republican budget aide in the Senate and now a senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center. "You need to control it in the area of the entitlement programs, which he's taken off the table. It is a proposal, I dare say, that will be dead on arrival even with a Republican Congress."
        Speaking to governors at the White House, Mr. Trump said his spending demands would be at the core of the speech he gives Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress. "This budget follows through on my promise to keep Americans safe," he said, calling it a "public safety and national security" budget that will send a "message to the world in these dangerous times of American strength, security and resolve."
        In the first part of the speech, Mr. Trump will recount "promises made and promises kept," said the aides, who requested anonymity during a briefing with reporters. The rest of the speech will focus on how he will help people with their problems and how he intends to protect the nation.
        The president's budget proposals — which were short on detail but are said to exempt not just Medicare and Social Security but also veterans' benefits and law enforcement efforts — would lead to deep reductions in federal programs that touch millions of lives. The White House signaled that it would begin with agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service and social safety-net programs.
        A budget with no entitlement cuts and one that does not balance most likely has no chance of passing the House, and could be rejected by Senate Republicans as well. Mr. Trump's proposals are too far to the right in terms of domestic cuts and too far to the left in terms of balance. Their failure could have practical implications for the White House.
        If Congress fails to pass a budget blueprint for the fiscal year that begins in October, Mr. Trump's promise to drastically rewrite the tax code could also die, since the president was counting on that budget resolution to include special parliamentary language that would shield his tax cuts from a Democratic filibuster. Without it, any tax legislation would have to be bipartisan enough to clear the Senate with 60 votes.
        But beyond legislative considerations, the fate of Mr. Trump's proposal will go a long way toward determining how significantly his brand of economic populism has changed Republican orthodoxy.
        Mr. Trump repeatedly said during the campaign that Republican promises to transform Medicare and slash entitlement spending were the reason the party lost the White House in 2012, helpfully name-checking Mr. Ryan, who sat at the bottom of the ticket that year, in his analysis. Social Security, health care and net interest now comprise nearly 60 percent of all federal spending, and that figure is expected to soar to 82 percent over the next 10 years.
        "Paul Ryan's budget plans with cuts to Social Security and Medicare are not that popular with most voters, and what helped elect Donald Trump was the promise not to cut benefits and programs," said Douglas Elmendorf, the recently departed director of the Congressional Budget Office and current dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. "That is an unresolved tension."
        White House officials said the broad outlines of a spending plan represented the logical culmination of Mr. Trump's efforts to make good on his campaign pledges to prune what he considers wasteful government spending even as he expands what he considers an underfunded military.
        "It will show the president is keeping his promises and doing exactly what he said he was going to do," said Mick Mulvaney, the president's budget director. "We are taking his words and turning them into policies and dollars."
        Mr. Trump's advisers said aid to foreign governments, which makes up a tiny fraction of federal spending, was one such target.
        The budget for the I.R.S., which was the target of Republican criticism during Barack Obama's administration, would be slashed by 14 percent, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which provides grants for community banks and local development, would be all but eliminated.
        The White House blueprint calls for a 24 percent cut to the E.P.A.'s budget, according to a person who had seen the document but was not authorized to speak on the record. That would amount to a reduction of about $2 billion from the agency's annual budget of about $8.1 billion, reducing its spending to levels not seen since Ronald Reagan's presidency.
        But it is far from clear whether Congress will approve such steep cuts in popular programs.
        While congressional Republicans have long targeted the E.P.A.'s regulatory authority, they are also aware that about half the agency's annual budget is passed through to popular state-level programs, like converting abandoned industrial sites into sports stadiums and other public facilities, which lawmakers of both parties are loath to cut. And most of the agency's federal office spending goes toward funding programs that are required by existing laws. Last year, even as congressional Republicans railed against the Obama administration's E.P.A. regulations, they proposed cutting only $291 million from the agency's budget.
        Environmental advocates denounced the proposed cuts, saying they would devastate environmental protection and public health programs while doing little to increase national security.
        "The assault on human health begins now with President Trump's plan to slash the E.P.A.'s resources, which are vital to protecting Americans' drinking water and air from pollution," said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group.
        But the information to emerge about the budget raises more questions than it answers.
        Democrats, of course, will be no friend, either.
        "Democrats will make crystal clear the misplaced priorities of the administration and the Republican majority," said Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, the highest-ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, "and we will fight tooth and nail to protect services and investments that are critical to hard-working American families and communities across the country."
        But the budget may be the most striking example in Mr. Trump's young presidency of the ways in which he is challenging the orthodoxy of his own party. Since the start of his insurgent campaign, Mr. Trump has opposed the Republican Party's long-held positions on a range of policies, including free trade, how to deal with Russia and the future of government entitlement programs.
        Republicans in Congress had hoped that the influence of the two former Republican House members in Mr. Trump's cabinet — Tom Price, head of health and human services, and Mr. Mulvaney — would have led to new conclusions about the need to address entitlement programs that are swelling drastically with baby boomers' retirement.
        Instead, Mr. Trump appears intent on extracting the savings he needs for military spending from the one part of the budget already most squeezed, domestic discretionary spending.



        3)  Sydney's Swelter Has a Climate Change Link, Scientists Say
         MARCH 2, 2017

        Southeastern Australia has suffered through a series of brutal heat waves over the past two months, with temperatures reaching a scorching 113 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of the state of New South Wales.
        "It was nothing short of awful," said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney. "In Australia, we're used to a little bit of heat. But this was at another level."

        So Dr. Perkins-Kirkpatrick, who studies climate extremes, did what comes naturally: She looked to see whether there was a link between the heat and human-driven climate change.
        Her analysis, conducted with a loose-knit group of researchers called World Weather Attribution, was made public on Thursday. Their conclusion was that climate change made maximum temperatures like those seen in January and February at least 10 times more likely than a century ago, before significant greenhouse gas emissions from human activity started warming the planet.
        Looked at another way, that means that the kind of soaring temperatures expected to occur in New South Wales once every 500 years on average now may occur once every 50 years. What is more, the researchers found that if climate change continued unabated, such maximum temperatures may occur on average every five years.
        For the overall 2016-17 summer in New South Wales, the researchers say, climate change made the hot average temperatures — which set records for the state — at least 50 times more likely than in the past.
        The findings are the latest in what has become a growing field: studies that try to assess the influence of climate change on extreme weather as soon as possible. The idea is to offer scientific analyses of heat waves, floods and other events while people are still talking about them, and to counter the spread of misinformation, intentional or not, about the impact of global warming.
        Climate scientists have long said that climate change should bring an increase in extreme events like dry spells and heat waves. Because warmth causes more evaporation and warmer air holds more moisture, climate change should also lead to more intense and frequent storms.
        Studies have shown that these effects are occurring on a broad scale. But the natural variability of weather makes looking at individual events more difficult.
        World Weather Attribution, which is coordinated by Climate Central, a research organization in Princeton, N.J., is one of a number of groups doing rapid analysis. Among other events, they have looked at flooding in Germany and France last May; high temperatures in the Arctic in November and December; and an usually strong storm that hit northern Britain in 2015.
        Not all of attribution studies have found a climate-change link. In general, studies of heat waves tend to produce the clearest signal of the influence, or not, of global warming.
        Australian heat waves have been examined in the past, most recently in several studies that showed a clear link between climate change and a period of torrid weather in 2013. David Karoly, a scientist at the University of Melbourne, was involved in one of the studies, which took more than six months to produce.
        "That was considered very rapid at the time," Dr. Karoly said.
        As a member of World Weather Attribution, Dr. Karoly helped with the study of the recent heat waves, which took about two weeks.
        A big difference between the two studies is in the use of computer climate models — both of the current atmosphere with its greenhouse gas emissions and of a hypothetical atmosphere as if those emissions had never occurred and climate change was not happening.
        For the older study, as for most attribution studies in the recent past, the models were run over and over again, which took months. The newer, rapid studies use models that have already been run, extracting data as needed.



        4)  Across the Country, a Republican Push to Rein In Protesters
         MARCH 2, 2017

        BISMARCK, N.D. — About an hour after some 200 police officers cleared the last demonstrators against the Dakota Access Pipeline from their sprawling encampment on the North Dakota prairie last week, Gov. Doug Burgum signed into law four bills aimed at making it easier to control such protests.
        With a few strokes of a pen, he placed the state in the vanguard of an emerging backlash by conservative forces against political and social advocates who see demonstrations — however unruly — as free speech protected by the Constitution.
        In a season rife with demonstrations over immigration, pipelines, abortion, women's rights and more, Republican legislators in at least 16 states have filed bills intended to make protests more orderly or to toughen penalties against ones that go awry. Republicans in two other states, Massachusetts and North Carolina, have said they will file protest-related bills.

        Those numbers include only bills whose sponsors have specifically linked them to protests, said Jonathan Griffin, a policy analyst who tracks the measures at the National Conference of State Legislatures. How many will be enacted is unclear; a few already have been pronounced dead in committee.
        Some sociologists and legal experts say the bills are in line with a general trend toward tougher treatment of protesters after especially disruptive demonstrations like the Occupy Wall Street movement in Manhattan and the 2014 violence in Ferguson, Mo.
        But interviews and news reports suggest that some of the measures are either backed by supporters of President Trump or are responses to demonstrations against him and his policies. After a Nashville motorist struck safety workers who were escorting anti-Trump protesters at a crosswalk, a Tennessee state representative introduced legislation that would relieve motorists of any liability should they accidentally hit someone deliberately blocking a street.
        An Iowa bill, filed after about 100 anti-Trump protesters closed Interstate 80 near Iowa City, would make blocking high-speed roads a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and $7,500 in fines. Similar legislation in Mississippi would impose a fine of up to $10,000. In Washington State, a Republican senator who helped run Mr. Trump's campaign there filed legislation that would make it a felony to commit "economic terrorism," defined as intentionally breaking the law to intimidate private citizens or to obstruct economic activity.
        A Minnesota bill, responding to protests over the police shooting last year of an African-American man in a suburb of St. Paul, would allow cities to sue demonstrators who violate the law for the cost of policing their protests. And in North Carolina, a legislator promised to propose a measure making it illegal to "threaten, intimidate or retaliate" against state officials after hecklers denounced Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who lost a re-election bid in November.
        Those two measures and perhaps others may face constitutional hurdles, said Kevin F. O'Neill, a scholar of protest law at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. "There's a First Amendment right of access to sidewalks, public squares and even public streets," he said. "Heckling is a well-protected First Amendment right."
        But demonstrators who fail to inform authorities of protest plans and locations and to secure a permit are on far shakier legal ground, he added. In those cases, actions like blocking a street would most likely be subject to prosecution. Most of the proposals appear to address protests that lack permits.
        In many cases, the bills' sponsors emphasize that they are trying to improve public safety or keep order, not squelch free speech.
        "We support the First Amendment altogether and want people to get out and do what they want," said State Senator George B. Gainer, Republican of Florida, who has proposed legislation that would raise fines for blocking traffic and, like the Tennessee measure, indemnify drivers who accidentally hit protesters. "But they shouldn't endanger themselves or others."
        Some free-speech advocates, however, have their doubts. "There are already laws on the books in states that say if you break something or harm somebody, you're going to be prosecuted," said Patrick F. Gillham, a sociologist at Western Washington University who studies protests. "They're troubling. They potentially have a chilling effect on protest."
        In Georgia, where the State Senate has passed legislation toughening the penalty for obstructing traffic, Worth Bishop, a volunteer for the anti-Trump movement Indivisible, said the proliferation of protest-related bills took aim at the First Amendment.
        "These laws are clearly designed to abridge the right of the people to lawful assembly," Mr. Bishop said. He called the proposals "intimidation from the right," saying there was scant demand for the measures from the police.
        In North Dakota, legislators rejected a bill similar to Tennessee's that would have shielded motorists. But they enacted measures that expand the criminal trespass law, raise penalties for riot offenses, criminalize wearing masks and hoods while violating the law, and make it easier for out-of-state police officers to assist local authorities during events like protests.
        Kyle Kirchmeier, the sheriff in Morton County, N.D., where the main protest camp was, cast the measures as needed additions to existing laws that were insufficient to contain the huge anti-pipeline demonstrations. "As this went along," he said, "there was definitely areas in the law that we've seen that weren't fitting, especially when people tie themselves to equipment and that type of thing."
        But demonstrators and civil liberties advocates sense a dark ulterior motive, and describe the new North Dakota measures as thinly veiled attempts to quell dissent and criminalize protest. The bills passed the Republican-dominated legislature with large majorities, and took effect immediately after the governor signed them.
        "They're looking for clever ways to send chilling effects," said Chase Iron Eyes, a prominent pipeline protester and recent congressional candidate who was charged with inciting a riot after a February arrest. "The state will try to devise ways to squash opposition and chill the will of people who are willing to face risks to their liberty to further their cause."
        Opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline led to a remarkable mobilization of activists, many of them Native American, who spent months camped out demanding a halt to construction.
        The gathering drew international headlines, prompted violent clashes with law enforcement and led to the mobilization of the National Guard and the installation of razor wire and roadblocks on rural byways.
        In North Dakota, a rural state with a large energy industry where gatherings of such magnitude were unprecedented, the protests exhausted police resources and brought unwelcome scrutiny.
        "You have something that's chewing up tens of millions of dollars of extra law enforcement cost that we don't have," said Mr. Burgum, a Republican who took office in December when tensions were at a fever pitch, and who ordered the evacuation of the main camp last week.
        Mr. Burgum, a first-time politician, earned praise for taking a more hands-on approach in meeting with tribal officials and protesters, and for arranging for the state to cover the cost of bus tickets and meals for out-of-town demonstrators who needed help getting home.
        Kelly Armstrong, a state senator and the chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party, said the political environment in the state was sympathetic to law enforcement, and concerned about the monetary and reputational cost of the protests.
        "For the most part, everyone in North Dakota was about ready for this to be over about two weeks after this started," Mr. Armstrong said. "The politics of it, there's not really an upside to being a pro-DAPL-protester politician," he added, using initials for the pipeline.
        But in that context, civil liberties advocates see the new protest-inspired laws as especially dangerous. Jennifer Cook, policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota, said there was a "concentrated effort to criminalize protests" in the state and that the new laws were "masked as ways to protect public safety."
        "We know that the bills were inspired by the events down in Morton County," Ms. Cook said, "and that they are focused on preventing protesters from protesting, essentially."



        5)  More Than 80 Percent of Patient Groups Accept Drug Industry Funds, Study Shows
         MARCH 1, 2017

        The nation's largest patient advocacy groups are on the front lines of some of the biggest health care debates, from the soaring costs of prescription drugs to whether new medicines are being approved quickly enough.
        But while their voices carry weight because they represent the interests of sick patients, a new study has found that more than 80 percent of them accept funding from drug and medical-device companies. For some groups, the donations from industry accounted for more than half of their annual income, and in nearly 40 percent of cases, industry executives sit on governing boards, according to the study, which is published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
        Nearly "nine out of every 10 are taking money," said Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, an oncologist and vice provost at the University of Pennsylvania. He is one of the authors of the study, which looked at the top 104 nonprofit patient advocacy groups that reported more than $7.5 million in annual revenues for 2014. "I think that is not well known — I think that is a shock."

        Dr. Emanuel, who previously advised President Obama on health care, said patient groups were far less transparent about conflicts of interest than medical researchers, who are now pushed to disclose ties to the drug and device industries when they write articles and make public appearances.
        "Compared to what researchers are doing, this is pathetic," he said. And yet "they wrap themselves in white as if they're pure."
        Patient groups said they have taken steps in recent years to improve their financial disclosures and conflict-of-interest policies, and rejected the suggestion that they were influenced by their corporate donors.
        "Patient advocacy organizations are driven by their missions — putting patients first," said Marc M. Boutin, the chief executive of the National Health Council, an umbrella group for patient-advocacy groups. "To say otherwise negates the extraordinary work achieved by these organizations on behalf of their patients." The health council had previously said that pharmaceutical companies accounted for 62 percent of the council's $3.5 million budget in 2015.
        The study also found a wide disparity in how the groups disclose the donations, making it difficult for members of the public to know how significant the industry funding is. The study authors gathered their data by examining the websites of the nonprofit groups, as well as their tax filings and annual reports from 2014.
        The researchers pointed to the National Hemophilia Foundation as one group that is vague about its funding because, although it lists corporate donors, it only discloses donation ranges. Drug makers contributed a range from $8.5 million to $14 million of the group's $16.8 million annual budget in 2014, the year researchers studied. Its top donors, Baxter, Biogen and Novo Nordisk, make products used by people with hemophilia; each donated between $2 million and $3 million, the researchers said.
        The American Diabetes Association, by contrast, reported receiving more than $28 million in industry funding in 2014, or about 15 percent of its budget, but provided detailed disclosures of which companies donated, and how much, the study authors said.
        In a statement, the hemophilia foundation said it never allows its corporate sponsors to influence its decision-making, and that it also does not endorse specific products or favor certain companies. It declined to provide precise dollar amounts of contributions from companies, saying that the foundation complied with "accepted financial reporting standards."
        The study's authors said transparency could be improved by requiring the drug and device industries to report how much they donate to patient groups, much like they are already required to do with doctors.
        That was applauded by other critics of the drug industry. "I think sunshine is an excellent disinfectant," said David Mitchell, the founder of a new group, Patients for Affordable Drugs, that seeks to lower drug prices, and does not take funding from industry groups. He was not involved in the study.
        Mr. Mitchell said patient groups often do not disclose that they take industry funds when they testify before Congress or government agencies, or when they disseminate educational information to patients.
        Many have also been silent on the issue of rising drug prices, even as the issue has enraged patients, who have been increasingly exposed to the prices that pharmaceutical companies set as insurers have asked them to pay a greater share of their drug costs. Last summer, patients and their families loudly protested the skyrocketing price of EpiPens, though the movement gathered steam on social media rather than through traditional patient-advocacy groups.
        And a year ago, for example, a representative for the National Psoriasis Foundation did not disclose that her group receives at least 40 percent of its annual revenues from drug companies when she testified before the North Carolina state legislature on an unsuccessful measure supported by the pharmaceutical industry that would have limited insurers' ability to block coverage of certain drugs. Similarly, the hemophilia foundation did not disclose its pharmaceutical ties when it took the industry's side in 2015 in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration over the issue of biosimilars, which are cheaper alternatives to complex biological drugs.
        "In the absence of disclosure," Mr. Mitchell said, "those policy makers or patients are unable to make informed judgments about the motives of the information being given, and the credibility of the information."
        Randy Beranek, president and chief executive of the psoriasisfoundation, said he did not see a conflict of interest because both the foundation and pharmaceutical companies are seeking to help serve patients.
        "Our interests all intersect at some point, and that's at the patient," he said.
        In the case of the North Carolina proposal, Mr. Beranek acknowledged that his group sides with the drug industry on some issues but said, "it's a coincidence that it's an important policy issue to them, but to us, it's in the patient interest."
        Holly Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry trade organization, said its members did not expect patient groups to agree with them on every issue. "We work with many organizations with which we have disagreements on public policy issues, including on prescription medicine costs, but believe engagement and dialogue are critical," she said.



        6)  Duterte May Be Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity, Rights Group Says
         MARCH 2, 2017

        MANILA — Human Rights Watch said on Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines may have committed crimes against humanity by inciting killings during his bloody antidrug campaign.
        Thousands of people have been killed by the police or by vigilantes since Mr. Duterte became president in June, and rights groups say the police may have ordered the extrajudicial killings of drug dealers and users, a charge that officials have denied.
        In a report released on Thursday, Human Rights Watch examined 32 deaths from October to January, all involving the Philippine National Police. Police reports asserted that officers had committed the killings in self-defense, but witnesses characterized them as "coldblooded murders of unarmed drug suspects in custody," the rights group's study said.
        "We think there's a very strong case to be made in front of the I.C.C. that crimes against humanity have been committed," Elaine Pearson, the Australia director at Human Rights Watch, said by telephone, referring to the International Criminal Court. She said the first step should be parallel investigations into Mr. Duterte's antidrug campaign by the United Nations and by the Philippine Justice Department.
        In a statement on Thursday, Ernesto Abella, a spokesman for Mr. Duterte, said the report's allegations were baseless.
        "A war on criminality is not a war on humanity," he said. "On the contrary, it is a war precisely to protect humanity from a modern-day evil. To say otherwise is to undermine society's legitimate desire to be free from fear and to pander to the interests of the criminals."

        The Philippines is a member of the International Criminal Court. In October, the court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in a statement that she was "deeply concerned" about reports of extrajudicial killings in the country.
        Ms. Bensouda said the killings could fall under the international court's jurisdiction "if they are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population pursuant to a state policy to commit such an attack."
        But Romel Bagares, a rights lawyer at the Center for International Law in Manila, said in an interview on Thursday that Philippine law appears to grant the president immunity from prosecution while in office.
        Even though the International Criminal Court encourages domestic courts to prosecute crimes against humanity, "it may not be helpful at this point to immediately raise the I.C.C.'s jurisdiction as a trump card," Mr. Bagares added. "The threshold has to be established by documenting the relevant cases, and filing the cases in Philippine courts, if only to show that there is a failure or an unwillingness to prosecute on the part of the state."
        It is unlikely that Mr. Duterte would face domestic prosecution while president. His allies control both houses of Congress, and his justice secretary, Vitaliano Aguirre II, is one of his old fraternity brothers.
        Last week, Mr. Aguirre oversaw the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima, the chief critic of Mr. Duterte's bloody antidrug campaign, on charges that she took bribes from imprisoned drug traffickers.
        Ms. de Lima chaired a Senate panel last year that heard testimony from a professed hit man who said he belonged to a death squad that Mr. Duterte had overseen while serving as mayor of Davao City. Ms. de Lima has denied the charges against her, describing them as political persecution.



        7)  U.S. Wartime Budget
        Trump's proposed increase in U.S. defense spending would be 80 percent of Russia's entire military budget
        By Alex Emmons
        The Intercept, February 27 2017

        The U.S. government already spends $600 billion dollars a year on its military—more money than the next seven biggest spenders combined, including China and Russia.

        On Monday, February 27, 2017, the White House said it would request $54 billion more in military spending for next year. That increase alone is roughly the size of the entire annual military budget of the United Kingdom, the fifth-largest spending country, and it's more than 80 percent of Russia's entire military budget in 2015.

        If Congress were to follow Trump's blueprint, the U.S. military budget could account for nearly 40 percent of global military spending next year. The U.S. would be outspending Russia by a margin of greater than nine-to-one.

        At a meeting of U.S. governors on Monday, Trump described his forthcoming budget proposal as "a public safety and national security budget."

        U.S. military spending has been at permanent wartime levels since the 2001 terror attacks, despite the significant drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq under President Obama. Spending has declined since the wars were at their peak in 2010, but U.S. military spending in 2015 remains at 190 percent of what it was before 9/11, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, a leading tracker of weapons and defense spending.

        Throughout his campaign, Trump criticized bloated weapons contracts and the overall cost of wars in the Middle East. But he also promised to make the military "strong again," pledging to build 70 new warships and increase the number of troops in the Army to the same high levels as during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

        Trump has also called for the U.S. to "greatly expand" its nuclear weapons capabilities, signaling a potential willingness to expand a $1 trillion modernization effort Obama started that was already widely criticized by budget critics as unaffordable.

        The White House did not elaborate on how the Pentagon would spend the extra money. CNN reported that the White House was planning dramatic cuts to the EPA and foreign aid budgets. Both are tiny components of the federal budget and are unlikely to add up to anywhere near $54 billion.



        8)  GM Will Lay Off 1,100 in Michigan After Domestic Production Shift
         MARCH 6, 2017, 11:12 A.M. E.S.T

        WASHINGTON — General Motors Co said on Monday it will lay off 1,100 workers in May at its Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Michigan as it shifts production of a vehicle to Tennessee.
        The largest U.S. automaker last year added 800 jobs at its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant to build a new version of the GMC Acadia SUV. The Lansing plant will continue building the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse after it retools for a month, GM spokesman Tom Wickham said in an emailed statement.
        GM has announced other U.S. factory cuts even after it said in January it would invest another $1 billion in U.S. factories.
        U.S. President Donald Trump has urged GM and other automakers to build more cars in the country as part of his pledge to boost U.S. manufacturing jobs and discourage the industry from investing in Mexico.
        GM has said the $1 billion investment would allow it to create or retain 1,500 U.S. jobs, but has not specified what jobs are impacted.
        GM has also said it will begin work on bringing axle production for its next generation of full-size pickup trucks, including work previously done in Mexico, to operations in Michigan, creating 450 U.S. jobs. The part was previously built by American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc.

        GM said in November it would cut about 2,000 jobs when it ended the third shift at its Lordstown, Ohio, and Lansing Grand River plants in January. In December, it said it planned to cancel the second shift and cut nearly 1,300 jobs from its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in March.
        Those job cuts were sparked by lower demand for cars as Americans buy more SUVs and other larger vehicles.
        Trump has repeatedly praised GM's January investment announcement.
        GM "committed to invest billions of dollars in its American manufacturing operation, keeping many jobs here that were going to leave. And if I didn't get elected, believe me, they would have left," Trump said at a news conference in February.
        GM has been adding a significant number of U.S. jobs in recent years. It had 105,000 U.S. employees at the end of 2016, up from 97,000 at the end of 2015, according to a company filing in February. GM on Monday declined to provide its current U.S. employment figure.
        In a deal announced on Monday, GM will sell its European operations to France's PSA Group in a move that doubles down on the U.S. company's aim of being less global but more profitable.
        (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)



        9)  Trump's New Ban Leaves Few Spots for Refugees, Even the Hunted
         MARCH 7, 2017
        Leer en español 
        SAN SALVADOR — Veronica picked up some modeling clay, molded it into little human figures with her hands — and then dug holes into the sculpture's face.
        "Look," said Veronica, 9, showing off the creation to her aunt. "That's how Mamá ended up."
        For more than a year, Veronica and her sister have been in hiding here in El Salvador, hoping to receive refugee status in the United States. The two girls were doing homework at their dining room table when masked men burst in and gunned down their grandparents — the community's only two health workers — on rumors that the couple had been tipping off the police about gangs in the neighborhood.
        Like many thousands of others, Veronica and her sister applied for sanctuary in the United States under a special Obama administration effort to grapple with the violence that has gutted Central America and sent waves of its people on a desperate march toward the American border.
        But on Monday, the Trump administration announced a four-month suspension on all refugee admissions to the United States so security procedures can be improved and, perhaps most significantly, cut the number of total refugees allowed into the country by more than half.
        "We can't remain in the same place," said the girls' aunt, Reina, who is seeking refugee status for her nieces, witnesses to the double homicide. "We got a call last weekend telling us that they'd find us under whatever rock we were hiding."
        When President Trump first tried to freeze the nation's refugee program in January, the courts jumped in and thwarted his executive order.
        But one vital limit that the courts did allow — and which Mr. Trump's new order continues — is a drastic reduction in the number of refugees admitted to the United States this fiscal year, from 110,000 under President Barack Obama to Mr. Trump's revised cap: 50,000.
        And those seats are mostly taken already.
        More than 37,000 refugees from around the world have been admitted to the United States since the fiscal year began in October. By Monday morning, with seven months to go in the fiscal year, fewer than 12,700 slots remained under Mr. Trump's limit.
        In a statement on Monday, John F. Kelly, the homeland security secretary, said the new executive order would "make America safer, and address long-overdue concerns about the security of our immigration system."
        "We must undertake a rigorous review of our visa and refugee vetting programs to increase our confidence in the entry decisions we make for visitors and immigrants to the United States," he said. "We cannot risk the prospect of malevolent actors using our immigration system to take American lives."
        Altogether, the United Nations referred more than 100,000 refugees from around the globe last year for resettlement in the United States. The Obama administration accepted nearly 85,000 of them in the 2016 fiscal year, before raising the ceiling considerably for 2017. Now Mr. Trump's order will effectively leave tens of thousands of families in limbo, all vying for the sliver of seats still available.
        Veronica and her sister — whose last names are being withheld to protect their identities — have been waiting to find out whether they will be among the chosen. They and their father have been interviewed a total of four times, but months have passed.
        Members of El Salvador's most notorious gang, MS-13, have made menacing phone calls suggesting that more killings are coming, the family says. So the girls, their father, aunts and uncles abandoned their houses and ran. But in a country the size of Massachusetts, there are only so many places to hide. They have already moved twice.
        Officials and immigrant advocates in Central America fear that as the Trump administration cites the danger of admitting potential terrorists cloaked as refugees from nations like Syria, it is disregarding the tens of thousands of people here who are being terrorized by street gangs that actually originated in the United States.
        In 2014, the Obama administration began setting up a program to offer refugee status or special entry for some Central American children, hoping to stanch the tide of minors making the dangerous journey to the United States on their own.
        More than 11,000 people have applied through the program, and just over 2,400 had been admitted to the United States by Feb. 22, according to the State Department. In Mr. Trump's first month in office, 316 people were admitted, the department said.
        The undertaking has always been slow. With the bar for eligibility high, and the application process lengthy, comparatively few of the people at risk applied. Many children chose to flee the country rather than wait for approval and risk danger while their cases were reviewed. American officials expanded the program in July to include additional family members, not just children.
        But countless adolescents all over El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are hoping to leave their countries because gang members are stalking the young, forcing boys to join their ranks and threatening to rape girls.
        "I have a client who has not left his house since July," said Berta Guevara, a lawyer at the Independent Monitoring Group of El Salvador, which helps people with their refugee applications.
        Ms. Guevara said that many people in danger now believe that the United States no longer wants them.
        "A one-month delay to a person who, on any day if they are seen, they will be killed — to that person, every day is a terrible day," Ms. Guevara said.
        Even before Mr. Trump's executive order on Monday, officials at the Department of Homeland Security said they had not been taking on any new cases since the president first sought to suspend refugee admissions in late January, effectively freezing new applications to the program.
        The new executive order will prolong that freeze for at least another 120 days, leaving children under threat in the region with some daunting choices, including staying where they are or making the long, dangerous trek to the southwest border of the United States to apply for asylum or some other form of humanitarian relief.
        "There's still this ambivalence in regarding the Central American situation as a refugee crisis," said Wendy Young, the president of Kids in Need of Defense, a Washington organization that offers legal assistance to unaccompanied immigrant children.
        "There's a perception in today's world that refugees are people who are fleeing war, and that gang and drug violence is not war," she said.
        Longer term, the Obama program in Central America could also be under threat because of its frequent reliance on a special provision called humanitarian parole, which allows certain immigrants to enter the United States temporarily even if they do not qualify as refugees.
        Some Republicans who want to limit immigration call humanitarian parole an overused back door to entering the United States. And Mr. Trump, in an executive order last month that sought to tighten border security, took aim at "the abuse of parole and asylum provisions."
        Veronica's aunt, Reina, said she was more scared than ever. Arrests have been made in the case, prompting more threats in recent days.
        "I have been offered help to leave the country, but I just cannot leave here until these girls are safe," Reina said.
        She said she already borrowed $6,000 to pay a smuggler to take her 15-year-old son, who also witnessed the killings, to Dallas.
        Oscar Torres, a prosecutor who runs the homicide division in the area where Reina's mother and stepfather were killed, acknowledged that the entire family was in grave danger, whether they witnessed the murders or not.
        Of the seven people who participated in the killings, he said, four are in jail pending trial, one is still wanted, another was killed in a shootout with the police and a minor is out on bail. One of the accused is a gang leader known as El Tigre. Gang members are particularly known to kill the families of potential witnesses when a gang leader has been accused, he said.
        "If these guys come to be sentenced, they are not going to like that their gang leader, their homeboy as they say, was convicted, so this family becomes a target," Mr. Torres said. "Where do these people go? What path is left for them?"



        10)   Educators Prepare for Immigration Agents at the Schoolhouse
        By Elizabeth A. Harris, March 7, 2017

        In January, New York City's schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, sent a letter home to students' families, reassuring them that the city was not keeping records of their immigration status and that immigration agents would not be roaming schools unfettered.
        But that has not kept the questions from coming, said Maite Junco, a senior adviser at the city's Education Department.
        School administrators and parents who are worried about the Trump administration's crackdown on undocumented immigrants want "details on exactly how the process works," Ms. Junco said. "In a circumstance where ICE shows up at the school," she said, using the acronym for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "what is the minute-by-minute protocol almost." Ms. Junco said the department is planning to circulate more detailed guidelines to schools in the coming days.
        Across the region — and the country — education officials are facing a similar flood of questions from principals and frantic parents, especially in districts with large immigrant populations, some of whom are undocumented. In response, states have distributed letters to superintendents about asking for warrants and subpoenas from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Reminders have circulated that schools are never to ask families about their immigration status when they enroll their children. And districts have circulated memos about what to do if federal immigration officers show up at the schoolhouse door.
        No such raids have been documented so far, and the Department of Homeland Security has declared schools off limits. But under the Trump administration, immigration policies have changed sharply and without much warning. Districts say they want to be prepared.
        "If you're sitting there in math class wondering if someone is going to burst through the door and pick you up, you're not going to be learning math well," said William Clark, chief operating officer of the New Haven Board of Education in Connecticut. "The kids should not be worried about this. They're here to learn."
        For the moment, much of what school systems are offering is guidance, and whether it is written by the Connecticut public university system, the New York City Education Department, or the State of Virginia, many of the recommendations are similar. Schools often say student information must not be shared without a court order or subpoena. They instruct that if an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer comes looking for a student, the school officials should demand to see a warrant and review it carefully to find out what exactly it permits.
        "The law does provide protections for students and there are limitations of what law enforcement can do," said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York. "We're doing our best to fill in the background and to tell them that students have a lot of rights."
        Many guidance documents also offer advice on how to prepare for raids that might happen outside school.
        In a letter that the Chicago public school system sent to schools last month, one section is titled, "Children Left Stranded Because His/Her Parent Is Detained by ICE." The first recommendation, a piece of advice shared by many districts, is that schools encourage parents to update their child's emergency contact list and to include backups, like friends or relatives, to create a broader safety net.
        Some localities are being proactive in other areas, as well. The New York City Education Department, which will give the SAT in schools on April 5, recently instructed schools not to have students fill out the Student Data Questionnaire that comes with the test. A department spokeswoman said the decision stemmed from concerns about student privacy, including immigration status. The survey asks for information like religion, family income and whether the student is a citizen.
        State officials and activists in New York and Connecticut say they have heard some anecdotal reports of frightened parents keeping their children home from school, but so far, overall attendance levels have been normal.
        Since 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has had a policy regarding what it calls "sensitive locations," including schools, health care facilities and houses of worship, where enforcement actions "should generally be avoided," according to Carissa Cutrell, a spokeswoman for the agency, which is under the Department of Homeland Security. She said the policy remains in effect.
        "D.H.S. is committed to ensuring that people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so without fear or hesitation," Ms. Cutrell said in an email.
        The sensitive locations policy, however, is itself just guidance. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said that it is "not something you can strictly enforce in court. But hopefully they're going to follow it because they are saying they're going to follow it."
        It is not just states and big cities that are trying to ensure schools are prepared. In Freeport, a village on New York's Long Island, district officials sent letters home and met with school administrators to discuss protocols. And in Hartford, where 55 percent of the students are Latino, the acting superintendent, Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, said the district has met with principals twice on immigration issues, sent letters to schools and families, and even released videos in English and Spanish about district policies.
        "As a Latina myself, this is personal," Ms. Torres-Rodriguez said. "And on a personal level, I wanted to be very proactive."


        11)  WikiLeaks Releases Trove of Alleged C.I.A. Hacking Documents
         MARCH 7, 2017

        WASHINGTON — WikiLeaks on Tuesday released thousands of documents that it said described sophisticated software tools used by the Central Intelligence Agency to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions.
        If the documents are authentic, as appeared likely at first review, the release would be the latest coup for the anti-secrecy organization and a serious blow to the C.I.A., which maintains its own hacking capabilities to be used for espionage.
        The initial release, which WikiLeaks said was only the first part of the document collection, included 7,818 web pages with 943 attachments, the group said. The entire archive of C.I.A. material consists of several hundred million lines of computer code, it said.

        Among other disclosures that, if confirmed, would rock the technology world, the WikiLeaks release said that the C.I.A. and allied intelligence services had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect "audio and message traffic before encryption is applied."
        The source of the documents was not named. WikiLeaks said the documents, which it called Vault 7, had been "circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive."
        WikiLeaks said the source, in a statement, set out policy questions that "urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the C.I.A.'s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency." The source, the group said, "wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons."
        The documents, from the C.I.A's Center for Cyber Intelligence, are dated from 2013 to 2016, and WikiLeaks described them as "the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency." One former intelligence officer who briefly reviewed the documents on Tuesday morning said some of the code names for C.I.A. programs, an organization chart and the description of a C.I.A. hacking base appeared to be genuine.
        A C.I.A. spokesman, Dean Boyd, said, "We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents."
        WikiLeaks, which has sometimes been accused of recklessly leaking information that could do harm, said it had redacted names and other identifying information from the collection. It said it was not releasing the computer code for actual, usable cyberweapons "until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the C.I.A.'s program and how such 'weapons' should be analyzed, disarmed and published."
        Some of the details of the C.I.A. programs might have come from the plot of a spy novel for the cyberage, revealing numerous highly classified — and in some cases, exotic — hacking programs. One, code-named Weeping Angel, uses Samsung "smart" televisions as covert listening devices. According to the WikiLeaks news release, even when it appears to be turned off, the television "operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the internet to a covert C.I.A. server."
        The release said the program was developed in cooperation with British intelligence.
        If C.I.A. agents did manage to hack the smart TVs, they would not be the only ones. Since their release, internet-connected televisions have been a focus for hackers and cybersecurity experts, many of whom see the sets' ability to record and transmit conversations as a potentially dangerous vulnerability.
        In early 2015, Samsung appeared to acknowledge the televisions posed a risk to privacy. The fine print terms of service included with its smart TVs said that the television sets could capture background conversations, and that they could be passed on to third parties.
        The company also provided a remarkably blunt warning: "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition."
        Another program described in the documents, named Umbrage, is a voluminous library of cyberattack techniques that the C.I.A. has collected from malware produced by other countries, including Russia. According to the WikiLeaks release, the large number of techniques allows the C.I.A. to mask the origin of some of its cyberattacks and confuse forensic investigators.
        Assuming the release is authentic, it marks the latest in a series of huge leaks that have changed the landscape for government and corporate secrecy.
        In scale, the Vault 7 archive appears to fall into the same category as the biggest leaks of classified information in recent years, including the quarter-million diplomatic cables taken by Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst, and given to WikiLeaks in 2010, and the hundreds of thousands of documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward J. Snowden and given to journalists in 2013.
        In the business world, the so-called Panama Papers and several other large-volume leaks have laid bare the details of secret offshore companies used by wealthy and corrupt people to hide their assets.
        Both government and corporate leaks have been made possible by the ease of downloading, storing and transferring millions of documents in seconds or minutes, a sea change from the use of slow photocopying for some earlier leaks, including the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
        he National Security Agency and the military's closely related Cyber Command have the most extensive capabilities for breaking into foreign communications and computer networks and, if required, destroying them. But the C.I.A. maintains a parallel set of programs, mainly for gathering information.
        A set of N.S.A. hacking tools, evidently leaked from the agency or stolen in an electronic break-in, was put up for auction on the web last summer by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers. Those tools were among the N.S.A.'s arsenal for penetrating foreign computer networks. At first glance the Vault 7 programs appeared to be aimed at smaller, individual targets rather than large networks.



        12)  Black People More Likely to Be Wrongfully Convicted of Murder, Study Shows
         MARCH 7, 2017

        Black people convicted of murder or sexual assault are significantly more likely than their white counterparts to be later found innocent of the crimes, according to a review of nearly 2,000 exonerations nationwide over almost three decades.
        Innocent blacks also had to wait disproportionately longer for their names to be cleared than innocent whites, the review, released on Tuesday by the National Registry of Exonerations, found. Blacks wrongfully convicted of murder, for example, spent an average of three more years in prison before being released than whites who were cleared.

        "It's no surprise that in this area, as in almost any other that has to do with criminal justice in the United States, race is the big factor," said Samuel R. Gross, a University of Michigan law professor and a senior editor of the registry, a project of the law school that aims to provide data on false convictions to prevent them in the future.
        The analysis focuses on the three types of crimes for which exonerations are most common: murders, sexual assaults and drug-related offenses. It is based on 1,900 wrongful convictions from 1989 to mid-October of last year, about 47 percent of which involved exonerated black defendants. Because of limited data for other groups, the authors compared only black and white populations in detail.
        While the Tuesday report confirms what previous studies have found — that blacks make up a disproportionate share of the wrongfully convicted — it also uses the registry's ever-growing collection of data to explore potential factors driving that disparity.
        "The causes we have identified run from inevitable consequences of patterns in crime and punishment to deliberate acts of racism," write Mr. Gross and his fellow authors, Maurice Possley, a senior researcher, and Klara Stephens, a research fellow.
        When it comes to murder, black defendants account for 40 percent of those convicted of the crime, but 50 percent of those wrongfully convicted, they found. Whites accounted for 36 percent of wrongfully convicted murder defendants.
        A high murder rate within the black community contributes to the high number of wrongfully convicted black murder defendants, but it alone does not explain the disparity, the authors write.
        Racial bias may play a role. Only about 15 percent of all murders committed by black people involve white victims, yet 31 percent of blacks eventually cleared of murder convictions were initially convicted of killing white people, they found.
        Misconduct, such as hiding evidence, tampering with witnesses or perjury, may also have contributed to the racial disparity.
        The authors found such wrongdoing was present in 76 percent of cases in which black murder defendants were wrongfully convicted, but just 63 percent of cases in which white defendants were exonerated.
        The report's authors found similar patterns for sexual assault, with 59 percent of all exonerations going to black defendants, compared with 34 percent for white defendants.
        Again, the authors concluded that racial bias may contribute to the disparity. Previous research has found that white Americans are more likely to misidentify black people for one another than white people, a phenomenon they said may play a role in eyewitness misidentification.
        The registry found eyewitness errors in 79 percent of sexual assault cases involving wrongfully convicted black defendants, compared with 51 percent in cases with exonerated white defendants.
        In a separate report released on Tuesday, the registry said it counted at least 166 exonerations last year in the United States, a record. Of those, 54 defendants were wrongfully convicted of homicides, 24 of sexual assaults and 15 of other violent crimes. At least 70 of the exonerations involved official misconduct.
        The registry data is based on a variety of sources, including nonprofit organizations that fight for the wrongfully convicted, reviews conducted by prosecutors' offices and studies conducted by the registry's researchers. Still, Mr. Gross said, there may be many that the group has missed.
        "There are probably more exonerations that we don't know about than there are that we do know about," he said.



        13)  On 'Day Without Women,' Two Districts Cancel School
         MARCH 6, 2017

        School districts in Virginia and North Carolina are telling students to stay home on Wednesday, on a nationwide day of protest called "A Day Without Women," because so many staff members do not plan to show up for work.
        In Alexandria Public Schools in Northern Virginia, more than 300 staff members have asked for the day off, prompting district officials to take the extraordinary step of canceling class. In a note on its website, the superintendent said its 18 schools would not have enough teachers on Wednesday.

        "This is not a decision that was made lightly," the superintendent, Alvin L. Crawley, said, adding that "it is not based on a political stance or position."
        In the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina, a "significant" number of teachers have said they will skip work on Wednesday, the district said. The roughly 12,300 students are to stay home, and the day will be an optional teacher workday.
        "It is my determination that we will not have enough staff to safely run our school district," the interim superintendent, Jim Causby, said in a letter on the district's website.
        Both school districts cited the observance of International Women's Day as the reason for the staffing shortages. Nationwide, more than three-quarters of all teachers are women, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.
        The leaders of the Women's March on Washington, which drew more than a million demonstrators the day after the inauguration of President Trump, have encouraged women to strike on Wednesday to highlight their economic importance and power. The movement, which grew out of concerns about Mr. Trump and has spawned protests around the world, has emerged as a vocal champion of women's rights.
        The protest on Wednesday comes a few weeks after another protest, "Day Without Immigrants," had a similar effect on businesses. Immigrant workers displayed their contribution to the labor force by staying home, forcing businesses to close. Students in some schools districts also stayed home and others walked out during class.


















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