Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:














What was Done

The Film They Tried to Suppress!

By Mike Small, May 13, 2017

The film treads the line between dark satire, social vision and playful dystopia.The Canary compared it to Armando Iannucci's Time Trumpet..

This is fake news with a purpose. These are bad dudes.

The film's now had over 200,000 views across all mediums despite being ignored by most of the Scottish media and blogosphere and kicked-off You Tube (it's back now).

"Brilliant futuristic reminiscence of the Corbyn story by @nonideefixe"- The Agitator

"The finest political art to come out of Scotland ever." – Kevin Williamson

"Best political satire Ive ever watched. Brilliant 33 mins" – Rob Gray

"What an amazing piece and makes me so grateful to be able to call Scotland my home. #Resistance at its best. I'm posting on FB and sharing as much as possible." – Rachel Du Bois

"It is absolutely brilliant, hopefully it will be available on June 9th for the world to see."  – Josephine Williams

"Absolutely stunning work and infinitely superior to anything our state-broadcaster could produce. Under the horror and scalpel-sharp humour this is a love letter to what remains of Labour's soul. Scotland is leaving but there's still time for England. Let's hope they're watching. Share it and back this major talent's future projects." – Phantom Power

"So **Loved** this .. brilliantly done .. but FB censor ship has begun .. must have terrified some at the top ..more power to ya elbow..!" – Eileen Murtha Brown

If you haven't seen it already, go watch and share…

For the mobile-friendly link go to the Daily Motion site  here: http://dai.ly/x5khzvv 

For the desktop desktop/laptop-friendly link go to You Tube  here:


Donate below to support this great film-making here. Thanks.



Cuban Documentary "Between Changes"

May 19, 2017 

HAVANA TIMES — "Entre cambios" (Between changes) is a documentary dedicated to a specific generation of Cubans: the one who had to live through the fragile limbo when the Soviet Union collapsed. We concentrated particularly on speaking to those who experienced these changes there, in the places where the events took place.

One of the most recurring testimonies that this documentary provides – and the research we did to carry it out – is that of people who went to COMECON (The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) countries under the sugarcoated notion that there they had a more advanced version of socialism that the Cuban version, and instead it turned out that they would be the witnesses of its downfall.

This is where the irony lies: surely, a lot of things used to be better off there than they were in Cuba, even under the centralized State system that the Kremlin imposed on the majority of the territories under its control, but everything "went downhill" between 1988 and 1991.

In the documentary, we can hear accounts from those who were in countries such as Hungary, and in several Republics of what used to be the USSR. We tried our best for these opinions to be diverse and critical.

There wasn't always enough space for all of the material we had collected for the documentary – and we have faith that the extensive research we did will have the opportunity to be covered in other media platforms, or maybe there will even be sequels to this documentary.

However, we tried to maintain a respectful, friendly and proactive dialogue that prevails throughout the film, in order to anchor the diversity of social coexistence today.

Cuba's "post-Soviet" generation – the one which lived in situ with the geopolitical collapse that led to the Special Period disaster here, to the capitalist reforms in Europe and the "excessive '90s" in Russia and its surroundings, with quite a few localized conflicts where a lot of today's jihadist terrorism was born and awful government administrations who justified well-established authoritarian run countries today – is a very active generation nowadays.

Both inside and outside of our archipelago, it has given rise to artists, intellectuals, engineers, bloggers, doctors, scientists and social activists from all kinds of political movements.

It's no coincidence that it was a generation that experienced a great shock (whether in Eurasia, or here in Cuba, where we also experienced a great time of change – but in a different way). We believe that their experiences – which haven't been published widely in explicit terms, which are what we have tried to collect – can contribute to preventing a lot of the negativity that is taking place in Cuba today.

We have to learn our lessons from history, something which clearly wasn't done in the post-1959 period, when existing critique of the then "USSR" was dismissed in Cuba.

This documentary is the result of a co-production between the independent production company "CreActivo" and the research team "Post Soviet Cuba" which is a member of one of the teams from the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLASCO).






Solidarity Statement from the California Coalition for Women Prisoners


CCWP sent the solidarity statement below expressing support with the hunger strikers at the Northwest County Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma Washington, one of the largest immigration prisons in the country.  People at NWDC, including many women, undertook the hunger strike starting at the beginning of April 2017 to protest the horrendous conditions they are facing.  Although the peak of the hunger strike was a few weeks ago, the strikers set a courageous example of resistance for people in detention centers and prisons around the country. 

Here is a link to a Democracy Now! interview with Maru Villalpando of Northwest Detention Center Resistance (http://www.nwdcresistance.org/) and Alexis Erickson, partner of one of the hunger strikers, Cristian Lopez.

For live updates, visit: 

California Coalition for Women Prisoners Statement

California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) stands in solidarity with the hunger strikers, many of them women, detained by ICE at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), a private prison operated by the GEO group contracted by ICE in Washington state.  We applaud the detainees at NORCOR, a county jail in rural Oregon, who recently won their demands after sustaining six days without meals. 

Since April 10th, those detained in NWDC have refused meals to demand changes to the abhorrent conditions of their detention, including poor quality food, insufficient medical care, little to no access to family visits, legal counsel or legal documents, and lack of timely court proceedings. Hunger strikes are a powerful method of resistance within prisons that require commitment and courage from prisoners and their families. We have seen this historically in California when tens-of-thousands of prisoners refused meals to protest solitary confinement in 2011 and 2013, and also currently in Palestine where over 1,500 prisoners are on hunger strike against the brutal conditions of Israeli prisons. 

As the Trump administration continues to escalate its attacks on Latinx/Chicanx and Arab/Muslim communities, deportations and detentions serve as strategies to control, remove, and erase people—a violence made possible in a context of inflamed xenophobia and increasingly visible and virulent racism. We stand with the families of those detained as well as organizations and collectives on the ground in Washington State struggling to expose the situation inside these facilities as well as confront the escalating strategies of the Trump administration.

CCWP recognizes the common struggle for basic human dignity and against unconstitutional cruel and inhumane treatment that people of color and immigrants face in detention centers, jails, and prisons across the United States. We also sadly recognize from our work with people in women's prisons the retaliatory tactics such as prison transfers and solitary confinement that those who fight oppression face. Similar abuses continue to occur across California at all of its prisons and  detention centers, including the GEO-run women's prison in McFarland, California.. CCWP sends love and solidarity to the hunger strikers in the Northwest. Together we can break down the walls that tear our families and communities apart. ¡ya basta! #Ni1Más #Not1More

    Northwest Detention Center Press Release May 4, 2017

Despite threats and retaliation, hunger strikers continue protest 

ICE ignores demands for improved conditions 

Tacoma, Washington/The Dalles, Oregon—Immigrants held at ICE facilities in two states—the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), run by GEO Group, and NORCOR, a rural public jail—continued their hunger strike today, despite growing weakness from lack of food. The exponential growth of immigration detention has led ICE to contract the function of detaining immigrants out to both private prison companies and to county governments, with both treating immigrants as a source of profit. ICE has been using NORCOR as "overflow" detention space for immigrants held at NWDC, and is regularly transferring people back and forth from the NWDC to NORCOR. People held at NORCOR have limited access to lawyers and to the legal documents they need to fight and win their deportation cases. They are often transferred back to NWDC only for their hearings, then shipped back to NORCOR, where they face terrible conditions. Jessica Campbell of the Rural Organizing Project affirmed, "No one deserves to endure the conditions at NORCOR—neither the immigrants ICE is paying to house there, nor the people of Oregon who end up there as part of criminal processes. It's unsafe for everyone."

The strike began on April 10th, when 750 people at the NWDC began refusing meals. The protest spread to NORCOR this past weekend. Maru Mora Villalpando of NWDC Resistance confirmed, "It's very clear from our contact with people inside the facilities and with family members of those detained that the hunger strike continues in both Oregon and Washington State." She continued, "The question for us is, how will ICE assure that the abuses that these whistle-blowing hunger strikers have brought to light are addressed?"

From the beginning of the protest, instead of using the strike as an opportunity to look into the serious concerns raised by the hunger strikers, ICE and GEO have both denied the strike is occurring and retaliated against strikers. Hunger strikers have been transferred to NORCOR in retaliation for their participation. One person who refused transfer to NORCOR was put in solitary confinement. Just this week, hunger striking women have been threatened with forced feeding—a practice that is recognized under international law to be torture. In an attempt to break their spirit, hunger strikers have been told the strike has been ineffective and that the public is ignoring it.

Hunger striker demands terrible conditions inside detention center be addressed—including the poor quality of the food, the dollar-a-day pay, and the lack of medical care. They also call for more expedited court proceedings and the end of transfers between detention facilities.   Hunger strikers consistently communicate, "We are doing this for our families." Despite their incredibly oppressive conditions, locked away and facing deportation in an immigration prison in the middle of an industrial zone and in a rural county jail, hunger strikers have acted collectively and brought national attention to the terrible conditions they face and to the ongoing crisis of deportations, conditions the U.S. government must address.Latino Advocacy

Maru Mora Villalpando

For live updates, visit: 

News mailing list: News@womenprisoners.org



Labor Studies and Radical History

4444 Geary Blvd., Suite 207, San Francisco, CA 94118




(call 415.387.5700 to be sure the library is open for the hours you are interested in. We close the library sometimes to go on errands or have close early) suggested)

7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed on all major holidays and May Day 

We can arrange, by request, to keep the library open longer during the day or open it on weekends. Just ask.


  • Reference Librarian On-site
  • Email and Telephone Reference
  • Interlibrary Loan
  • Online Public Access Catalog 
  • Microfilm Reader/Printer
  • DVD and VCR players
  • Photocopier
  • Quiet well-lighted place for study and research 

For an appointment or further information, please email: david [at] holtlaborlibrary.org 



Sun, May 28, 2017:  ISM Olive Oil Party to Benefit Palestinian Farmers and Nonviolent Resistance

Where:   Grassroots house, 2022 Blake St., Berkeley, CA (between Ashby and Berkeley BART)

When:    10AM to 5:00PM

Info:        510-236-4250, www.ism-norcal.org

We'll have FAIR TRADE ORGANIC EXTRA VIRGIN Palestinian olive oil, zaatar (thyme), kufiyas, and much more.  Please join us to benefit Palestinian farmers and nonviolent resistance in Palestine.  If you only want to buy, that's OK, too.  We have Palestinian soap, books, flags, stickers and the jewelry of Katie Miranda.  The fun, fellowship and aroma of olive oil are hard to beat. The oil and other items will be sold to raise money and awareness for the work of the ISM.

Stopping nonviolent resistance volunteers from entering Palestinian communities is a major priority for the Israeli regime, but we continue to send them and to provide training.  Meet our volunteers and listen to their stories as you bottle oil.

You are welcome to bring food, but we will have some typical Palestinian dishes to offer as well, for those who are not fasting. Bring family, friends, etc. Our products make great gifts with a human rights message.  It all helps Palestinian farmers and businesses as well as nonviolent resistance in Palestine.

This year we sent $12,000 worth of cameras to Palestinian organizations that are documenting human rights violations on the ground.  One of our cameras was the second of Emad Burnat's Five Broken Cameras, nominated for an Academy Award.  Another captured the murder of Abdul-Fattah Al-Sharif, shot in the head by Israeli soldier Elor Azaria as Al-Sharif lay wounded on the ground.

Thanks for your support and we hope to see you there.

ISM-Northern California






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



Former Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera who recently received a commutation of his sentence  from President Obama will be coming to the Bay Area on Wednesday, May 31st.  This will be a memorable event, not to be missed!

Welcome Oscar Lopez Rivera 

  Oscar is Free and Coming to the Bay Area May 31st

Event Venue Changed To:  

First Presbyterian Church

2407 Dana Avenue

Berkeley, CA

(Wheelchair Accessible)

           Oscar Lopez Rivera is coming to the Bay Area after 36 years in prison for his struggle in support for independence and sovereignty for Puerto Rican Independence. Help us support Oscar as he continues his work by making a financial commitment as he begins his new life.

            He will be visiting the Bay Area for a unique one time only public appearance on May 31st. For many of us, this is a welcome opportunity to celebrate his release and our shared victory. Let us show our support for Oscar in his new endeavors.

Please make a generous donation now: https://www.gofundme.com/welcomeoscar

Let us show Oscar that the SF Bay Area community supports him as he continues to advocate for sovereignty and independence for Puerto Rico. We look forward to seeing you in May.

Save the date: Wed. May 31, 2017  
                                 Recepcion 5:30 P.M. ($75-250)
                                 Program 7:00 P.M. ($20-50)

No one will be turned away for lack of funds.For more information: freeoscarnow@gmail.com www.facebook.com/WelcomeOscartotheBayArea





Juneteenth 2017 (Monday, June 19, 2017)

Land is Power. Land is Liberation. Land is the Commons

On Juneteenth 2017 (Monday, June 19th) Black people across the country will take back land and reclaim space, from vacant lots to empty school buildings. We are taking back land that should be used for the good of the people; land that has historically been denied to Black people. Through these actions we will confront the institutions and individuals that have been built off the extracted wealth of Black people and Black land.



MEDIA ADVISORYMedia contact: Morgan McLeod, (202) 628-0871




Washington, D.C.— Despite recent political support for criminal justice reform in most states, the number of people serving life sentences has nearly quintupled since 1984. 

A new report by The Sentencing Project finds a record number of people serving life with parole, life without parole, and virtual life sentences of 50 years or more, equaling one of every seven people behind bars. 

Eight states  Alabama, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and Utah  have at least one of every five prisoners serving a life or de facto life sentence in prison. 

The Sentencing Project will host an online press conference to discuss its report Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences, on Wednesday, May 3rd at 11:00 a.m. EDT.   

Press Conference Details

WHAT: Online press conference hosted by The Sentencing Project regarding the release of its new report examining life and long-term sentences in the United States. REGISTER HERE to participate. The call-in information and conference link will be sent via email.  


Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT 


  • Ashley Nellis, The Sentencing Project's senior research analyst and author of Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences
  • Evans Ray, whose life without parole sentence was commuted in 2016 by President Obama
  • Steve Zeidman, City University of New York law professor and counsel for Judith Clark—a New York prisoner who received a 75 year to life sentence in 1983

The full report will be available to press on Wednesday morning via email.

Founded in 1986, The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.




When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression


When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression 05/25/2017 BY 

"What We Want, What We Need" May, 2017 - NY/NJ Parents 10 Point Justice Platform and Wish List 

Mothers Message to the NY/NJ Activist Community 

In order to effectively combat the existing opportunism, hidden agendas and to better provide ALL genuinely good willed social justice organizations and individuals who work inside of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas... with more concrete guidelines; 

The following "10 Point Platform and Justice Wish List" was adopted on Saturday, May 13, 2017    during the "Motherhood: Standing Strong 4 Justice" pre-mothers day gathering which was held     at Hostos Community College - Bronx, New York.......

"What We Want, What We Need" 

May, 2017 - NY/NJ Parents 10 Point Justice Platform and Wish List 

Point #1 - Lawyers and Legal Assistance:  Due to both the overwhelming case loads and impersonal nature of most public defenders, the Mothers believe that their families are receiving limited options, inadequate legal advise and therefore;                                    WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in gaining access to experienced "pro-bono" and/or activist attorneys as well as the free resources provided by non-profit social justice and legal advocacy groups.


Point #2 - First Response Teams: The Mothers felt that when their loved ones were either killed or captured by the police that they were left in the hands of the enemy and without any support, information or direction on how to best move forward and therefore;     WE WANT and NEED community activists to help us develop independently community controlled & trained first response teams in every borough or county that can confirm and be on the ground within 24 hours of any future incident.


Point #3 - Security and Support At Court Appearances: The Mothers all feel that because community activist support eventually becomes selective and minimal, that they are disrespected by both the courthouse authorities, mainstream media and therefore;   WE WANT and NEED community activists to collectively promote and make a strong presence felt at all court appearances and; To always provide trained security & legal observers... when the families are traveling to, inside and from the court house.


Point #4 - Emotional/Spiritual Healing and Grief and Loss Counseling: After the protest rallies, demonstrations, justice marches and television cameras are gone the Mothers all feel alone and abandoned and therefore;                                                                             WE WANT and NEED for community activists to refer/help provide the families with clergy, professional therapy & cultural outlets needed in order to gain strength to move forward. 


Point #5 -  Parents Internal Communication Network: The Mothers agreed as actual victims, that they are the very best qualified in regards to providing the needed empathy and trust for an independent hotline & contact resource for all of the parents and families who want to reach out to someone they can mutually trust that is able understand what they are going through and therefore;           WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in providing a Parents Internal Communication Network to reach that objective.


Point #6 -  Community Offices and Meeting Spaces: The Mothers agreed that there is an extreme need for safe office spaces where community members and family victims are able to go to for both confidential crisis intervention and holding organizing meetings and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                                 WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in securing those safe spaces inside of our own neighborhoods.   


Point #7 - Political Education Classes and Workshop Training: The Mothers agreed in implementing the "each one, teach one"   strategy and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                         WE WANT and NEEDfor community activists to help us in being trained as educators and organizers in Know Your Rights, Cop Watch, First Response, Emergency Preparedness & Community Control over all areas of public safety & the police in their respective neighborhoods.


Point #8 - Support From Politicians and Elected Officials: The Mothers believe that most political candidates and incumbent elected officials selectively & unfairly represent only those cases which they think to be politically advantageous to their own selfish personal success on election day and therefore;                                                                                                                                WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in either publicly exposing or endorsing these aforementioned political candidates and/or elected officials to their constituents solely based upon the uncompromising principles of serving the people.


Point #9 - Research and Documentation: The Mothers believe that research/case studies, surveys, petitions, historical archives, investigative news reporting and events should be documented and made readily available in order to counter the self-serving  police misinformation promoted by the system and therefore;                                                                                                                          WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us by securing college/university students, law firms, film makers, authors, journalists and professional research firms to find, document & tell the people the truth about police terror & the pipeline to prison.


Point #10 - Grassroots Community Outreach and Information: The Mothers believe that far too much attention is being geared towards TV camera sensationalism with the constant organizing of marches & rallies "downtown"  and therefore;                                    WE WANT and NEED for community activists to provide a fair balance by helping us to build in the schools, projects, churches and inside of the subway trains and stations of our Black, brown and oppressed communities where the majority of the police terror is actually taking place. 



100,000 protest in San Francisco, CA

Pictures From Women's
Marches on Every Continent



Good News for Mumia Abu-Jamal

May 1, 2017: News sent today from Rachel Wolkenstein:

Court order to disclose DA files in Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case [video]

This 9-minute video gives background on new revelations about conflict of interest -- an appeals judge who had previously been part of the prosecution team -- in upholding the 1982 conviction of journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal on charges of killing a police officer:


A ruling to implement a judge's recent order for "discovery" could be made on May 30.

Judge Tucker granted discovery to Mumia Abu-Jamal pursuant to his claims brought under Williams v Pennsylvania that he was denied due process because his PA Supreme Court appeals from 1998-2008 were decided by Ronald Castille, who had previously been the District Attorney during Mumia's 1988 appeal from his conviction and death sentence, as well as having been a senior assistant district attorney during Mumia's trial.

The DA is given 30 days—until May 30, 2017—to produce all records and memos regarding Mumia's case, pre-trial, trial, post-trial and direct appeal proceedings between Castille and his staff and any public statement he made about it. Then Mumia has 15 days after receiving this discovery to file amendments to his PCRA petition.

This date of this order is April 28, but it was docketed today, May 1, 2017.

This is a critical and essential step forward!


Dear Friend,

For the first time- a court has ordered the Philadelphia DA to turn over evidence and open their files in Mumia's appeal.   In a complacency shattering blow, the District Attorney's office is finally being held to account.  Judge Leon Tucker of the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court ordered the DA to produce all of the documents relevant to former PA Supreme Court Justice's role in the case. Castille was first a supervisory ADA during Mumia's trial, then District Attorney, and finally as a judge he sat on Mumia's appeals to the PA Supreme Court. 

This broad discovery order follows just days after the arguments in court by Christina Swarns, Esq. of the NAACP LDF, and Judith Ritter, Esq. of Widner Univ.

During that hearing, Swarns made it clear that the District Attorney's practice of lying to the appellate courts would not be tolerated and had been specifically exposed by the U.S. Supreme Court.  In the Terrence Williams case, which highlights Ronald Castile's conflict, the Supreme Court in no uncertain terms excoriated the office for failing to disclose crucial evidence.  Evidence the office hid for years.  This is an opportunity to begin to unravel the decades long police and prosecutorial corruption that has plagued Mumia's quest for justice.  

In prison for over thirty six years Mumia Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence in the death of Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9th 1981.  

"The Commonwealth  must  produce  any  and  all  documents  or  records  in  the  possession  or  control  of  the Philadelphia  District  Attorney's  Office   showing   former   District   Attorney   Ronald   Castille's   personal   involvement   in the  above-captioned  case  ... and public statements during and after his tenure as District Attorney of Philadelphia."

It is important to note that the history of the District Attorney's office in delaying and appealing to prevent exposure of prosecutorial misconduct and the resulting justice.  At every turn, there will be attempts to limit Mumia's access to the courts and release.   it is past time for justice in this case.  

Noelle Hanrahan, P.I.

Prison Radio is a 501c3 project of the Redwood Justice Fund. We record and broadcast the voices of prisoners, centering their analyses and experiences in the movements against mass incarceration and state repression. If you support our work, please join us.

www.prisonradio.org   |   info@prisonradio.org   |   415-706-5222

Thank you for being a part of this work!



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











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)




May 20, 2017

Progress in Rev. Pinkney's Appeal!

At last, there is some forward motion in Rev. Pinkney's appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. Last September, Rev. Pinkney's legal team filed an application for leave to appeal his case to the staet supreme court. On Wednesday, the court issued an order granting oral arguments to be made in support of that application.

The court also requested additional briefings on two of the major topics in Rev. Pinkney's appeal. These issues are known as the 404(b) issue and the 168.937 issue. The first issue relates to the misuse of Rev. Pinkney's constitutionally protected political and community activities to influence the verdict, and the second issues relates to the question of whether he was prosecuted under a statute that is actually only a penalty provision, that is, it can't be used to prosecute anyone.

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but this is at least a step in the right direction. Rev. Pinkney's attorney said that most applications for leave to appeal to the supreme court are simply denied. This order indicates that they are interested in hearing more about some of the important issues at stake.

It may be months before the oral arguments are heard, but as soon as they are scheduled, word will go out to pack the courtroom that day!

You can read the order here: http://publicdocs.courts.mi.gov/sct/public/orders/154374_147_01.pdf


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.



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

        Dear Supporters:

        Today marks the 5th Anniversary of when the United States Supreme Court Reinstated my Wrongful Life Sentence. 

        The prosecution in my case turned over NEVER seen before Case Discovery to my legal team. This Case Discovery I speak on was withheld from me and ALL of my prior attorneys for 18½ years. Not only was the prosecution's only witness was labeled a SUSPECT in this same murder I've been wrongfully convicted of, I was also furnished with a written statement from this same witness, for almost two decades I was told this witness never made a written statement. So I had to honor a police summary of this witness. Well, this statement shows my innocence and contradicts what this witness testified to from my preliminary hearing to my trial. To make a long story short, the prosecution in my case let this false testimony go un-correct from the lower court all the way up to the United States Supreme Court who relied on this testimony to Reinstate my conviction when I was a free man. This was done knowingly.

        For the last 21 years, my family and I have been living this nightmare. Thanks to my legal team headed by Michael Wiseman and the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, who have been working extremely hard to secure my freedom. The judge who is presiding over my case have seen enough evidence to award me an Evidentiary Hearing on my claims of Prosecution Misconduct (Brady Violations). 

        These hearings will be taking place on July 11, 12, 13 2017 starting at 9am in courtroom No. 8 at the Dauphin County Courthouse, 101 Market Street, 5th Floor, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101.

        Feel free to join me, my family and supporters in my pursuit of my future. For people in the New York Metropolitan area, The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice will be sponsoring a FREE roundtrip bus ride for my family, friends and supporters. 

        There are seats available on the first come basis. So please send an email asap and make your reservation.

        Within the next couple weeks I will be transferred to Dauphin County Prison to await my court dates. I will see you there. I pray that this is the beginning of the end of my 21year nightmare. Thanks for your support and I encourage you to continue. Please continue to support me in any way you can. For those who are in position to financially contribute please do so--It's needed. My freedom is on the horizon.

        Free the Innocent,

        "The Pain Within"

        Lorenzo "Cat" Johnson

        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 websiteand contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!

        Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                    DF 1036

                    SCI Mahanoy

                    301 Morea Rd.

                    Frackville, PA 17932


                      directly on ConnectNetwork -- instructions here

        - Team Free Lorenzo Johnson











        1)   Student Loans from Education Department to Treasury

        By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Stacy Cowley and Patricia Cohen, May 25, 2017


        The Trump administration is considering moving responsibility for overseeing more than $1 trillion in student debt from the Education Department to the Treasury Department, a switch that would radically change the system that helps 43 million students finance higher education.

        The potential change surfaced in a scathing resignation memo sent late Tuesday night by James Runcie, the head of the Education Department's federal student aid program. Mr. Runcie, an Obama-era holdover, was appointed in 2011 and reappointed in 2015. He cut short his term, which was slated to run until 2020, after clashing with the Trump administration and Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, over this proposal and other issues.

        Elizabeth Hill, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, declined to comment on his departure or on talks with Treasury.

        "The secretary is looking forward to identifying a qualified candidate to lead and restore trust in F.S.A.," Ms. Hill said, referring to federal student aid.

        A shift in handling federal student aid is being weighed as the Trump administration and Ms. DeVos consider overhauling the Department of Education. Mr. Trump's proposed budget for 2018 slashes funding for the department by nearly 50 percent. Moving one of its core functions to Treasury would significantly diminish the agency's power. It could also alter the mission of the student loan program.

        "The reason the federal student aid programs live within the Education Department is because that's the agency that has as its goal increasing educational opportunities within the United States," said David Bergeron, who left the Education Department in 2013 after 35 years. "That is not the Treasury Department's goal. Its job is to pay for the business of the government."

        Scrapping or shrinking the Education Department has long been a popular Republican goal, dating from the Reagan administration. President Trump embraced the idea, saying in his book "Crippled America" that the department should either be eliminated or have "its power and reach" cut. In February, a House Republican introduced a bill to terminate the agency.

        In his resignation memo, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Runcie said that senior members of his department had met that day with Treasury officials and discussed "holding numerous meetings and retreats" to outline a process for "transferring all or a portion" of the student aid office's functions to the Treasury Department.

        "This is just another example of a project that may provide some value but will certainly divert critical resources and increase operational risk in an increasingly challenging environment," Mr. Runcie wrote.

        Moving the federal student aid unit probably would require congressional action. But even in a fractured Congress, it could win bipartisan support.

        The federal student aid office has been a lightning rod for criticism over the effectiveness and expense of its debt collection programs. Several government audits took issue with the department's handling of its student aid programs. In 2015, for example, the Government Accountability Office faulted the agency for not doing enough to make students aware of all their repayment options. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also pressed for changes in how the department manages its loan servicers.

        The Education Department backs and originates $1.4 trillion in student loans. Since 2010, the government has directly funded the loans, cutting out the private lenders that previously doled out government-backed aid. But the agency outsources the work of collecting payments on the loans, and the companies it works with have a troubled record.

        During the Obama administration, the idea of shifting responsibility for the student loan program to the Treasury Department had some supporters. As the number and dollar amount of student loans grew, the Education Department found itself managing more than a trillion dollars in assets, a portfolio bigger than most banks.

        "The Education Department is a policy shop with a trillion-dollar bank on the side," said Rohit Chopra, a former student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who also briefly worked for the Education Department.

        For students, the move under consideration could simplify the convoluted process of applying for federal student aid and repaying loans. A growing number of borrowers are using income-based repayment plans, which require students to submit information on their earnings. Putting federal student aid in the same department as the Internal Revenue Service could make that easier. (A tool intended to help students automatically import their tax information has been disabled for months because of a security problem.)

        "I think it's a good idea," said James Kvaal, a former deputy under secretary of education in the Obama administration. "Because the Education Department and the I.R.S. are separated, we've built these clunky systems that get in the way of achieving the goals of the income-based program. Linking the two would be much easier for students, and have stronger integrity for taxpayers."

        But critics, including a high level official from Mr. Obama's Treasury Department, warned that the move could hurt students.

        "Moving the agency that is supposed to provide stewardship for student loan borrowers to an agency that is working on a shoestring with a skeletal crew strikes me as a recipe for a policy disaster," said Sarah Bloom Raskin, who was the deputy Treasury Secretary under President Obama.

        Others worry about how students would fare under the Treasury Department.

        The Treasury Department recently conducted a pilot project in which its employees tried to collect on defaulted loans, a job the Education Department contracts out to private companies.

        The experiment, which began in mid-2015, did not end well.

        The Treasury Department hoped to increase collection rates and help borrowers better understand their repayment options. It failed on both goals. A control group of private collectors recovered more money and got more borrowers out of default.

        For now, even without the shift, some at the federal student aid office are rattled, according to one person who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. After Mr. Runcie resigned, at least one employee was in tears, the person said.



        2)  Palestinian Prisoners End Hunger Strike in Israel After 40 Days

         MAY 27, 2017



        JERUSALEM — Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails ended a hunger strike late on Friday after 40 days, as their health was deteriorating and after, news media reports said, the authorities agreed to at least one of the prisoners' demands.

        About 1,000 men had taken part in the strike, and Israeli officials said this past week that nearly every prisoner had needed hospital care, including the leader of the strike, Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian politician convicted of five murders in the Palestinian uprising that began in 2000.

        In a statement on Saturday, Mr. Barghouti confirmed the end of the hunger strike, timed to coincide with the beginning of Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting. But he did not specify any agreements with the Israeli authorities. The statement called the strike an "important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners." Israeli prison officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

        The strikers, among 6,500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, had demanded more family visits, an end to solitary confinement, better health care and greater access to education. Media reports said the Israeli authorities had agreed to a prisoner's demand for a second monthly family visit.

        Israeli officials accused Mr. Barghouti of staging the strike to raise his position in the volatile struggle over leadership among Palestinians. Polls show that Mr. Barghouti, 57, who has been in prison since 2002, is the most popular choice to replace Mahmoud Abbas, 82, president of the Palestinian Authority.

        Mr. Abbas met in the past week in Bethlehem with President Trump, and the two reportedly discussed the strike. The striking prisoners had limited themselves to water and salt, although Israeli officials said that Mr. Barghouti had violated the strike at least twice, eating snacks placed in his cell. Palestinian officials and his family denied the accusations, saying that videos purportedly showing Mr. Barghouti eating were faked.



        3)  Israel treats prisoners worse than apartheid, says Robben Island veteran

        Adri Nieuwhof 25 May 2017


        On 15 May, many South Africans fasted in solidarity with more than 1,300 Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strikein Israeli prisons to demand their basic rights.
        Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, more than a dozen members of the government, trade union leaders, icons of the liberation struggle, celebrities and others joined the one-day fast, sending a powerful message of support to imprisoned Palestinians.
        During apartheid, South African political prisoners also used hunger strikes to protest their inhumane conditions.
        The prisoners on Robben Island, where Nelson MandelaAhmed Kathrada and other leaders were held, were forced to work in a lime quarry in all weather with unsuitable clothing, insufficient food and violent prison guards.
        Mandela and his fellow prisoners launched a protest hunger strike in 1966.
        Their prison commander felt compelled to address the grievances after only a week, former Robben Island prisoner Sunny Singh recalls.
        But now, even as the Palestinian mass hunger strike approaches 40 days, many prisoners have been hospitalized, and yet Israeli prison authorities are refusing to negotiate.
        Instead, Israel has reacted with punitive brutality, including placing leaders in solitary confinement.

        Struggle "for every imaginable thing"

        The situation of the Palestinian prisoners reminds the older generation in South Africa of their past.
        Singh, who participated in the 1966 hunger strike, spent 10 years on Robben Island for his involvement in Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress.
        I worked with Singh when he acted as the ANC's representative to the Netherlands.
        The demands of the Palestinian prisoners are the same as the political prisoners on Robben Island, Singh wrote in an article for the South African newspaper [Sunday Tribune].
        "For us on Robben Island in the early 1960s, there was a struggle for every imaginable thing – against abuse, and for clothing, blankets, medicine, visits – but most importantly, it was a constant struggle for food," Singh recalls.
        "We were beaten by our captors, but never experienced the type of abuse and torture that some of the Palestinian prisoners complain of. It was rare that we were put in solitary confinement, but this seems commonplace in Israeli jails," Singh adds.
        Singh recalls that the hunger strikes were "always successful" and never lasted more than a week before prison authorities addressed the grievances.
        He observes that when so many Palestinian prisoners have engaged in such a protracted hunger strike, it means that "they are not only resolute, but they are desperate."
        Singh urges Israel and the world to listen to the prisoners' demands: "Even political prisoners have basic human rights."
        Robben Island prisoners also shared their grievances with International Committee of the Red Cross representatives.
        But the "Red Cross never seemed to take the grievances seriously, which made us quite suspicious," Singh writes. His criticism may sound familiar to Palestinian prisoners and their families.

        Global solidarity

        My friend and colleague Dr. Bangani Ngeleza grew up under South African apartheid.
        "I am a child of an ANC freedom fighter who was imprisoned on Robben Island for 10 years by the apartheid regime," he wrote to me. "I join millions of freedom-loving people around the world in supporting the stance taken by Palestinian freedom fighters languishing in Israeli jails to embark on a hunger strike."
        Ngeleza added that the decision to go on hunger strike "represents the highest level of commitment and bravery in asserting one's dignity and human rights."
        He urges Palestinians to "find solace in the knowledge that there can be no permanence to a system that's based on injustice and subjugation."
        Meanwhile, solidarity fasts and events are being organized in many countries to draw attention to Israel's continued violations of the basic rights of Palestinian prisoners.
        And the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), which spearheads the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, has renewed its calls for urgent action in support of a comprehensive military embargo on Israel.
        The BNC states: "As long as military ties continue, the international community is effectively sending Israel a clear message of approval to continue its severe violations of international law, including its violations of basic prisoners' rights."


        Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org

        Questions and comments may be sent to claude@freedomarchives.org

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        4)  Trumpcare's Cruelty, Reaffirmed

        "...a 64-year-old earning $26,500 a year and living in a state not seeking waivers would have to pay $16,100 a year for coverage, nearly 10 times as much as she would under Obamacare. ...The Tax Policy Center estimates that almost all of the tax cuts in that legislation would flow to the rich: The top 1 percent would take home an average of $37,200 a year, while people with middle-class incomes would get a measly $300."

        MAY 27, 2017




        Any doubts about the senseless cruelty underlying the health care agenda put forward by President Trump and Congress were put to rest last week by two government documents. The fantasy that Mr. Trump intends to fight for the health of long-suffering working people should be similarly interred.

        One document was the administration's budget. The other was the Congressional Budget Office's detailed analysis of the Trumpcare bill passed by the House earlier this month. The budget proposes billions of dollars in cuts to programs that fund research into new cures, protect the country from infectious diseases and provide care to the poor, the elderly and people with disabilities. The analysis said that Trumpcare — formally the American Health Care Act — would rob 23 million people of health insurance while leaving millions of others with policies that offer little protection from major medical conditions. All of this would be done in service of huge tax cuts for the richest Americans.

        Consider the fate of Medicaid, a program that provides health insurance to more than 74 million people, among them 60 percent of nursing home residents and millions of people with disabilities. Trumpcare would slash Medicaid spending by $834 billion over 10 years, according to the C.B.O. The president's budget would take a further $610 billion from the program under the pretext of reforming it. Taken together, this amounts to an estimated 45 percent reduction by 2026 compared with current law, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says.

        Trumpcare, the C.B.O. says, would make it impossible for millions of people with pre-existing conditions like heart disease or diabetes to buy health insurance. That's because the law would let states waive many of the requirements in the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law known as Obamacare. It would also greatly increase the cost of insurance policies for older and poorer people, no matter where they live. By way of illustration, a 64-year-old earning $26,500 a year and living in a state not seeking waivers would have to pay $16,100 a year for coverage, nearly 10 times as much as she would under Obamacare.

        The House speaker, Paul Ryan, would argue that Trumpcare is an improvement over the A.C.A. because it would lower premiums for many people, especially the young and healthy. The C.B.O. says he's right, noting that plans would include fewer benefits. In effect, Mr. Ryan and his colleagues are patting themselves on the back for lowering health insurance premiums by taking away people's access to medical services.

        Apart from inflicting hardship, what would Trumpcare and the president's budget achieve? Mainly a windfall for wealthy families. The administration has not provided enough information to make good estimates, so it's hard to say how much the rich would gain from the budget, although it would be a lot. We know more about Trumpcare. The Tax Policy Center estimates that almost all of the tax cuts in that legislation would flow to the rich: The top 1 percent would take home an average of $37,200 a year, while people with middle-class incomes would get a measly $300.

        The White House and Republicans in the House of Representatives agree on Trumpcare and are aligned on many parts of the president's budget. The Senate, however, is still up for grabs. A handful of more moderate senators like Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Rob Portman of Ohio are all that stand in the way of this retrograde assault on American health care.



        5)  Two Killed in Portland While Trying to Stop Anti-Muslim Rant, Police Say

        MAY 27, 2017




        The Oregon man accused of screaming anti-Muslim insults at two women, and then fatally stabbing two men and wounding a third as they tried to intervene on Friday, had a history of making extremist remarks, according to the police and civil rights advocacy organizations.

        In a statement on Saturday, the Portland police said the attacker, who was identified as Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, of North Portland, Ore., had been booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges that included two counts of aggravated murder. The police also said Mr. Christian will be arraigned on Tuesday and could face additional charges.

        The episode began on Friday when the three men were attacked on a Portland commuter train as they tried to calm Mr. Christian, who, the police said, was ranting and talking disparagingly about the women, one wearing a hijab. The police added that the two women, who were not injured, left the scene and were later identified and contacted by investigators.

        "It's horrific; there are no other words to describe what happened today," Sgt. Pete Simpson, a spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau, said at a news conference. The police statement also said part of the investigation would focus on Mr. Christian's "extremist ideology."

        One of the victims, Ricky John Best, 53, died in the train car, the police said. Another, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, later died at a Portland hospital.

        A third victim, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was being treated for serious injuries on Saturday, but the police said his wounds were not considered life-threatening.

        Mr. Christian has a history of making extremist statements on social media, said Zakir Khan, a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations who is working to set up a chapter of the organization in Oregon. "From reviewing the suspect's Facebook page, it seems like he was very enthralled with the alt-right and Nazi movements."

        Mr. Khan added that the two slain men "really sacrificed everything.

        "They really stood up for the values of the Constitution," he said.

        In a blog post, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, said that "a review of Christian's Facebook page shows an individual all over the political spectrum but indicates that he holds some racist and other extremist beliefs."

        The post goes on: "Christian also expresses anti-Muslim sentiments on his page. One included a meme, which read, 'If we're removing statues because of the Civil War … we should be removing mosques because of 9/11.'"

        It also says that Mr. Christian has promoted the notion of a whites-only area in the Northwest.

        Mike Bivins, a freelance journalist in Oregon, said he encountered Mr. Christian last month at a free-speech march being held by conservative groups. During the rally, Mr. Bivins filmed as Mr. Christian yelled racial slurs, made threatening remarks about Muslims, Jews and "fake Christians" and referred to himself as a nihilist.

        "I didn't think that video would lead to being some sort of evidence of his possible premeditated hate crime," Mr. Bivins said in an interview.

        On the video, while Mr. Christian is seen yelling, other demonstrators are pointedly disavowing his comments. And on Saturday, Richard B. Spencer, a white nationalist and well-known self-appointed leader of the fringe alt-right movement, condemned the attack.

        The attack on Friday occurred around 5 p.m. in a train car on Portland's light-rail system. The attacker began yelling — calling Muslims "criminals" — shortly after the two women boarded, said Evelin Hernandez, a train passenger.

        "He said, 'Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don't pay taxes here,'" Ms. Hernandez told KATU-TV.

        When the men tried to intervene, Mr. Christian pulled out a knife and slashed them, Ms. Hernandez and the police said.

        The attacker fled the train car but was soon arrested, the police said, adding that a review of Mr. Christian's record did not show any known history of mental illness.



        6)  A Muslim-American Activist's Speech Raises Ire Even Before It's Delivered

        MAY 26, 2017




        Linda Sarsour, one of the most prominent Muslim-American activists in New York, says the messages have been arriving by the hour recently.

        "Your time is coming."

        "A good Arab is a dead Arab."

        "You're getting two bullets in your head."

        Ms. Sarsour, one of the lead organizers of the Women's March on Washington, has tackled issues like immigration policy, mass incarceration, stop-and-frisk and the New York Police Department's spying operation on Muslims — all of which have largely inured her to hate-tinged criticism.

        But it is the commencement address she is to deliver next week to about 100 students at the City University of New York School of Public Health that she says has drawn the most hostility and ire she has ever experienced.

        "Linda Sarsour is a Sharia-loving, terrorist-embracing, Jew-hating, ticking time bomb of progressive horror," the conservative media personality Milo Yiannopoulos said at a rally on Thursday outside CUNY's main office, as protesters held signs with images associated with the often racist and anti-Semitic language used by what is known as the alt-right, a far-right, white nationalist movement.

        The controversy over Ms. Sarsour's appearance is the latest dispute in a heated national dialogue over free speech on university campuses.

        But in this instance, the roles have been reversed. Other protests have largely pitted left-wing students against conservative speakers like Mr. Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, Gavin McInnes and Charles Murray. This time, conservatives are leading the charge against Ms. Sarsour.

        Her critics are a strange mix, including right-leaning Jews and Zionists, commentators like Pamela Geller, and some members of the alt-right.

        They accuse her of sympathizing with terrorists, supporting Sharia law and anti-Semitism for statements she has made about politics in the Middle East.

        The CUNY chancellor, James B. Milliken, has defended the appearance on the basis of free speech, and a group of CUNY professors, some prominent progressives and liberal Jewish groups have spoken in her support.

        Fred Smith Jr., a constitutional scholar and assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, said the controversy was a reminder of the bipartisan nature of the outcry over free-speech issues.

        "There are a few people who have been very effective in branding the left at shutting down free speech, but the moment they are confronted with leftist speech they don't like, they are equally outraged and poised to suppress that speech," he said. "I don't think that's the answer for either side. The more you try to suppress speech, the more the ideas of the suppressed speaker become salient to more people. It makes the person more well known and attracts more people to those ideas."

        The debate about Ms. Sarsour's speech began last month with Dov Hikind, a conservative Democratic state assemblyman who represents a largely Orthodox community in Brooklyn. Mr. Hikind said Ms. Sarsour should not have been chosen, pointing to her recent appearance in Chicago with Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted in Israel of playing a role in the bombing of a supermarket that killed two civilians in 1969.

        Mr. Hikind also pointed to a picture Ms. Sarsour once posted on Twitterof a Palestinian boy standing across from police officers with rocks in his hands. Ms. Sarsour wrote that the photo was "The definition of courage."

        Mr. Hikind said in a phone interview, "You can't support a terrorist and then be the commencement speaker at a university that my taxes help pay for."

        His opposition drew a flurry of coverage in late April, as news that Ms. Sarsour had been invited to speak spread among local news outlets, Jewish publications and the conservative media establishment. Mr. Hikind's office also circulated a letter signed by 100 holocaust survivors asking Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to cancel the address.

        Unlike some controversies over Israel that have occasionally split New York liberals, this one seems to have united many progressives behind Ms. Sarsour. A coalition of groups rallied in front of City Hall this month to support her right to speak.

        Brad Lander, a Democratic city councilman from Brooklyn, described the accusations against Ms. Sarsour as "preposterous," and pointed to her help in raising money to repair two Jewish cemeteries that were vandalized in St. Louis and Pennsylvania in February.

        "She's been in my synagogue," he said. "She and my rabbi are friends. There's no doubt that part of what this is is backlash against the idea of having a Palestinian-American as a visible leader and inheritor of the civil rights movement."

        He added, "One terrible feature of the Trump regime is that it threatens to tribalize all of us."

        At the protest, even Mr. Yiannopoulos briefly acknowledged Ms. Sarsour's right to speak, before making a racially tinged joke about her getting paid in goats. He was more restrained in an emailed response to a question.

        "Unlike some of the other speakers, I don't want Sarsour canceled," he wrote. "I want as many people as possible to hear her odious thoughts. That doesn't mean I can't explain why she is dangerous and wrong."

        Ms. Sarsour said she had nothing to apologize about for her views.

        She said there were questions about the integrity of Ms. Odeh's conviction many decades ago. The photo of the Palestinian boy was taken during a week when about 200 Palestinians had been killed, she said. And she said she had never planned to speak about Israel in the commencement address.

        Ms. Sarsour said she believed she became a target for far-right conservatives in the days after the Women's March, which she said was evidence of a larger "Islamophobia industry."

        She has hired two private bodyguards to accompany her to public events. She says she regrets that she has not been able to shield her three children, all teenagers, from the vitriol and threats she has received online. Still, she said, she does not plan to be silent.

        "I'm Muslim, I'm Palestinian, I'm a woman in a hijab," she said. "I'm everything they stand against."

        She added, "I have a bigger mission here."



        7)  Mexico Gets 1st Female Indigenous Presidential Candidate

        MAY 28, 2017


        MEXICO CITY — A council of Mexican indigenous groups backed by the Zapatista rebels on Sunday selected a Nahua woman as the country's first indigenous female presidential candidate.

        The Indigenous Governance Council picked Maria de Jesus Patricio to run in the 2018 election, issuing a statement saying that "we will seek to put her name on the ballot." Because the council is not a registered political party, it may need signatures to get Patricio on the ballot.

        The council called for an "anti-capitalist and honest" government. "We don't seek to administer power; we seek to dismantle it," it said.

        Local media described Patricio as a traditional healer from the western state of Jalisco.

        The Zapatistas led a brief armed uprising for the rights of indigenous communities in 1994, but have stayed out of electoral politics.



        8)  Hands Off Venezuela

        Statement on Venezuela by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and the Black Alliance for Peace

        United National Antiwar Coalition, May 2017


        The United States has been conducting a brutal, 20-year-long campaign of destabilization against Venezuela in an attempt to cause "regime change" in that country.  This has taken the form of economic sabotage and financial manipulation as well as support for the mobilization of right-wing forces in increasingly violent demonstrations.

        This is not a recent policy but one that has also been carried out under the Obama and Bush administrations as well as the present Trump administration. In 2002, right-wing forces inside Venezuela attempted a coup against then-President Hugo Chávez. Many sources have confirmed that the U.S. gave the go-ahead to the opposition to orchestrate the coup and promised support.  Soon after the coup, the people of Venezuela turned out in the streets in massive numbers and restored Chávez to the presidency.

        Barack Obama continued the assault on the Venezuelan revolution by imposing crippling sanctions and asserting that Venezuela was a "security threat" to the United States. These attacks from the U.S. exemplify attempts to realize full-spectrum dominance, the epitome of imperialist intervention, which has brought so much suffering to the world.

        Some of the very same opposition leaders who were involved in the 2002 coup attempt are today behind the present unrest, which has seen well-financed opposition forces leading violent protests against the government of Nicolas Maduro. The U.S. corporate media has reported on these actions but has blamed the violence on the Venezuelan government and has not reported the huge mobilizations in defense of the Maduro government.

        Now a bipartisan bill has been submitted in the Senate (S.1018) with the intention of further destabilizing Venezuela.  For more information on this bill and some actions you can take to oppose it, please go to: 

        The economic crisis in Venezuela is severe. The Venezuelan economy is dependent on its large oil resources.  The oil has been nationalized since 1976, but there has been a continual push from U.S. interests as well as wealthy Venezuelans to privatize it. Though the oil remains nationalized, the refining, transportation, and markets are all private and have been used to undercut the ability of the oil industry to support the economy. Additionally, in the past few years, with the encouragement of Wall Street, oil production around the world has been kept high, driving down the price, which hurts oil-dependent economies, including those of countries that the U.S. opposes, such as Russia and Iran, in addition to Venezuela.

        The U.S. media also has been full of stories of Venezuelan supermarkets with near-empty shelves and long lines of people seeking basic necessities. What hasn't been reported is that the privately owned food corporations are deliberately hoarding supplies intended for working-class neighborhoods while making sure that food and other goods are readily available in the wealthier areas.

        The Bolivarian Revolution has always endeavored to be an ally of the people of United States and to extend a hand of friendship and solidarity.  When the U.S. government turned its back on the people of the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Venezuelan government offered humanitarian aid but was rebuffed. Venezuela provided fuel assistance to low-income Black and Brown people when the U.S. government would not.

        These acts reinforced the strong support that many in the Black community had for the process in Venezuela and deepened the commitment of Black activists to stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela and their process. This support is in line with the long-standing Black radical tradition of defending nations under imperialist attack by the U.S. government. 

        The defeat of the Bolivarian Revolution at the hands of U.S. imperialism and its reactionary right-wing allies in Venezuela would be a defeat for progressive forces all over the world and a disaster for the people of Venezuela and its people, as it has been in Libya and Ukraine and Haiti and every nation that has lost its sovereignty to the two-party commitment to imperialist intervention.

        UNAC and the Black Alliance for Peace demand:

        ·       End US interference in the affairs of Venezuela!

        ·       Self-determination for the Venezuelan people!

        ·       End the sanctions and economic warfare now!

        United National Antiwar Coalition, May 2017




        9) War on Terror is Not Working

        The Real News Network, May 29, 2017


        Corbyn: War on terror is not working—we need a new solution 

        By Sharmini Peries

        "We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism." —Jeremy Corbyn

        Interview with Kam Sandhu, an investigative journalist and editor, and co-founder of the UK based independent media outlet Real Media, regarding Jeremy Corbyn's response to the bombing in Manchester.

        May 29, 2017—The two main British party leaders have vocalized their anti terror policies on Friday, this follows a nationwide hiatus in respect of political campaigning that was put into place after the Manchester bombing. Theresa May the Conservative Prime Minister has focused on the role of technology and social media firms, claiming they must do more to support the fight against terrorism.

        Leader of the opposition Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, struck a decisively different tone, this is a part of what he had to say:

        "There is no question about the seriousness of what we face. Over recent years the threat of terrorism has continued to grow. You deserve to know what a Labor government will do to keep you, and your family safe. Our approach would involve change at home and change abroad.

        "At home, we will reverse the cuts to our emergency services and police, once again in Manchester they proved to be the best of us. Austerity has to stop, at the Accident and Emergency ward, and at the police station door. If the security services need more resources to keep track of those who wish to murder and maim, then they should and they will get them.

        "We will also change what we do abroad. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed out the connections between wars that we've been involved in or supported and fought in, in other countries such as Libya, and terrorism here at home. That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions. Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism."

        Sharmini Peries: Joining us today for a discussion on all of this regarding the UK general election, is Kam Sandhu. Kam is an investigative journalist and editor, and co-founder of the UK based independent media outlet Real Media. Thanks for joining me again Kam.

        Kam Sandhu: It's good to see you Sharmini, thank you for having me.

        Sharmini Peries: All right Kam, so tell me, Jeremy Corbyn has struck against the role of UK foreign policy as a contributing factor, as far as the types of terror attacks and experiences that Londoners and Manchesters have had. What is a reaction to these arguments?

        Kam Sandhu: Well I think it's been a very important day for British politics, because as you say, when Jeremy Corbyn was laying out his ideas for foreign policy, while he derided all of these people involved in the Manchester attack on Monday night, he, perhaps for the first time in a number of years, has played the role of a politician who has said that the war on terror is not working, and that we need to find a new solution to these kinds of problems, because this is going to keep happening again and again.

        The reason that's kind of important is, we don't get to hear that kind of thing, and the attacks that we've had, we had the Westminster attack at the beginning of the year and the July 7, 2005 (7/7) bombings, we haven't had perhaps a more nuanced discussion about the things that are causing this. And in the 7/7 bombings, just like in Manchester on Monday night, these people were British nationals, and so this kind of rhetoric that we've had as a result of these attacks, in terms of attacking immigrants and attacking refugees, it doesn't really make any sense, and perhaps for the first time, Jeremy Corbyn has been able to bring that issue to the table in a way that doesn't take away from the fact that there is a lot of grieving and a lot of pain still going on, certainly in Manchester.

        Sharmini Peries: Kam, the press, including for example, The Daily Telegraph, have been quite hostile to the position of Jeremy Corbyn, whereas other papers haven't really covered it yet, but in the past, even the joint intelligence reports as well as the Chilcot inquiry (British public inquiry into the nation's role in the Iraq War) into the Iraq war made it quite clear that the invasion would substantially increase the threat of terrorism. Why is Corbyn's position being received so hostilely, such hostility in the UK media?

        Kam Sandhu: Well I don't think...That's a very important question and I don't think it is surprising that a paper like The Daily Telegraph, and I did manage to catch that front page, which is, essentially, they span the story to say that Corbyn blames the attack on UK foreign policy. Now that is not close to what he said, but this is the kind of attacks that Corbyn has received throughout the time that he's become leader of the Labor Party. 

        As soon as he was elected as leader of the Labor Party the first time, there was a huge vote on Syria, and the bombing of Syria, and that caused huge fractions between him and his party, Hilary Benn, you might remember, made a very passionate speech about the reasons that we must go and intervene in Syria.

        This is the point that they've always tried to get him on. Corbyn has a history of being part of the Stop the War Coalition; he wants to take different actions to prevent greater actions by the UK abroad, and certainly in ways that will de-stabilize other countries. This is not just a Corbyn thing, this is a conversation that this country has not been allowed to have for many, many years, and I'll give you an example of that.

        Glen Greenwald, not so long ago, wrote an article about antiwar voices in the media, and he said, that after the Iraq war political commentators or political figures, weren't allowed to maintain their credibility if they didn't support the Iraq war in some way, or if they were against it, they weren't allowed to question the moral position of that war.

        We've seen over ten years, Iraq and certainly the actions taken around it, the number of deaths that it caused, and the ongoing pain. You know, the length of it, this was not meant to be a long war, and it's ended up being one of the longest ones that the U.S. has been involved in. This is kind of resulting from all of that silence that's happened over a long, long time, and I think a lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief that for the first time in the last decade, a leading politician has been able to come forward and say that we have a role to play in this too.

        Sharmini Peries: Kam, how significant are Jeremy Corbyn's other positions regarding emergency services likely to be treated by the public and of course the media?

        Kam Sandhu: I think he's going to have a huge amount of support, I mean as we were talking about foreign policy today, but we were also talking about the security of this nation, and he says that he's going to implement 20,000 new police officers, which is, by the way, the amount that Theresa May cut the police force by, and that is the reason we now have soldiers on our streets after the Manchester attack, because she cut those in 2015, while telling the Police Federation that they were scaremongering her about these cuts.

        So we've seen a kind of direct result of Theresa May's policy already, and how potentially that is already leaving us insecure, so I think, hopefully, I personally would like to see an increase in the protection of our public services, in terms of not just the police forces, but the NHS (National Health Service) and so on. I think his policies will certainly resonate with people more and more now.

        Sharmini Peries: All right. How significant do you think the speech that Theresa May had made focusing on technology firms and national security, and how they have to be involved in helping them identify terrorists by using social media and the Internet?

        Kam Sandhu: Well yes, she's come out and kind of suggested that people like Google and Facebook need to certainly do more to identify risks, and identify places that people are being radicalized, or people are organizing, or that people are even being groomed. Now there is evidence to back this up, there are calls for greater action from ISP providers, from big organizations like Facebook and Google, however to put this into context of Theresa May and her legacy, in that manifesto, Theresa May also said that she wanted to bring in really, really harsh regulation of the Internet, to the extent that, the government would control what was being said online. 

        I think one of the comments in that manifesto was that, "Some people think that the government should have no place in regulating the Internet, but we disagree." Theresa May is also responsible for bringing in the IP Bill, which is a very Draconian Bill derided by human rights lawyers and privacy groups alike, which has, "Essentially sold privacy in the UK down the river." In the words of Martha Spurrier, who works for Liberty, a leading human rights foundation here.

        So putting that into context, the politics of Theresa May, it's to be questioned about whether she's doing this for everybody's safety, or whether this is another level of her intercepting peoples privacy.

        Sharmini Peries: All right Kam, we are less than 20 days from the election, we'll be keeping an eye on this, and I thank you so much for joining us, and briefing us on what is happening there. Thank you.

        Kam Sandhu: No problem, thank you.

        Sharmini Peries: And thank you for joining us on The Real New Network.

        The Real News Network, May 29, 2017




        10)  Cleveland Police Officer Who Shot Tamir Rice Is Fired

        MAY 30, 2017




        Cleveland officials said the police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, setting off national protests, was fired on Tuesday.

        At a news conference, officials said that Timothy Loehmann, who fired the fatal shot, would be terminated immediately and that Frank Garmback, an officer who was driving the patrol car, would be suspended for 10 days beginning Wednesday.

        The decision came after what Mayor Frank Jackson of Cleveland called an "exhaustive process" of investigation.

        Cleveland's chief of police, Calvin Williams, said at the news conference that Mr. Loehmann's firing was effective immediately. Mr. Garmback would be required to take an additional tactical training course.

        "This has been tough on our entire community, and definitely on the Rice family," said Mr. Williams. "When this happened in 2014, I made the comment that this is of course a tragedy, but it's even more tragic that it happened at the hands of a Cleveland police officer."

        The officers were dispatched after Tamir was reported for playing with a pellet gun near a recreation center. Though the caller specified that the gun was "probably fake," that information was not communicated to the responding officers. Video released after the incident showed that Officer Loehmann shot Tamir within two seconds of the patrol car pulling up beside the boy.

        In 2015, a grand jury declined to bring charges against any of the officers involved in the shooting, which inflamed national outrage over this and other prominent killings of young African-Americans by police officers.

        In January, it was announced that the two officers along with a third officer, William Cunningham, would face administrative charges from the department. Those charges were brought after a special committee was created by the department to investigate Tamir's shooting.

        In March, an emergency dispatcher was suspended from work for eight days for violating protocol in her handling of the call.



        11)   Recipients Fear Cuts to Food Stamps and Disability Aid in Trump Budget

        MAY 31, 2017




        JACKSON, Miss. — Hoyt Cantrell drove a truck for more than 20 years before seizures — 23 of them since 2009 — cost him his livelihood. His two-bedroom house in the heart of this Southern state capital is partially boarded up, with no running water or electricity, but he cannot afford much better.

        He has tried hard to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance and food stamps. So far, he has failed.

        To President Trump, people like Mr. Cantrell are the exceptions in the expanding world of American poverty. In the view of his administration, access to food stamps is far too easy, and disability is just a matter of finding a friendly judge.

        The budget that the president has proposed for the coming fiscal year would expand a work requirement for "able-bodied" adults receiving help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, slicing $192 billion over 10 years. He would also trim $70 billion from Social Security's disability program by tightening access.

        "We need people to go to work," said Mick Mulvaney, the White House's budget director and the proposal's chief architect. "If you're on food stamps, and you're able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you're on disability insurance, and you're not supposed to be — if you're not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work. We need everybody pulling in the same direction."

        Mr. Cantrell, 50, is not surprised that Mr. Trump is trying to make a hard process even harder. "The bigwigs are going to do what they want anyway," Mr. Cantrell said. "I just live day to day on what God gives me. But it's hard to do sometimes."

        To Mr. Mulvaney, the president's proposal is the essence of compassion, a policy shift from Washington to move the poor from dependence to work — and on to true economic success. The population on food stamps has swollen drastically since the Great Recession of 2008, to a peak of almost 48 million in 2013, up from 28 million five years before.

        With the economy improved and employment nearing capacity, the number of people receiving food stamps remains stubbornly high; 44 million people received the benefit in 2016. Social Security Disability Insurance rolls have also been sticky. About 11 million people, including workers, spouses and children, were on disability in 2016, up from nine million in 2008 and six million in 1996.

        Such numbers have convinced supporters of work requirements that far too many people are taking advantage of the system. The federal government already requires some adults without dependents to work for benefits like food stamps and cash assistance. Now, more Americans — including possibly those with children and those who are older than 49 — could be required to work as well.

        "You need to make sure people on the programs taking in these benefits are actually eligible," said John Nothdurft, director of government relations at the Heartland Institute, a conservative research group in Illinois. "So the more we can get rid of waste, fraud and abuse, the better we can help the people who actually do need the assistance."

        But advocates for the poor fear that Mr. Trump's policies underestimate the difficulty of obtaining benefits — and could overestimate the capacity of some beneficiaries to work.

        To most who see her, Shakeitha Perry would fit the definition of "able-bodied adult," despite the $735 in disability and $56 in food stamps that she receives each month. Ms. Perry sometimes volunteers at a center to help other disabled people, has no children to care for at home and displays no obvious physical ailment.

        But for six years of her childhood, Ms. Perry was repeatedly molested and raped by her stepfather. She stopped speaking altogether after she was removed from her home, and when she finally could put together sentences again, she was left terrified of men, suffering through frequent panic attacks and navigating daily doses of medication to cope with bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

        Now she fears she could be a prime target as Mr. Trump takes a page from the 1990s welfare overhaul, which created work requirements and established time limits for public assistance.

        "I don't think he knows how people like me will have to try to survive because of something he might do," Ms. Perry said of Mr. Trump. "He doesn't know what I have to endure. He doesn't know what the next person has to endure."

        In Knoxville, Tenn., Aaron Gilmore, 30, does not see an easy road to the dole either. One day last week, he had spent the morning doing some paving work as a day laborer, bringing in less than $6 an hour, before stopping for something to eat at a homeless ministry.

        "They call this skid row," he said. "My dad told me, 'Son, you don't want to end up there.' And that's where I ended up. It's just so hard here."

        He knows from food stamps, having grown up on them. "My mother raised me and my sister by herself, my dad was always in prison," he said. "And she worked as many jobs as she could." He was on food stamps himself, recently, but was kicked off by Tennessee's work requirements during a dry spell of finding jobs.

        His mother was also on disability, though it had taken her years to get it, despite a gunshot wound, hepatitis C and a host of other health problems. Though he has worked off and on at low-wage jobs — working in the kitchen at McDonald's, mowing lawns, doing day labor, jobs made difficult with no transportation and no reliable place to sleep — he had applied six times for disability benefits because of mental problems. He was denied all six times.

        "I think disability is as strict as it could be right now," he said. Especially, he said, for people like those in this mission, who rely on caseworkers to help them with the most basic of tasks, "just getting from A to B."

        Despite what looks like swollen rosters, the current social safety net is largely underfunded, said Micah Dutro, a lawyer at Disability Rights Mississippi, a nonprofit that represents disabled clients. Many people who need help are not receiving it.

        Since last January, about 83,000 people receiving food stamps in Mississippi between the ages of 18 and 49 without dependents have been required to work, or prove they are looking for work, at least 20 hours a week to receive food stamps, according to Beth Orlansky, advocacy director of the Mississippi Center for Justice, a group focused on issues of racial and economic inequality. The rules originated a decade ago in Washington, but because of its high poverty rates, Mississippi had been allowed a waiver since 2006.

        This year, state officials chose not to apply for an extension of that waiver, and "able-bodied adults" got new rules, Ms. Orlansky said.

        While asking people to work might sound like a good idea "in the abstract," she said, a state like Mississippi — with large pockets of poverty, sprawling rural communities and some of the highest rates of people on disability and food stamps — does not have enough jobs in the right places. Most people receiving food stamps and disability are doing some sort of work, but they need better skills and education to rise above poverty wages.

        "It's easy to pick on people who can't really stand up for themselves and point them out as leeches on the federal government," Ms. Orlansky said. "But it's not helpful to our society."

        Mr. Dutro said he was particularly frustrated with the portrayal of disability as easy to get when in most cases it can take years of appeals and court hearings. It can be doubly hard for people like Ms. Perry, who appear on the surface as high-functioning adults with no physical problems.

        "When I hear people say that it is too easy to get on disability, I wonder what system they are talking about," Mr. Dutro said.

        Melissa Cooper, 57, began receiving disability benefits shortly after a bullet tore through her spine and paralyzed her while she was sitting in a car outside a store in Memphis, Tenn. For 20 years she could not work as she learned to cope with life as a paraplegic and raise three children with the help of family. Then last year, she earned a bachelor's degree in English at the University of Mississippi and got a job helping others who are disabled learn to live independently at the Living Independence for Everyone Center in Jackson.

        Mr. Trump's possible vetting of disabled benefits both scares and disturbs her. Though she can work now, she said it was more complicated than assessing whether someone was physically ready to enter the work force.

        "He cannot put himself in my shoes and know the mental trauma associated with me having lost my mobility or how long it took me to get my head back on straight and to want to live," Ms. Cooper said as she shuffled in her wheelchair and began to cry.

        At the East Tennessee Technology Access Center, a nonprofit organization in Knoxville that helps people with disabilities learn to use technologies, there was only anxiety and gloom about the proposed changes. Not that the disability benefits program was perfect, but that the risks of imperfections in no way justified the risks of withholding help from those who deserve it.

        "I keep thinking of something my grandmother used to say, about throwing the baby out with the bath water," said Joel Simmons, 55, a counselor at the center who seven years ago had his spinal cord transected in a car accident. "It's cutting off your nose to spite your face. Are we going to just have survival of the fittest?"

        Mr. Simmons's condition is easy to see. But there are others who unquestionably need these meager benefits, he said, but whose disabilities are not as immediately clear.

        "Who's going to decide," he said of any plan to restrict access. "You've got a lot of hidden disabilities. Who's going to make these decisions? Donald Trump?"



        12)  The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' at 50: Still Full of Joy and Whimsy

        Leer en español 
        MAY 30, 2017

        A half-century after its release, the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is a relic of a vanished era. Like a Fabergé egg or a Persian miniature, it speaks of an irretrievable past, when time moved differently, craftsmanship involved bygone tools and art was experienced more rarely and with fewer distractions.

        It's an analog heirloom that's still resisting oblivion — perhaps because, even in its moment, it was already contemplating a broader sweep of time. The music on "Sgt. Pepper" reached back far before rock as well as out into an unmapped cosmos, while its words — seesawing between Paul McCartney's affability and John Lennon's tartness — offered compassion for multiple generations.

        We simply can't hear "Sgt. Pepper" now the way it affected listeners on arrival in 1967. Its innovations and quirks have been too widely emulated, its oddities long since absorbed. Sounds that were initially startling — the Indian instruments and phrasing of George Harrison's "Within You Without You," the tape-spliced steam-organ collage of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," the orchestral vastnesses of "A Day in the Life" — have taken on a patina of nostalgia. "Sgt. Pepper" and its many musical progeny have blurred into a broader memory of "psychedelia," a sonic vocabulary (available to current music-makers via sampling) that provides instant, predigested allusions to the 1960s. Meanwhile, the grand lesson of "Sgt. Pepper" — that anything goes in the studio — has long since been taken for granted.

        "Sgt. Pepper" has been analyzed, researched, oral-historied and dissected down to the minute differences between pressings, and because the Beatles industry never misses an anniversary, it has been repeatedly reissued. The 50th-anniversary deluxe version is exhaustive. It has been remixed and once again remastered to give the album a broader soundstage and crisper detail, giving more separation to individual voices and instruments. (For the older blend, it also includes the mono mix from 1967.) The new box rightfully incorporates "Strawberry Fields" and "Penny Lane," the masterpieces recorded alongside "Sgt. Pepper" but released before the album. It also has outtakes, comprehensive reading material, video clips from 1967 and a documentary about making the album. (The anecdotes are now familiar because the film was done for the album's 25th anniversary.)

        "Sgt. Pepper" was not universally adored when it appeared. The New York Times panned it, not entirely incorrectly, as "busy, hip and cluttered." As pop tastes have swung between elaborate musical edifices and back-to-basics reactions, "Sgt. Pepper" has been by turns embraced, reviled and simply ignored.

        But now that rock itself is being shunted toward the fringes of pop, it's a good time to free "Sgt. Pepper" from the burden of either forecasting rock's eclectic future or pointing toward a fussy dead end. It doesn't have to be "the most important rock & roll album ever made," as Rolling Stone declared in 2012, or some wrongheaded counter-revolutionary coup against "real" rock 'n' roll. It's somewhere in between, juxtaposing the profound and the merely clever.

        Although the album as a whole is synergistic, song by song it's a mix of milestones, like "A Day in the Life" and "Within You Without You," with meticulously wrought baubles like "Lovely Rita" and "Good Morning Good Morning." Two of its most remarkable songs, "Strawberry Fields" and "Penny Lane," aren't even on the album. But with 50 years of hindsight, "Sgt. Pepper" remains a joyful, whimsical and revelatory experiment. Even the album's slightest songs are full of musical and verbal twists.

        For people who, like me, heard the album brand-new in 1967, "Sgt. Pepper" remains inseparable from its era. It was released on June 1, the beginning of the Summer of Love. It was a time of prosperity, naïve optimism and giddy discovery, when the first baby boomers were just reaching their 20s and mind-expanding drugs had their most benign reputation.

        In 1967, candy-colored psychedelic pop and rock provided a short-lived but euphoric diversion from conflicts that would almost immediately resurface: the Vietnam War and America's racial tension. "Sgt. Pepper" remains tied to that brief moment of what many boomers remember as innocence and possibility — the feeling captured perfectly in "Getting Better," even as Lennon taunts, "It can't get no worse."

        Yet for the Beatles, that instant of cultural innocence was a strategic artistic opening. By 1967, the Beatles were by no means ingenuous. They had already been through exponentially expanding pop stardom, endless screaming crowds and the fierce American backlash against Lennon's flippant 1966 remark that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus now."

        After three years of hectic touring and recording, and of jaw-droppingly rapid development as songwriters amid the tempest, the Beatles decided to get off the road, where they couldn't hear themselves play, and to focus on making studio albums. They took five months — an eternity at the time, now barely a pause for a new wardrobe and sponsorship deal — to record the "Sgt. Pepper" album, "Strawberry Fields" and "Penny Lane." With "Revolver," they had embraced studio surrealism and partly jettisoned love songs, and for its successor they would have more time to think and tinker. Yet they still worked amazingly fast, harnessing the era's primitive technology to pack wild ideas onto four-track tape. Each "Sgt. Pepper" song creates its own sonic realm, far removed from the live Beatles' two guitars, bass and drums.

        They gave themselves a usefully loose concept. They would become Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, setting aside all outside expectations of the Beatles and treating the album as a performance complete with canned audience reaction: a theatrical, distancing device.

        While the Beatles had traveled the world, only "Within You Without You" flaunted the exotic. Mostly, Sgt. Pepper's band was almost provincially British: wandering London in "A Day in the Life," telescoping an entire middle-class English life (complete with prospective grandchildren) above a music-hall bounce in "When I'm 64." Stalwart British brass answered the rowdy distorted guitar in "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"; "She's Leaving Home" is a stately waltz set to a harp and parlor orchestra that might have accompanied high tea. One of the Beatles' paths forward led through an expanded embrace of the past.

        They rejected any generation gap. The album cover set the 1967 Beatles, with their mustaches and shiny mock band uniforms, alongside their suited, mop-topped pop-star wax statues — so recent, yet so distant — and cultural figures like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sonny Liston and W. C. Fields, a rightful claim to adult significance. But the LP was also packaged with cardboard cutouts — a mustache, military stripes — like something for children. While the Summer of Love nurtured hippie dreams of creating a new world, the Beatles reminded listeners of how entrenched the old one was, and how comforting.

        But at the same time, "Sgt. Pepper" gazed forward in sound and sense. The Beatles and their producer, George Martin, concocted eerie, unforgettable sounds from hand-played instruments and analog tape tricks; "Strawberry Fields," which miraculously interweaves two arrangements of the song in two keys, remains a marvel of internal disorientation. And despite all the vintage references, "Sgt. Pepper" situated its songs in the present: sometimes a rushed, workaday world and sometimes a mind-altered escape. The album's magnificent, sobering finale, "A Day in the Life," understood — and anticipated — the ethical and emotional ambiguities of a world perceived through mass media, even back when the news media was just newspapers, radio and television.

        "Sgt. Pepper" had an immediate, short-lived bandwagon effect, as some late-1960s bands sought to figure out how to make those strange Beatles sounds, and others got more studio time and backup musicians than they needed. Artistic pretensions also notched up. And the pendulum started its long-term swings: progressive rock and corporate rock would be swatted back by punk and disco, hair metal would be blasted by grunge and hip-hop. The studio artifice that "Sgt. Pepper" daringly flaunted has long since become commonplace.

        Yet while "Sgt. Pepper" has been both praised and blamed for raising the technical and conceptual ante on rock, its best aspect was much harder to propagate. That was its impulsiveness, its lighthearted daring, its willingness to try the odd sound and the unexpected idea. Listening to "Sgt. Pepper" now, what comes through most immediately is not the pressure the Beatles put on themselves or the musicianly challenges they surmounted. It's the sheer improbability of the whole enterprise, still guaranteed to raise a smile 50 years on.



        13)  In Police Shootings, Finding Jurors Who Will Say 'Not Guilty'

        MAY 31, 2017



        When two Albuquerque police officers went on trial for murder last fall after the fatal shooting of a mentally ill homeless man, things did not look good for them. Police videos appeared to show the man turning away before officers fired. Their release had been preceded by a long history of police violence and followed by six days of protests. But defense lawyers thought they still had a chance — if they could get the right jury.

        "A jury was going to make that decision," said Sam Bregman, who defended one of the officers. "And picking that jury was the single most important aspect of the entire trial."

        Modern jury selection is a dark art practiced by a cottage industry of consultants who promise to sort antagonists from sympathizers using mock trials, questionnaires, exhaustive reviews of social media profiles and even photographs of prospective jurors' homes.

        The scrutiny is likely to be no less intense as jury selection begins this week in two highly publicized police shootings. One, the death of an unarmed black man during a traffic stop in Cincinnati, has already resulted in one hung jury. The other, in which a man's girlfriend live-streamed the moments after he was fatally wounded in a St. Paul suburb, also during a traffic stop, goes to trial for the first time.

        Choosing a jury has become more difficult as law enforcement violence has become a national issue and the recent profusion of videos of shootings has made prosecutions of officers more common and jurors less inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

        Prosecutors are looking for jurors who are usually more suspicious of law enforcement — liberals, minorities and people with arrest records — while the defense prefers conservatives, whites and the well-off, who tend to be more trusting of police officers. But those assumptions are not foolproof.

        A series of incidents in which videos appeared to contradict police accounts has eroded juries' trust. "A lot of people look at cops and say, 'Well, you probably did it because I've seen it over and over again on television,'" said Thomas P. Baggott, a 71-year-old clinical psychologist in Tucson who almost exclusively assists law enforcement defendants in lawsuits.

        That has given the jury selection process in police shooting trials an unusual twist: Discovering whether a potential juror has seen a video of the shooting is crucial. "Many people who want to be on a jury will deny they have seen the video," Mr. Baggott said. "We have to get them to confess to us."

        For prosecutors, it remains excruciatingly difficult to win a conviction against a police officer — juries must vote unanimously, so it takes only one holdout to derail a guilty verdict.

        Mr. Baggott, who spent 25 years as a Pennsylvania state trooper, was on one side of the jury selection face-off in Albuquerque.

        That battle offers a primer for what is likely to occur in the two forthcoming trials. In one, Ray Tensing, who was a University of Cincinnati campus police officer when he fatally shot Samuel DuBose, 43, during a traffic stop, faces charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. In his first trial, four jurors opposed conviction on either charge.

        Mr. Tensing is white, while Mr. DuBose was black. Last week, the judge ruled that a Confederate flag T-shirt that Mr. Tensing wore on the day of the shooting could not be admitted as evidence.

        In the other case, Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who is Latino, will stand trial for manslaughter after he fatally shot Philando Castile, 32, during a traffic stop. According to prosecutors, Mr. Castile, who was licensed to carry a gun, told the officer that he had a firearm moments before he was shot. Mr. Castile, who was black, was in the car with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her young daughter.

        Her Facebook video of the aftermath has been widely seen, but audio and video from the squad car has not been released publicly and is expected to be shown at the trial.

        Video, however, can be far from convincing. In Albuquerque, video of the 2014 shooting of the homeless man, James Boyd, 38, and the hourslong standoff that preceded it had spread through the city, leaving virtually everyone with an opinion about what had happened — and lowering public esteem for the police in general. The case, Albuquerque's first indictment of police officers in a shooting in at least three decades, riveted the city.

        Mr. Baggott offered free jury consultation to the two officers, Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy, after they were indicted on a charge of murder.

        On the opposing side was another firm, National Jury Project, which was hired by the special prosector assigned to the case, Randi McGinn, to advise on jury selection and other issues.

        The two sides had a pool of 1,450 potential jurors, of whom only basics like names and addresses were known. Focusing on the first few hundred on the list, the two sides set about searching the names online and checking Facebook profiles. Mr. Baggott even checked the profiles of their friends: A juror who may not reveal much online, he said, "usually adopts the views and attitudes of people they're friends with."

        George V. Laughrun II, a lawyer from Charlotte, N.C., who defended a white police officer in a 2015 manslaughter trial for the shooting of an unarmed black man, recalled one potential juror in particular. "She had answered every question perfectly," he said.

        But on Facebook, she expressed strong views against the defendant, enabling Mr. Laughrun to get her disqualified.

        Prosecutors in Albuquerque added a sheaf of questions to a 14-page questionnaire, which included what causes potential jurors had contributed to (law enforcement, the homeless and the National Rifle Association were among the choices) and whether they had ever felt threatened by someone with mental illness.

        Mr. Baggott, the defense consultant, took a different tack, dispatching workers to photograph the first 250 jurors' homes and automobiles.

        "I can tell a heck of a lot more about lifestyle and where a juror is going to come down by looking at your house," Mr. Baggott said. "One guy has a white picket fence, a pickup and car in the driveway, a couple of kids' toys on the porch. Everything's orderly, the lawn's mowed. This is going to be a person who pays attention to detail, a person who's reasonable and is hard-working."

        A ramshackle house and beat-up car suggest a less stable and dependable juror, he said. Vehicles offer a bonus: bumper stickers with political and religious messages that shed light on a jurors' leanings.

        Both sides tried to sift out the handful of candidates that might particularly help or hinder their case. Ms. McGinn looked for potential opponents who were also leaders — people in management, or who answered questions confidently or forcefully.

        "If you have a question about that person, that person is more dangerous to you than a follower, because they'll lead the jury in the other direction," she said.

        The defense focused on finding "sleepers" — candidates who hid their true views of the case in a bid to win a seat on the jury — through artful questioning during the selection process. Among those who passed muster, defense lawyers flagged people in jobs that dealt with facts, like engineers who based decisions on calculations, or accountants. "They believed in order," Luis Robles, who represented one of the officers, said in an interview. "Even if they're not leaders, they'd fight for us if they agreed with us."

        The jury, six men and six women, was seated in September, heard 12 days of testimony and deliberated for two days. By mid-October, they were a hung jury: nine favored acquittal, including all six women. Three favored conviction, including the accountant.

        The judge declared a mistrial. Officials elected not to seek a new trial.

        Ms. McGinn said she was disappointed, but unsurprised. "We recognized the impossibility of our task," she said. "It's a huge thing to find 12 people who will convict a police officer. This was the first prosecution here. I expected a 15-minute acquittal."

        Mr. Robles, on the other hand, was disappointed because there was no acquittal — and because the net they used to catch hostile jurors wasn't fine enough. "Soon as the verdict is read, the accountant goes downstairs and holds an impromptu news conference," he said. "I think, 'That's not like an accountant.'"

        Seeking to determine what went wrong, the lawyers asked investigators to perform some additional spadework. They found that while he held a job at an accounting firm, he also wrote online, under a pen name, about social justice and other issues.

        "We missed it," Mr. Robles said. "Shame on us."













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