Please make 3 phone calls to demand

health care for Mumia

If you're sick, you can go to a doctor or an emergency room to be examined and treated, in a hospital if necessary. If you're being held behind bars, getting sick can be a death sentence. Profits come before prisoner care for the Dept. of Correction's medical contractors.

SCI Mahanoy political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal needs your help in getting treatment for a severe skin disease so bad he told his wife Wadiya he "can't take it any more." For more than 2 years, he 

has suffered from intense itching all over his body.

The treatment for hepatitis C which we fought for and won has not cleared up his skin conditions.He is also concerned about his cirrhosis of the liver and neuropathy. People suspect tainted water may be causing problems for many prisoners.

Mumia and recent visitors report he can't sleep because the itching is so overpowering and relentless. His condition is worsening: his back, chest and arms have become rough and leathery, alligator-like. There appear to be hairline cracks in his skin that show bleeding.

Instead of a hands-on exam by an expert dermatologist, the DOC's doctor had a teleconference with Mumia, after which Ultra Violet (UVB) treatment and Dupixent were recommended.

Mumia stopped unsupervised, self-administered UVB treatment last year because his skin got burned.  Mumia's UVB treatment should be safely administered at a hospital with a Narrow Band UVB, reducing the risk of burns and is more effective than Broad Band UVB.

Mumia needs a full diagnostic work-up before he receives a new medicine like Dupixent, which can have serious side effects if administered incorrectly outside of a hospital setting.

Mumia has been unjustly imprisoned for 36 years. The DOC's continuing failure to effectively diagnose and treat this severe skin disease is nothing less than torture and is one more reason Mumia should be released from prison, now.

1.  Please call:

  •  SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa DelBalso: 570-773-2158
  •  PA Secretary of Corrections John E. Wetzel:
  • PA Dept of Health Acting Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine: 717-787-9857

Demand that Mumia be taken to an independent medical facility such as Geisinger Hospital, as in 2015, which has the expertise to provide thorough hands-on diagnostic evaluation and offer supervised patient care.

2. Pack the court on Jan 17 in Philadelphia to support his legal case eventually lead to Mumia's freedom. 

International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal  International Action Center,
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (NYC),
Campaign to Bring Mumia Home
Educators for Mumia

__________________________This message was sent to info@socialistviewpoint.org


International Letter in Support of Mumia Abu-Jamal


December 9, 2017
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner From:
Concerned Members of International Community


We, the undersigned individual and organizational members of the international community concerned with issues of human rights, call your attention to an egregious example of human rights violations in your respective jurisdictions: the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Specifically, we call on you both, key officials with the power to determine Abu-Jamal's fate, to:

  1. Assure that all the District Attorney and police files relevant to Abu-Jamal's case, be released publicly as the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is reviewing the potential involvement of retired Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille in a conflict of interest when he reviewed Abu Jamal's case as a PA Supreme Court Justice.
  2. Release Abu-Jamal now from his incarceration. That given the mounds of evidence of Abu-Jamal's innocence and even more evidence of police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct, his unjust incarceration, including almost 30 years on death row, his twice near-executions, his prison-induced illness which brought him to the brink of death, and the lack of timely treatment for his hepatitis-C which has left him with a condition, cirrhosis of the liver, which poses a potential threat to his life ... we call for the freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal now.

Now, Abu-Jamal has a new legal challenge in the Pennsylvania courts on the grounds that PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille had a conflict of interest when he denied Abu-Jamal's appeals from 1998-2014. The new action is based on a precedent setting U.S. Supreme Court decision, Williams v. Pennsylvania, that a judge who had been personally involved in a critical prosecutorial decision violates the defendant's right to an impartial judicial review if he then gets to rule on the case as a State Supreme Court Justice. Castille was the Philadelphia elected District Attorney during Abu-Jamal's first appeal process, after his conviction and death sentence, from 1986-1991. He was a PA Supreme Court Justice from 1994 to 2014, during which time Abu-Jamal's case came before him multiple times.

We demand: Public disclosure of the police and DA files! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now!!

To sign onto this letter please email infomumia@gmail.com with the subject line "International Letter for Mumia." Submit your full name as you want it listed and your organizational or professional identification.This identification is critical in a letter of this sort, as names alone carry little leverage.

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frantzfanonfoundation@amail.com - 58. rue Daquerre, 75014 Paris. +336 86 78 39 20. frantzfanonfoundation-fondationfrantzfanon.com 



Major George Tillery

A Case of Gross Prosecutorial Misconduct and Police Corruption

Sexual Favors and Hotel Rooms Provided by Police to Prosecution Fact Witness for Fabricated Testimony During Trial

By Nancy Lockhart, M.J.

August 24, 2016

Corruption in The State of Pennsylvania is being exposed with a multitude of public officials indicted by the US Attorney's office in 2015 and 2016.  A lengthy list of extortion, theft, and corruption in public service includes a former Solicitor, Treasurer and Veteran Police Officer  U.S. Department of Justice Corruption Prosecutions.  On Monday August 15, 2016 Pennsylvania State Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane was found guilty of all nine counts in a perjury and obstruction case related to a grand jury leak.  Pennsylvania's Attorney General Convicted On All Counts - New York Times

Although this is a small sampling of decades long corruption throughout the state of Pennsylvania, Major George Tillery has languished in prison over 31 years because of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption. Tillery was tried and convicted in 1985 in a trial where prosecutors and police created a textbook criminal story for bogus convictions. William Franklin was charged as a co-conspirator in the shootings, he was tried and convicted in December of 1980, because he refused to lie on Tillery.  Franklin is 69 years old according to the PADOC website and has been in prison 36 years. 

Major Tillery Is Not Represented by an Attorney and Needs Your Assistance to Retain One. Donate to Major Tillery's Legal Defense FundMajor Tillery, PA DOC# AM9786, will turn 66-years-old on September 9, 2016 and has spent over three decades in prison for crimes he did not commit. Twenty of those 31 plus years were spent in solitary confinement. Tillery has endured many very serious medical issues and medical neglect.  Currently, he is plagued with serious illnesses that include hepatitis C, stubborn skin rashes, dangerous intestinal disorders and a degenerative hip. His orthopedic shoes were taken by prison administrators and never returned.

Tillery, was convicted of homicide, assault, weapons and conspiracy charges in 1985, for the poolroom shootings which left one man dead and another wounded. William Franklin was the pool room operator at the time. The shooting occurred on October 22, 1976.  

Falsified testimony was the only evidence presented during trial. No other evidence linked Tillery to the 1976 shootings, except for the testimony of two jailhouse informants. Both men swore that they had received no promises, agreements, or deals in exchange for their testimony. Barbra Christie, the trial prosecutor, insisted to the Court and Jury that these witnesses were not given any plea agreements or sentencing promises. That was untrue.

Newly discovered evidence is the sole basis for Tillery's latest Pro Se filing. According to the  Post Conviction Relief Petition Filed June 15, 2016, evidence proves that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania committed fraud on the Court and Jury which undermined the fundamentals of due process. The newly discovered evidence in sworn declarations is from two prosecution fact witnesses. Those two witnesses provided the entirety of trial evidence against Major Tillery. The declarations explain false testimonies manufactured by the prosecution with the assistance of police detectives/investigators. On August 19, 2016 Judge Leon Tucker filed a Notice of Intent to Dismiss Major's PCRA petition.  Notice to Dismiss

Emanuel Claitt Has Come Forth to Declare His Testimony as Manufactured and Fabricated by Police and Prosecutors. Claitt states that his testimony during trial was fabricated and coerced by Assistant District Attorney Barbara Christie, Detectives John Cimino and James McNeshy.  Claitt swore that he was promised a very favorable plea agreement and treatment in his pending criminal cases.  Claitt was granted sexual favors in exchange for his false testimony. Claitt states that he was allowed to have sex with four different women in the homicide interview rooms and in hotel rooms in exchange for his cooperation. 

Prosecution fact witness Emanuel Claitt states in his  Declaration of Emanuel Claitt, and Emanuel Claitt Supplemental Declaration that testimony against Major Tillery was fabricated, coerced and coached by Assistant District Attorney's Leonard Ross, Barbara Christie, and Roger King with the assistance of Detectives Larry Gerrad, Ernest Gilbert, and Lt. Bill Shelton.  Claitt was threatened with false murder charges as well as, given promises and agreements of favorable plea deals and sentencing. In exchange for his false testimony, many of Claitt's cases were not prosecuted. He received probation. Additionally, he was sentenced to a mere 18 months for fire bombing and was protected after his arrest between the time of Franklin's and Tillery's trials.  

Trial Lawyer Operated Under Actual Conflict of Interest. Tillery discovered that his trial lawyer, Joseph Santaguida, also represented the victim. In other words, the victim in this case was represented by trial lawyer Santaguida and Santaguida also represented Major Tillery.  The Commonwealth has concealed newly discovered evidence as well as, evidence which would have been favorable to Major Tillery in the criminal trial. That evidence would have exonerated him. In light of the new Declarations which prove manufactured testimony by prosecutors and police, Major Tillery needs legal representation. He is not currently represented by an attorney. 

Donate: Major Tillery's Legal Defense FundClick Here & Donate



Art by Leonard Peltier

Free Leonard Peltier!

On my 43rd year in prison I yearn to hug my grandchildren.

By Leonard Peltier

I am overwhelmed that today, February 6, is the start of my 43rd year in prison. I have had such high hopes over the years that I might be getting out and returning to my family in North Dakota. And yet here I am in 2018 still struggling for my FREEDOM at 73.

I don't want to sound ungrateful to all my supporters who have stood by me through all these years. I dearly love and respect you and thank you for the love and respect you have given me.

But the truth is I am tired, and often my ailments cause me pain with little relief for days at a time. I just had heart surgery and I have other medical issues that need to be addressed: my aortic aneurysm that could burst at any time, my prostate, and arthritis in my hip and knees.

I do not think I have another ten years, and what I do have I would like to spend with my family. Nothing would bring me more happiness than being able to hug my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I did not come to prison to become a political prisoner. I've been part of Native resistance since I was nine years of age. My sister, cousin and I were kidnapped and taken to boarding school. This incident and how it affected my cousin Pauline, had an enormous effect on me.

This same feeling haunts me as I reflect upon my past 42 years of false imprisonment. This false imprisonment has the same feeling as when I heard the false affidavit the FBI manufactured about Myrtle Poor Bear being at Oglala on the day of the fire-fight—a fabricated document used to extradite me illegally from Canada in 1976.

I know you know that the FBI files are full of information that proves my innocence. Yet many of those files are still withheld from my legal team. During my appeal before the 8th Circuit, former Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Crooks said to Judge Heaney: "Your honor, we do not know who killed those agents. Further, we don't know what participation, if any, Mr. Peltier had in it."

That statement exonerates me, and I should have been released. But here I sit, 43 years later still struggling for my freedom. I have pleaded my innocence for so long now, in so many courts of law, in so many public statements issued through the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, that I will not argue it here. But I will say again, I DID NOT KILL THOSE AGENTS!

Right now, I need my supporters here in the U.S. and throughout the world helping me. We need donations large or small to help pay my legal team to do the research that will get me back into court or get me moved closer to home or a compassionate release based on my poor health and age. Please help me to go home, help me win my freedom!

There is a new petition my Canadian brothers and sisters are circulating internationally that will be attached to my letter. Please sign it and download it so you can take it to your work, school or place of worship. Get as many signatures as you can, a MILLION would be great!

I have been a warrior since age nine. At 73, I remain a warrior. I have been here too long. The beginning of my 43rd year plus over 20 years of good time credit, that makes 60-plus years behind bars.

I need your help. I need your help today! A day in prison for me is a lifetime for those outside because I am isolated from the world.

I remain strong only because of your support, prayers, activism and your donations that keep my legal hope alive.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse


Leonard Peltier

If you would like a paper petition, please email contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info.

—San Francisco Bay View, February 6, 2018


Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

USP Coleman I 

P.O. Box 1033 

Coleman, FL 33521

Donations can be made on Leonard's behalf to the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, PO Box 24, Hillsboro, OR 97123.






NorCal Rallies Planned to Protest New Offshore Drilling Plan

Sacramento, CA

February 8 


Heal the Bay, California Coastkeeper Alliance & Surfrider Foundation

JAN 27, 2018 — Major rallies are planned in California to Protect the Pacific and REJECT Washington's dangerous new offshore drilling draft proposal. There is ONLY ONE public meeting scheduled in California and as a result most people in the state are not able to access this opportunity to learn more about a huge proposal to give away ONE BILLION acres of U.S. coastal waters to potential oil and gas drilling. In fact, each state considered in the drilling plan only gets one public meeting. So, many Americans are out of luck. Which is why we must keep speaking out and making our voices heard.

In Northern California, a similar rally will occur in Sacramento at the Capitol on the day of the public meeting, which is February 8. Bus transportation is available to the rally (while space lasts) and we encourage public transportation as well.
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1754774281233684/

San Francisco Bus Page: 

Oakland Bus Page:

Santa Rosa Bus Page:

Ventura Bus Page:

There are many other rallies and protests planned throughout the state and nation. If you are attending an event near you, please share more details and the event link in the comments so others can consider joining too.

If you haven't already, please submit a public comment to federal officials by March 9.

We're taking a stand, we hope you can too!






From Clifford Conner

Dear friends and relatives

Every day the scoundrels who have latched onto Trump to push through their rightwing soak-the-poor agenda inflict a new indignity on the human race.  Today they are conspiring to steal the tips we give servers in restaurants.  The New York Times editorial appended below explains what they're trying to get away with now.

People like you and me cannot compete with the Koch brothers' donors network when it comes to money power.  But at least we can try to avoid putting our pittance directly into their hands.  Here is a modest proposal:  Whenever you are in a restaurant where servers depend on tips for their livelihoods, let's try to make sure they get what we give them.

Instead of doing the easy thing and adding the tip into your credit card payment, GIVE CASH TIPS and HAND THEM DIRECTLY TO YOUR SERVER. If you want to add a creative flourish such as including a preprinted note that explains why you are doing this, by all means do so.  You could reproduce the editorial below for their edification.

If you want to do this, be sure to check your wallet before entering a restaurant to make sure you have cash in appropriate denominations.

This is a small act of solidarity with some of the most exploited members of the workforce in America.  Perhaps its symbolic value could outweigh its material impact.  But to paraphrase the familiar song: What the world needs now is solidarity, sweet solidarity.

If this idea should catch on, be prepared for news stories about restaurant owners demanding that servers empty their pockets before leaving the premises at the end of their shifts.  The fight never ends!

Yours in struggle and solidarity,


The Trump Administration to Restaurants: Take the Tips!

The New York Times editorial board, December 21, 2017

Most Americans assume that when they leave a tip for waiters and bartenders, those workers pocket the money. That could become wishful thinking under a Trump administration proposal that would give restaurants and other businesses complete control over the tips earned by their employees.

The Department of Labor recently proposed allowing employers to pool tips and use them as they see fit as long as all of their workers are paid at least the minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour nationally and higher in some states and cities. Officials argue that this will free restaurants to use some of the tip money to reward lowly dishwashers, line cooks and other workers who toil in the less glamorous quarters and presumably make less than servers who get tips. Using tips to compensate all employees sounds like a worthy cause, but a simple reading of the government's proposal makes clear that business owners would have no obligation to use the money in this way. They would be free to pocket some or all of that cash, spend it to spiff up the dining room or use it to underwrite $2 margaritas at happy hour. And that's what makes this proposal so disturbing.

The 3.2 million Americans who work as waiters, waitresses and bartenders include some of the lowest-compensated working people in the country. The median hourly wage for waiters and waitresses was $9.61 an hour last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Further, there is a sordid history of restaurant owners who steal tips, and of settlements in which they have agreed to repay workers millions of dollars.

Not to worry, says the Labor Department, which argues, oddly and unconvincingly, that workers will be better off no matter how owners spend the money. Enlarging dining rooms, reducing menu prices or offering paid time off should be seen as "potential benefits to employees and the economy over all." The department also assures us that owners will funnel tip money to employees because workers would quit otherwise.

t is hard to know how much time President Trump's appointees have spent with single mothers raising two children on a salary from a workaday restaurant in suburban America, seeing how hard it is to make ends meet without tips. What we do know is that the administration has produced no empirical cost-benefit analysis to support its proposal, which is customary when the government seeks to make an important change to federal regulations.

The Trump administration appears to be rushing this rule through — it has offered the public just 30 days to comment on it — in part to pre-empt the Supreme Court from ruling on a 2011 Obama-era tipping rule. The department's new proposal would do away with the 2011 rule. The restaurant industry has filed several legal challenges to that regulation, which prohibits businesses from pooling tips and sharing them with dishwashers and other back-of-the-house workers. Different federal circuit appeals courts have issued contradictory rulings on those cases, so the industry has asked the Supreme Court to resolve those differences; the top court has not decided whether to take that case.

Mr. Trump, of course, owns restaurants as part of his hospitality empire and stands to benefit from this rule change, as do many of his friends and campaign donors. But what the restaurant business might not fully appreciate is that their stealth attempt to gain control over tips could alienate and antagonize customers. Diners who are no longer certain that their tips will end up in the hands of the server they intended to reward might leave no tip whatsoever. Others might seek to covertly slip cash to their server. More high-minded restaurateurs would be tempted to follow the lead of the New York restaurateur Danny Meyer and get rid of tipping by raising prices and bumping up salaries.

By changing the fundamental underpinnings of tipping, the government might well end up destroying this practice. But in doing so it would hurt many working-class Americans, including people who believed that Mr. Trump would fight for them.





Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

Charity for the Wealthy!

GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 of America's Largest Corporations a $236B Tax Cut: Report

By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017




























Addicted to War:

And this does not include "…spending $1.25 trillion dollars to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and $566 billion to build the Navy a 308-ship fleet…"










Kaepernick sports new T-shirt:

Love this guy!








Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:











Save the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper

From: SF Bay View <editor@sfbayview.com>

Date: December 19, 2017 at 6:42:58 PM PST

To: SF Bay View <sfbayview@lists.riseup.net>

Subject: [sfbayview] Bay View faces loss and challenge

Reply-To: SF Bay View <editor@sfbayview.com>

Bay View faces loss and challenge

With profound sadness, we bid farewell to Troy Williams, who we'd hoped would lead the Bay View's regeneration and build it into the New York Times of the Prison Abolition Movement he envisioned. Our challenge today is survival; we must face the fact that the fate of the Bay View is in your hands. To grow the number of hands willing to help, please share this message far and wide.

Please keep reading. There may not be a January paper without your help.

The problem: Advertising revenue is down for all newspapers still in print including the Bay View. Each monthly Bay View paper used to carry its own weight, with ads sufficient to pay the basic expenses of printing, distribution and mailing – and then some. Not any more. In 2017, total income from all sources – ads, subscriptions and donations – averaged only $8,000 per month. Those three basic expenses total almost $7,000 a month, and the Ratcliffs' social security barely covers the rent and a bit of the utilities.

People always ask, "Why not go web-only, like Black Agenda Report," an excellent and very influential source of news and analysis. The Bay View's role is different. The Bay View is the only publication in the country widely distributed both inside prison and out. Of the 20,000 papers we print every month, 3,000 are mailed to subscribers in prisons around the country (who pass them around to thousands more) and the other 17,000 are distributed in hoods around the Bay. 

Therein lies the solution:  The millions of people in prison and the hoods are our FREEDOM FIGHTERS. From the most intense oppression, like diamonds from coal, comes an unquenchable thirst for liberation – and the Bay View gives that force a voice and an organizing network. As a result, the Prison Abolition Movement is burgeoning everywhere and, to its leaders, the Bay View is essential. Similar energy in the hoods is making the Bay View fly off the stands faster than ever. 

Subscription revenue is way up, but at just $24 for a year, that income is a big help but it's not sufficient to pay the big bills. For that, we need more advertising and donations. 

Advertising – Are you or your friends or colleagues organizing an event for Martin Luther King Day in January or Black History Month in February? Email your flier or postcard and we'll quote you an affordable price for running it in the Bay View. Same for agencies and nonprofits with goods or services our readers should know about. Special low prices apply to Religious Directory ads and Black Pockets Directory ads for professionals and entrepreneurs. Call 415-671-0789 today to discuss an advertising campaign to support your project and your newspaper.

Donations – Hit the DONATE button near the top left side of the Bay View homepage to make a big donation if you're able or a smaller recurring donation. More and more readers are doing that, keeping the Bay View alive. The Bay View also has a nonprofit arm, so your donation can be tax deductible; read all about it HERE. I repeat: There may not be a January paper without your help. At the moment, we are flat broke.

The Ratcliffs are "older than dirt" and need to pass the torch to new leadership and a real newspaper staff. For that, we need a major fund drive. We hear about successful social media drives. Are you an expert on that or want to learn? Email editor@sfbayview.com to volunteer for a fundraising or development committee, and let's make it happen!

Good news: new website coming soon – An expert website designer is volunteering to build the Bay View a new website that can easily be read on your mobile device. A beautiful new website should convince potential donors, advertisers and subscribers that the Bay View will outlive the Ratcliffs!

Indulge in some recent stories and discover new ones every day at sfbayview.com ... 

Find a friend among the Bay View Pen Pals, who write, "I would love to hear my name at mail call."

Looking for a job, a contract, affordable housing or a scholarship or other opportunity? Check theBayView Classifieds today.

Finally, follow the Bay View on Facebook and Twitter – and lead everyone you know to do the same. 

To reach the Bay View, email editor@sfbayview.com

To subscribe to this list, email sfbayview-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

Mary Ratcliff

SF Bay View

(415) 671-0789



We are extremely disappointed to share yesterday's ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals which has upheld the indefinite imprisonment of Reality Leigh Winner. Ms. Winner has been jailed without bail since June 6, 2017 for helping expose Russian hacking that targeted US election systems.

"I am beyond heartbroken" shared Winner's mother, Billie Davis-Winner. "The trial, originally scheduled in October 2017 and then reset to March 2018, will once again be reset to a much later date, but as of now we do not have a new setting. There is so much going on with the evidence and discovery and there are a few active appeals not yet ruled on. It's gonna be a long journey."

Winner, a decorated Air Force veteran with no criminal record, who has already served eight months in jail despite being convicted of no crime, and displaying every intention to face the single charge against her in court, will now be jailed for another year, regardless of the jury's eventual verdict.


Government transparency advocate Rainey Reitman adds that "Reality Winner is facing an unjust and unconstitutional prosecution under the Espionage Act. This 100 year old law, created to prosecute spies during World War I, isn't designed to be used on whistleblowers. Under this law, the judge won't consider her motives or the public benefits of her actions as a whistleblower. It makes it impossible for her to receive a fair trial."

Jeff Paterson, who managed the successful campaign to free Chelsea Manning, notes that, "By the time Reality's trial starts, she'll have spent a full year and half behind bars. Meanwhile the actual Russiagate indicted criminals, including Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn, haven't spent a day in jail."

"Winner's case has precedent setting implications for whistleblowers trying to do the right thing, press freedom, election suppression, and the government's escalating war on dissent. Reality took a risk to share something that Americans had a right to know," Paterson added.


January 2017 - After serving six years in the Air Force, Winner takes a job as an NSA intelligence contractor.

May 9, 2017 - President Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. Winner allegedly finds and prints a classified report entitled, "Russia/Cybersecurity: Main Intelligence Directorate Cyber Actors."

May 10, 2017 - Trump celebrates with Russian officials in the White House, bragging that he had fired "nut job" Comey in order to end any "Russiagate" investigation.

May 11, 2017 - Winner allegedly sends NSA report to the media outlet "The Intercept."

May 17, 2017 - Special counsel Robert Mueller appointed to investigate "Russiagate."

June 5, 2017 - Winner arrested. During interrogation, she allegedly states, "Why do I have this job if I'm just going to sit back and be helpless … I just thought that was the final straw … I felt really hopeless seeing that information contested … Why isn't this out there? Why can't this be public?"


Contrary to a focus on citizens' right to know of attacks against election infrastructure, Winner's Espionage Act charge actually requires the government to prove that the leak itself caused harm rather than exposed it. Joe Whitley, attorney for Reality Winner, recently explained.

     "This is not a simple case. 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) -- the charged offense here -- is a notoriously complicated statute that has numerous elements the Government must prove, including ... that the classified intelligence reporting referenced ... constitutes "national defense information" (meaning the Document could actually threaten the national security of the US if disclosed, and that the information in the classified intelligence reporting was "closely held") and that the Defendant knew the Document contained this type of information." (Case document #203)

Winner has a top notch defense team determined to prove her innocence in court, despite the prosecution's ongoing campaign to deny her the right to a fair and open trial.

And we are the primary source of fundraising for Winner's legal defense team as well as leading public education efforts regarding this precedent setting First Amendment vs. Espionage Act case.

SOLIDARITY STEP: Make a donation today in honor of Reality's courage to do the right thing and to support her legal defense.

And tell others. BOOST THE SIGNAL!

Can you donate a few hours this month to help? We have a small list of a few well-defined volunteer tasks which we can send you to consider if they match with your interest and skills. Please email us at connect@standwithreality.org


For complete campaign information and case documents:








1) When Animals Are at Risk, Special Netherlands Police Force Defends Them

 JAN. 29, 2018




Sgt. Erik Smit, left, and a firefighter rescued a dog from a balcony where it had been left alone in snowy conditions in The Hague. CreditJasper Juinen for The New York Times 

THE HAGUE — Hours before a rare snowstorm hit this city last month, Sgt. Erik Smit got a call from dispatch: A Jack Russell was locked out on a third-story balcony.

Neighbors heard it barking and knew that the owner, who had left for work at 7:30 a.m., would not be back until the end of day, when the terrace would be covered by several inches of snow.

Sergeant Smit, a 39-year veteran of the national police force, rang a few doorbells and yelled some questions to curious but uninformed residents. He then radioed for a 22-ton fire truck with a crane and platform.

A half-hour later, at a taxpayer cost of roughly 500 euros or roughly $620, the rescued dog was warming up in an animal ambulance. Sergeant Smit got back into his squad car and continued his day.

"He'll have to call me and explain the situation," he said of the dog's owner, who would eventually be fined 150 euros for animal neglect.

Sergeant Smit is one of roughly 250 full-time members of the animal police force in the Netherlands (many more are trained but do not carry out the function exclusively). Of the approximately three million calls made to The Hague area police each year, roughly 3,000 involve animals.

Like a Humane Society with guns, handcuffs and badges, members of the animal police force are regular officers with extra training and special equipment. A 911-type emergency line for animals — dial 144 from any phone in the Netherlands — dispatches the officers and supplies the vast majority of their leads.

The work is a mix of animal protection and human social services, finding practical solutions — like monthly visits to a troubled dog and its owner to ensure all is well — and judicial procedures like fines.

"Obviously, the first thing I do is to look after the animals, but often when you look further, you see the things aren't going so well for the owner of the animals," said Sergeant Smit, who estimates he sees malicious intent in only about 20 percent of cases.

During a normal working day, he might help rescue a sick seal at the beach, help to leash or confine an aggressive dog or investigate private residences where people collect animals. That included recently rescuing 60 guinea pigs from a home after neighbors complained about the smell.

Well-known in the Netherlands, the animal police force was created when the far-right Party for Freedom briefly supported the mainstream Liberals that led a minority government in 2010. For their support on key votes, the Party for Freedom demanded formation of an 800-person animal police force. When the party's support weakened in 2012, some wanted to abandon the idea, but the national police argued for keeping at least a smaller version of it.

Legislation known as the Animals Act became law in 2013, guaranteeing animals freedom from thirst, hunger, physical and emotional discomfort and chronic stress.

"Animals — and our entire society — need the animal police. There is a direct link between violence against animals and violence against humans," said Marianne Thieme, the head of the progressive Party for the Animals, which holds five of Parliament's 150 seats.

Still, Ms. Thierne and some other animal activists wish the animal police were empowered to do more, including helping the millions of animals raised for food on commercial farms, which are regulated by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority.

"The law says that when an animal is in serious problems, you should help the animals, but in the factory farming there are about six million pigs dying every year without veterinarian support," said Hans Baaij, the director of Dier en Recht, a small nongovernmental organization that aims to use the court system to get the government to precisely define what constitutes animal abuse.

There are successful prosecutions, however.

Last week in Hague district court, for example, a man was convicted of having beaten and kicked his dog, after a 40-minute trial with testimony from neighbors, a court-appointed veterinarian and the defendant. He was sentenced to 56 hours of community service and prohibited from acquiring pets for a year.

"People learn more from community service than a fine," said Tamara Verdoorn, the prosecutor in charge of animal cases in The Hague district court.

In lesser cases, she can hand out fines and community service without taking the case to a judge. But about 100 times a year the cases go to court, with maximum penalties of three years in prison or fines of nearly $25,000, though such sentences are rare.

Like Sergeant Smit, Ms. Verdoorn sees a lot of people whose run-ins with animal law-enforcement reflects larger problems. "Most people who neglect animals are also neglecting themselves," she said.

While some animals caught up in the legal system are given up for adoption, certain dogs are examined to ensure they do not pose a threat.

One of the first officers to be trained in the animal police force, Sergeant Smit says he has learned most skills through talking with veterinarians, farmers and other experts.

And while his job leads him to some gruesome scenes — a week before the snowstorm, a pony in a city farm was fatally beaten — many encounters end happily.

During a visit to an apartment in a low-income neighborhood in the town of Delft, southwest of The Hague, Sergeant Smit was invited to tour what had been a problematic household. Inside, three fish, two lizards, two rabbits, four cats, a chinchilla and a large dog shared a small living room. The owner was proud to show him how clean everything was.

Sergeant Smit, who visits the place every couple of months, was welcomed, he said, because he had helped the owners put a litter of kittens up for adoption.



2) Officers in Florida Shootings Say They Can Stand Their Ground, Too

 JAN. 28, 2018




A rally for Corey Jones, who was shot and killed by Nouman K. Raja, an off-duty police officer, in West Palm Beach, Fla., in 2015. Mr. Raja is seeking Stand Your Ground protection in the killing.CreditJoe Raedle/Getty Images


MIAMI — Florida's Stand Your Ground law was meant to make sure that average residents could defend themselves without fear of arrest or trial.

Now, police officers accused of using excessive force are trying to claim the law's protection.

They have sought to use the law to avoid trial in cases in which a 63-year-old man was stomped, a man in a wheelchair was beaten, and two men were shot dead in separate incidents.

In some instances, judges have granted their request.

"The law says it applies to 'any person,'" said Eric Schwartzreich, a lawyer representing a Broward County sheriff's deputy who made a successful Stand Your Ground claim in the 2013 killing of a computer engineer. "Law enforcement is any person. Why would there be a law that applies to one person in the criminal justice system and not another?"

The law has a contentious history and was opposed by prosecutors as soon as it was passed in 2005. It eliminates a person's duty to retreat from a dangerous situation and frees them to use deadly force "if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary" to prevent harm or death. It shields people from both criminal trials and civil lawsuits.

Stand Your Ground became widely known in 2012, when the police in Sanford, Fla., cited it as the reason that they declined to arrest the killer of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin. Critics say the law makes it too easy to claim self-defense when violence could have been avoided, and that white people's fears are more likely to be deemed "reasonable" than black people's.

Nearly two dozen states around the nation have such laws, but experts believe Florida is the only place where police officers have used it.

Civil rights lawyers say letting police officers invoke the law stretches its intent, and creates another avenue for them to get away with unjustified shootings. The state senator who sponsored the law, Dennis K. Baxley, said he was surprised to see officers invoke it, and even a lawyer for one of the officers who claimed Stand Your Ground said the law should be changed.

The police are already authorized to use force when they perceive danger, and even in highly disputed cases they usually avoid facing charges.

Stand Your Ground gives them an additional chance to do so, if they can persuade a judge. "A police officer has full immunity under the law if he uses deadly force appropriately," said David I. Schoen, a lawyer for the family of one of the police shooting victims. "You can't also give him Stand Your Ground."

Last week, lawyers notified the court that Nouman K. Raja, a former Palm Beach Gardens police officer, intended to seek Stand Your Ground protection in the 2015 killing of Corey Jones, a 31-year-old musician and housing inspector. Mr. Jones was waiting on the side of the road in a broken-down car when Mr. Raja, in plain clothes and an unmarked vehicle, approached him in the middle of the night without identifying himself.

Mr. Jones had a new gun which he bought because he frequently carried cash on his way home from gigs. The officer claimed Mr. Jones pointed it at him, but prosecutors say Mr. Raja fired at Mr. Jones six times even as he fled, hitting him three times.

The encounter was recorded by the roadside assistance service Mr. Jones had called for help.

Mr. Raja, a rookie in the department, was fired. His Stand Your Ground hearing has been scheduled for March, when prosecutors must present a mini-trial before the judge, who will decide whether to dismiss the charges.

The hearing gives defendants a chance to beat the charges before trial. Prosecutors have argued that officers already have immunity for lawful shootings under a different law that specifically addresses law enforcement.

In a court motion, the Florida attorney general's office said police officers should not be allowed to get protection from both laws. Victims' families have also objected.

"I think it's very sad that police officers are taking advantage of that law, especially when they are in the wrong," said Mr. Jones's father, Clinton Jones Sr. "I think it's a disgrace to the police department."

Benjamin L. Crump, the family's lawyer, said the case "risks a terrible precedent."

"To extend it to police officers on the street gives them a license to kill just by saying they felt fear — no standards, no objective check and balance," Mr. Crump said.

Mr. Raja's lawyer, Richard Lubin, declined to comment while the case is pending.

He was not the first to try the defense. A judge granted the Stand Your Ground claim of Mr. Schwartzreich's client, Broward Sheriff's Deputy Peter Peraza, in the 2013 killing of Jermaine McBean. Mr. McBean, 33, was walking down the street, wearing earbuds and with an air rifle propped on his shoulders, when Mr. Peraza ordered him from behind to drop it.

The officer claimed that Mr. McBean pointed the air rifle at him, although witnesses disputed his account. After a hearing, a judge ruled in Mr. Peraza's favor and dismissed the case.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the ruling, but because the decision was in direct conflict with another appeals court ruling, the case is headed to the Florida Supreme Court.

In 2012, the Second District Court of Appeal rejected an officer's use of the law to avoid trial for stomping on a 63-year-old man. Juan Caamano, a former police officer in Haines City, south of Orlando, instead went to trial and was acquitted.

Last summer, two Miami police officers successfully invoked Stand Your Ground immunity when they were sued for damages in the beating of a man in a wheelchair.

Even Mr. Caamano's lawyer said police officers should not be allowed to invoke Stand Your Ground.

Local judges often have ties to law enforcement or are reluctant to rule against police officers for political reasons, the lawyer, Lawrence H. Collins, said.

"What it does in the case of police officers is it puts a decision of whether an action was justified in the hands of a judge rather than a jury," he said. "The law needs to be changed. You don't want that decision in the hands of a judge."



3)  Indian Slavery Once Thrived in New Mexico. Latinos Are Finding Family Ties to It.

 JAN. 28, 2018



St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Abiquiú, N.M., a village settled by former Indian slaves, or Genízaros, in the 18th century. CreditAdria Malcolm for The New York Times 

ALBUQUERQUE — Lenny Trujillo made a startling discovery when he began researching his descent from one of New Mexico's pioneering Hispanic families: One of his ancestors was a slave.

"I didn't know about New Mexico's slave trade, so I was just stunned," said Mr. Trujillo, 66, a retired postal worker who lives in Los Angeles. "Then I discovered how slavery was a defining feature of my family's history."

Mr. Trujillo is one of many Latinos who are finding ancestral connections to a flourishing slave trade on the blood-soaked frontier now known as the American Southwest. Their captive forebears were Native Americans — slaves frequently known as Genízaros (pronounced heh-NEE-sah-ros) who were sold to Hispanic families when the region was under Spanish control from the 16th to 19th centuries. Many Indian slaves remained in bondage when Mexico and later the United States governed New Mexico. 

The revelations have prompted some painful personal reckonings over identity and heritage. But they have also fueled a larger, politically charged debate on what it means to be Hispanic and Native American.

A growing number of Latinos who have made such discoveries are embracing their indigenous backgrounds, challenging a long tradition in New Mexico in which families prize Spanish ancestry. Some are starting to identify as Genízaros. Historians estimate that Genízaros accounted for as much as one-third of New Mexico's population of 29,000 in the late 18th century.

"We're discovering things that complicate the hell out of our history, demanding that we reject the myths we've been taught," said Gregorio Gonzáles, 29, an anthropologist and self-described Genízaro who writes about the legacies of Indian enslavement.

Those legacies were born of a tortuous story of colonial conquest and forced assimilation.

New Mexico, which had the largest number of sedentary Indians north of central Mexico, emerged as a coveted domain for slavers almost as soon as the Spanish began settling here in the 16th century, according to Andrés Reséndez, a historian who details the trade in his 2016 book, "The Other Slavery." Colonists initially took local Pueblo Indians as slaves, leading to an uprising in 1680 that temporarily pushed the Spanish out of New Mexico.

The trade then evolved to include not just Hispanic traffickers but horse-mounted Comanche and Ute warriors, who raided the settlements of Apache, Kiowa, Jumano, Pawnee and other peoples. They took captives, many of them children plucked from their homes, and sold them at auctions in village plazas.

The Spanish crown tried to prohibit slavery in its colonies, but traffickers often circumvented the ban by labeling their captives in parish records as criados, or servants. The trade endured even decades after the Mexican-American War, when the United States took control of much of the Southwest in the 1840s.

Seeking to strengthen the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865, Congress passed the Peonage Act of 1867 after learning of propertied New Mexicans owning hundreds and perhaps thousands of Indian slaves, mainly Navajo women and children. But scholars say the measure, which specifically targeted New Mexico, did little for many slaves in the territory.

Many Hispanic families in New Mexico have long known that they had indigenous ancestry, even though some here still call themselves "Spanish" to emphasize their Iberian ties and to differentiate themselves from the state's 23 federally recognized tribes, as well as from Mexican and other Latin American immigrants.

But genetic testing is offering a glimpse into a more complex story. The DNA of Hispanic people from New Mexico is often in the range of 30 to 40 percent Native American, according to Miguel A. Tórrez, 42, a research technologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and one of New Mexico's most prominent genealogists.

He and other researchers cross-reference DNA tests with baptismal records, marriage certificates, census reports, oral histories, ethnomusicology findings, land titles and other archival documents.

Mr. Tórrez's own look into his origins shows how these searches can produce unexpected results. He found one ancestor who was probably Ojibwe, from lands around the Great Lakes, roughly a thousand miles away, and another of Greek origin among the early colonizers claiming New Mexico for Spain.

"I have Navajo, Chippewa, Greek and Spanish blood lines," said Mr. Tórrez, who calls himself a mestizo, a term referring to mixed ancestry. "I can't say I'm indigenous any more than I can say I'm Greek, but it's both fascinating and disturbing to see how various cultures came together in New Mexico."

Revelations about how Indian enslavement was a defining feature of colonial New Mexico can be unsettling for some in the state, where the authorities have often tried to perpetuate a narrative of relatively peaceful coexistence between Hispanics, Indians and Anglos, as non-Hispanic whites are generally called here.

Pointing to their history, some descendants of Genízaros are coming together to argue that they deserve the same recognition as Native tribes in the United States. One such group in Colorado, the 200-member Genízaro Affiliated Nations, organizes annual dances to commemorate their heritage.

"It's not about blood quantum or DNA testing for us, since those things can be inaccurate measuring sticks," said David Atekpatzin Young, 62, the organization's tribal chairman, who traces his ancestry to Apache and Pueblo peoples. "We know who we are, and what we want is sovereignty and our land back."

Some here object to calling Genízaros slaves, arguing that the authorities in New Mexico were relatively flexible in absorbing Indian captives. In an important distinction with African slavery in parts of the Americas, Genízaros could sometimes attain economic independence and even assimilate into the dominant Hispanic classes, taking the surnames of their masters and embracing Roman Catholicism.

Genízaros and their offspring sometimes escaped or served out their terms of service, then banded together to forge buffer settlements against Comanche raids. Offering insight into how Indian captives sought to escape their debased status, linguists trace the origins of the word Genízaro to the Ottoman Empire's janissaries, the special soldier class of Christians from the Balkans who converted to Islam, and were sometimes referred to as slaves.

Moisés Gonzáles, a Genízaro professor of architecture at the University of New Mexico, has identified an array of Genízaro outposts that endure in the state, including the villages Las Trampas and San Miguel del Vado. Some preserve traditions that reflect their Genízaro origins, and like other products of colonialism, many are cultural amalgams of customs and motifs from sharply disparate worlds.

Each December in the village of Alcalde, for instance, performers in headdresses stage the Matachines dance, thought by scholars to fuse the theme of Moorish-Christian conflict in medieval Spain with indigenous symbolism evoking the Spanish conquest of the New World.

In Abiquiú, settled by Genízaros in the 18th century, people don face paint and feathers every November to perform a "captive dance" about the village's Indian origins — on a day honoring a Catholic saint.

"Some Natives say those in Abiquiú are pretend Indians," said Mr. Tórrez, the genealogist. "But who's to say that the descendants of Genízaros, of people who were once slaves, can't reclaim their culture?"

Efforts by some Genízaro descendants to call themselves Indians instead of Latinos point to a broader debate over how Native Americans are identified, involving often contentious factors like tribal membership, what constitutes indigenous cultural practices and the light skin color of some Hispanics with Native ancestry. Some Native Americans also chafe at the gains some Hispanics here have sought by prioritizing their ancestral ties to European colonizers.

Pointing to the breadth of the Southwest's slave trade, some historians have also documented how Hispanic settlers were captured and enslaved by Native American traffickers, and sometimes went on to embrace the cultures of their Comanche, Pueblo or Navajo masters.

Kim TallBear, an anthropologist at the University of Alberta, cautioned against using DNA testing alone to determine indigenous identity. She emphasized that such tests can point generally to Native ancestry somewhere in the Americas while failing to pinpoint specific tribal origins.

"There's a conflation of race and tribe that's infuriating, really," said Ms. TallBear, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe of South Dakota who writes about tribal belonging and genetic testing. "I don't think ancestry alone is sufficient to define someone as indigenous."

The discovery of indigenous slave ancestry can be anything but straightforward, as Mr. Trujillo, the former postal worker, learned.

First, he found his connection to a Genízaro man in the village of Abiquiú. Delving further into 18th century baptismal records, he then found that his ancestor somehow broke away from forced servitude to purchase three slaves of his own.

"I was just blown away to find that I had a slaver and slaves in my family tree," Mr. Trujillo said. "That level of complexity is too much for some people, but it's part of the story of who I am."



4)  Secret Alliance: Israel Carries Out Airstrikes in Egypt, With Cairo's O.K.

 FEB. 3, 2018




A turning point: In 2015, Islamist militants brought down a Russian passenger jet in Sinai. Soon after, Israel began a wave of airstrikes there. CreditMaxim Grigoryev/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The jihadists in Egypt's Northern Sinai had killed hundreds of soldiers and police officers, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, briefly seized a major town and begun setting up armed checkpoints to claim territory. In late 2015, they brought down a Russian passenger jet.

Egypt appeared unable to stop them, so Israel, alarmed at the threat just over the border, took action.

For more than two years, unmarked Israeli drones, helicopters and jets have carried out a covert air campaign, conducting more than 100 airstrikes inside Egypt, frequently more than once a week — and all with the approval of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The remarkable cooperation marks a new stage in the evolution of their singularly fraught relationship. Once enemies in three wars, then antagonists in an uneasy peace, Egypt and Israel are now secret allies in a covert war against a common foe.

For Cairo, the Israeli intervention has helped the Egyptian military regain its footing in its nearly five-year battle against the militants. For Israel, the strikes have bolstered the security of its borders and the stability of its neighbor.

Their collaboration in the North Sinai is the most dramatic evidence yet of a quiet reconfiguration of the politics of the region. Shared enemies like ISIS, Iran and political Islam have quietly brought the leaders of several Arab states into growing alignment with Israel — even as their officials and news media continue to vilify the Jewish state in public.

American officials say Israel's air campaign has played a decisive role in enabling the Egyptian armed forces to gain an upper hand against the militants. But the Israeli role is having some unexpected consequences for the region, including on Middle East peace negotiations, in part by convincing senior Israeli officials that Egypt is now dependent on them even to control its own territory.

Seven current or former British and American officials involved in Middle East policy described the Israeli attacks inside Egypt, all speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified information.

Spokesmen for the Israeli and Egyptian militaries declined to comment, and so did a spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry.

Both neighbors have sought to conceal Israel's role in the airstrikes for fear of a backlash inside Egypt, where government officials and the state-controlled media continue to discuss Israel as a nemesis and pledge fidelity to the Palestinian cause.

The Israeli drones are unmarked, and the Israeli jets and helicopters cover up their markings. Some fly circuitous routes to create the impression that they are based in the Egyptian mainland, according to American officials briefed on their operations.

In Israel, military censors restrict public reports of the airstrikes. It is unclear if any Israeli troops or special forces have set foot inside Egyptian borders, which would increase the risk of exposure.

Mr. Sisi has taken even more care, American officials say, to hide the origin of the strikes from all but a limited circle of military and intelligence officers. The Egyptian government has declared the North Sinai a closed military zone, barring journalists from gathering information there.

Behind the scenes, Egypt's top generals have grown steadily closer to their Israeli counterparts since the signing of the Camp David accords40 years ago, in 1978. Egyptian security forces have helped Israel enforce restrictions on the flow of goods in and out of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian territory bordering Egypt controlled by the militant group Hamas. And Egyptian and Israeli intelligence agencies have long shared information about militants on both sides of the border.

Israeli officials were concerned in 2012 when Egypt, after its Arab Spring revolt, elected a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood to the presidency. The new president, Mohamed Morsi, pledged to respect the Camp David agreements. But the Israelis worried about the Muslim Brotherhood's ideological kinship with Hamas and its historic hostility to the Jewish state itself.

A year later, Mr. Sisi, then the defense minister, ousted Mr. Morsi in a military takeover. Israel welcomed the change in government, and urged Washington to accept it. That solidified the partnership between the generals on both sides of the border.

The North Sinai, a loosely governed region of mountainous desert between the Suez Canal and the Israeli border, became a refuge for Islamist militants in the decade before Mr. Sisi took power. The main jihadist organization, Ansar Beit al Maqdis — the Partisans of Jerusalem — had concentrated on attacking Israel, but after Mr. Sisi's takeover it began leading a wave of deadly assaults against Egyptian security forces.

A few weeks after Mr. Sisi took power, in August 2013, two mysterious explosions killed five suspected militants in a district of the North Sinai not far from the Israeli border. The Associated Press reported that unnamed Egyptian officials had said Israeli drones fired missiles that killed the militants, possibly because of Egyptian warnings of a planned cross-border attack on an Israeli airport. (Israel had closed the airport the previous day.)

Mr. Sisi's spokesman, Col. Ahmed Ali, denied it. "There is no truth in form or in substance to the existence of any Israeli attacks inside Egyptian territory," he said in a statement at the time, promising an investigation. "The claims of coordination between the Egyptian and Israeli sides in this matter are totally lacking in truth and go against sense and logic."

Israel declined to comment, and the episode was all but forgotten.

Two years later, however, Mr. Sisi was still struggling to defeat the militants, who by then had killed at least several hundred Egyptians soldiers and policemen.

In November, 2014, Ansar Beit al Maqdis formally declared itself the Sinai Province branch of the Islamic State. On July 1, 2015, the militants briefly captured control of a North Sinai town, Sheikh Zuwaid, and retreated only after Egyptian jets and helicopters struck the town, state news agencies said. Then, at the end of October, the militants brought down the Russian charter jet, killing all 224 people on board.

It was around the time of those ominous milestones, in late 2015, that Israel began its wave of airstrikes, the American officials said, which they credit with killing a long roster of militant leaders.

Though equally brutal successors often stepped in to replace them, the militants appeared to adopt less ambitious goals. They no longer dared trying to close roads, set up checkpoints or claim territory. They moved into hitting softer targets like Christians in Sinai, churches in the Nile Valley or other Muslims they view as heretics. In November 2017, the militants killed 311 worshipers at a Sufi mosque in the North Sinai.

By then, American officials say, the Israelis were complaining to Washington that the Egyptians were not holding up their end of the arrangement. Cairo, they said, had failed to follow the airstrikes with coordinated movements of its ground troops.

Although Israeli military censors have prevented the news media there from reporting on the strikes, some news outlets have circumvented the censorship by citing a 2016 Bloomberg News report, in which an unnamed former Israeli official said there had been Israeli drone strikes inside of Egypt.

Zack Gold, a researcher specializing in the North Sinai who has worked in Israel, compared the airstrikes to Israel's nuclear weapons program — also an open secret.

"The Israeli strikes inside of Egypt are almost at the same level, he said. "Every time anyone says anything about the nuclear program, they have to jokingly add 'according to the foreign press.' Israel's main strategic interest in Egypt is stability, and they believe that open disclosure would threaten that stability."

Inside the American government, the strikes are widely known enough that diplomats and intelligence officials have discussed them in closed briefings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers in open committee hearings have alluded approvingly to the surprisingly close Egyptian and Israeli cooperation in the North Sinai.

In a telephone interview, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declined to discuss specifics of Israel's military actions in Egypt, but said Israel was not acting "out of goodness to a neighbor."

"Israel does not want the bad stuff that is happening in the Egyptian Sinai to get into Israel," he said, adding that the Egyptian effort to hide Israel's role from its citizens "is not a new phenomenon."

Some American supporters of Israel complain that, given Egypt's reliance on the Israeli military, Egyptian officials, diplomats and state-controlled news media should stop publicly denouncing the Jewish state, especially in international forums like the United Nations.

"You speak with Sisi and he talks about security cooperation with Israel, and you speak with Israelis and they talk about security cooperation with Egypt, but then this duplicitous game continues," said Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee. "It is confusing to me."

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has also pointedly reminded American diplomats of the Israeli military role in Sinai. In February 2016, for example, Secretary of State John Kerry convened a secret summit in Aqaba, Jordan, with Mr. Sisi, King Abdullah of Jordan and Mr. Netanyahu, according to three American officials involved in the talks or briefed about them.

Mr. Kerry proposed a regional agreement in which Egypt and Jordan would guarantee Israel's security as part of a deal for a Palestinian state.

Mr. Netanyahu scoffed at the idea.

Israeli's military was already propping up Egypt's military, he said, according to the Americans. If Egypt was unable to control the ground within its own borders, Mr. Netanyahu argued, it was hardly in a position to guarantee security for Israel.



5)  Philippine Police Resume War on Drugs, Killing Dozens

 FEB. 2, 2018




The body of a person suspected of using drugs who was killed by the police in Manila in August. Estimates vary as to the total number who have died in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, which began in 2017. CreditErik De Castro/Reuters 

MANILA — Nearly 50 people suspected of using and selling drugs were killed by officers in the past two months, the Philippine National Police said on Friday, contradicting earlier pronouncements that the government's war on drugs would become less deadly.

The figure was the first released since President Rodrigo Duterte reactivated the police in December as the country's lead agency in carrying out a no-holds-barred crackdown on illegal narcotics.

Between Dec. 5, 2017 — when the police took part in an operation named Double Barrels Reloaded — and Thursday, officers conducted 3,253 raids, leading to the arrests of an unnamed number of "high-value targets" and the deaths of 46 people, the police said in a statement.

Mr. Duterte temporarily placed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in charge of the drug war last year after police officers were found to have killed three teenagers and then lied about how the boys died. News of their deaths prompted protests and a Senate investigation.

The exact number of people killed since Mr. Duterte's drug war took effect in 2017 is unknown. The government says fewer than 4,000 suspects have been killed, but Human Rights Watch last week estimated the figure at more than 12,000.

The police do not count among the dead the hundreds of victims killed nightly, in attacks the government attributes to vigilante groups. Those victims are often found with cardboard signs around their necks indicating that they were drug users or dealers.

The government has strenuously rejected the death toll as estimated by Human Rights Watch, and has demanded the organization issue an apology.

"To make such sweeping accusations without being able to support these claims with facts is not just misrepresentation," Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said last week. "It is outright deception."

A representative of Human Rights Watch defended the organization's estimate.

"By any measure, even the P.N.P.'s estimate of drug war deaths is an alarming number of killings that warrant an independent investigation," said Phelim Kine, the group's deputy director for Asia, referring to the Philippine National Police.

Mr. Kine added that the "glaring disparity" between the official death toll and those of independent observers underscored the need for the government to allow a United Nations-led investigation.

Mr. Duterte has condemned the United Nations, the United States and the European Union for their criticism of his antidrug campaign.

In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, James Walsh, a State Department official overseeing American policy on international narcotics and law enforcement, said he was guardedly optimistic that Mr. Duterte's government would reduce the number of extrajudicial killings.

"There is some encouragement that we are seeing some of our human rights training working," Mr. Walsh said. "And so I would describe the United States as being cautiously optimistic in the trends when it comes to the appropriate way for a drug campaign."



6) Iran Arrests 29 Linked to Protests Against Compulsory Hijab

 FEB. 2, 2018




Women wearing the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, in Tehran. Protests against compulsory hijab laws picked up pace in Iran this week. CreditArash Khamooshi for The New York Times

TEHRAN — Twenty-nine people, most of them women, have been arrested in connection with recent protests in Iran against the compulsory Islamic veil for women, the police in Tehran said on Friday, adding that the protesters had been "deceived" by foreign forces.

Six other activists were arrested in raids around the country on Thursday, accused of involvement in the large, anti-government protests that erupted in 80 cities, over an array of grievances, and gripped the country for more than a week in December and January. Security forces suppressed those protests and 25 people were killed, but sporadic demonstrations continue to crop up around Iran.

Hard-line officials have said that the protesters are responsible for those deaths, and the government has said that some of the dead committed suicide, a claim that has been angrily rejected by government critics.

One of the hard-liners, Ahmad Khatami, the leader of Friday prayers, said that protesters who kill are "unlawful and the verdict for that is the death penalty," state news media reported — a hint that the government response to unrest could turn harsher.

Mr. Khatami also said that Iran would never stop producing missiles, which the United States contends is a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. "We will produce as many missiles as we wish," he told hundreds of worshipers.

Protests against the requirement that women cover their hair with the Islamic veil, or hijab, picked up pace earlier this week in Tehran and other cities. Witness accounts and social media videos indicate that more than two dozen women have doffed their scarves in public and waved them on sticks, like flags.

An Iranian activist based in the United States, Masih Alinejad, who has a show on Voice of America's Persian-language satellite channel, has called on women in Iran to observe "White Wednesdays," wearing white and removing their veils and waving them overhead on sticks to protest the compulsory hijab and other religious restrictions imposed on women.

The Trump administration, which has condemned Iran over a range of issues including its suppression of dissent, commended the anti-hijab demonstrators on Friday. "People should be free to choose the clothes they wear, and practice their faith as they desire," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Citing the Tehran Police, the hard-line Tasnim news agency said on Friday that in recent days, "29 people who were deceived by the propaganda of a campaign named White Wednesdays to remove their hijab were arrested by police."

But discontent in Iran goes far behind the veil, fueled by a broader range of Islamic lifestyle laws that many people consider outdated, as well as the stagnant economy and blatant corruption.

Some of the recent demonstrations were aimed at President Hassan Rouhani, who easily won re-election last year on a promise to revitalize the economy. And in an extraordinary show of dissent, other demonstrators called for the ouster of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, denouncing him as a dictator.

The demonstrations illuminated the struggle between moderates like Mr. Rouhani, and conservative religious leaders, who were accused of igniting the initial protests as a way to embarrass Mr. Rouhani. For his part, Mr. Rouhani insisted that the demonstrators had both a right to speak out and justifications for discontent, and in a swipe at the hard-liners, said, "One cannot force one's lifestyle on the future generations."



7)  If Immigrants Are Pushed Out, Who Will Care for the Elderly?

By Paula Span, February 2, 2018


Norma, a immigrant who fled with her family from El Salvador to California, cares for a 91-year-old neighbor through a state program. CreditJenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times

In Dallas, a 93-year-old is worried about the woman who, for years, has come to her house four days a week to help with shopping, laundry, housecleaning and driving. "She's just a wonderful person, someone I feel I can trust completely," said the older woman.

But because her helper is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, both women increasingly fear that she'll be detained and deported. (I'm withholding their names for that reason.)

"If this woman gets pulled over today, who will help my mother tomorrow?" said her daughter, an attorney in Oakland, Calif.

In Brooklyn, Mary DiGangi, the human resources director at the Menorah Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care, recently asked local employment agencies to find 20 to 25 new nursing assistants and practical nurses.

It's a typical request, and usually, she said, "I'm flooded with applications the next day." This time, she saw only five applications over a month.

She thinks the Trump administration's immigration policies and rhetoric have discouraged potential workers. Menorah, part of MJHS Health System, draws heavily on immigrants for its 3,500 employees.

Among them are 25 Haitian-American nursing assistants and practical nurses whose temporary protected status was terminated in November. They will have to leave by July 2019, unless the Secretary of Homeland Security changes her mind. Other Menorah staffers brought to this country as children, now DACA recipients, also remain in limbo.

"Employees have told me they know it's going to be OK," Ms. DiGangi said. "I'm not sure if they're convincing me or themselves."

One in four of the direct-care workers in the nation's nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home care agencies are foreign-born, according to an analysis of census data by P.H.I., the New York research organization.

In the so-called gray market, where consumers hire home care workers directly and often pay them under the table, the proportion is likely far higher.

"We're seeing a growing work force shortage in direct care," said Robert Espinoza, vice president of policy for P.H.I. "It's affecting the entire industry, and it's affecting older and disabled people and their families."

The shortage stems partly from a growing economy, said Robyn Stone, a veteran researcher at Leading Age, whose nonprofit members include long-term care providers.

When employers are hiring, she explained, "these folks are likely to look down the street at a hospital that pays more, or another industry like fast food, and leave."

Mostly, however, what drives the labor shortage is long-term demographic change. Older people are living longer, most developing chronic diseases and disabilities; the sheer numbers of baby boomers further increases the demand for assistance.

But the population of working-age women, who typically provide care both paid and unpaid, has shrunk — and they have more career options than they once did.

So providing care for older people, in their homes or in facilities, has become the classic example of a job native-born Americans would rather not take.

It's physically demanding work that pays poorly — the median wage for home care workers was $10.49 an hour in 2016, P.H.I. reports — and usually doesn't include benefits. The aides, mostly women, who serve in this crucial but low-income role frequently qualify for federal programslike food stamps or Medicaid.

Their advocates have long argued for ways to improve these jobs, with more training and higher pay. For now, though, what P.H.I. calls the "caregiving gap" has been filled by immigrants.

The number of immigrants in direct care ballooned from 520,000 in 2005 to approximately one million in 2015, including those who work independently through state home care programs, P.H.I. estimates. In New York, California, New Jersey and Florida, more than 40 percent of direct-care workers are immigrants.

If large numbers of immigrants become unable to work or fearful of attracting unwanted attention, "this is going to create tremendous strain," Dr. Stone said. Already, "we've heard of nursing homes that have shut down, or stopped admissions, because they could not hire enough people."

Excluding the gray market, the majority of aides and nursing assistants are American citizens. But P.H.I. has calculated that nearly 35,000 come from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras, whose immigrants have had temporary protected status in the United States.

The administration has so far terminated T.P.S. status for Haitians, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans; other nationalities may follow. Immigrants from Sudan, whose T.P.S. status was also terminated, will have to leave the United States as early as this fall.

Another nearly 11,000 direct care workers come from largely Muslim countries affected by the Trump travel ban and might leave if family members can never join them. An unknown number of workers are DACA recipients who might eventually be forced to leave.

Even when workers are legal residents, though, they may consider moving when relatives are deported. Whole neighborhoods and communities feel targeted.

"Just the scrutiny is casting a pall," Dr. Stone said. "If they're afraid, if they won't apply for jobs, we could see more shortages."

As that happens, the effects ripple through nursing facilities and home care agencies. "When we struggle to fill positions, the people already working here are working harder," Ms. DiGangi pointed out. They may take more shifts, or become responsible for more patients.

Eventually, especially in rural areas where home care workers have to travel long distances to clients, older adults (and younger ones with disabilities) may not be able to hire people who can help them remain in their homes. In cities and suburbs, older immigrants who want assistance from those who speak their native language could be similarly at a loss.

In the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, a home care worker named Norma, who fled El Salvador with her family almost 20 years ago, assists her 91-year-old disabled neighbor under a state program. She works every day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., helping her client bathe, dress, eat, and circle the block in a wheelchair.

Both Spanish speakers, the women have drawn close. "In the morning, when I arrive at the house, she brightens and says, 'Norma, you're here!'" Norma told me through an interpreter. But the administration has terminated Salvadorans' temporary protected status as of September 2019. "I feel scared," Norma said. "There's so much unknown."

While she worries for herself and her husband — and her two daughters, who are DACA recipients — she also fears for her client.

"If one day I don't show up to work, nobody will be there to get her out of bed and change her," she said. "This could be my own mom, who would be alone one day if nobody came to help."



8)  Criminal Justice Reform Empties Cells, Parole Fills Them Up Again

By   FEB. 2, 2018




Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. While the number of state and federal prisoners continues to fall, former inmates are often reincarcerated because of technical parole violations.CreditJacob Hannah for The New York Times 

Despite his longstanding position on law and order, delivered in a rhetorical style that can seem borrowed from "Walker, Texas Ranger," President Trump in his State of the Union speech called for a reform of our prison system, committing his administration to helping "former inmates who have served their time get a second chance." Presumably he wasn't thinking only of Paul Manafort's future. Liberals look at the country's high incarceration rate and see the tragedy of racial animus; many on the right look at it and see the spreadsheet — another example of wasteful and ineffective government spending. Here there can exist a convergence of goals.

Advocacy around criminal justice reform in recent years has been increasingly fierce and successful. According to the latest government data, in 2016, the number of prisoners in state and federal correctional facilities fell for the third consecutive year. A movement to end or drastically curtail cash bail, and thus reduce the number of people held in pretrial detention for their inability to pay it, has swept across the country. New Jersey has nearly eliminated it altogether; in New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed getting rid of cash bail for people facing misdemeanor and nonviolent felony charges. Even Alaska, which has voted for a Republican in the last eight presidential elections, has reformed bail.

But the fate of prisoners when they return home remains a confounding problem, apart from the obvious difficulties of getting work. This is largely because of a parole system that replicates and often magnifies the anxieties of poverty, which in many instances served as the catalyst for an engagement with crime in the first place. Too often, former prisoners find themselves incarcerated a second or third time, not because they have done anything particularly wrong or pose a threat to their communities, but because they are found to have violated stringent rules that have little to do with maintaining public well-being. Famously last year the rapper Meek Mill was given a two- to four-year prison sentence for violating his parole, for breaches including popping a wheelie on his motorcycle in a music video.

Just this week a report from Columbia University's Justice Labexamined the way the issue has played out in New York City. For the four years ending on Jan. 1, the city's jail population declined by 21 percent, the result of decreases in the number of people held at Rikers Island, for the most part, before their trials begin. During the same period, though, one subgroup of the city's jail population grew: the number of people held on technical parole violations. That figure increased by 15 percent. Between 2016 and 2017, the average daily population of those in jail for such infractions climbed to 20 percent. As Vincent Schiraldi, co-director of the Justice Lab and a former probation commissioner put it, these are people who most of the time "haven't even jaywalked or jumped a turnstile."

Typically what sends someone back to prison, Lorraine McEvilley, director of the Parole Revocation Defense Unit at the Legal Aid Society told me, is a combination of a missed curfew or parole appointment and "dirty urine." In New York, parole officers will often make unscheduled visits to the home to see that a parolee is there by 9 at night. A warrant can result from an absence. Former prisoners are also subject to drug testing and do often test positive for traces of pot. "In all my years of doing this,'' she said, "I have not seen an instance of a curfew violation standing alone as any indication that a person was on the path of committing some offense."

A major destabilizer in post-prison life revolves around housing. In New York, those just out of prison are not supposed to have contact with anyone in possession of a criminal record, an anachronistic rule that would keep released prisoners out of rehabilitation groups where they might share their experiences. Many people come out hoping to live with family, but if any members of the family have had contact with the system, then this is not possible. There are children 18 and 19 years old who cannot live with their parents. As a result, parolees are often sent to big homeless shelters where they are sure to encounter others with criminal records, and the nightmare of incarceration is simply extended. The fear of getting into fights, of having their things stolen, of relapsing, persists, and the stress of shelter life often insures that these fears are realized.

The case of Ismael Bonano almost perfectly illustrates how quickly things can go horribly wrong. After a criminal history that included serving a two-year sentence for robbery in the third-degree, he said, he was released to a shelter. He found work, and also began taking classes at Columbia. Eventually he found an apartment on Staten Island, but one night he returned home 30 minutes past curfew from a meeting at New York University where he had been trying to organize a poetry slam — his parole officer had showed up earlier. Getting to and from work was stressful, sometimes taking two hours, and he began smoking pot, which led to a 45-day stay last summer at Edgecombe, a correctional facility in Upper Manhattan for those dealing with addiction. As of last week, Mr. Bonano was in a residential drug treatment facility in Brooklyn.

The spike in the jailed parolee population began to appear right about the same time that the city started scaling back its use of stop-and-frisk policing, a practice that had put so many young minority men needlessly in jail. It is as if the system, despite the changing actors and their good intentions, were biased as a matter of organic configuration: it would find a way to contain young black men one way or another; it would exchange one dangerous habit for a second.



9)  Medic Offers Sharply Different Account of Woman's Death at Hands of Police

 FEB. 1, 2018





Sgt. Hugh Barry is on trial in the death of a 66-year-old Bronx woman. CreditGregg Vigliotti for The New York Times 

A mentally ill woman fatally shot by a police sergeant in her Bronx apartment had put down a pair of scissors and was talking with an emergency medical technician when several officers rushed her, the technician testified on Thursday.

The medic, Brittney Mullings, gave an account of the minutes leading up to the shooting of Deborah Danner, a 66-year-old schizophrenic woman, that diverged sharply from the narrative that a defense lawyer for Sgt. Hugh Barry has laid out in court papers and in an opening statement.

Sergeant Barry, 32, a nine-year veteran, is on trial in State Supreme Court in the Bronx on charges of murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. His lawyers say he fired in self-defense after Ms. Danner picked up a baseball bat and started to swing it at his head.

The Bronx district attorney's office has argued that Sergeant Barry ignored his training, provoked the confrontation and then overreacted. Sergeants are trained to isolate emotionally disturbed people in a safe space and patiently wait them out, talking calmly until specially trained emergency services officers arrive.

Ms. Danner was killed at about 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2016, inside her cluttered seventh-floor apartment at 630 Pugsley Avenue in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx. Sergeant Barry, five other officers and two emergency medical technicians had been called to persuade her to go to a hospital. Earlier, she had been ranting loudly in the hallway.

Her death came amid a national debate over police shootings and prompted protests in New York, led by elected leaders.

Sergeant Barry's lawyer, Andrew C. Quinn, said in his opening statement that his client talked in a calm voice to Ms. Danner when he arrived at the apartment and persuaded her to lay down a pair of scissors. But after he could not persuade her to come farther than the doorway of her bedroom, he and other officers tried to subdue her. She retreated into the bedroom and picked up a bat. He drew his gun and told her to drop it. She began to swing it at him and he fired twice, Mr. Quinn said.

Senior police officials outlined a similar version events in the immediate aftermath of the killing.

Ms. Mullings, however, said Ms. Danner had agreed to put down the scissors and come out of her bedroom before Sergeant Barry even arrived. Ms. Danner insisted that she be allowed to speak to a medical technician rather than the police officers, who had backed off and had let Ms. Mullings take the lead.

Ms. Mullings said she entered the apartment and stood a few feet from Ms. Danner, who had nothing in her hands. She tried to explain to the distraught woman why the police had been called. Ms. Danner was no longer screaming, she said, but was still agitated and was talking loudly.

"She was still trying to figure out who called 911 and why we were there," Ms. Mullings said.

While they were talking, Sergeant Barry arrived and passed behind Ms. Mullings into the living room. Ms. Mullings said that the sergeant conferred with another officer a few feet behind her, but that he did not speak to her or to Ms. Danner.

Ms. Mullings said she told Ms. Danner that the medics wanted only to check on her health. "I didn't really get to finish the conversation with her," she recalled.

She said she heard someone behind her say, "Are you ready?"

"Ready for what?" Ms. Danner said.

All at once, Ms. Danner turned and "scurried back" into her bedroom, Ms. Mullings said, followed by the six officers. She said she could only see the top of Ms. Danner's head but heard her screaming. A minute later, she heard an officer yell, "Get down!" and then two shots.



10) New York Today: A Cultural History of Marijuana

Good morning on this brightening Monday.

Will New York be the next state to legalize marijuana? Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's 2018 budget plan calls for a study of the pros and cons.

If legal weed comes to New York City, it would finally achieve legitimacy in a place with a long, mixed record of tolerance and crackdowns. Here's a quick spin through the cultural history of pot here.

• In the 1930s, as authorities nationwide waged war on "reefer madness," a doctor at the Manhattan Detention Complex urged treatment, not incarceration, for the city's marijuana "addicts," including jazz musicians who "find it necessary to take it before playing."

• Pot moved out of jazz clubs and marginalized communities and into mainstream (read: white) culture with the help of the Beat authors. Jack Kerouac, according to his first wife, took his first hit from the saxophonist Lester Young at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem in the early 1940s.

• The New York Academy of Medicine's 1944 La Guardia report, commissioned by the mayor, debunked the myth of the murderous marijuana fiend. Researchers found that a typical smoker "readily engages in conversation with strangers, discussing freely his pleasant reactions to the drug and philosophizing on subjects pertaining to life in a manner which, at times, appears to be out of keeping with his intellectual level."

• By 1950, cannabis plants grew as tall as Christmas trees in vacant lots and underpasses in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. But a 1951 eradication effort yanked up 41,000 pounds of the plant.

• One of the first pro-pot marches took place outside the New York Women's House of Detention in Greenwich Village in 1965, spearheaded by Allen Ginsberg.

• And in the late '80s the underground "green aid" movement, a forerunner to legal medical marijuana, supplied ganja to AIDS patients to ease the effects of the harsh drugs given to patients at the time.

"There's no question: New York has played a very important role, historically, as a location for the cannabis phenomenon in the United States," said Martin A. Lee, the author of "Smoke Signals" and the director of Project CBD, a nonprofit that publicizes research on medical uses of cannabis.

• The city cracked down again in the 1990s under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose aggressive policing tactics, like stop-and-frisk, disproportionately affected blacks and Latinos and made New York the pot arrest capital of America.

 Mayor Bill de Blasio — who toked as an N.Y.U. undergrad — promised to cut back on marijuana arrests, but they have barely budged and racial disparities persist.

"Culturally, New York has been way out ahead of the law when it comes to cannabis," Mr. Lee said. "But politically, New York is certainly not a pioneer or a profile in courage. Now, it's more toward the caboose instead of the front of the train."



11)  To Counter Russia, U.S. Signals Nuclear Arms Are Back in a Big Way

 FEB. 4, 2018




WASHINGTON — A treaty committing the United States and Russia to keep their long-range nuclear arsenals at the lowest levels since early in the Cold War goes into full effect on Monday. When it was signed eight years ago, President Barack Obama expressed hope that it would be a small first step toward deeper reductions, and ultimately a world without nuclear weapons.

Now, that optimism has been reversed. A new nuclear policy issued by the Trump administration on Friday, which vows to counter a rush by the Russians to modernize their forces even while staying within the treaty limits, is touching off a new kind of nuclear arms race. This one is based less on numbers of weapons and more on novel tactics and technologies, meant to outwit and outmaneuver the other side.

The Pentagon envisions a new age in which nuclear weapons are back in a big way — its strategy bristles with plans for new low-yield nuclear weapons that advocates say are needed to match Russian advances and critics warn will be too tempting for a president to use. The result is that the nuclear-arms limits that go into effect on Monday now look more like the final stop after three decades of reductions than a way station to further cuts.

Yet when President Trump called on Congress to "modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal" in his State of the Union address last week, he did not mention his administration's rationale: that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has accelerated a dangerous game that the United States must match, even if the price tag soars above $1.2 trillion. That is the latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, one that many experts think is low by a half-trillion dollars.

Mr. Trump barely mentioned Mr. Putin in the speech and said nothing about Russia's nuclear buildup. His reluctance to talk about Russia and its leader during his campaign and first year in office — and his refusal to impose sanctions on Russia mandated by Congress — has fueled suspicions about what lies behind his persistently friendly stance toward Mr. Putin.

In the State of the Union speech, the president focused far more on North Korea and on battling terrorism, even though his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, had announced just days ago that "great power competition — not terrorism — is now the primary focus of U.S. national security."

In contrast to the president's address, the report issued on Friday, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, focuses intensely on Russia. It describes Mr. Putin as forcing America's hand to rebuild the nuclear force, as has a series of other documents produced by Mr. Trump's National Security Council and his Pentagon.

The report contains a sharp warning about a new Russian-made autonomous nuclear torpedo that — while not in violation of the terms of the treaty, known as New Start — appears designed to cross the Pacific undetected and release a deadly cloud of radioactivity that would leave large parts of the West Coast uninhabitable.

It also explicitly rejects Mr. Obama's commitment to make nuclear weapons a diminishing part of American defenses. The limit on warheads — 1,500 deployable weapons — that goes into effect on Monday expires in 2021, and the nuclear review shows no enthusiasm about its chances for renewal.

The report describes future arms control agreements as "difficult to envision" in a world "that is characterized by nuclear-armed states seeking to change borders and overturn existing norms," and in particular by Russian violations of a series of other arms-limitation treaties.

"Past assumptions that our capability to produce nuclear weapons would not be necessary and that we could permit the required infrastructure to age into obsolescence have proven to be mistaken," it argues. "It is now clear that the United States must have sufficient research, design, development and production capacity to support the sustainment and replacement of its nuclear forces."

The new policy was applauded by establishment Republican defense experts, including some who have shuddered at Mr. Trump's threats to use nuclear weapons against North Korea, but have worried that he was insufficiently focused on Russia's nuclear modernization.

"Obama's theory was that we will lead the way in reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons and everyone else will do the same," said Franklin C. Miller, a nuclear expert who served in the George W. Bush administration and was an informal consultant to Pentagon officials who drafted the new policy. "It didn't work out that way. The Russians have been fielding systems while we haven't, and our first new system won't be ready until 2026 or 2027."

"This is a very mainstream nuclear policy," Mr. Miller said of the document, arguing that new low-yield atomic weapons would deter Mr. Putin and make nuclear war less likely, rather than offer new temptations to Mr. Trump. "Nothing in it deserves the criticism it has received."

A senior administration official, who would discuss the policy only on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Trump had been briefed on the new nuclear approach, but was leaving the details to Mr. Mattis and to his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster. The president, the official said, was primarily concerned about staying ahead in any nuclear race with Russia, and to a lesser degree with China.

Even Mr. Trump's harshest critics concede that the United States must take steps as Russia and China have invested heavily in modernizing their forces, making them more lethal. The administration's new strategy describes the Russian buildup in detail, documenting how Moscow is making "multiple upgrades" to its force of strategic bombers, as well as long-range missiles based at sea and on land. Russia is also developing, it adds, "at least two new intercontinental-range systems," as well as the autonomous torpedo.

Russia has violated another treaty, the United States argues, that covers intermediate-range missiles, and is "building a large, diverse and modern" set of shorter-range weapons with less powerful warheads that "are not accountable under the New Start treaty." Yet Mr. Trump has not publicly complained about the alleged treaty violation or the new weapons.

Though members of the Obama administration were highly critical of the Trump administration document, there is little question that Mr. Obama paved the way for the modernization policy. He agreed to a $70 billion makeover of American nuclear laboratories as the price for Senate approval of the 2010 New Start.

The new document calls for far more spending — a program that at a minimum will cost $1.2 trillion over 30 years, without inflation taken into account. Most of that money would go to new generations of bombers and new submarines, and a rebuilding of the land-based nuclear missile force that still dots giant fields across the West.

While those systems are the most vulnerable to attack, and the most decrepit part of the force, they are also among the most politically popular in Congress, because they provide jobs in rural areas.

In some cases, Mr. Trump's plan speeds ahead with nuclear arms that Mr. Obama had endorsed, such as a new generation of nuclear cruise missiles. The low-flying weapons, when dropped from a bomber, hug the ground to avoid enemy radars and air defenses.

Other weapons, though, are completely new. For example, the policy calls for "the rapid development" of a cruise missile that would be fired from submarines, then become airborne before reaching its target. Mr. Obama had eliminated an older version.

It also calls for the development of a low-yield warhead for some of the nation's submarine ballistic missiles — part of a broader effort to expand the credible options "for responding to nuclear or non-nuclear strategic attack." But critics of the low-yield weapons say they blur the line between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons, making their use more likely.

Andrew C. Weber, an assistant defense secretary during the Obama administration who directed oversight of the nation's nuclear arsenal, called the new plan a dangerous folly that would make nuclear war more likely.

"We're simply mirroring the reckless Russian doctrine," he said. "We can already deter any strike. We have plenty of low-yield weapons. The new plan is a fiction created to justify the making of new nuclear arms. They'll just increase the potential for their use and for miscalculation. The administration's logic is Kafkaesque."

One of the most controversial elements of the new strategy is a section that declares that the United States might use nuclear weapons to respond to a devastating, but non-nuclear, attack on critical infrastructure — the power grid or cellphone networks, for example.

All of the new or repurposed warheads would come from the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Energy Department that officials say is already stretched thin.

"We're pretty much at capacity in terms of people," Frank G. Klotz was quoted as saying after retiring last month as the agency's head. "We're pretty much at capacity in terms of the materials that we need to do this work. And pretty much at capacity in terms of hours in the day at our facilities."



12) Even in Family-Friendly Scandinavia, Mothers Are Paid Less

Researchers say motherhood is one of the biggest causes of the gender pay gap. It might take fathers to change that.

Feb. 5, 2018


Ludde Omholt with his son Love in a park in Sweden. Researchers say that if men took on more child care responsibilities, it could help shrink the gender pay gap.CreditCasper Hedberg for the International Herald Tribune


Scandinavia is supposed to be a family-friendly paradise. We imagine fathers and mothers spending their children's early months together at home. Then they enroll them in high-quality, government-subsidized child care, from which they pick them up at the end of the world's shortest workdays

But it is not as egalitarian as the fantasy suggests. Despite generous social policies, women who work full-time there are still paid 15 percent to 20 percent less than men, new research shows — a gender pay gap similar to that in the United States. 

The main reason for this pay gap seems to be the same in both places: Children hurt mothers' careers. This is, in large part, because women spend more time on child rearing than men do, whether by choice or not.

A series of recent studies shows that in both the United States and Europe, the gender pay gap is much smaller until the first child arrives. Then women's earnings plummet and their career trajectories slow. Women who do not have children, by and large, continue to grow their earnings at a similar rate to men. There are still differences because of discrimination and other factors, but researchers say that motherhood explains a large amount of the gap.

It's another sign that in modern economies, with their two-income families and with a priority on long hours spent in the office, even countries with the most family-friendly policies haven't made things equal. 

Policies like paid leave, subsidized child care and part-time work options are helpful to mothers. Scandinavia has one of the highest rates of women's labor force participation in the world, and the share of women working in the United States has fallen behind the share in Europe, which has much more generous policies

But policy alone would not be enough to overcome gender inequality. It would require changes in behavior — including by men. There is evidence that the gap would shrink if fathers acted more the way mothers do after having children, by spending more time on parenting and the related responsibilities. 

"At the very least, men have to take a larger role," said Francine Blau, an economist at Cornell who has studied the gender pay gap and family-friendly policies in the United States and Europe. "It does become a distinction in the eyes of employers between potential male and female workers, and it may reinforce traditional gender roles." 

One new study, which used a data set including everyone in Denmark from 1980 to 2013, along with details about their jobs and families, found that while there was a pay gap before people had children, it was relatively small and earnings were increasing at similar rates. But after the first child, women's gross earnings quickly dropped 30 percent, and never fully recovered. In the long term, mothers earned 20 percent less. Women who did not have children continued to increase their earnings at a rate similar to men. 

Most studies of the pay gap analyze equal pay for equal work. But in this paper, researchers examined how women changed their work in response to having children, and how that affected their lifelong pay. Mothers were paid less partly because they worked fewer hours, took longer breaks from employment and were more likely to move into lower-paying, family-friendly jobs, the paper found. Their probability of becoming a manager also declined. 

"Equal work is in practice not an option for most women, because they have to take care of the children and therefore have different kinds of jobs and different kinds of hours," said Henrik Kleven, an economist at Princeton, who wrote the paper with Jakob Egholt Sogaard, an economist at the University of Copenhagen, and Camille Landais, an economist at the London School of Economics. 

As in the United States, the pay gap in Denmark has shrunk over time as women have become better educated than men and more likely to be professionals or managers. Children, which accounted for 40 percent of the pay gap in 1980, now account for 80 percent of it. Discrimination and other factors play a role in the remaining gap, researchers say.

The same pattern is true elsewhere. In the United States, a study by Census Bureau researchers found that between two years before the birth of a couple's first child and a year after, the earnings gap between opposite-sex spouses doubles. The gap continues to grow for the next five years. 

Two studies of college-educated women in the United States found that they made almost as much as men until ages 26 to 33, when many women have children. By age 45, they made 55 percent as much as men. 

In Sweden, a recent study found, female executives are half as likely as men to be chief executives, and one-third less likely to be high earners — even when they were more qualified for these jobs than men. Most of the difference was explained by women who were working shorter hours and taking time off work in the five years after their first child was born. 

As any parent knows, children come with a host of time-consuming responsibilities. Someone has to do the work. In most opposite-sex couples, that someone is the mother. 

There are different explanations for this, researchers say. Women may have intrinsic preferences to do more of this work, or couples could decide it's most efficient to divide the labor this way. It could also be that social norms about traditional gender roles influence men and women to behave this way. 

In surveys of Americans and Europeans, people tend to say that women should work part-time or not at all when they have children at home, and that men should earn money to support their families. The Denmark study found evidence that women took on the roles they saw their mothers take — those whose mothers worked more had smaller pay gaps themselves. 

Policies have different effects on how people approach work and home responsibilities, researchers say. Very long paid maternity leave, which is common in Europe, increases the chances that women return to the labor force but decreases their pay and promotions, because they take such long breaks. 

Subsidized child care helps shrink the pay gap by enabling women to spend more time working. There is also evidence that mothers whose employers let them work flexibly or telecommute are less likely to reduce their work hours.

But as long as mothers, and not fathers, are the ones using policies like paid leave and taking on the additional work at home after having children, the lifetime pay inequity seems certain to remain. 

Research has shown that when men take care of their babies in the early weeks, they are more involved in child care years later. But while Denmark gives new parents a year off, and mothers and fathers can share most of it, men on average take only two weeks, Mr. Kleven said. Countries like Sweden have been able to increase the amount of paternity leave that fathers take with a policy incentive: Families in which each parent takes a certain amount of time off receive additional time off to add to their combined allowance. 

"If you know that both men and women will go off and take care of children, not just women, what that does is remove the motherhood penalty," said Heejung Chung, a sociologist at the University of Kent. 

Claire Cain Miller writes about gender, families and the future of work for The Upshot. She joined The Times in 2008, and previously covered the tech industry for Business Day.



13)  FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered.

FEB. 6, 2018



Residents of San Isidro, P.R., waited for food and water in October. CreditErika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

The mission for the Federal Emergency Management Agency was clear: Hurricane Maria had torn through Puerto Rico, and hungry people needed food. Thirty million meals needed to be delivered as soon as possible.

For this huge task, FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job, and Ms. Brown, who is the sole owner and employee of her company, Tribute Contracting LLC, set out to find some help.

Ms. Brown, who is adept at navigating the federal contracting system, hired a wedding caterer in Atlanta with a staff of 11 to freeze-dry wild mushrooms and rice, chicken and rice, and vegetable soup. She found a nonprofit in Texas that had shipped food aid overseas and domestically, including to a Houston food bank after Hurricane Harvey.

By the time 18.5 million meals were due, Tribute had delivered only 50,000. And FEMA inspectors discovered a problem: The food had been packaged separately from the pouches used to heat them. FEMA's solicitation required "self-heating meals."

"Do not ship another meal. Your contract is terminated," Carolyn Ward, the FEMA contracting officer who handled Tribute's agreement, wrote to Ms. Brown in an email dated Oct. 19 that Ms. Brown provided to The New York Times. "This is a logistical nightmare."

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Four months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, a picture is emerging of the contracts awarded in the earliest days of the crisis. And examples like the Tribute contract are causing lawmakers to raise questions about FEMA's handling of the disaster and whether the agency was adequately prepared to respond.

On Tuesday, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, which has been investigating the contract, asked Representative Trey Gowdy, the committee chairman, to subpoena FEMA for all documents relating to the agreement. Lawmakers fear the agency is not lining up potential contractors in advance of natural disasters, leading it to scramble to award multimillion-dollar agreements in the middle of a crisis.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a bipartisan congressional investigation found that a failure to secure advance contracts led to chaos and potential for waste and fraud. Democrats asserted that FEMA was similarly inept preparing for this storm.

"It appears that the Trump Administration's response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico in 2017 suffered from the same flaws as the Bush Administration's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005," wrote Representatives Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland and Stacey E. Plaskett, the nonvoting delegate from the United States Virgin Islands.

Amanda Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Mr. Gowdy, said FEMA has given the Oversight Committee regular briefings since lawmakers asked for them in October, and at no point had Democrats mentioned the Tribute contract. Sending a subpoena to an agency cooperating with Congress "is premature," Ms. Gonzalez said in a statement.

In November, The Associated Press found that after Hurricane Maria, FEMA awarded more than $30 million in contracts for emergency tarps and plastic sheeting to a company that never delivered the needed supplies.

FEMA insists no Puerto Ricans missed a meal as a result of the failed agreement with Tribute. FEMA relied on other suppliers that provided "ample" food and water for distribution, said William Booher, an agency spokesman.

But there is little doubt that in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans struggled with access to food. The storm shut down ports on an island that imports about 85 percent of its food supply. Farms were flattened. Supermarkets lost electricity and could not find diesel to run their generators. The stores that opened using generator power could not offer much from their understocked shelves.

Puerto Ricans depended heavily on emergency aid dispatched by FEMA. The Department of Homeland Security has doled out more than $1 billion in contracts related to Hurricane Maria, which made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20.

On Oct. 3, FEMA awarded one of its largest food contracts to Tribute. For $5.10 each, the company agreed to provide 30 million ready-to-eat meals by Oct. 23.

Ms. Brown described herself in an interview as a government contractor — "almost like a broker," she said — who does not keep employees or specialize in any field but is able to procure subcontracted work as needed, and get a cut of the money along the way. She claims a fashion line and has several self-published books, and describes herself on Twitter as "A Diva, Mogul, Author, Idealist with scars to prove it."

After Tribute's failure to provide the meals became clear, FEMA formally terminated the contract for cause, citing Tribute's late delivery of approved meals. Ms. Brown is disputing the termination. On Dec. 22, she filed an appeal, arguing that the real reason FEMA canceled her contract was because the meals were packed separately from the heating pouches, not because of their late delivery. Ms. Brown claims the agency did not specify that the meals and heaters had to be together.

She is seeking a settlement of at least $70 million. Her subcontractors, Cooking With A Star LLC, and Breedlove Foods Inc., have threatened to sue her for breach of contract, Ms. Brown said. Kendra Robinson, the caterer who runs Cooking With A Star, said she has about 75,000 meals her company prepared for FEMA sitting in an Atlanta warehouse.

In a statement, FEMA said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on a contract pending an appeal. But the agency noted it continues to provide meals to Puerto Ricans, despite an error by an agency spokesman last week that suggested the emergency aid would stop.

"At the time of the contract termination there were ample commodity supplies in the pipeline, and distribution was not affected," said Mr. Booher, the agency spokesman. "During the 2017 hurricane season FEMA sourced over 200 million meals through multiple vendors in order to support disaster response activities across multiple disasters."

Tribute has been awarded dozens of government contracts since 2013, including one in 2015 for $1.2 million in mattresses for the Defense Logistics Agency, which supports military combat troops, federal spending databases show. Tribute delivered the mattresses, according to the agency. The databases offer only a fragmented picture of federal contracts.

The government has also canceled Tribute contracts on at least five occasions.

Four cancellations involved the Federal Prison System, which found that Tribute failed to deliver meat, bakery, cereal and other food products to various correctional institutions. A fifth termination involved the Government Publishing Office, which terminated a contract for 3,000 tote bags after Tribute failed to print the Marine Corps logo on both sides of the bags.

An investigation by the office's inspector general found that Tribute "altered and submitted a false shipping document and subcontracted the predominant production function on two contracts without proper authorization," according to a 2015 report submitted to Congress.

The report did not name Tribute, but a Government Publishing Office spokesman confirmed that it was the Georgia company mentioned in the document. The office awarded Tribute 14 contracts totaling more than $80,000 from 2014-15, and the company "routinely delivered late," the report said.

As a result of the botched tote-bag job, the Government Publishing Office prohibited the award of any contracts over $35,000 to Tribute until January 2019. But that exclusion applied only to that office, not to any other federal agency.

Tribute has had three indefinite contracts with FEMA for hygiene kits since 2013, but none of them have been activated.

Asked about the cancellations, Ms. Brown offered explanations for each case, including that she had supplier trouble with the prison meals. She could have fought the Government Publishing Office on the tote bags contract, she said, but could not afford to at the time.

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee say Tribute's contract history should have given FEMA serious pause about awarding the company a huge food contract.

"Clearly, Tribute did not have sufficient financial resources of its own to support this contract," they wrote. "Based on Tribute's lack of experience in large-scale disaster relief and its limited financial capacity, FEMA should have raised serious questions about whether the company could meet the contract terms — especially since the contract concerned such a critical need."

Ms. Brown said she had no doubt she could have provided the 30 million meals, though she estimated she would have needed until at least Nov. 7 — two weeks past FEMA's deadline, and still an unlikely completion date, given Tribute's pace of delivery by the time the contract was canceled.

"They probably should have gone with someone else, but I'm assuming they did not because this was the third hurricane" after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Ms. Brown said. "They were trying to fill the orders the best they could."

















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