A Summit to fight the Prison Industrial Complex

Saturday April 7th, 10am - 3pm

City College, Mission Campus

1125 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

RSVP today. Space limited!

Facebook to stay updated and spread the word!


Hosted by the No New SF Jail coalition, this event will bring together organizational partners and community activists working to stop the violence of the prison industrial complex in San Francisco. Summit presenters and participants will discuss interrelated topics such as jail construction, gang injunctions, justice for community members murdered by police, tasers, bail reform, increased policing on our streets, and more. Interactive workshops, trainings, and panel discussions will allow for participants to share information and strategize between campaigns. Our goal is to strengthen connections between our organizations and efforts in order to better address the interlocking impacts of imprisonment, policing, surveillance, courts, and prosecution in San Francisco. Join us!

Lunch provided. Donations accepted.

Current Sponsors Include: Asian Law Caucus, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Communities United Against Violence, Oakland Power Projects, DSA - Justice Committee, American Friends Service Committee, Critical Resistance Oakland, Californians United for a Responsible Budget.

Accessibility: Venue will be wheelchair accessible. Childcare and interpretation provided upon request, please contact us regarding this and other accessibility needs by March 31st.

Sponsorship: Would your organization like to join as a sponsor? Please contact us and fill out this quick survey.

Contact: nosfjail@curbprisonsp ending.org - 5104440484 - http s://nonewsfjail.wordpress.com


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Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb

WASHINGTON—In the last few years, arguably the most visible and well-publicized march on the U.S. capital has been the "Women's March," a movement aimed at advocating for legislation and policies promoting women's rights as well as a protest against the misogynistic actions and statements of high-profile U.S. politicians. The second Women's March, which took place this past year, attracted over a million protesters nationwide, with 500,000 estimated to have participated in Los Angeles alone.

However, absent from this women's movement has been a public antiwar voice, as its stated goal of "ending violence" does not include violence produced by the state. The absence of this voice seemed both odd and troubling to legendary peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose iconic protest against the invasion and occupation of Iraq made her a household name for many.

Sheehan was taken aback by how some prominent organizers of this year's Women's March were unwilling to express antiwar positions and argued for excluding the issue of peace entirely from the event and movement as a whole. In an interview with MintPress, Sheehan recounted how a prominent leader of the march had told her, "I appreciate that war is your issue Cindy, but the Women's March will never address the war issue as long as women aren't free."

War is indeed Sheehan's issue and she has been fighting against the U.S.' penchant for war for nearly 13 years. After her son Casey was killed in action while serving in Iraq in 2004, Sheehan drew international media attention for her extended protest in front of the Bush residence in Crawford, Texas, which later served as the launching point for many protests against U.S. military action in Iraq.

Sheehan rejected the notion that women could be "free" without addressing war and empire. She countered the dismissive comment of the march organizer by stating that divorcing peace activism from women's issues "ignored the voices of the women of the world who are being bombed and oppressed by U.S. military occupation."

Indeed, women are directly impacted by war—whether through displacement, the destruction of their homes, kidnapping, or torture. Women also suffer uniquely and differently from men in war as armed conflicts often result in an increase in sexual violence against women.

For example, of the estimated half-a-million civilians killed in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, many of them were women and children. In the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, the number of female casualties has been rising on average over 20 percent every year since 2015. In 2014 alone when Israel attacked Gaza in "Operation Protective Edge," Israeli forces, which receives $10 million in U.S. military aid every day, killed over two thousand Palestinians—half of them were women and children. Many of the casualties were pregnant women, who had been deliberately targeted.

Given the Women's March's apparent rejection of peace activism in its official platform, Sheehan was inspired to organize another Women's March that would address what many women's rights advocates, including Sheehan, believe to be an issue central to promoting women's rights.

Dubbed the "Women's March on the Pentagon," the event is scheduled to take place on October 21—the same date as an iconic antiwar march of the Vietnam era—with a mission aimed at countering the "bipartisan war machine." Though men, women and children are encouraged to attend, the march seeks to highlight women's issues as they relate to the disastrous consequences of war.

The effort of women in confronting the "war machine" will be highlighted at the event, as Sheehan remarked that "women have always tried to confront the war-makers," as the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives of the men and women in the military, as well as those innocent civilians killed in the U.S.' foreign wars. As a result, the push for change needs to come from women, according to Sheehan, because "we [women] are the only ones that can affect [the situation] in a positive way." All that's missing is an organized, antiwar women's movement.

Sheehan noted the march will seek to highlight the direct relationship between peace activism and women's rights, since "no woman is free until all women are free" and such "freedom also includes the freedom from U.S. imperial plunder, murder and aggression" that is part of the daily lives of women living both within and beyond the United States. Raising awareness of how the military-industrial complex negatively affects women everywhere is key, says Sheehan, as "unless there is a sense of international solidarity and a broader base for feminism, then there aren't going to be any solutions to any problems, [certainly not] if we don't stop giving trillions of dollars to the Pentagon."

Sheehan also urged that, even though U.S. military adventurism has long been an issue and the subject of protests, a march to confront the military-industrial complex is more important now than ever: "I'm not alarmist by nature but I feel like the threat of nuclear annihilation is much closer than it has been for a long time," adding that, despite the assertion of some in the current administration and U.S. military, "there is no such thing as 'limited' nuclear war." This makes "the need to get out in massive numbers" and march against this more imperative than ever.

Sheehan also noted that Trump's presidency has helped to make the Pentagon's influence on U.S. politics more obvious by bringing it to the forefront: "Even though militarism had been under wraps [under previous presidents], Trump has made very obvious the fact that he has given control of foreign policy to the 'generals.'"

Indeed, as MintPress has reported on several occasions, the Pentagon—beginning in March of last year—has been given the freedom to "engage the enemy" at will, without the oversight of the executive branch or Congress. As a result, the deaths of innocent civilians abroad as a consequence of U.S. military action has spiked. While opposing Trump is not the focus of the march, Sheehan opined that Trump's war-powers giveaway to the Pentagon, as well as his unpopularity, have helped to spark widespread interest in the event.

Different wings of the same warbird

Sheehan has rejected accusations that the march is partisan, as it is, by nature, focused on confronting the bipartisan nature of the military-industrial complex. She told MintPress that she has recently come under pressure owing to the march's proximity to the 2018 midterm elections—as some have ironically accused the march's bipartisan focus as "trying to harm the chances of the Democrats" in the ensuing electoral contest.

In response, Sheehan stated that: 

"Democrats and Republicans are different wings of the same warbird. We are protesting militarism and imperialism. The march is nonpartisan in nature because both parties are equally complicit. We have to end wars for the planet and for the future. I could really care less who wins in November."

She also noted that even when the Democrats were in power under Obama, nothing was done to change the government's militarism nor to address the host of issues that events like the Women's March have claimed to champion.

"We just got finished with eight years of a Democratic regime," Sheehan told MintPress. "For two of those years, they had complete control of Congress and the presidency and a [filibuster-proof] majority in the Senate and they did nothing" productive except to help "expand the war machine." She also emphasized that this march is in no way a "get out the vote" march for any political party.

Even though planning began less than a month ago, support has been pouring in for the march since it was first announced on Sheehan's website, Cindy Sheehan Soapbox. Encouraged by the amount of interest already received, Sheehan is busy working with activists to organize the events and will be taking her first organizing trip to the east coast in April of this year. 

In addition, those who are unable to travel to Washington are encouraged to participate in any number of solidarity protests that will be planned to take place around the world or to plan and attend rallies in front of U.S. embassies, military installations, and the corporate headquarters of war profiteers.

Early endorsers of the event include journalists Abby Martin, Mnar Muhawesh and Margaret Kimberley; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly; FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley; and U.S. politicians like former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Activist groups that have pledged their support include CodePink, United National Antiwar Coalition, Answer Coalition, Women's EcoPeace and World Beyond War.

Though October is eight months away, Sheehan has high hopes for the march. More than anything else, though, she hopes that the event will give birth to a "real revolutionary women's movement that recognizes the emancipation and liberation of all peoples—and that means [freeing] all people from war and empire, which is the biggest crime against humanity and against this planet." By building "a movement and not just a protest," the event's impact will not only be long-lasting, but grow into a force that could meaningfully challenge the U.S. military-industrial complex that threatens us all. God knows the world needs it.

For those eager to help the march, you can help spread the word through social media by joining the march's Facebook page or following the march's Twitter account, as well as by word of mouth. In addition, supporting independent media outlets—such as MintPress, which will be reporting on the march—can help keep you and others informed as October approaches.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, the Anti-Media, and 21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.

MPN News, February 20, 2018







 Mark your calendar:  Sept. 30-Oct. 6, SHUT DOWN CREECH: 


Mass Mobilization to STOP KILLER DRONES.

Join CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, and other activists for a week of resistance in the "killer drone fields" of Creech Air Force Base!

With this week's 50th anniversary of the My Lai Massacre, where the U.S. military slaughtered over 500 villagers in Vietnam, it is a time to reflect.  The U.S. Killer Drone Program is as covert as ever, but continues to brutally kill people in the poorest communities of the world, as the they go about their daily lives, driving on a road, praying in a mosque, eating with their family, studying in school, attending a wedding party or funeral.  The ongoing U.S. drone attacks represent modern day mini-My Lai massacres…relentless and barbaric, "hunting" people who have no ability to defend themselves.  

As we approach the 50th anniversary of Martin L. King Jr.'s assassination, April 4, I am reminded of his words of truth:  "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world:  my own country..."  Sadly, it has only gotten worse.  We refuse to adapt to it.

Join us for all or part of the week of peaceful nonviolent resistance.  

Stay in the Goddess Temple guest house or bring your tent and gear and sleep under the beautiful Nevada desert skies.  Collaborate with activists, and join our daily am & pm vigils during rush hour commute, when thousands of military flood into and out of Creech AFB, a key command center of the U.S. killer drone program.  The day hours between vigils allow opportunities for desert walks, camaraderie with other peacemakers, and nature retreats in the beautiful desert….an opportunity for replenishing our souls and brainstorming inspirations for resistance.

Not too late to join us, and hope to see you there!

Maggie, Eleanor, Cecile, Ann Wright, GG, Michael Kerr, Pamela, Mary Dean, Renay, Susan Witka, and Toby

It is so beautiful to see young people in this country rising up to demand an end to gun violence. But what is Donald Trump's response? Instead of banning assault weapons, he wants to give guns to teachers and militarize our schools. But one of the reasons for mass school shootings is precisely because our schools are already militarized. Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was trained by U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program while he was in high school.

The Armed Services Committees in Congress can stop the JROTC programs in our schools. Tell Senator McCain and Representative Thornberry, of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, to take the war machine out our schools!

Yesterday, Divest from the War Machine coalition member, Pat Elder, was featured on Democracy Now discussing his recent article about the JROTC in our schools. The JROTC teaches children how to shoot weapons. It is often taught by retired soldiers who have no background in teaching. They are allowed to teach classes that are given at least equal weight as classes taught by certified and trained teachers. We are pulling our children away from classes that expand their minds and putting them in classes that teach them how to be killing machines. The JROTC program costs our schools money. It sends equipment. But, the instructors and facilities must be constructed and paid for by the school.

The JROTC puts our children's futures at risk. Children who participate in JROTC shooting programs are exposed to lead bullets from guns. They are at an increased risk when the shooting ranges are inside. The JROTC program is designed to "put a jump start on your military career." Children are funneled into JROTC to make them compliant and to feed the military with young bodies which are prepared to be assimilated into the war machine. Instead of funneling children into the military, we should be channeling them into jobs that support peace and sustainable development. 

Tell Senator McCain and Representative Thornberry to take the war machine out of our schools! The JROTC program must end immediately. The money should be directed back into classrooms that educate our children.

The Divest from the War Machine campaign is working to remove our money from the hands of companies that make a killing on killing. We must take on the systems that keep fueling war, death, and destruction around the globe. AND, we must take on the systems that are creating an endless cycle of children who are being indoctrinated at vulnerable ages to become the next killing machine.  Don't forget to post this message on Facebook and Twitter.

Onward in divestment,

Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Sarah, Sophia and Tighe

P.S. Do you want to do more? Start a campaign to get the JROTC out of your school district or state. Email divest@codepink.org and we'll get you started!









Rally and March to Free Mumia

Saturday, April 28, 2018, 12:00 Noon

Oscar Grant Plaza, Oakland, CA

Other Regional and International Actions to Free Mumia

Detroit, Michigan: National Conference to Defeat Austerity, Saturday, March 24. 10:00 A.M.—5:00 P.M.  St. Matthew's—St. Joseph's Church, 8850 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202. For more information: www.moratorium-mi.org

Houston, Texas: Banner Drop for Mumia, Monday, March 26, 5:30 P.M.—6:30 P.M.  Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement will do a banner drop over Houston's busiest freeway for Mumia, on Dunlavy Bridge, over Highway 59.

New York City: Break Down Walls and Prison Plantation: Mumia, Migrants and Movements for Liberation, Friday, March 23. 6:00 P.M. Community Supper 7:30 PM, Holyrood Episcopal Church, 715 179th Street, New York, NY 10033

Jericho Amnesty Movement 20th Anniversary, Saturday, March 24. Holyrood Episcopal Church, 715 W. 179th St, New York, NY, Dinner from 5:00 P.M.—6:00 P.M. Downstairs Program from 6:30 P.M.—9:00 P.M. in Sanctuary.

Sunday, March 25: March and Rally, Gather 12:00 P.M., U.S. Mission (799 UN Plaza: 1st Ave. and 45th St.), March 1:00 P.M., to Times Square for 2:00 P.M. Rally, Buses to Philadelphia: Leaving NYC March 27, 5:30 A.M. from 147 West 24 St. For information email info@freemumia.com or call 212-330-8029.

Vallejo, CA, Saturday, March 24: 1:00 P.M.—4:00 P.M., Vallejo JFK Library, 505 Santa Clara Street, Vallejo, CA 94590, Contact Info: New Jim Crow Movement (Vallejo), 707-652-8367, withjusticepeace@gmail.com

Toronto, Canada, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!, Saturday, March 24, 1:00 P.M., Across the street from the U.S. Consulate
360 University Avenue, march24freemumia@gmail.com 

Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, March 25, Freedom Park RDD, Poetry. Hip Hop. Kwaito. Drama. Local Organizer: Pastor Rev, Contact Info: +27 649 240514



Support Herman Bell

Last week the New York State Board of Parole granted Herman Bell release. Since the Board's decision, there has been significant backlash from the Police Benevolent Association, other unions, Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo. They are demanding that Herman be held indefinitely, the Parole Commissioners who voted for his release be fired, and that people convicted of killing police be left to die in prison.

We want the Governor, policymakers, and public to know that we strongly support the Parole Board's lawful, just and merciful decision. We also want to show support for the recent changes to the Board, including the appointment of new Commissioners and the direction of the new parole regulations, which base release decisions more on who a person is today and their accomplishments while in prison than on the nature of their crime.

Herman has a community of friends, family and loved ones eagerly awaiting his return. At 70 years old and after 45 years inside, it is time for Herman to come home.

Here are four things you can do RIGHT NOW to support Herman Bell:

1- CALL New York State Governor Cuomo's Office NOW

2-EMAIL New York State Governor Cuomo's Office

3- TWEET at Governor Cuomo: use the following sample tweet:

"@NYGovCuomo: stand by the Parole Board's lawful & just decision to release Herman Bell. At 70 years old and after more than 40 years of incarceration, his release is overdue. #BringHermanHome."

4- Participate in a CBS poll and vote YES on the Parole Board's decision
The poll ends on March 21st. Please do this ASAP!

Script for phone calls and emails:
"Governor Cuomo, my name is __________and I am a resident of . I support the Parole Board's decision to release Herman Bell and urge you and the Board to stand by the decision. I also support the recent appointment of new Parole Board Commissioners, and the direction of the new parole regulations, which base release decisions more on who a person is today than on the nature of their crime committed years ago. Returning Herman to his friends and family will help the heal the many harms caused by crime and decades of incarceration. The Board's decision was just, merciful and lawful, and it will benefit our communities and New York State as a whole."

Thank you for your support and contributions.

With gratitude,
Supporters of Herman Bell and Parole Justice New York




After almost 14 years of tireless work, we are changing our name to About Face: Veterans Against the War! This has been a long time coming, and we want to celebrate this member-led decision to grow our identity and our work with you.

Member vote at Convention in favor of changing the name

Why change our name? It's a different world since our founding in 2004 by 8 veterans returning from the invasion of Iraq. The Bush Administration's decision to start two wars significantly altered the political landscape in the US, and even more so in the Middle East and Central Asia. For all of us, that decision changed our lives. Our membership has grown to reflect the diversity of experiences of service members and vets serving in the so-called "Global War on Terror," whether it be deploying to Afghanistan, special operations in Africa, or drone operations on US soil. We will continue to be a home for post-9/11 veterans, and we've seen more members join us since the name-change process began.

Click this link to see our new name and site in action!

Over the past 15 years, our political understanding has also grown and changed. As a community, we have learned how militarism is not only the root cause of conflicts overseas, but how its technology, tactics, and values have landed directly on communities of color, indigenous people, and poor people here at home.

So why this name? About Face is a drill command all of us were taught in the military. It signifies an abrupt 180 degree turn. A turn away. That drill movement represents the transformation that has led us to where we find ourselves today: working to dismantle the militarism we took part in and building solidarity with people who bear the weight of militarism in its many forms.

We are keeping Veterans Against the War as our tag line because it describes our members, our continued cause, and because we are proud to be a part of the anti-war veteran legacy. Our name has changed and our work has deepened, but our vision -- building a world free of militarism -- is stronger than ever. 

Check out our new website, and let us know what you think

As we make this shift, we deeply appreciate your commitment to us over the years and your ongoing support as we build this new phase together. We know that dismantling militarism is long haul work, and we are dedicated to being a part of it with you for as long as it takes.

Until we celebrate the last veteran,

Matt HowardCo-DirectorAbout Face: Veterans Against the War(formerly IVAW)





About Face: Veterans Against the War is a 501(c)(3) charity,

and welcomes your tax deductible contributions


P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe

To ensure delivery of About Face emails please add webmaster@ivaw.orgto your address book.


















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

Obtain Updateswww.justice4majortillery.info





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 ILPD national office, 116 W. Osborne Ave, Tampa, FL 33603


Free Leonard Peltier!

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





Artwork by Kevin Cooper






301 Days in Jail,
as of today.

Reality's trial
is now postponed 

until October 15th.

That's 500 Days in Jail,
Without Bail!


 Whistleblower Reality Winner's trial has (again) been postponed.

Her new trial date is October 15, 2018, based on the new official proceedings schedule (fifth version). She will have spent 500 days jailed without bail by then. Today is day #301.
And her trial may likely be pushed back even further into the Spring of 2019.

We urge you to remain informed and engaged with our campaign until she is free! 


"Why We Should All Look Closer At Whistle Blower,
Reality Winner's Case" 

One supporter's excellent report

on the details of Winner's imprisonment

~Check out these highlights & then go read the full article here~

"*Guilty Until Proven Innocent*

Winner is also not allowed to change from her orange jumpsuit for her court dates, even though she is "innocent until proven guilty."  Not only that, but during any court proceedings, only her wrists are unshackled, her ankles stay.  And a US Marshal sits in front of her, face to face, during the proceedings.  Winner is not allowed to turn around and look into the courtroom at all . . .

Upon checking the inmate registry, it starts to become clear how hush hush the government wants this case against Winner to be.  Whether pre-whistleblowing, or in her orange jumpsuit, photos of Winner have surfaced on the web.  That's why it was so interesting that there's no photo of her next to her name on the inmate registry . . .

For the past hundred years, the Espionage Act has been debated and amended, and used to charge whistleblowers that are seeking to help the country they love, not harm it.  Sometimes we have to learn when past amendments no longer do anything to justify the treatment of an American truth teller as a political prisoner. The act is outdated and amending it needs to be seriously looked at, or else we need to develop laws that protect our whistleblowers.

The Espionage Act is widely agreed by many experts to be unconstitutionally vague and a violation of the First Amendment of Free Speech.  Even though a Supreme Court had ruled that the Espionage Act does not infringe upon the 1st Amendment back in 1919, it's constitutionality has been back and forth in court ever sense.


Because of being charged under the Espionage Act, Winner's defense's hands are tied.  No one is allowed to mention the classified document, even though the public already knows that the information in it is true, that Russia hacked into our election support companies." 

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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,




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











Puerto Rico Still Without Power















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!










1)  Woman Injured by Sacramento Sheriff's Vehicle at Stephon Clark Protest

APRIL 1, 2018



A woman identified as Wanda Cleveland was knocked to the ground Saturday night by a Sacramento County Sheriff's Department vehicle. CreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times


An activist at a Sacramento demonstration protesting the police killing of an unarmed black man in his grandmother's backyard was struck and injured by a Sheriff's Department vehicle late Saturday as law enforcement officials tried to pass through the crowd.

The Sacramento Bee and The State Hornet newspapers identified the activist as Wanda Cleveland, 61. The Bee described Ms. Cleveland as a regular attendee at City Council meetings. It said she was taken to a hospital with minor injuries and released early Sunday.

"He never even stopped," the newspaper quoted Ms. Cleveland as saying. "It was a hit-and-run. If I did that I'd be charged."

Sgt. Kevin Jordan of the Sheriff's Department said he could not confirm that someone had been hit.

But videos posted on Twitter show sheriff's vehicles, surrounded by crowds protesting the shooting death last month of Stephon Clark, moving slowly through the crowd as someone urges repeatedly on a megaphone, "Back away from my vehicle."

As the first car creeps forward, a second appears to follow quickly in its wake, striking someone who falls to the ground. A video from ABC10 News in Sacramento showed the impact.

The California Highway Patrol said a pedestrian "who may have been a protester" was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

A spokesman for the patrol's South Sacramento office, Officer Michael Bradley, said it was investigating a collision that occurred around 9:30 p.m. outside the city limits near the corner of Florin Road and 65th Street. No further details were released.

Some Twitter users suggested that the second vehicle had sped up in order to hit a protester and then failed to stop.

Crowds in Sacramento, California's capital, have rallied almost daily since Mr. Clark was shot and killed on March 18. They have urged the firing of the two officers involved, who have been put on administrative leave.

Mr. Clark, 22, died after he was shot eight times by police officers sent to investigate reports that someone was breaking car windows. The Sacramento Police Department initially said Mr. Clark had "advanced toward the officers" while holding what they believed to be a firearm.

An independent autopsy commissioned by Mr. Clark's family and released on Friday found that most of the shots that struck him were in his back, raising questions about the police account.

The police that night were relying in part on personnel who were in a Sheriff's Department helicopter that hovered above, and who at one point reported that the suspect had picked up a crowbar.

The officers eventually spotted Mr. Clark, who appears to have run into his grandmother's backyard.

After he was killed, the police found no weapon, only a cellphone, in his possession.



2)  Court Permits New York Police to Use 'Neither Confirm nor Deny' Tactic

MARCH 30, 2018




The case that gave the Police Department permission to use the phrasing concerns two Muslim men who were trying to learn whether they had been under police surveillance. CreditUli Seit for The New York Times


For decades, it has been the federal government's famous non-answer.

"We can neither confirm nor deny …"

It emerged in 1975 with the C.I.A.'s response to questions about the agency's efforts to recover a sunken Soviet submarine in the Pacific. And in the decades since then, it has been used countless times by the C.I.A., F.B.I. and other federal agencies.

On Thursday, New York State's highest court told the New York Police Department that it was free to use the phrase in response to inquiries from citizens who want access to their police files to learn if they have been the subject of surveillance.

The ruling, by the state Court of Appeals, carves out a new exemption in the state's Freedom of Information Law, which has been understood to require local agencies to at least acknowledge the existence of records, even if they were not required to release them.

But the ruling for the first time allows the New York Police Department to avoid even answering whether such files exist, said Christopher T. Dunn, a New York Civil Liberties Union lawyer who filed a brief in the case. "That's the ultimate act of secrecy," Mr. Dunn said.

The New York Police Department has a reputation for secrecy, often declining to promptly release the kind of documents — complaint reports, use-of-force investigations, officer narratives of arrests — that many other departments disseminate to the news media. In 2016, the New York Police Department stopped releasing basic information about officer discipline, though it recently indicated it would resume releasing some information, though without officers' names.

The case before the court involved public-record requests filed in 2012 by two men to get records relating to any surveillance of them by the police. The men, who are both Muslim, filed the requests after a series of articles by The Associated Press described a secretive Police Department counterterrorism program that conducted extensive surveillance of Muslim organizations and mosques. One of the men, Talib Abdur-Rashid, is the imam of a Harlem mosque. The other man, Samir Hashmi, was a student at Rutgers University and active in its Muslim Student Association. After the Police Department refused to confirm or deny the existence of the records they were requesting, the men sued.

The police maintained that even disclosing the existence or nonexistence of any such records — let alone publicly releasing any that existed — would provide too much information. "The knowledge that a person or group is the subject of a N.Y.P.D. counterterrorism investigation would allow that person or group to alter their behavior so as to avoid detection," the department's intelligence chief, Thomas Galati, wrote in an affidavit. "Conversely, the knowledge that a person or group is not a subject of investigation would allow such persons to more freely engage in illegal activity."

In the court's majority opinion, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, accepted that the police needed room to give a non-answer. "The need for government confidentiality may be at its zenith when a law enforcement agency is undertaking a covert investigation of individuals or organizations, where the lives of the public, cooperators and undercover officers may hang precariously in the balance and the reputation, livelihood or liberty of the subject may be at stake," she wrote.

A partially concurring decision by one judge, Rowan Wilson, and a separate dissenting opinion, by Leslie Stein, expressed concern that the majority decision seems to make little distinction between long-ago surveillance related to past investigations and surveillance related to ongoing investigations.

Omar T. Mohammedi, a lawyer for the two men, criticized the decision, saying that the court had been swayed by the "fear-mongering" of the New York Police Department. "Our clients are good, law-abiding citizens," Mr. Mohammedi said. The case did not have to do with counterterrorism investigations — as the police claimed, he said. "It's not — this case is about abusing Muslims by surveilling them without having any leads on terrorism."

In a statement, the Police Department said it has "rarely" responded to public record requests with a "neither confirm nor deny" answer. "The department will continue to do so only on a very limited basis and where appropriate," the statement said.

But Mr. Dunn, the civil liberties lawyer, expressed concern that the Police Department would keep to that.

"The big question is how far they are going to push this," he said, noting that the Police Department recently issued a "neither confirm nor deny" answer to a public records request the New York Civil Liberties Union had filed that sought information regarding a 2014 Black Lives Matter protest. In that case, the civil liberties union wanted to know if the police had listened to — or jammed — phone calls among demonstrators.

"They've already used it in a protester case," Mr. Dunn said.



3)  Stephon Clark: Rhythms of Tragedy

By Charles M. Blow, April 1, 2018


People held up their phones as the gathered in downtown Sacramento to protest the killing of Stephon Clark by police officers on Thursday. No weapon was found on Mr. Clark, only his cell phone.CreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times


SACRAMENTO — As the California sun burned away the haze on Easter Eve, a few hundred people gathered at yet another rally for Stephon Clark at the picturesque Cesar E. Chavez Plaza across from City Hall.

Clark is the unarmed black man, a young father of two boys, who was shot to death two weeks ago in his grandmother's backyard.

The police were investigating a vandalism complaint when they encountered Clark, firing 20 shots at him. According to an independent autopsy commissioned by Clark's family, eight of the bullets found their mark, six of them entering his body through his back. No weapon was found on Clark — only his cellphone.

People showed up with placards and optimism for change and justice, but dogged by the shadow of other such shootings where legal accountability has been thwarted.

I try to come to each of these moments with a fresh perspective, but I am undermined and betrayed by having covered too many of them.

I can't escape the reality that there is a ritualization of these traumas in which the shootings serve as catalysts, a lancing of the boil, in which decades of oppression, neglect, desperation and hopelessness finds a venting valve. And what starts as white-hot rage slowly cools into a dispassionate disappointment in a system that, it is revealed, is operating as designed.

Each protest is undoubtedly about the case at hand, but collectively they are also about communities that feel abused and betrayed in a country that sees them as expendable. It is not a "local matter," as the White House suggested last week, but a national disgrace.

Efforts at policy reform — better training, utilization of body cameras (which the officers in Clark's case suspiciously muted after shooting him), changes in rules of pursuit — can have an effect, but they can't fully remedy this problem.

These shootings keep happening and officers are rarely charged with crimes — and even more rarely convicted — because what they are doing is legal. That is the true American tragedy.

In the 1989 case of Graham v. Connor, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment's "objective reasonableness" standard overrode the amendment's protections "against unreasonable searches and seizures" and even the Fifth Amendment's admonition that no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

By ruling that an officer's use of force must only meet the "objectively reasonable" standard while allowing that "police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments — in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving — about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation," the court itself laid the groundwork for the extrajudicial killings by police officers that we keep seeing. This ruling has become scripture for law enforcement.

As Police Magazine wrote in 2014:

"A generation of officers has been trained in the case's practical meaning and has spent decades applying it to every use-of-force decision. So it has become part of law enforcement DNA, often unnoticed as it works in the background to determine our actions."

What is "objectively reasonable" is clearly a subjective determination, and when the assessment interacts with race, class, gender and the stereotypical perception of criminality and propensity for violence surrounding those classifications, the "objectively reasonable" standard can easily become corrupted and used more as a badge of permission and a shield against liability.

In a utopian society where people did not discriminate — consciously or subconsciously — "objective reasonableness" would be a perfectly serviceable standard. But we don't live in that world; we live in this one.

We live in a world in which, as The New York Times reported in 2016 about a study issued by the Center for Policing Equality:

"African-Americans are far more likely than whites and other groups to be the victims of use of force by the police, even when racial disparities in crime are taken into account."

The courts have given police officers broad discretion, but they simply aren't applying that discretion equitably. Certain people, in certain communities, are viewed as more of a threat more quickly.

This ignoring of the racial realities on the ground is not only an issue of police officers. The police are merely articulating and enforcing American ideals. Not only do police actions demonstrate inequity on the ground, but policymakers, and therefore policies, ignore that inequity, and by extension we the public who elect those policymakers ignore it.

These shootings keep happening because, on some level, America finds them acceptable, finds them unfortunate but unavoidable. We regard the dead as collateral damage in a quest for safety and civility, not registering that the countenancing of such killings exposes in us a predisposition for racially skewed cruelty and brutality.

Stephon Clark is not only a casualty of this particular shooting, but he is also a casualty of American moral paucity, race-hostile policies and corrosive jurisprudence. The sound of his body falling to the ground became just another beat in America's rhythm of state-sanctioned tragedy.



4)  'I Can't Stop': Schools Struggle With Vaping Explosion

APRIL 2, 2018




Liz Blackwell, a school nurse in Boulder, Colo., showed a collection of vape pens that had been confiscated from students during a presentation at Nevin Platt Middle School in March.CreditNick Cote for The New York Times


The student had been caught vaping in school three times before he sat in the vice principal's office at Cape Elizabeth High School in Maine this winter and shamefacedly admitted what by then was obvious.

"I can't stop," he told the vice principal, Nate Carpenter.

So Mr. Carpenter asked the school nurse about getting the teenager nicotine gum or a patch, to help him get through the school day without violating the rules prohibiting vaping.

E-cigarettes have been touted by their makers and some public health experts as devices to help adult smokers kick the habit. But school officials, struggling to control an explosion of vaping among high school and middle school students across the country, fear that the devices are creating a new generation of nicotine addicts.

In his four years at Cape Elizabeth, Mr. Carpenter says he can't recall seeing a single student smoke a cigarette. But vaping is suddenly everywhere.

"It's our demon," he said. "It's the one risky thing that you can do in your life — with little consequence, in their mind — to show that you're a little bit of a rebel."

Schools say the problem sneaked up on them last fall, when students arrived with a new generation of easily concealed devices that have a sleek high-tech design. The most popular, made by Juul, a San Francisco-based company that has received venture capital money, resemble a flash drive and have become so ubiquitous students have turned Juul into a verb.

Tasting like fruit or mint, these devices produce little telltale plume, making it possible for some students to vape even in class.

"They can pin them on to their shirt collar or bra strap and lean over and take a hit every now and then, and who's to know?" said Howard Colter, the interim superintendent in Cape Elizabeth.

E-cigarettes are widely considered safer than traditional cigarettes, but they are too new for researchers to understand the long-term health effects, making today's youth what public health experts call a "guinea pig generation."

School and health officials say several things are clear though: Nicotine is highly addictive, the pods in vaping devices have a higher concentration of nicotine than do individual cigarettes, and a growing body of research indicates that vaping is leading more adolescents to try cigarettes.

Ashley Gould, the chief administrative officer of Juul, said that the company's products are intended solely for adults who want to quit smoking.

"We do not want kids using our products," she said. "Our product is not only not for kids, it's not for non-nicotine users."

She said schools and the e-cigarette industry need to work together to understand why teenagers are vaping, and suggested that stress is a big reason. To that end, she said, Juul has offered schools a curriculum that includes mindfulness exercises for students to keep them away from the devices the company sells.

"We saw the same thing from Philip Morris with the We Card program, and the evaluation was that those things don't work," Jennifer Kovarik, who runs tobacco prevention programs for Boulder County, Colo., said of the company's efforts to keep their products away from teenagers. "If they didn't want youth to use it, it would be sold in 18-and-over-only establishments. It's available at Circle K's across the country."

E-cigarettes deliver nicotine through a liquid that is heated into vapor and inhaled, cutting out the cancer-causing tar of combustible cigarettes. But vaping liquids contain additives such as propylene glycol and glycerol that can form carcinogenic compounds when they are heated. Diacetyl, a chemical used to flavor some vape "juice," has been linked to so-called popcorn lung, the scarring and obstruction of the lungs' smallest airways. A study published in the journal Pediatrics in March found substantially increased levels of five carcinogenic compounds in the urine of teenagers who vape.

"I'm afraid that we're going to be hooking a new generation of kids on nicotine, with potentially unknown risks," said Dr. Mark L. Rubinstein, the lead author of the study and a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "With cigarettes, we've been studying them for many years, we have a pretty good idea of what the risks are. We just don't know what the risks of inhaling all these flavorings and dyes are, and what we do know is already pretty scary."

The industry points to a 2016 British study that says that vaping does not lead nonsmokers to become smokers. But the 2016 Monitoring the Future study, sponsored by the federal government's National Institute on Drug Abuse, followed students who in 12th grade had never smoked a cigarette and found that a year later, those who used e-cigarettes were about four times as likely to have smoked a cigarette. A study released in January by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine similarly concluded that vaping led students to smoke cigarettes, although it did not determine whether they became habitual smokers or just experimented.

Schools and local officials have stiffened penalties for students caught with vaping devices, suspending and even expelling them, and sent home letters pleading with parents to be on the lookout for a waft of fruit smell and, as one superintendent wrote, "'pens' that aren't pens."

Several school districts in New Jersey have recently adopted policies requiring any student caught with an e-cigarette to be drug tested, because the devices can be used to smoke marijuana.

Oak Ridge High School in Placerville, Calif., shut down all but two bathrooms during classes in November and placed monitors at the doors during lunch to make sure not too many students are in the bathroom together. (Juul devices, for example, contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, so they are easy to share.) New Trier High School in Chicago's northern suburbs is considering installing vaping detectors in bathrooms.

With so many students caught multiple times, some schools have moved from punishment to intervention, requiring students caught vaping to receive counseling or substance abuse treatment.

"Despite all of the boundaries set by families and parents and the schools, and at risk of even expulsion, students are continuing to use," said Liz Blackwell, a school nurse in the Boulder Valley School District in Colorado. "They don't want to be kicked out of school, they don't want to suffer any punishment or discipline, and they don't want to have a bad relationship with their parents. They continue to use because it's an addiction."

As part of her treatment plan, one of Ms. Blackwell's students asked if she could stand at the back of the class and shake her foot when she started to feel the twitch to vape.

Two years ago, Boulder surveyed its students and found that 45 percent of high school students had used e-cigarettes, with 30 percent as current users. Officials say they expect the most recent survey, taken last year, to show about 45 percent of middle school students have used e-cigarettes.

The 2017 Monitoring the Future survey on adolescent drug use found that 11 percent of 12th graders, 8.5 percent of 10th graders and 3.5 percent of 8th graders had vaped nicotine in the previous 30 days. Of those high school seniors, 24 percent reported vaping daily, which the study defined as vaping on 20 or more occasions in the previous 30 days, said Richard A. Miech, a professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and a principal investigator of the study. Nineteen percent reported vaping on 40 or more occasions during that period.

Fifty-six percent reported vaping only on one to five occasions. Gregory Conley, the president of the American Vaping Association, which supports what he calls "fair and sensible" regulation of e-cigarettes, said that number indicated that most students who are vaping are not becoming addicted. "You can't use the definition of dependence and apply it to anyone using only one to five days in the prior month," he said.

Schools say that unlike adults, most students who vape are starting out as nonsmokers.

"I have the same conversation with every student we catch vaping," said Scott Carpenter, the dean for discipline at Cumberland High School in Rhode Island. "I say, 'If I handed you a cigarette would you smoke it?' And 100 percent of them look at you like you're absolutely crazy for even suggesting that they'd do that."

Federal law prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, and Juul and some other e-cigarette companies ask web purchasers to check a box saying that they are 21 or older. But the growing vaping industry has many items and campaigns that seem to appeal specifically to youth. There are vaping cloud contests, a line of hoodies and backpacks called VaprWear that make it easy to conceal the devices, and labels of vape "sauce" that resemble the designs of well-known candy wrapperslike those of Jolly Ranchers and Blow Pops.

In Millburn, N.J., one of the school districts that now require any student caught with a vaping device to be drug tested, teenagers said Juuls began showing up at parties last year, and by fall were at school and football games. Now, students post videos of themselves doing vapor tricks on social media.

At a local deli where seniors go for lunch, a dozen students interviewed said it was easy to buy a Juul online or at a gas station or convenience store, and to buy refill pods in the hallway at school. None would publicly admit to owning a device, but all said they had tried vaping.

Ryan Wenslau, 18, said he thought vaping started for most students as an occasional diversion, "something to do." A stern talk from his baseball coach had convinced him not to use, he said. But for those students who continue, "I wouldn't necessarily call it an addiction," he said, "but it's habitual."

While there might be chemicals in vaping, they argued, there are more in cigarettes.

"Technically, it's better," said Fares Alhabboubi, 17.

Schools lament that teenagers equate safer with safe. But many say the unfamiliarity of e-cigarettes has made it hard to convince parents of the risks as well.

"If I had a pack of cigarettes in my room as a kid, that would have been discovered, here we're dealing with, first of all, what's a Juul?" said Michael McAlister, the principal at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, Calif. The school has about 1,600 students, but parent education nights on the issue have turned out only about 70 people. Yet, out of 53 suspensions last year, 40 were for vaping devices.

"We're losing a battle and to me, it's predatory," Mr. McAlister said. "There's no way you're going to suspend your way out of this."



5) 'Sentinel' Dolphins Die in Brazil Bay. Some Worry a Way of Life Has, Too.

APRIL 2, 2018




A dead dolphin being recovered by scientists in Sepetiba Bay, near Rio de Janeiro. CreditDado Galdieri for The New York Times


Once a sleepy fishing area with white sand beaches and an archipelago of tiny hill-shaped islands, Sepetiba Bay, 40 miles west of downtown Rio, became one of the principal gateways for Brazilian exports over the past generation. In 2017, 39 million tons of iron ore and other commodities shipped from there.

The wooden fishing boats that crisscross the bay now weave around massive merchant ships loaded with iron and steel. Though people still swim in its waters, four ports and a constellation of chemical, steel and manufacturing plants have risen on its shores. One of world's most prominent iron ore producers, Vale, occupies a new terminal in an old fishing spot on nearby Guaiba Island.

"When I was a child, buffalo roamed the farms around my village, and we had apples and coconuts," said Cleyton Ferreira Figueiredo, 28, a convenience store cashier who, nostalgia aside, also sees advantages in the development. "Now everything is more urban, with schools and facilities. There are more jobs, and it takes me 15 minutes to get home when I finish."

Sepetiba Bay is on a strategic bit of coastline astride the country's most developed states: industrial São Paulo, oil-rich Rio de Janeiro and iron-producing Minas Gerais. About 22,000 workers commute to factories such as Gerdau, Ternium and Rolls-Royce in the industrial district of Santa Cruz, next to the port area. A Brazilian Navy terminal, now under construction, will soon harbor nuclear submarines.

"The number of industries and ventures along Sepetiba Bay has been growing exponentially in recent years," said Dr. Alonso, the biologist. "What that generates is a greater concentration of pollutants in the seafloor and in the food chain."

Scientists have attributed the rash of dolphin deaths to morbillivirus, an airborne virus from the family that causes measles in humans. They are now seeking to understand how the dolphins became so highly vulnerable to the virus, and are examining the role of pollution and environment degradation.

The effects of the virus — rash, fever, respiratory infection, disorientation — suggest an agonizing death. Dying dolphins were seen swimming sideways and alone. Some carcasses had ugly deformations, and blood dripping from their eyes. Outbreaks have been reported among dolphins in other parts of the world, but this is the first for the species in the South Atlantic.

"The reality is that the mass death caused by morbillivirus is only the tip of the iceberg," said Leonardo Flach, the scientific coordinator at the Grey Dolphin Institute, a conservation group that is also involved in the sleuthing.

The Guiana dolphin, a species found from Central America to southern Brazil, is considered a sentinel because, as a top predator and mammal, it is prone to disease linked to polluted waters, Dr. Flach said. He has urged the creation of a marine conservation area to study and safeguard the bay.

Sergio Hirochi, 49, a fisherman who was born in the area and owns three small boats, said he had seen the bay's environmental decline, beginning in the mid-1990s when the mining company Ingá Mercantil operated in the area. The company closed in 1998 after it came under scrutiny for dumping pollutants, but a burst of new development followed.

"From here, I see how much mineral waste winds up in the ocean," said Mr. Hirochi, who sells fish at a warehouse near his waterfront home. "The Bay of Sepetiba is an estuary, a nursery of species. And when you destroy it, you destroy marine life."

Fishermen, Mr. Hirochi said, have resorted to larger nets to catch a dwindling supply of shrimp, sea bass and sardines — a tactic that can also inadvertently ensnare the dolphins.

"Several fishermen are having tremendous difficulty feeding their families," he said.

While acknowledging the environmental impact on Sepetiba Bay, the municipal government in Itaguai, the largest nearby city, points to the benefits of development, like the construction of a modern highway and the opening of land to entrepreneurs.

Max Sanches, the manager of a hotel, said he arrived in 2012, smack in the middle of the boom.

"In fact, the ports have generated development, jobs and investments," said Mr. Sanches, who said his hotel worked hard to limit and treat its discharges. "We work with the port and the beauty, and we want the bay to be good for all."

Still, Mr. Sanches had a bit of advice. "We suggest our clients not swim in this beach," he said. "The water could be better treated."



6)  Afghan Military Strike Kills at Least 70 at Mosque

APRIL 2, 2018




A man wounded by a military strike at a mosque in Kunduz, Afghanistan, received treatment at a hospital on Monday. CreditBashir Khan Safi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan military helicopters bombed a religious gathering in the northern province of Kunduz on Monday, killing at least 70 people and wounding 30 others, according to a local official in the area.

The official, Nasruddin Saadi, district governor of Dasht-e-Archi, said that the helicopters attacked a religious ceremony for which about 1,000 people had assembled in a mosque and surrounding fields around noon.

Witnesses reached by telephone said that the mosque was also a madrasa, or religious school, and that members of the Taliban had been present at the assembly, which had been organized to recognize graduates, appoint mullahs and elevate junior mullahs.

Mr. Saadi also said that the event was religious in nature and that the security forces had decided to attack because armed militants were attendance.

However, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry denied that the gathering had been for religious purposes. "The Taliban and other insurgent groups were planning to attack Afghan forces, but their plan was discovered by our forces," he said.

"During the attack by our helicopters, 21 terrorists, including a Taliban commander, have been killed," he added. "It isn't a residential area, and only terrorists and the Taliban were active in the place. There wasn't any civilian in the area."

Nonetheless, witnesses said that children and other civilians were among the victims.

The district of Dasht-e-Archi is a Taliban stronghold that has often been the scene of heavy fighting. In May, an American drone strike in the district killed Mullah Abdul Salam, the Taliban "shadow governor" of Kunduz.

In 2016, an Afghan airstrike killed another prominent Taliban commander, Mawlavi Muawiyah, in Dasht-e-Archi, along with 21 other fighters, according to the military. American airstrikes in the area have repeatedly been blamed for civilian casualties, and Afghan forces are increasingly taking over air operations there.

A 40-year-old farmer from the district, who gave his name only as Mohammad, said that there had been a small number of armed Taliban fighters among the crowd at the assembly, but that most of the attendees were civilians, including madrasa students and graduates. He said that many children had been present, and that the first rockets fired by the helicopters had hit a group of youngsters. The farmer was unable to say how many had been killed or hurt, but added that one of the wounded was his nephew, age 10.

"Children come to any gathering where there is a free lunch," he said.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that the death toll was far higher than the official figure and that no insurgents had been present at the gathering, which was strictly religious in nature. Many Taliban commanders are also mullahs.

"Bombing civilians and then calling them mujahedeen is a habit of the Americans and their slaves," Mr. Mujahid said, adding that 150 people had died in the military strike. , "Those responsible for killing civilians and insulting religion will be brought to justice."



7) Israel Courts Catastrophe in Gaza Protests

By The Editorial Board, April 2, 2018


Palestinian protesters running from tear gas fired by Israeli forces along the Gaza-Israel border on Sunday.

CreditMohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Palestinians in Gaza are among the world's most desperate people. For more than a decade, their 140-square-mile strip has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt, sharply restricting the flow of goods and people. Indeed, many Gazans have never left the enclave, a grim measure of their prolonged isolation.

Unemployment is more than 40 percent for the general population and nearly 60 percent for Palestinian youths. Last month, the United Nations warned of an imminent humanitarian disaster if global donors did not contribute $539 million for fuel for critical water, sanitation and health facilities, most for Gaza and its two million people. The remainder of the money would go to Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Under such conditions, it is no wonder that pent-up frustrations would erupt in protests, as they did last Friday. Responding to the demonstrations, Israeli forces killed 17 Palestinians at the border fence that separates Israel from Gaza. More than 1,000 Palestinians were injured. It was the worst violence since the Gaza war of 2014.

Israel has a right to defend itself and maintain civil order, but it also has an obligation to respect peaceful protests and not use live ammunition on unarmed demonstrators. Israel's response appears to have been excessive, as human rights groups have asserted.

Amnesty International called on Israel to immediately end its "heavy handed, and often lethal, suppression of Palestinian demonstrations." Peace Now said that the casualties are "an intolerable result of a trigger-happy policy." Shlomo Brom, a retired brigadier general at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies, told The Times that while the military probably decided to use lethal force as a deterrent, "In my opinion they should have planned from the beginning to use minimal force and to prevent casualties."

Israel said it acted judiciously to prevent a dangerous breach of its borders and sovereignty led by Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, and to protect nearby communities. No one actually crossed the fence on Friday.

Competing videos told competing stories. The Israeli version appeared to show a Hamas fighter shooting at Israeli forces while other Palestinians were seen hurling stones, tossing Molotov cocktails and rolling burning tires at the fence. Palestinian videos on social media appeared to show unarmed protesters being shot by Israelis.

An independent and transparent investigation is an obvious way to get at the truth. But with President Trump backing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, the United States on Saturday blocked a move in the United Nations Security Council calling for such an inquiry. The European Union has also urged an independent investigation.

Friday's protests, which drew tens of thousands of Palestinians to the Gaza boundary, were the start of a six-week campaign called the Great Return March. The organizers said it was intended as a peaceful sit-in to raise awareness of the blockade of Gaza and to support Palestinians' demand to return to homes lost in 1948 in what is now Israel. More than two-thirds of Gazans are refugees from villages that have since been destroyed and their descendants.

Such goals seem farther away than ever. Neither Mr. Netanyahu nor Mr. Trump has shown serious interest in a two-state solution that would give Palestinians their own country and resolve central questions about land, refugees, borders and security, even though Mr. Trump says a peace deal is a priority. Under Mr. Netanyahu, Israel has expanded its claims to land that Palestinians seek for their own state.

Instead of easing tensions and resolving the political questions at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mr. Trump has exacerbated the situation, most recently by unilaterally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in exchange for nothing, and declaring his intention to move the American embassy there from Tel Aviv. For decades, the international community, including the United States, has said Jerusalem's fate should be decided in Israeli-Palestinians negotiations.

Palestinian leaders have also failed their people. Hamas leaders who run Gaza have waged war against Israel, exploiting their people in the process. Their rival, the Palestinian Authority, has been feckless at pursuing peace with Israel and last year imposed its own punitive measures on Gaza, including cutting salaries, in a bid to end Hamas's control.

On May 15, Palestinians in Gaza plan to observe the 70th anniversary of what they call the "nakba," or "catastrophe," when 750,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes in what is now Israel, by breaking through the border fence and marching toward their former villages. The demonstration will come the day after Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of its independence and the United States formally opens its embassy in Jerusalem.

Unless someone steps up to end Gaza's humanitarian disaster, ensure Israel and the Palestinians act with restraint during the protests and set a credible peace process in motion, both sides could face a new catastrophe.



8) Gaza Screams for Life

By Rawan Yaghi, April 3, 2018


Palestinian women near the Israel-Gaza border on March 29, a day before the start of a six-week sit-in by Palestinians that turned deadly.CreditMohammed Salem/Reuters

MALAKA, Gaza Strip — The five veiled women were gesturing, confidently, at other women to get closer. They wanted more voices to join in. My friend and I had already made it past the designated protest line and were next to the journalists and the ambulances standing by. We got closer still. Rhythmically, the women chanted "Going Back," a cult song by the Palestinian activist poet Abu Arab, drawing demonstrators into their small concert. They ululated and then sang some more.

A couple of children were jumping up and down, screaming out the few lyrics they knew: "I will return to my country. To the green land, I will return." The crowd, a few hundred strong, armed with nothing but cellphones, clapped along. People stood on a farmer's land, on the edge of Al-Zaytun, an eastern area of Gaza City, looking out onto the green fields beyond the Israeli snipers' helmets and sand barriers.

A group of clowns with white face paint and red noses squeaked noisily in the rising and falling tones of Gaza's Arabic dialect and hopped around. One of them grabbed a mic in front of a TV camera and started imitating news correspondents, quacking unintelligibly but as determined as if he were saying real words.

This was Sunday. On Friday, the first day of what was supposed to be an extended peaceful sit-in, Israeli soldiers had shot into another crowd of some 30,000 Palestinians who had gathered by the border to commemorate the killing in 1976 of six Palestinian citizens of Israel during another protest still, over Israel's expropriation of Arab land. At least 15 demonstrators were killed last week.

On Sunday, people lined up some 200 meters away from the fence separating them from the Israeli soldiers. Palestinian men in civilian clothes wouldn't allow them any closer. Only one man in a mobility scooter couldn't be stopped from entering the hot zone between the crowd and the fence.

When he entered the area, several rounds of bullets sounded out, but he wasn't hit. "They don't want to kill another disabled activist," one of the journalists said. He was referring to Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, who had lost his legs (reportedly in a 2008 Israeli airstrike) and was shot in the head during a demonstration in the West Bank in December. "Otherwise, he would have been killed a while ago," the journalist added, about the man in the special scooter.

More bursts came, sudden and loud. The protesters got down. When they realized it was tear gas that had been fired, they straightened up. Lines of white smoke streaked up the blue sky and then dropped to the ground; a low cloud draped the figure of the disabled man on his machine. Moments later, paramedics rushed to help him. Eleven people were injured on Sunday in various protests throughout the Gaza Strip, according to Gaza's health ministry.

One of the women who had been howling, her eyes lined in kohl and blurry with tears, said: "This march is uniting us, if nothing else. Men and women of all backgrounds." A sense of togetherness did seem to have developed among the small number of people gathered in front of the lurking Israeli snipers. "It's not a march to return to our land at this very moment. It's a way for us to speak and to raise our voices," the woman said. Behind the protesters three boys aged 10 to 13 were playing football, kicking the ball high in the sky, well within range of the snipers' viewfinders.

The protesters who gathered under the burning midday sun displayed a kind of resigned hope. As if to say: We have nothing to lose, so we come here to scream our lungs out. Some knew well that they risked more than burned skin and a sore throat; they had been injured on Friday. One man came on crutches and hopped about on one foot, the other foot swinging from a scaffolding of metal sticks and screws.

I left the protest thinking of the rest of Gaza — shellshocked for years, its borders closed and its United Nations-funded infrastructure in decay. I thought of the kids in my neighborhood who play football in what used to be the ground floor of a tall residential building, with bare concrete columns and poking iron rods as their only audience. And I thought: Once again, Gaza the Injured has come out to protest, and to scream for life.

Rawan Yaghi, a writer based in Gaza, contributed to the 2014 anthology "Gaza Writes Back."



9)  Inside a Private Prison: Blood, Suicide and Poorly Paid Guards

APRIL 3, 2018




A photo introduced in evidence at the civil rights trial showed blood on the floor of a cell at the East Mississippi prison. CreditSouthern Poverty Law Center


JACKSON, Miss. — On the witness stand and under pressure, Frank Shaw, the warden of the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, could not guarantee that the prison was capable of performing its most basic function.

Asked if the guards were supposed to keep inmates in their cells, he said, wearily, "They do their best."

According to evidence and testimony at a federal civil rights trial, far worse things were happening at the prison than inmates strolling around during a lockdown: A mentally ill man on suicide watch hanged himself, gang members were allowed to beat other prisoners, and those whose cries for medical attention were ignored resorted to setting fires in their cells.

So many shackled men have recounted instances of extraordinary violence and neglect in the prison that the judge has complained of exhaustion.

The case, which has received little attention beyond the local news media, provides a rare glimpse into the cloistered world of privately operated prisons, at a time when the number of state inmates in private facilities is increasing and the Trump administration has indicated that it will expand their use.

Management & Training Corporation, the private company that runs the East Mississippi facility near Meridian in Lauderdale County, already operates two federal prisons and more than 20 facilities around the nation.

The use of private prisons has long been contentious. A 2016 Justice Department report found that they were more violent than government-run institutions for inmates and guards alike, and the Obama administration sought to phase out their use on the federal level. Early last year, President Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, reversed the ban.

Several states, including Michigan and Utah, have stopped using private prisons in recent years because of security problems.

But more than two dozen other states, including Mississippi, contract with privately managed prison companies as a way to reduce costs. Prisons are usually among the most expensive budget items for states.

Since 2000, the number of people housed in privately operated prisons in the nation has increased by 45 percent, while the total number of prisoners has risen by only about 10 percent, according to an analysisby the Sentencing Project.

The genesis of the problems at East Mississippi, according to prisoner advocates, is that the state requires private prisons to operate at 10 percent lower cost than state-run facilities. Even at its state-run institutions, Mississippi spends significantly less on prisoners than most states, a fact that state officials once boasted about.

The federal civil rights lawsuit, filed against the state by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center after years of complaints from inmates, seeks to force wholesale changes at the prison.

Testimony has described dangerous conditions, confused lines of oversight and difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified staff.

Security staff at East Mississippi earn even less than the $12-an-hour starting wage made by their public service counterparts, and private prison guards receive only three weeks of training — less than half the training time required of state prison guards.

The state's contract with Management & Training Corporation is particularly economical. Mississippi pays the company just $26 a day — or about $9,500 a year — for each minimum-security inmate. That is far less than the $15,000 a year neighboring Alabama spends per inmate, and only 13 percent of what New York, which spends more than any other state, pays per inmate.

Called as an expert witness for the Mississippi inmates, Eldon Vail, the former state prisons chief in Washington State, told the court that the focus on cutting costs had sent East Mississippi into a downward spiral.

"There are not a sufficient number of correctional officers, and most of their problems stem from that issue," he said.

Mr. Vail said that with too few guards to maintain order, inmates felt compelled to protect themselves with crudely made knives and other weapons, prompting a chain of retaliatory violence. And having too few doctors and nurses meant that inmates with mental illnesses were also more likely to act out violently.

Lawyers for the state and representatives of Management & Training say prisons are meant to be tough environments, and that East Mississippi is no worse than most others.

"We can say — unequivocally — that the facility is safe, secure, clean, and well run," Issa Arnita, a spokesman for the company, said in a statement released during the trial. "From the warden on down, our staff are trained to treat the men in our care with dignity and respect. Our mission is to help these men make choices in prison and after they're released that will lead to a new and successful life in society."

Trial testimony has presented a radically different picture.

Mr. Shaw, the warden — who works for Management & Training, not for the state — receives incentives for staying within budget, but is not penalized when inmates die under questionable circumstances or when fires damage the prison. Four prisoners have died this year.

The warden said that he had been unaware of cases in which inmates had been so badly beaten that they required hospitalization, and that he had not disciplined guards who failed to ensure that inmates were unable to jam door locks and leave their cells.

When Mr. Shaw was asked about the variety of homemade objects used to commit assaults at the prison, he was dismissive. "Inmates have weapons," he said. "It's a fact of life."

Mr. Shaw had previously been warden at an Arizona prison operated by Management & Training, where there was a riot in 2015. A scathing state report determined the riot was sparked by Management & Training's "culture of disorganization, disengagement and disregard" of "policies and fundamental inmate management and security principles."

At East Mississippi, the prison designated by the state to hold mentally ill inmates, there was a glaring lack of oversight of inmate care, according to testimony. Four out of five inmates in the prison receive psychiatric medication, but the facility has not had a psychiatrist since November.

The state prison mental health director is not a medical doctor, but a marriage and family therapist. And Gloria Perry, who became the prison system's chief medical officer in 2008, revealed that she had never been to the East Mississippi prison.

Pelicia E. Hall, the commissioner of the state prison system, testified that she may have been unaware of many problems at the facility because she did not read weekly performance reports from the state's own monitor.

In the courtroom, the reports were delivered in person: An inmate testified in tears that a female guard had mocked him when he tried to report being raped in a cell in January. The guard never informed her superiors about the rape.

In an unrelated assault, surveillance video showed an inmate being beaten by other prisoners for 14 minutes before guards arrived.

Neither the state nor the private prison company has contested the accuracy of the prisoners' accounts heard in court, although lawyers for the state say the stories should be treated with skepticism.

An inmate described another attack that occurred earlier this year. He said a prisoner armed with a knife and a 4-foot section of pipe charged at him while he was being escorted to his cell by two guards. Instead of helping him, he said, the two guards ran away.

The inmate said he was chained at the ankles, waist and wrists at the time. He estimated that the other prisoner assaulted him for three minutes before other guards arrived and pulled the attacker off him.

"They laughed and told him not to do it again," the inmate said, adding that the same man had beaten him with a pipe the previous month.

At the prison infirmary, he said, the medical staff simply poured distilled water onto his puncture wounds and sent him back to his cell.

"I was in excruciating pain," he said.

It was not until three days later, the inmate said, when there was blood covering much of the floor of his cell, that he was taken to a hospital. He was treated for four stab wounds and a broken leg.

The inmate testified without giving his name, worried about retaliation from prisoners and guards alike. He said that whatever luck he has had may soon run out: When he went back to prison from the hospital, he said on the stand, he was placed in a cell next to that of his attacker.



10)  Saudi Bombing Is Said to Kill Yemeni Civilians Seeking Relief From the Heat

APRIL 2, 2018




Yemeni men carried the body of victim killed in a Saudi-led airstrike on Monday in Al Hudaydah, the only remaining Yemen port controlled by Houthi rebels. CreditAbdo Hyder/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

AL MUKALLA, Yemen — The heat was stifling, the power out. So the transients, mostly women and children displaced from nearby towns, ventured outside their temporary housing on Monday for some air, witnesses said. Then the Saudi warplanes struck.

In what medics and residents in Yemen's western port city of Al Hudaydah described as an instant midmorning slaughter in a residential housing area, the warplanes fired missiles at the civilians, cutting them to pieces as they sought relief from the 92-degree temperature. At least 14 were killed and nine wounded.

The Saudi authorities, who contended that the targets had been military, said they were looking into the circumstances behind the airstrike in Al Hudaydah, the only Yemeni port that remains under the control of Yemen's Houthi rebels after more than three years of war.

But the airstrike was a reminder of the lethal hazards facing unarmed Yemenis from the firepower wielded by the Saudi-led coalition, despite its repeated pledges to spare civilians in its campaign to crush the Houthi-led insurgency.

"The ambulances could not cross into the targeted areas due to intensity of the jets," Abdulrahman Jarallah, director of the city health bureau in Al Hudaydah, said by telephone. He said there had been no military presence nearby.

Medics in Al Hudaydah said that when they finally reached the missile-strike site, only two bodies could be identified. Most of the dead were in pieces.

"We believe that the targeted people were in the open to cool themselves as there was not electricity in the complex," Mr. Jarallah said. "So missiles touched bodies directly."

The missiles hit multistory housing units on the eastern edges of Al Hudaydah, where many people who had fled contested districts south of the city were staying, residents reported.

The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television news channel said that the warplanes had bombed Houthi military gatherings and arms caches in the targeted area, and that the airstrikes had set off large explosions.

The United Nations, which has described Yemen as the world's worst man-made humanitarian disaster, has said that the coalition is responsible for a majority of the roughly 10,000 civilians killed since the Saudis began bombing in March 2015.

Human rights groups have increasingly criticized Saudi Arabia over what they call indiscriminate bombings and the severe restrictions the Saudis have imposed on the flow of humanitarian aid to Yemen, where most of the population lacks food. A growing number of lawmakers in the United States, which has been providing military support to the Saudi coalition in Yemen, including refueling, intelligence and targeting guidance, have called for such assistance to be terminated.

Last month, as Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was visiting the United States on a friendship tour, the Senate defeated a bipartisan effort to end the assistance in a 55-to-44 vote, but only after extensive lobbying by top Pentagon officials.

The Houthi insurgents, who are supported by Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival, have given no indication that they are prepared to negotiate an end to the conflict.

Last week, on the third anniversary of the Saudi-led bombing campaign, the Houthis fired seven missiles into Saudi Arabia, the single-biggest barrage they had ever undertaken, in what they called a justified response to Saudi bombardments.

On Monday, the Houthis launched a missile toward the Saudi city of Dhahran, according to the news agency of the United Arab Emirates, a Saudi coalition ally, but the missile landed in Yemen near the Saudi border.

Human rights groups have criticized the Houthis for the missile strikes. On Monday, Human Rights Watch called the strikes a violation of the laws of war.

Nonetheless, said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, "the Saudis can't use Houthi rockets to justify impeding lifesaving goods for Yemen's civilian population."



11) Ethan Couch, 'Affluenza Teen' Who Killed 4 While Driving Drunk, Is Freed

APRIL 2, 2018




Ethan Couch after being released from jail in Fort Worth on Monday. He served a 720-day sentence after killing four people while driving drunk. CreditNick Oxford/Reuters

Ethan Couch, whose trial for killing four people while driving drunk sparked widespread conversations about the privilege of being raised wealthy, was released from a Texas jail on Monday after nearly two years.

Mr. Couch, 20, became known as the "affluenza teen" after a psychologist suggested during his trial that growing up with money might have left him with psychological afflictions, too rich to tell right from wrong. He attracted further attention when he and his mother, Tonya Couch, fled to Mexico in an effort to evade possible jail time.

He served his 720-day sentence in a jail in Tarrant County, and was freed about a week before his 21st birthday.

Ms. Couch, 50, had been freed on bond while awaiting trial on a felony charge of hindering apprehension. But she was arrested last week after the authorities said she failed a drug test, violating the conditions of her bond, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Mr. Couch was 16 in June 2013 when he and a group of friends stole beer from a store and had a party at his parents' house before going for a drive. He struck and killed four people on the side of a road near Burleson, Tex., a Fort Worth suburb, and a passenger in his car was paralyzed and suffered brain damage.

He had a blood alcohol level of 0.24, three times the legal limit in Texas, hours after the crash.

He pleaded guilty in 2013 to four counts of manslaughter and a juvenile court judge sentenced him to 10 years of probation, defying prosecutors who sought a 20-year prison sentence. The victims' families were outraged, and critics felt he got special treatment because of his wealth.

In December 2015, a six-second video that appeared to show Mr. Couch at a party where alcohol was served — a possible parole violation — was posted on Twitter. Two weeks later, he and his mother went missing.

They were arrested about two weeks later, about 1,200 miles away in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where they had changed their appearances and ditched their identifications. Mr. Couch was brought back to Texas and placed in juvenile detention, while his case was moved to adult court.

In April 2016, Dee Anderson, Tarrant County's sheriff, said Mr. Couch had created "zero issues" since beginning his jail stint that January.

"I do believe Ethan Couch is not the same person he was when he came to jail," he said. "The time he's spent, it's a rude awakening for anyone."

Under the terms of his probation, Mr. Couch will not be permitted to drive or drink alcohol, and cannot leave the Fort Worth area without approval from probation or court officials. He must look for a job and perform community service.

In a statement, Mothers Against Drunk Driving said it was "small consolation" that Mr. Couch would remain on probation.

"Two years in jail for four people killed is a grave injustice to the victims and their families who have been dealt life sentences because of one person's devastating decision to drink and drive," the organization said. "The 720 days Ethan Couch served for his crimes shows that drunk driving homicides still aren't treated as the violent crimes that they are."



12) 12)  When Migrants Are Treated Like Slaves

By Jacqueline Stevens

Dr. Stevens runs the Deportation Research Clinic at Northwestern University.

April 4, 2016


We're familiar with grim stories about black-shirted federal agents barging into apartment complexes, convenience stores and school pickup sites to round up and deport immigrants. We've heard far less about the forced labor — some call it slavery — inside detention facilities. But new legal challenges to these practices are succeeding and may stymie the government's deportation agenda by taking profits out of the detention business.

Yes, detention is a business. In 2010, private prisons and their lenders and investors lobbied Congress to pass a law ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement to maintain contracts for no fewer than 34,000 beds per night. This means that when detention counts are low, people who would otherwise be released because they pose no danger or flight risk and are likely to win their cases in immigration court remain locked up, at a cost to the government of about $125 a day.

The people detained at these facilities do almost all of the work that keeps them running, outside of guard duty. That includes cooking, serving and cleaning up food, janitorial services, laundry, haircutting, painting, floor buffing and even vehicle maintenance. Most jobs pay $1 a day; some work they are required to do pays nothing.

Workers in immigration custody have suffered injuries and even died. In 2007, Cesar Gonzalez was killed in a facility in Los Angeles County when his jackhammer hit an electrical cable, sending 10,000 volts of direct current through his body. He was on a crew digging holes for posts to extend the camp's perimeter.

Crucially, California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health ruled that regardless of his status as a detainee, Mr. Gonzalez was also an employee, and his employer was found to have violated state laws on occupational safety and health.

Two of the country's biggest detention companies — GEO and CoreCivic, known as CCA — are now under attack by five lawsuits. They allege that the obligatory work and eight-hour shifts for no or little pay are unlawful. They also accuse the companies of violating state minimum wage laws, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and laws prohibiting unjust enrichment.

The plaintiffs have a strong case. Forced labor is constitutional so long as it is a condition of punishment, a carve-out in the slavery prohibitions of the 13th Amendment. But in 1896, the Supreme Court held that "the order of deportation is not a punishment for crime." Thus, while private prisons may require work to "punish" or "correct" criminal inmates, judges in three cases have ruled that immigration detention facilities may not. It's as legal for GEO to force its facilities' residents to work as it would be to make seniors in government-funded nursing homes scrub their neighbors' showers.

GEO's own defense provides insights into just how much its profits depend on labor coerced from the people it locks up. In 2017, after Federal District Judge John Kane certified a class-action lawsuit on behalf of GEO residents in Aurora, Colo., the company filed an appeal claiming the suit "poses a potentially catastrophic risk to GEO's ability to honor its contracts with the federal government."

Court records suggest that GEO may be paying just 1.25 percent to 6 percent of minimum wage, and as little as half of 1 percent of what federal contractors are supposed to pay under the Service Contract Act. If the plaintiffs win, that's tens of millions of dollars GEO would be obligated to pay in back wages to up to 62,000 people, not to mention additional payments going forward. And that's just at one facility.

GEO's appeal tanked. During oral arguments last summer, the company's lawyer defended the work program by explaining that those held in Aurora "make a decision each time whether they're going to consent to work or not." A judge interjected, "Or eat, or be put in isolation, right? I mean, slaves had a choice, right?" The 10th Circuit panel in February unanimously ruled that the case could proceed.

On top of that, last year GEO was sued for labor violations in its Tacoma, Wash., facility. In October, United States District Judge Robert Bryan, a Reagan appointee (!), denied GEO's motions to dismiss these cases and for the first time allowed claims under the state minimum wage laws to proceed, as well as those for forced labor and unjust enrichment.

On March 7, 18 Republican members of the House, 12 of whom have private prisons in or adjacent to their districts, sent a letter to the leaders of the departments of Labor, Justice and Homeland Security complaining about the lawsuits. They warned that if the agencies don't intervene to protect the companies, "immigration enforcement efforts will be thwarted."

Those who cheer this outcome should feel encouraged. The measures the representatives asked for — including a statement by the government that those who work while locked up are "not employees" and that federal minimum wage laws do not apply to them — won't stop the litigation. Agency pronouncements cannot overturn statutes. As long as judges follow the laws, more of the true costs of deportation will be put into the ledgers.

If the price of human suffering does not deter the barbarism of rounding people up based on the happenstance of birth, then maybe pinched taxpayer wallets will.



13) 13) Police Fatally Shoot a Brooklyn Man After Falsely Believing He Had a Gun

APRIL 4, 2018




Saheed Vassell

New York City police officers shot and killed a black man who was known to be mentally ill on a Brooklyn street corner on Wednesday afternoon after he pointed what the officers believed was a gun at them, the authorities said. The object, however, turned out to be a metal pipe with a knob on it.

The shooting drew a tense, charged crowd of dozens to the streets of Crown Heights. The Police Department had encountered the man before and classified him as emotionally disturbed, and the shooting raised questions about what the officers at the scene knew about him.

Five officers — three of them in street clothes, two in uniform — were responding to three 911 calls about a man threatening people with a silver gun near the corner of Montgomery Street and Utica Avenue in Crown Heights, Terence A. Monahan, the chief of department, said at a news conference. A law enforcement official who listened to one of the calls said a woman was frantically reporting that a man was pointing a gun at people.

The police found a man who matched descriptions from the 911 callers, Chief Monahan said.

"The suspect then took a two-handed shooting stance and pointed an object at the approaching officers," Chief Monahan said.

Chief Monahan said four of the officers — the three in street clothes and one uniformed officer — fired 10 bullets in all. The man, identified by his father as Saheed Vassell, 34, was pronounced dead after being taken to Kings County Medical Center.

In an interview at his home late Wednesday night, Mr. Vassell's father, Eric Vassell, said his son had bipolar disorder and had been admitted to the hospital multiple times in recent years, sometimes after encounters with the police. The younger Mr. Vassell, who was born in Jamaica and came to the United States when he was 6, lived with his family in a Crown Heights apartment and had worked as a welder. He also had a 15-year-old son.

Mr. Vassell's father said he had never seen his son act as if he had a gun.

He would "just walk around the neighborhood and help people," the father said.

Area residents said Mr. Vassell was a familiar figure on the corner and a caring father who begged for money in a nearby subway station and did odd jobs for shopkeepers. He loved to dance and was widely known to be mentally ill. People said he had a penchant for picking things up off the street — cigarette lighters, empty bottles and other curbside flotsam — and playing with them like toys.

The Police Department said the man was in "a two-handed shooting stance" and brandishing an object at responding officers when they shot him.

CreditNew York Police Department

John Fuller, 59, said that he had known Mr. Vassell for years and that local police officers had, too. He echoed a common refrain: The officers should have known him well enough to not simply shoot him to death. "Every cop in this neighborhood knows him," Mr. Fuller said.

The police said he had been arrested before and said officers had classified him as an emotionally disturbed person in previous encounters.

The police released blurry still images from surveillance videos — though not the videos themselves — showing a man with an outstretched arm and something in his hand. The police said the images showed him pointing an object that appeared to investigators to be a gun at people on the street and then pointing it in the officers' direction after they arrived. They also released a picture of what the man turned out to have been holding: a slim, curved silver pipe with a cylindrical knob at the end of it.

Witnesses said the police officers appeared to fire almost immediately after they got to the corner around 4:45 p.m. Some of the witnesses said they did not hear the officers say anything to the man before firing, while another witness said she heard the officers and the man exchange some words.

The police did not answer questions about whether the officers had said anything before firing.

Dozens were still gathered at the scene late Wednesday and tempers flared hours after the shooting. "Murder!" some bystanders shouted at dozens of police officers behind yellow tape. Other crowd members wept at how this had happened on the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Others spoke of wanting to riot. When darkness fell, a group of about 10 protesters arrived carrying Black Lives Matter signs.

The killing held echoes of the shooting less than three weeks ago in Sacramento in which the police shot and killed a black man who they believed was pointing a gun at them, but who, it turned out, was actually holding a cellphone.

On Wednesday in Brooklyn, Jaccpot Hinds, 40, was walking south on Utica Avenue near Montgomery Street when he saw an unmarked police car pass him and pull across two lanes of traffic near where a man was standing on a street corner. Mr. Hinds said a plainclothes officer got out of the passenger seat of the car and fired at the man several times. The officer appeared to shoot him in the neck, chest and right arm, Mr. Hinds said, and then walked over to the man and prodded his chest with the service weapon.

Mr. Hinds said that officer, joined by two other plainclothes officers who had been in the car with him, tried to resuscitate the man.

Chief Monahan said the officers who fired had not been wearing body cameras. He said that the plainclothes officers were part of an anti-crime unit and that the uniformed officers belonged to the Strategic Response Group, which is assigned to major events and hot spots of crime. The names and races of the police officers were not released.

An employee at a beauty salon on the corner, Angie, 52, said she heard the police fire and then saw the man drop. She said the police then fired several more shots before they ran over to the man and handcuffed him.

"We hear the first shot, the guy went down and then they started firing again," said Angie, who declined to give her last name.

Angie described Mr. Vassell as a quiet man who often sat outside near a barbershop and sometimes worked odd jobs at her beauty salon for a few dollars.

"He would just walk and bob his head," she said. "If we ask him to do our chores, he'd come and do it."

Rocky Brown, 45, who knew him for years, said he was a friendly man who was mentally ill.

"He's harmless," Mr. Brown said. "A very willing guy, a very nice guy, a good guy."

Betty Weaver, 71, said Mr. Vassell would often greet her when she was on her way to church.

Another woman, Nicole Williams, said she had given him $2 earlier on Wednesday afternoon. His last words to her, she said, were "Thank you, God."

































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