Courage to Resist 

May 15th Events

Next Tuesday, Courage to Resist is doing the Berkeley Peace Flag ceremony again (12th annual now). We're also going over to the Marine Recruiting Station afterwards to encourage them to dessert :)


• 11:30am: Peace Flag Raising marking the 12th Annual City of Berkeley CO & War Resisters' Day. Civic Center flagpole at 2180 Milvia Street. Sponsored by City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission and endorsed by War Resisters League-West and Courage to Resist.

• 1pm: Community gathering at Marine Recruiting Station. Marines: Dessert now! More info below.

US Marine Corps Recruiting Station
64 Shattuck Square, Berkeley
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 ~ 1pm to 2pm

First event:
May 15, 2018 @11:30am 

drones protest

A Peace Flag Raising Ceremony 

We'll meet at the Civic Center flagpole (2180 Milvia St) in Berkeley

for the 12th Annual Berkeley CO & War Resisters' Day

  • Sponsored by City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission
  • Endorsed by War Resisters League-West and Courage to Resist

Second event:
May 15, 2018 @1:00p

Marines: It's Time To Throw Down Your Weapons 
and Join Us! Dessert Now!

A mid-day dessert gathering

at the US Marine Corps Recruiting Ctr, 64 Shattuck Square, Berkeley

While encouraging service persons to desert is a crime outlined by the Espionage Act,we will be nearly as bold by inviting Marines and the community to join us in dessert.

Cupcakes and peace-themed desserts will be available . . . and if they do decide to dessert, we will be there to support them!

Courage to Resist has provided legal, material, and political support to hundreds of US military service persons since 2006, who have faced military prosecution for acts of conscience, including going AWOL and/or refusing to fight endless, unjust wars and occupations.

  • Co-Sponsored by CodePink and Courage to Resist

Can you join us?

Let us know on our Facebook event page 

Courage to Resist website event page 


484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559





Why I Stand with Survivors of Empire

Dear Bonnie,

I'm Anya, Courage to Resist's Project Manager. I originally came to this work as a veteran of the fight to end the war against women, in which I have fought in both the trenches and bureaucratic offices for the past twenty years. What I know is that survivors who ask for advocacy, support services, and who speak up, will face public and familial humiliation and retaliation from naming their oppressors.

These women are among the most courageous people you will ever meet. And if I am going to learn anything at all about the courage needed to change our society, then I want to be by their side in struggle, determination and persistence.

This is also why I feel it is so vitally important to support war resisters, or survivors of empire. People with this same quality of courage and who choose to use it against the very assumptions of war itself.

In truth, many of us do not stand up and fight back against state-sponsored violence. We accept and bargain with situations of violence we've found ourselves in, because to directly oppose can bring even more push back, often with significant economic, social, physical and/or psychological harm.

Each person who stands up and says "No more will I keep my mouth shut or my eyes closed" impacts endless others through modeling and illuminating how near both resistance and resilience really are.

I joined Courage to Resist only one month before Chelsea Manning was released from jail, and attending the celebration parties I was blessed to witness what is possible. Oppression works when we believe the lies that are told to us, that 'they' have ultimate power over our lives. But that is not true.

Tactics of empire will not change until it is more than the ones being stomped on who take a stand. Solidarity moves mountains and softens cruelty's blow.

Draw a line in the sand. If you have not donated yet this month to our mission, now is the time to do so. In the words of Tamar Ze'evi, the young Israeli refuser with whom we just published a podcast interview:

"Where is the line at which one should stop cooperating, and was it already passed?"

In solidarity,

Anya de Marie

Project Manager, Courage to Resist

We cannot support the resisters without YOU! Please donate what you can today!


484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559

www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



"There Was a Crooked Prez"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

There was a crooked Prez, and he walked a crooked mile,

He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,

They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,

And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

Dr. Gordon is a California Family Physician who has written many articles on health and politics.













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.

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!



October 20-21, 2018

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'sTwitter 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 forMintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, theAnti-Media, and21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.

MPN News, February 20, 2018






Herman Bell is FREE




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.

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. 

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 Howard
About Face: Veterans Against the War
(formerly IVAW)

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

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



Tell the Feds: End Draft Registration

Courage to Resist Podcast: The Future of Draft Registration in the United States

We had draft registration resister Edward Hasbrouck on the Courage to Resistpodcast this week to explain what's going on. Edward talks about his own history of going to prison for refusing to register for the draft in 1983, the background on this new federal commission, and he addresses liberal arguments in favor of involuntary service. Edward explains: 

When you say, "I'm not willing to be drafted", you're saying, "I'm going to make my own choices about which wars we should be fighting", and when you say, "You should submit to the draft", you're saying, "You should let the politicians decide for you."

What's happening right now is that a National Commission … has been appointed to study the question of whether draft registration should be continued, whether it should be expanded to make women, as well as men register for the draft, whether a draft itself should be started, whether there should be some other kind of Compulsory National Service enacted.

The Pentagon would say, and it's true, they don't want a draft. It's not plan A, but it's always been plan B, and it's always been the assumption that if we can't get enough volunteers, if we get in over our head, if we pick a larger fight than we can pursue, we always have that option in our back pocket that, "If not enough people volunteer, we're just going to go go to the draft, go to the benches, and dragoon enough people to fight these wars."

[This] is the first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate about the draft in decades.


484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559


















Major George Tillery




April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.

These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.

In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.

Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.

The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.

This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.

Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.

During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.

Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.

Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.

Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.

Major Tillery and family


    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com

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



    Free Leonard Peltier!

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

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art 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



    Artwork by Kevin Cooper



    Reality's trial
    is 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! 

    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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    Step up to defend our whistleblower of conscience ► DONATE NOW

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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) Colin Kaepernick: Ambassador of Conscience

    Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience AwardTranscript of acceptance speech by Colin Kaepernick 

    Amnesty International, April 21, 2018


    It is only fitting that I have the honor of Eric Reid introducing me for this award. In many ways, my recognition would not be possible without our brotherhood. I truly consider him to be more than a friend—Eric, his wife, his children...they are all a part of my family. 

    Not only did he kneel by my side during the national anthem throughout the entire 2016 NFL season, but Eric continued to use his platform as a professional football player to protest systemic oppression, specifically police brutality against Black and Brown people. 

    Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy. 

    But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of Black and Brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career. 

    People sometimes forget that love is at the root of our resistance. 

    My love for Eric has continually grown over the course of our ongoing journey. His brotherhood, resilience, and faith have shined brightly in moments of darkness. My love for my people serves as the fuel that fortifies my mission. And it is the people's unbroken love for themselves that motivates me, even when faced with the dehumanizing norms of a system that can lead to the loss of one's life over simply being Black. 

    History has proven that there has never been a period in the history of America where anti-Blackness has not been an ever-present terror. Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation—the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of Black and Brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of Black and Brown lives in the prison industrial complex. While America bills itself as the land of the free, the receipts show that the U.S. has incarcerated approximately 2.2 million people, the largest prison population in the history of humankind. 

    As police officers continue to terrorize Black and Brown communities, abusing their power, and then hiding behind their blue wall of silence, and laws that allow for them to kill us with virtual impunity, I have realized that our love, that sometimes manifests as Black-rage, is a beautiful form of defiance against a system that seeks to suppress our humanity—A system that wants us to hate ourselves.

    I remind you that love is at the root of our resistance. 

    It is our love for 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was gunned down by the police in less than two seconds that will not allow us to bury our anger. It is our love for Philando Castille, who was executed in front of his partner and his daughter that keeps the people fighting back. It is our love for Stephon Clark, who was lynched in his grandma's backyard that will not allow us to stop until we achieve liberation for our people. 

    Our love is not an individualized love—it is a collective love. A collective love that is constantly combating collective forms of racialized hate. Chattel slavery, Jim Crow, New Jim Crow, massive plantations, mass incarcerations, slave patrols, police patrols, we as a collective, since the colonization of the Americas have been combating collective forms of systemic racialized hate and oppression. 

    But I am hopeful. I am inspired. 

    This is why we have to protest. This is why we are so passionate. We protest because we love ourselves, and our people. 

    It was James Baldwin who said, to be Black in America, "and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time." My question is, why aren't all people? How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, "freedom and justice for all," that is so unjust to so many of the people living there? How can you not be in rage when you know that you are always at risk of death in the streets or enslavement in the prison system? How can you willingly be blind to the truth of systemic racialized injustice? When Malcolm X said, "I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I'm a human being, first and foremost, and as such I'm for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole."I took that to heart. 

    While taking a knee is a physical display that challenges the merits of who is excluded from the notion of freedom, liberty, and justice for all, the protest is also rooted in a convergence of my moralistic beliefs, and my love for the people. 

    Seeking the truth, finding the truth, telling the truth and living the truth has been, and always will be what guides my actions. For as long as I have a beating heart, I will continue on this path, working on behalf of the people. 

    Again...Love is at the root of our resistance. 

    Last but certainly not least; I would like to thank Amnesty International for The Ambassador of Conscience Award. But in truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force. To again quote Malcolm X, when he said that he, "will join in with anyone—I don't care what color you are—as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth," I am here to join with you all in this battle against police violence. 

    Amnesty International, April 21, 2018




    2) Sure, Unemployment Went Down - Because More People Left The Workforce

    By Erik Sherman, May 5, 2018


    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 4: A 'help wanted' sign hangs on a window of a restaurant in Lower Manhattan, May 4, 2018 in New York City. U.S. unemployment fell to a near historic low of 3.9 percent and hiring remained strong in April. The Dow finished up over 300 points at the close on Friday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

    Following unemployment numbers is a passion for those who watch the economy. However, current happy talk needs tempering with a closer look at numbers.

    The announced 3.9% unemployment rate is, as news reports mentioned, a low since 2000. But percentages are expressions of ratios: how much of one thing compared to another. The unemployment rate is the ratio between the number of unemployed people and the total workforce, which is the sum of the employed and unemployed.

    Like any ratio, there a number of ways to change the value:

    • Move people out of the unemployed category into the employed while keeping the total workforce stable.
    • Increase the total number of employed workers faster than the number of unemployed ones.
    • Add more people into the employed category without changing anyone's actual status.
    • Stop counting some in the unemployed category, making them "disappear."

    A change in definitions or an arbitrary categorization of people can shift the unemployment numbers as easily as putting more people who had been unemployed to work.

    As some have pointed out about this round of monthly job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a big factor for April was a loss of people counted as workers. No longer counted, unemployment drops.

    The table called Employment status of the civilian population by sex and ageprovides relevant data.

    The number of jobs increased by 164,000 in April. But the number of unemployed dropped by 239,000 between March and April.

    That is why the employment-population ratio — the percentage of all people of working age (16 and up, including people who have stopped looking for work) that are employed — dropped from 60.4% to 60.3%. More people disappeared from the labor rolls.

    The figures have improved since the financial crisis, but only so much. Here's a graph from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

    Civilian employment population ratio graph

    An improvement from post-crash 2010 is still far from where things had been. You have to look back to October 1985 to find when the employment-population ratio was as low.

    Part might be the result of divorce and the need for formerly married adults to work. Another is that women wanted a life beyond staying home to tend to children. There is also the third factor, though, of more people needing to work because of stagnant household incomes. Before then, the employment-population ratio was lower. Up to the 1970s, median wages were much stronger compared to the cost of living.

    None of those factors has reversed.

    Back to the present. The labor participation rate — the percentage of the entire population, working age or not — either employed or actively looking for work was 62.8%, down from 62.9% in March. Here is a similar long-term look at the labor force participation rate, with another graph from the St. Louis Fed.

    Civilian labor force participation rate

    This has a different and truly chilling view of the labor picture. Labor participation began declining after a high of 67.3% in mid-2000. It dropped to 66.4% in January 2007, just as the economic collapse began, and kept going. Now the country hovers at just below 63% as people have left the workforce.

    Some of that is large college enrollment among millennials, while another portion has been women leaving the workplace and baby boomer retirements (for those who don't have to keep working part-time to make ends meet even after they have reached retirement age). Whatever the reasons, we seem to have hit a new stable lower number than was the case in the previous 30 years.

    More people have given up on finding work and therefore are no longer counted as either working or unemployed. That's why the unemployment rate keeps dropping. It isn't the underlying strength of the economy that reaches all levels of society. The number of jobs might be keeping rough pace with the growth of the population, but that is it. There is no broad economic cheer.

    That has implications for income inequality — fewer people working means less income and wealth — as well as long-term economic stability creating pressure on social safety nets, such as they are.

    All this also helps explain the low rate of wage growth that has puzzled many pundits. Growing employment should drive up wages, but increases have been lukewarm at best. As the St. Louis Fed noted in 2015, wage growth has really been related to inflation and not what would be considered real wage growth. People make more but inflation, which keeps pace or even exceeds the wage growth, eats up any extra money.

    Employers don't need to provide real wage growth. Even with so many people dropping out of the labor force, there is little pressure to increase spending on wages to obtain workers. Maybe the relative unemployment numbers will finally drop so low that employers will finally be forced to pay more because there won't be enough people available. Then again, look at this St. Louis Fed graph on the unemployment rate.

    Civilian unemployment rate

    Are we really going to drop to the levels of post-World War II employment? It seems unlikely. The labor participation rate at that time was close to 58%.

    Unemployment as a sole measure of labor force health isn't useful. Such measures as the employment-population ratio and the labor participation rate help provide a more complete look at the economy. And the fuller picture suggests that income inequality will continue, and worsen, over the immediate future.

    Erik Sherman writes about business, technology, economics, and public policy. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.



    3) Capitalism's Conspiracy of Terror

    By Bonnie Weinstein, May/June 2018


    The terror of war is the modus operandi of U.S. capitalism, and has been from the very beginning. When the first white man set foot upon this continent he did so not only as the representative of European imperialism—England, France and Spain—but armed with weapons of mass murder far more advanced than the hunting implements used by the indigenous peoples who inhabited this land for millennia. 

    The onslaught by these imperialists was relentless. Every means of slaughter was used to steal this land including biological warfare—small pox tainted blankets—and the massive slaughter of game that the indigenous people depended upon for survival. Bounties were paid to settlers for the scalps of indigenous men, women and children who were in the way of these conquering marauders. Soon after, the Black slaves of Africa were brought over to further enrich the colonial conquerors and establish their dominance on this continent. This is how the United States was born. 

    Throughout its history, from its very inception, the U.S. government has carried out mass violence against indigenous inhabitants, slaves, and the working class. Every war, every battle, every invasion, every massacre carried out by this country was waged against the innocent while the commanders of capital and their generals sit in safety and fill their coffers with wealth beyond reason. 

    This is the way of war. It is not natural. It's not human nature. It is the nature of capitalist imperialism because war and the sale of weapons of mass destruction are a source of great profit. And it is waged at the expense not only of the masses who are attacked but also those who are the cannon fodder for their imperialist armies.

    War is a vehicle of terror and oppression. It never brings peace, only unending war. The sum of all the wars in the history of humanity has come to what we are witnessing today—a world in chaos. 

    We have come to the end of the line. The commanders of capital are waging a worldwide war against humanity and each other with the aim of keeping the U.S. on top. But even with the most powerful arsenal, their wars are not being won; they are just killing more and more of the innocent and devastating the planet.

    War crimes are inevitable because war, in and of itself, is a crime. The capitalist class will do whatever they think will work to put themselves on top. They have poisoned, they have napalmed, they have used nuclear weapons, and they have carried out clandestine operations to make themselves appear to be the victims. 

    Bloody massacres have never stopped them because it is not their blood that is shed—it's our blood—the blood of the working class that is shed.

    What the Iraq war has brought

    In an April 17, 2018 article in the New York Times by Margaret Coker and Falih Hassan titled, "A Ten-Minute Trial, a Death Sentence: Iraqi Justice for ISIS Suspects," 

    "The 42-year-old housewife had two minutes to defend herself against charges of supporting the Islamic State. Amina Hassan, a Turkish woman in a flowing black abaya, told the Iraqi judge that she and her family had entered Syria and Iraq illegally and lived in the Islamic State's so-called caliphate for more than two years. But, she added: 'I never took money from Islamic State. I brought my own money from Turkey.' The whole trial lasted ten minutes before the judge sentenced her to death by hanging. Another accused Turkish woman entered the courtroom. Then another, and another. Within two hours, 14 women had been tried, convicted and sentenced to die."

    This is the glorious victory the U.S. war on Iraq has brought. Our government is rooted in the blood of the innocent. History will NOT absolve them! We can't trust a word they say. They lie, cheat, murder and steal with abandon. They routinely carry out mass murder, torture, deceit and terror. It's how they rule. World domination is their only goal.

    In another article in the New York Times by Gardiner Harris dated April 19, 2018 titled, "Trump Administration Seeks to Expand Sales of Armed Drones," the article states,

    "The biggest change announced on Thursday involves the sale of larger armed drones like the Predator and the Reaper, which have been the workhorses of the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan and the tribal regions of Pakistan…Under the old policy, only Britain, France and Italy were approved to purchase armed drones…As more countries are approved, 'the risk is that countries may be more willing to use military force when they can do so without risking their own people'…The Obama administration was also enthusiastic about foreign weapons sales, which soared during its tenure. Direct weapons sales declined in the first year of the Trump administration from the year before and are now roughly half the level seen in 2011, the first full year of the Arab Spring."

    War is big business for the U.S. They will sell weapons to their allies who will wage war against their own people while the U.S. capitalists make more money and more weapons of mass destruction to sell. It has nothing to do with justice, freedom or democracy, which was what the Arab Spring was about. The goal of these wars is to bomb countries back into the dark ages. This allows the U.S. to make natural resources, such as oil, freely available for exploitation by U.S. corporations without fear of retaliation. 

    They must be stopped!

    Humanity's history of cooperation

    Humanity has not always waged war. War is relatively new to human history. Humans have roamed the Earth for three million years. Relics of war are only about 6,000 years old. So for two-million-nine-hundred-and-ninety-four-thousand-years people lived in peace and cooperation with one another. That is how language developed, trade roots were established and humanity flourished. Cooperation is essential to the development of humanity. War is the road to human annihilation.

    What we have to come to terms with is that these wars will continue until we, the working class and all of our allies finally bring an end to the capitalist system so that no one ever profits from war again. 

    It is essential that we bring an end to this violence and terror that permeates every aspect of our society. It is essential to all life on the planet that we bury these weapons of mass destruction and tear down the borders between us. War is the antithesis of humanity. Humanity depends upon cooperation, sharing, peace, justice and equality. That is what we do best and have done for millennia. We must end capitalism to end war. We must end capitalism to survive into the future. We must end capitalism to bring peace on earth. That is what a socialist revolution is all about.



    4)  Is China a Colonial Power?

    By James A. Millward, May 4, 2018


    The Yantai Railway Station in China's Shandong Province.CreditTang Ke/Xinhua, via Getty Images


    In a lesser-known novel, "Claudius Bombarnac," Jules Verne describes the adventures of the titular foreign correspondent as he rides the "Grand Transasiatic Railway" from the "European frontier" to "the capital of the Celestial Empire." A cast of international characters, by turns comical, curious and shady, accompanies the French reporter by train from the Caspian Sea to Peking, narrowly escaping bandits and delivering a mysterious cargo.

    When first published in 1893, the book was futuristic fiction. There was no continuous rail link across Eurasia. There still isn't, but 125 years later China now envisions financing and building multiple such overland routes (with much faster trains). That's for the "belt" portion of what it calls the "One Belt, One Road" initiative: It is also developing a string of new ports, from the South China Sea through the Indian Ocean to Africa and the Mediterranean.

    The number and scale of the projects proposed are breathtaking, far surpassing even the imagination of a sci-fi writer. They have stimulated awe and, more often, dark suspicions among many foreign observers.

    Just after Verne was writing, China's first main railways were being built by Western companies, financed by Western loans to a nearly bankrupt Qing dynasty. Within two decades, struggles over foreign ownership of Chinese rail had touched off a revolution that brought down the dynasty in 1912. Today, the former victim of Western railway imperialism is lending billions to countries throughout Asia, Africa and Europe to construct not only railroads but also highways, ports, power plants and other infrastructure.

    China's economic progress over the past century has been phenomenal, lifting hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty. So when the Chinese government offers to share its experience in development — a prominent theme in its official speeches and documents — it should be taken seriously.

    But the historical echoes are worrisome. Already, Sri Lanka, unable to pay back the $8 billion it owes Chinese state-owned enterprises for building major infrastructure on its territory, has agreed to lease its port in Hambantota to China for 99 years. That is precisely the term for which another strategic port, Hong Kong, was leased by the Qing to the British in circumstances that epitomize colonialism.

    So one wonders: Is China presenting a new model of development to a world that could use one, or is One Belt, One Road itself the new colonialism?

    Because these rail and other projects require security, they extend the Chinese government's political reach into Central Asia, Pakistan and the Middle East. And as Beijing turns the South China Sea into a vast game of Go, its new ports in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and, potentially, the Maldives start to look like still more playing tokens.

    China's pretty talk of development and cooperation sounds like cover for a strategic advance, and of course it is that. But besides investing financially in infrastructure, One Belt, One Road also invests China's prestige in a globalist message that sounds all the right notes — peace, multicultural tolerance, mutual prosperity — and that rhetoric sets standards by which to hold China accountable.

    The Chinese government has rolled out the initiative with fanfare, casting it as President Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy project, and outsiders have in turn treated it as a monolithic venture. In fact, it is made up of many elements: cultural, diplomatic, developmental, as well as commercial and strategic. You can't give thumbs up or thumbs down to the whole package, because One Belt, One Road is nothing less than the rebranding of China's entire foreign policy, in all its complexity.

    For example, complementing the initiative's harder edge is a cultural component that observers often overlook: numerous school programs, cultural exchanges, art shows, museum exhibitions, musical performances, dance concerts, archaeological explorations and Unesco collaborations. These extensions of Chinese soft power play on the idea of the Silk Road, that mythical ancient golden age of untrammeled trade and cross-cultural synergy. In fact, there never really was a single Silk Road (nor several roads) linking East to West that you could draw on a map; rather, trade fanned out in networks across the breadth of Eurasia — as it did elsewhere. And machinations of empires always played a larger role in promoting exchanges than did intrepid private traders.

    But the idea of the Silk Road (unlike, say, the idea of the "Great Game") is nonthreatening, a sepia-tinged vision of camels and bazaars full of exotic luxuries. China has cleverly pinned its foreign policy to a pleasant historical myth that unites the peoples of Afro-Eurasia. It is a fable that can literally be told as a bedtime story about "sharing" and giraffes.

    To the cynical, this is just so much propagandistic treacle. But China is also now loudly speaking the language of international development; it has announced that it is stepping up to be a global good citizen concerned about the economic well-being of its neighbors. Sincere or not, the message is at least supranational, in stark contrast to the protectionism and xenophobia displayed by President Trump and emerging nationalistic ideologies in Europe, India and elsewhere.

    The George W. Bush administration's 2005 call for China to become a "responsible stakeholder" in world affairs may have been patronizing, but it was also forward-looking. One Belt, One Road is Beijing's full-throated answer to that challenge — even if it asserts China's independence from an America-centered world order, rather than a convergence with it.

    Is a new approach, by a new player, such a bad thing? The economic orthodoxy long imposed by the United States-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund on developing countries in crisis — a reform package known as the Washington Consensus — has enjoyed a mixed record at best. And in Africa, for example, Western investment remains small, given the continent's size, population and needs.

    China, for its part, has embraced Africa. Although some of its projects have coddled corrupt dictators in order to haul off African raw materials, others have delivered concrete economic benefits locally. Moreover, some Chinese government and corporate investors have proved willing to take risks that Western corporations and countries have consistently avoided.

    Some of China's Silk Road projects will be boondoggles. Some will produce economic benefits. Some may be effective at reducing poverty. Some will promote Chinese state and corporate interests. One Belt, One Road, with its many faces, is neither a nefarious plot for world domination nor the answer to all the world's problems. We should evaluate its projects individually and hold them to the goal that the broader initiative has set for itself: to build a better future modeled on an idealized past.

    James A. Millward, a professor of history at Georgetown University, is the author of "Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang" and "The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction."



    5)  Afghan Airstrike Said to Target Taliban Mostly Killed Children, U.N. Finds

    By Fahim Abed and Rod Nordland, May 8, 2018




    An injured Afghan boy on a stretcher outside a hospital in Kunduz last month, a day after a government air attack on a religious ceremony. The United Nations has found that at least 50 of at least 71 people wounded were children, along with at least 30 of the at least 36 killed.CreditBashir Khan Safi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Of more than 100 people killed or wounded in an Afghan government airstrike last month, most were children at a religious gathering, United Nations officials have concluded, contradicting Afghan officials who have claimed that the target was a Taliban planning session.

    In a damning report issued on Monday, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Unama, stopped short of calling the April 2 airstrikea war crime, but said it raised "questions as to the government's respect of the rules of precaution and proportionality under international humanitarian law."

    At least 36 people were killed and 71 wounded, of whom 30 of the dead and 51 of the wounded were children, Unama found, but the toll may have been much higher. It counted only those casualties that could be confirmed by three independent sources, and said that many other people were reported killed or injured by one or two sources; some local officials put the death toll as high as 70.

    Rights workers described a disturbing pattern of behavior by a government that no longer complains about civilian casualties from airstrikes, now that its own forces are carrying out most of those attacks. American airstrikes, especially in the Kunduz area, once aroused a great deal of government criticism, and the United States has at times apologized.

    "The rise in civilian casualties from Afghan government air operations is deeply troubling," said Patricia Gossman of Human Rights Watch. "There is little capacity or commitment to carry out robust investigations; those that are done are ad hoc and — as in this case — never made public."

    A member of the Afghan president's fact-finding commission, Sangin Tawakalzai, said as recently as Monday that Kunduz officials had claimed only nine had been killed.

    The United Nations report said that the airstrike had hit a well-publicized outdoor religious gathering in the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz Province, a district that has long been dominated by the Taliban, and has seen heavy fighting with government forces. Over 400 posters had been distributed in the area in advance, announcing what was said to be a graduation program at a madrasa, or religious school.

    While many local officials said that Taliban officials attended in large numbers, Unama said it could not confirm how many of the dead were Taliban. The report said that the 36 confirmed dead were all male, but only six of them were adults, and the others were apparently boys from a nearby religious school.

    Government MD-530 helicopter gunships attacked the crowd, firing into a section full of children first, with rockets and .50 caliber heavy machine guns, the report said, describing the arms used as "imprecise weapons." The children were struck first because they were in the rear of the crowd, and most accessible from overhead.

    Afghan officials from the Ministry of Defense and the presidency repeatedly either declined to comment on Unama's findings, or did not respond to inquiries. They have claimed the airstrike was on a Taliban planning session that included several high-ranking Taliban officials.

    "I don't want to comment on figures of civilian casualties provided by Unama," said Shah Hussain Murtazawi, President Ashraf Ghani's deputy spokesman. "Our investigation also shows that there were some civilian casualties, but the main target was the Taliban gathering."

    Mr. Murtazawi said he could not provide further detail, however, because the government's own report had yet to be formally presented to the president's National Security Council. He said that the Kunduz attack had prompted the government "to take more measures to prevent civilian casualties in airstrikes," but he did not specify what those measures were.

    Ms. Gossman, of Human Rights Watch, said, "The government seems wary of releasing information about large numbers of civilian casualties, since to do so means confronting those in the security forces responsible."

    The United Nations in Afghanistan has also criticized the insurgents, blaming them for the majority of civilian casualties in the war, particularly from suicide bombings and improvised explosive devices that often deliberately target civilians. The latest United Nations report said 67 percent of civilian casualties could be attributed to the insurgents.

    Until recent months, most aerial attacks in Afghanistan were carried out by American-led coalition forces, and many still are, though with increased standards of caution to avoid civilian casualties, according to American officials. At least four American airstrikes in Kunduz in recent years resulted in claims of civilian casualties.

    In one hotly disputed attack just outside Kunduz city last November, the American military launched airstrikes after two of its soldiers had been killed, apparently killing civilians who had been ordered by the Taliban to recover the dead and wounded. The United States at first denied killing any civilians, but reversed its position after an investigation and said 33 civilians had died in the incident.

    The American commander, Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., apologized for the loss of life.

    Fahim Abed reported from Kabul, and Rod Nordland from London. Najim Rahim contributed reporting from Kunduz, Afghanistan.



    6) He Paid for His Mentos. Then an Officer Pulled a Gun on Him.

    By Matthew Haag, May 7, 2018




    Jose Arreola, center, had just paid for a $1.19 roll of Mentos in a Southern California gas station when an off-duty police officer, right, pulled out a gun and accused of him of stealing them.CreditOrange County Register, via YouTube

    Jose Arreola walked into a Southern California gas station to buy Mentos on a Friday night in March and still can't shake off what happened next. After he paid for the mints and placed them in his left jacket pocket, an off-duty police officer behind him pulled out his handgun, pointed it at his feet and accused him of stealing them.

    "It made me angry," Mr. Arreola, 49, said on Monday. "I felt this fear and thought of my wife. My wife might become a widow tonight."

    The night started when Mr. Arreola, who was on his way to a club with his wife, pulled into a Chevron station in Buena Park in Orange County, Calif. He got $60 out of an A.T.M., then remembered that his wife had asked for mints.

    Standing in front of the cashier, Mr. Arreola scanned a row of candy bars, sweets and gum before reaching for a roll of Mentos. "How much are these?" Mr. Arreola asked the man behind the counter. The cashier told him they were $1.19.

    The transaction on March 16, which was recorded by the gas station's security camera, was entirely uneventful until the off-duty officer, who works for the Buena Park Police Department, entered the store. He missed the part when Mr. Arreola handed over $20 for the Mentos.

    "Hey, put that back," the officer said as he lifted his sweatshirt and pulled a handgun from his waistband. "Put it back. Police officer."

    "I just paid for this," Mr. Arreola responded.

    The misunderstanding was resolved in about 35 seconds — the officer put away his gun and apologized — but it was long enough to taint Mr. Arreola's perception of the police and to land the officer in an internal investigation.

    "You can't help but look at all these Facebook videos of cops doing bad things," said Mr. Arreola, who went public with his story on Friday in an interview with The Orange County Register. "The way he cocked his gun, I thought he was going to shoot me if I did any wrong move."

    Mr. Arreola said that after the encounter, he filed a complaint with the Police Department against the officer, who has not been identified. The department offered last week to settle the dispute, Mr. Arreola said, but he declined the deal because the amount would have only covered his legal fees.

    Across the United States, police departments have come under intense scrutiny in recent years over the use of force and treatment of minorities. The worst actions by police officers are sometimes captured on cellphone video and quickly shared on social media, fueling a distrust toward law enforcement.

    John DeCarlo, a former police chief and an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of New Haven, said that he reminds police officers to treat everyone they encounter with respect, from mundane interactions to very intense ones.

    Everyday encounters, like seeing an officer in a gas station, shape people's overall perceptions of the police, he said. "We have an innate fear of police to begin with," Mr. DeCarlo said. "It's about treating people how you want to be treated."

    Mr. DeCarlo was startled as he watched the security footage of the off-duty Buena Park police officer. "Oh my goodness," he said as he watched the officer retrieve his gun. "Holy mackerel."

    He said that the officer violated the most basic rules governing the use of force by the police. No matter the situation, officers should issue verbal commands first. Pulling out a gun should be a last resort.

    "What the officer did was incredibly inappropriate," he said.

    Corey S. Sianez, the Buena Park police chief, said that he was also troubled by the officer's actions. "I want you to know that after I watched the video I found it to be disturbing, as I'm sure it was to you," he said Friday on Facebook.

    Chief Sianez said that the actions by the officer were under review. He did not respond to an email on Monday asking whether the officer was still on active duty or if he had been placed on leave during the investigation.

    "I can definitely assure you that our investigation will be thorough," he said. "If the officer is found to be in violation of any policies and procedures, he will be held accountable."

    Michael Scott, a former police officer who teaches criminal justice at Arizona State University, said the encounter was troubling on many levels.

    The officer, who was wearing athletic clothes, was not easily identifiable as the police, and he pulled out his gun and accused Mr. Arreola of stealing before he knew whether a crime had been committed.

    "I can sympathize with a young officer's instincts to want to intervene off duty in what he perceives to be a crime," Mr. Scott said. "But good judgment, combined with restrictive policies and training in those policies, are needed precisely to prevent the problems depicted in this incident."

    Susan C. Beachy contributed research.



    7)  A Woman Thought She Saw Burglars. They Were Just Black Airbnb Guests.

    By Daniel Victor May 8, 2018




    The police were called after a woman didn't recognize a group of Airbnb guests. "Got surrounded by the police for being black in a white neighborhood," one of the guests said.CreditKelly Fyffe-Marshall, via Instagram

    It was an entirely routine moment: Four people exited the home they had rented on Airbnb in Rialto, Calif., and loaded suitcases into their car.

    Within minutes, several police cars had arrived and the group was being questioned as a helicopter flew overhead. A neighbor who didn't recognize them had called the police, suspecting they were burglars.

    They were in fact four creative professionals in town for an event. Now the three black people in the group are suing the Rialto Police Department, saying they were unfairly treated during the April 30 encounter.

    "Got surrounded by the police for being black in a white neighborhood," one of the guests, Donisha Prendergast, a filmmaker and a granddaughter of Bob Marley, wrote on Instagram. "I'm sad and irritated to see that fear is still the first place police officers go in their pursuit to serve and protect, to the point that protocol supersedes their ability to have discernment."

    "We have been dealing with different emotions and you want to laugh about this but it's not funny," Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, another filmmaker, wrote on Instagram. "The trauma is real. I've been angry, frustrated and sad. This is insanity."

    Komi-Oluwa Olafimihan, an artist, pointed out that "over 700 people that look just like me did not walk away alive from a situation like this last year."

    The police and the renters offered different versions of events, but both recorded video: The police through their body cameras, the renters through their phones.

    Ms. Fyffe-Marshall said the officers came out of their cars, demanding the group put their hands in the air. At first, the renters "joked about the misunderstanding," she said, but the situation escalated after 20 minutes when a sergeant arrived.

    The sergeant didn't know what Airbnb was, "insisted that we were lying about it and said we had to prove it," Ms. Fyffe-Marshall said. She showed the officers their booking confirmations and called the landlord, and the group was detained for 45 minutes, she said.

    She said the neighbor called the police because they had failed to wave at her.

    Ms. Fyffe-Marshall and Ms. Prendergast declined interview requests.

    The Rialto Police Department said in a statement that the group was questioned for 22 minutes and that officers had not used restraints on them. The officers learned they were Airbnb guests "through reasonable inquiry," and they were "immediately released without incident," the police said.

    "The Rialto Police Department is confident officers treated the involved individuals with dignity, respect and professionalism," the police said.

    Many people of color have reported that the police have been called on them while going about their everyday business, a fact of life that has seen several prominent examples in recent weeks. National outrage followed the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks; a group of black women had the police called on them for golfing too slowly in York County, Pa.; and two Native American brothers had a college visit in Colorado cut short when a parent told a 911 dispatcher that their behavior and clothing was suspicious.

    Airbnb has for years been battling concerns over discrimination — though its focus had been on those renting out their homes, not neighbors. The company brought on prominent advisers, including Eric H. Holder Jr., the former United States attorney general, to help form new policies, and released a 32-page report in 2016 on how it planned to fight discrimination.

    Airbnb said that what happened to the guests in Rialto was "unconscionable." Laura W. Murphy, a senior adviser, and Janaye Ingram, the head of national partnerships, sent a letter to Rialto's police chief and mayor on Monday to request a meeting.

    "We are deeply disturbed by the public reports suggesting that the police department's response was dictated by the guests' race," the two wrote. "As African-American women who have seen the inequitable treatment of people of color, we know that these kinds of incidents are often rooted in implicit and explicit bias. They are hurtful, discriminatory, traumatic and must end."



    8) Israeli Warplanes Hit Dozens of Iranian Targets in Syria

    By Isabel Kershner, May 10, 2018


    Missiles seen from Damascus, Syria, on Thursday.CreditOmar Sanadiki/Reuters

    JERUSALEM — Israeli fighter jets struck dozens of Iranian targets in Syria overnight, Israeli officials said, following soon after what the Israeli military described as an unsuccessful Iranian rocket attack against its forces in the Golan Heights.

    The response — which Israeli officials claimed struck a severe blow to Iran's military capacity in the area — came amid drastically ramped up tensions in the Middle East after President Trump's move this week to pull the United States from a multinational nuclear deal with Tehran. Israel had railed against the agreement, and Mr. Trump had campaigned on the promise of withdrawing from it, but European countries and many analysts had seen it as a crucial element holding Iran and Israel, implacable foes, from all-out conflict.

    In the aftermath of the president's decision, the rhetoric between the two sides has heightened sharply. And while Israel and Iran have been conducting a shadow war in Syria for months under the cover of the civil war there, the conflict has now burst into the open.

    Overnight, Iranian forces fired around 20 rockets at the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, targeting forward positions of the Israeli military, according to an Israeli military spokesman. The rockets were all either intercepted or fell short of their mark in Syrian territory, the spokesman said, but were nevertheless a significant escalation in Iran's maneuvers in the Middle East.

    Though Israel has hit Iranian forces in Syria with a number of deadly airstrikes, Tehran has been restrained in hitting back, until now. The rocket attack against Israel appeared to be in response to Israeli strikes on southern Syria on Wednesday.

    Hours later, Israel responded. By Thursday morning, the country's air force had destroyed "nearly all" of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria, according to Israel's defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

    "If there is rain on our side, there will be a flood on their side," Mr. Lieberman said in remarks broadcast from a policy conference in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. He added, "I hope we have finished with this round and that everybody understood."

    In all, at least 23 people were killed in the strikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group. The Syrian Army, by contrast, said that three people had died.

    In a sign of international concern that the conflict could escalate, Britain, France, Germany and Russia were quick to call for calm. Moscow — which enjoys warm ties with Israel and has had ever-closer relations with Iran in recent years — in particular called for "restraint from all parties," Mikhail Bogdanov, a Russian deputy foreign minister, was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency Interfax.

    The White House condemned the missile attack on Israel, saying in a statement that it strongly supported "Israel's right to act in self-defense," and called on Iran "to take no further provocative steps."

    Iran has taken advantage of the chaos in Syria to build a substantial military infrastructure there. It has built and trained large militias with thousands of fighters and sent advisers from its Revolutionary Guards Corps to Syrian military bases.

    Israel's political and security establishment has been unified and vocal in vowing to thwart Iran's efforts to entrench itself militarily across Israel's northern frontier and to build what Israeli and American officials refer to as a land corridor from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, to Lebanon.

    The tensions between Iran and Israel have been complicated further by Mr. Trump's pulling out of the nuclear agreement. The same day he did so, Israel put its troops on "high alert," called up reservists, set up Iron Dome batteries and instructed the authorities in the Golan Heights to prepare public bomb shelters after detecting what it said was irregular activity by Iranian forces.

    Mr. Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal could rekindle the appetite of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to carry out military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities.

    Israel's strikes overnight were one of the country's largest aerial operations in decades across the Syrian frontier, and by far its broadest direct attack yet on Iranian assets.

    "This was an operation we prepared for, and were not surprised by," said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israeli military.

    In a statement, the military said the targets included what it described as Iranian intelligence sites; a logistics headquarters belonging to the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards; military compounds; munition storage warehouses of the Quds Force at Damascus International Airport; intelligence systems associated with those forces; and military posts and munition in the buffer zone between the Syrian Golan Heights and the Israeli-occupied portion of the strategic plateau.

    There was no immediate information about casualties in Syria. Israel reported none on its side. Colonel Conricus said the barrage of approximately 20 Grad and Fajr-5 rockets fired from Syria and aimed at Israeli positions after midnight was launched under the command of the Quds Force and utilized Iranian weapons.

    Four of the rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome antimissile defense system, and the rest fell short of the Israeli-controlled territory, the military said. Indeed, by Thursday morning, Israeli life returned to routine in the Golan Heights, with children going to school.

    The barrage came after an apparent Israeli missile strike against a village in the Syrian Golan Heights late Wednesday.

    Mr. Netanyahu said this week that the Revolutionary Guards had moved advanced weapons to Syria, including ground-to-ground missiles, weaponized drones and Iranian antiaircraft batteries that he said would threaten Israel's military jets.

    While appearing to almost goad the Iranians to strike, Israel had warned Tehran that it would respond to any attack. Israel also broadcast warnings to Syria, saying that allowing Iranian entrenchment in its territory put Mr. Assad's government at risk.

    Israel said Russia, whose forces have been supporting Mr. Assad, had been informed before the overnight attack. On Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu spent about 10 hours in Moscow with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

    In recent years, Israel has carried out scores of strikes against what it says are advanced weapons and convoys destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed force in Lebanon. But since February, when Israel intercepted what it later called an armed Iranian drone that had penetrated its airspace from Syria, setting off a day of heated cross-border exchanges, Israel's efforts appear to have been more focused on Iranian assets in Syria.

    Reporting was contributed by Ivan Nechepurenko from Moscow; Thomas Erdbrink from Tehran; Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Lebanon; and Christopher F. Schuetze from Berlin.



    9)  Australian Officer Suspended After Police Car Hits Aboriginal Man

    By Giovanni Torre and Isabella Kwai, May 10, 2018




    PERTH, Australia — A senior sergeant in the Western Australia Police Force was suspended Thursday after an Aboriginal man was struck by a police car in Perth.

    The move came after the release Thursday of video footage on the SBS network showing the man, William Farmer, 18, being closely followed by a female police officer in a yellow jacket as he walked across the road Sunday in a suburban area of south Perth.

    As she continues to follow him, a white car backs out of a driveway, makes an abrupt turn and hits Mr. Farmer, who collapses in what appears to be a seizure. A male police officer then leaves the car and grabs Mr. Farmer, turning him over.

    The episode came to light after Mervyn Eades, a relative of Mr. Farmer from the Nyoongar people, posted video of it on Facebook. In that footage, filmed from farther away, a woman gasps as the car hits Mr. Farmer, who rolls briefly out of sight.

    Mr. Farmer had been wanted for questioning over a caller's complaint of "suspicious activity" in the area, the police statement said. In the police account of the episode, they said that after a scuffle in which one officer was injured, Mr. Farmer fled and was arrested "after colliding with a police vehicle involved in the search."

    The officer, who was not identified, will be suspended from all operational duty pending the outcome of an investigation by the police force's internal affairs unit, the police said.

    The family of the young man is extremely upset, said George Newhouse, a lawyer from the National Justice Project who is representing them. They are considering litigation, he said.

    Mr. Farmer, who was taken to a hospital for treatment, did not have a previous history of seizures, Mr. Newhouse said, adding that he had been "seriously injured."

    "The WA police have one of the worst track records in this country for discrimination and prejudice against Aboriginal people," he said. "The commissioner of police needs to come out with a very clear statement that violence against and harassment of Aboriginal people is not acceptable in his police force."

    West Australia's police minister, Michelle Roberts, told reporters Tuesday that what happened was "very disturbing," and pledged a thorough inquiry.

    Others said the episode reflected a pattern of police mistreatment.

    "This is not a singular incident. It has been going on for a very long time," said Mr. Eades, chief executive of Ngalla Maya Aboriginal Corporation, adding that if it had not been caught on video, it would have never been made public.

    He referred to other cases, like that of Ms Dhu, a young Indigenous woman whose family was awarded a 1.1 million Australian dollars (about $822,000) after she died in custody in 2014.

    "This is systemic racism, and my people have been bearing the brunt of it, and we are sick of it," he said.

    Giovanni Torre reported from Perth, and Isabella Kwai from Sydney, Australia.




    10)  A Black Student at Yale Was Napping in a Common Area, and a White Student Called the Police

    By Christina Caron, May 9, 2018




    The Yale campus. A graduate student in the university's African studies program said she was harassed for taking a nap in a common area.CreditDave Sanders for The New York Times

    A black graduate student at Yale who fell asleep in her dorm's common room said she had a disturbing awakening this week when a white student flipped on the lights, told her she had no right to sleep there and called the campus police.

    It was the latest in a string of recent episodes across the country in which the police have been summoned to respond to minor complaints involving people of color.

    As in many of those encounters, including the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks and the questioning of black Airbnb guests in California, the Yale incident was captured in a widely shared video that set off anger online.

    The graduate student, Lolade Siyonbola, posted a 17-minute recording of her encounter with police officers who responded to the call, and it touched a nerve, with more than 600,000 views as of Wednesday.

    Ms. Siyonbola, 34, who is earning her master's degree in African studies, said that she had camped out in the common room to work on a "marathon of papers." On Monday night, she decided to take a nap.

    Around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, she said, someone came in and turned on the lights, asking: "Is there someone in here? Is there someone sleeping in here? You're not supposed to be here."

    Ms. Siyonbola said the woman told her she was going to call the police. In a shorter video that Ms. Siyonbola posted, the woman, who is not identified, says: "I have every right to call the police. You cannot sleep in that room."

    The woman, who also lives in the dorm, reported "an unauthorized person in the common room," said Lynn Cooley, the dean of the graduate school of arts and sciences, who addressed the episode in an email to students on Tuesday.

    Several officers responded to the call.

    "We need to make sure that you belong here," a female officer says in the longer video.

    Ms. Siyonbola produced the key to her apartment and opened the door, and the officers told her they needed to see her ID.

    After she asked why, one says, "I don't know anybody from anybody, so I'm here just to make sure you're supposed to be here, make sure she's supposed to be here, and we'll get out of your hair."

    Ms. Siyonbola relented and handed over her ID.

    But the officers struggled to verify it, and Ms. Siyonbola appeared to grow more frustrated.

    At one point, she says, "I am not going to justify my existence here."

    At another, an officer who identifies himself as a supervisor says, "We determine who is allowed to be here or who's not allowed to be here, regardless of whether you feel you're allowed to be here or not."

    "I hope that makes you feel powerful," she responds.

    The Yale Police Department referred inquiries to the university.

    "We believe the Yale police who responded followed procedures," Tom Conroy, a spokesman for the university, said on Wednesday. "As we do with every incident, we will be reviewing the call and the response of the police officers to ensure that the proper protocol was followed, and to determine if there was anything we could have done better."

    When asked if it was common practice to run IDs in such situations, he said it was.

    Confirming her identity took longer than usual because the Ms. Siyonbola's preferred name, which was printed on her ID, was different from what was in the university record, a school official said.

    Late Wednesday, in an email to graduate students, Kimberly M. Goff-Crews, Yale's vice president for student life, said that she was "deeply troubled" by the episode and that she and Dr. Cooley would hold listening sessions with students in the coming days.

    "This incident and others recently reported to me underscore that we have work to do to make Yale not only excellent but also inclusive," Ms. Goff-Crews said.

    Earlier, Ms. Siyonbola called the police "ridiculous" for not leaving after seeing that she had a key and an ID. She said the larger issue was that "there are not consequences to you if you call the police on an innocent person, especially if they're black."

    In her view, it was not an isolated incident at Yale. "I can tell you tons of other minor stories of microaggressions," she said.

    Ms. Siyonbola, who founded the Yoruba Cultural Institute in Brooklyn, is the author of a book about African history and diaspora migration. At Yale, her research focuses on migration and identity formation.

    Dr. Cooley said in her email that more work needed to be done "to make Yale a truly inclusive place."

    "I am committed to redoubling our efforts to build a supportive community in which all graduate students are empowered in their intellectual pursuits and professional goals within a welcoming environment," she wrote.

    Ms. Siyonbola said she was disappointed in the dean's response.

    "It wasn't compassionate," she said. "It was very high-level — like we have to do better someday, somehow."

    She said she hoped this episode and others like it would prompt the administration to take action.

    "This is what happens every day in America," she added. "These things are unfortunate, they're disappointing, they're disheartening, but they're not shocking anymore."

    Doris Burke contributed research.



    11)  Faculty Member Shoves Black Graduates Offstage, and the University of Florida Apologizes

    By Christina Caron, May 8, 2018




    A University of Florida faculty member moving a black student offstage during a commencement ceremony on Saturday.CreditZachariah Chou

    A University of Florida faculty member who forcibly moved along black students as they danced onstage during a spring commencement ceremonyhas been placed on paid administrative leave, a university spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

    The faculty member, whom the university declined to identify, had served on Saturday as a platform marshal, a role that involves "monitoring the flow of graduates," a university official said in an email.

    Video of the event showed the faculty member approaching individual black students as they danced joyfully in front of a crowd of thousands, then physically moving them offstage. It showed some white students being hurried along, too, but in a less forceful manner.

    A number of the graduates were strolling, or performing choreographed dances popular among black fraternities and sororities. They are a common way to celebrate at graduations, and students will often dash off a few quick moves before accepting their diploma.

    In one case on Saturday, the marshal put both arms around a student, pulling him away.

    "I was shocked," the student, Oliver Telusma, 21, said in a phone interview on Tuesday. "He literally wrapped his arms around me. I didn't understand what was going on."

    Mr. Telusma, a political science major and member of the Theta Sigma chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, recalled trying to regain his footing.

    "It felt like he was trying to push me — just trying to assert that dominance and control over me," he said. "I felt it to be extremely excessive." 

    The university's president, W. Kent Fuchs, apologized on Sunday.

    "We were inappropriately aggressive in rushing students across the stage," Mr. Fuchs said on Twitter, adding that "the practice has been halted for all future ceremonies."

    "I personally apologize," he wrote, "and am reaching out to the students involved."

    Mr. Telusma said he had received a voice mail message from Mr. Fuchs, who told him that 21 students were affected and invited Mr. Telusma to get in touch.

    So far, Mr. Telusma has not called back. He said he needed time to process what had happened.

    The university's director of communications, Margot Winick, said in an email that "trainings relating to the graduations are now under review."

    The discipline to the faculty member, she added, was "pending a review of the appropriate administrative steps."

    That did not sit well with Chris Garcia-Wilde, 22, a graduate who walked onstage shortly before Mr. Telusma, a friend.

    "We want him fired," Mr. Garcia-Wilde said on Twitter.

    Mr. Garcia-Wilde said by phone on Tuesday that he and his friends had watched as other students of color ahead of them were hustled along in a "much more physical" way than white students.

    They had only wanted to celebrate their accomplishments, he said — not only were they receiving their bachelor's degrees, but Mr. Garcia-Wilde had also been accepted to medical school, and Mr. Telusma was waiting to hear back from law schools.

    Mr. Garcia-Wilde, who was also a member of Theta Sigma, said that after seeing how other students were treated, he decided not to dance.

    "I told my friends I wasn't going to stroll or dance or anything because I was afraid the guy was going to touch me," he said.

    "It was really an ugly scene," he added. "One of the hardest parts for us is it happened in front of everyone, our families. It happened right in front of the administration."

    The crowd reacted to the marshal by booing, Mr. Garcia-Wilde said, particularly after the marshal grabbed Nafeesah Attah, whose cap was knocked off her head.

    In an appearance on "Good Morning America," Ms. Attah said the marshal's response was not arbitrary. "It was definitely contingent on your race," she said. "White students who were dancing were not perceived as a threat."

    This is not the first time that people of color at the University of Florida have felt uncomfortable on campus. Mr. Garcia-Wilde recalled several disturbing incidents from last year: A noose left in a classroom, a student's Black History Month decorations ripped off her door, and a person seen carrying a swastika.

    "The university is framing it as a bad apple situation, but it's really symptomatic of a larger problem," he said.

    What should have been a happy moment was tarnished, Mr. Garcia-Wilde said.

    "Usually commencement is free of this kind of explicit racism, but not this year, which is really sad," he said. "My last memory will be me turning around and watching my friend get wrestled across the stage."



    12) Napping While Black (and Other Transgressions)

    By Tariro Mzezewa, May 10, 2018


    A wall on Yale's campus in 2015, around the time that more than 1,000 students, professors and staff members gathered to discuss issues of race and diversity at the school.CreditShannon Stapleton/Reuters

    Napping. Add that to the list of activities — drivingwalkinglaughingwaiting for someone in Starbuckschecking out of an Airbnb — that put you at risk of being interrogated by the police if you are black.

    Early Tuesday morning, Lolade Siyonbola, a graduate student at Yale, fell asleep in her dorm's common room, where she'd been working on a paper. At around 1:30 a.m. she was awakened when a white student turned on the lights and said, according to Ms. Siyonbola: "Is there someone in here? Is there someone sleeping in here? You're not supposed to be here." The student, Sarah Braasch, then called the campus police.

    "You're in a Yale building and we need to make sure that you belong here," one of the officers said to Ms. Siyonbola, in a 15-minute exchange she videotaped and posted to Facebook.

    After Ms. Siyonbola used her key to open the door to her room, the police still doubted that she belonged there and asked to see her ID.

    At that point, she said: "I deserve to be here; I paid tuition like everybody else; I am not going to justify my existence here." You can watch the whole back-and-forth here

    In an email to students, the university called the incident "deeply troubling."

    Also troubling: Last week Thomas Kanewakeron Gray and Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, Native American brothers who drove seven hours to tour Colorado State University, had their visit cut short after a parent on the tour called 911. She told the dispatcher the two teenagers were "creepy" and "they stand out." She also said they "made me feel sick" and were "real quiet."

    The message here is clear: Black and brown people seem out of place to some people when they encounter them in institutions of higher learning. Never mind that Ms. Siyonbola is earning a master's degree in African studies, that she founded the Yoruba Cultural Institute in Brooklyn and that she is the author of a book about African history and diaspora migration. To her fellow student, she seemed like an interloper.

    I know what that feels like.

    When I was 18, I moved to Italy to attend an American liberal arts college. I hadn't been the best high school student, and I imagined it would be difficult to learn a new language — it was — but I fell in love with school and I excelled in most of my courses.

    I was thrilled to be on my own for the first time. I embraced what made Rome so different from the suburbs of Washington, where I'd grown up. (I'd never heard of an Aperol Spritz, let alone tried one.)

    But even thousands of miles from home, one constant remained: I was constantly made aware of the color of my skin.

    I was regularly asked if I was a prostitute in broad daylight, asked how much I cost while walking to class. I was pushed off a bus twice by angry old men. I was spat at. I was once locked in a taxi and propositioned by the driver. I got out only when I started to scream and hit the windows.

    While subletting an apartment for a summer, the landlord came to pick up the rent money (this is common in Italy), and instead of just taking the money and giving me a receipt, he said I could keep my money if I just "had a little fun" with him. I declined, threw the money on the table and left the apartment. When I told the white student that I'd sublet the apartment from, she was skeptical and said she had never had any problems with the man.

    In this environment, the campus, its supportive professors and the group of friends I found became a haven. But on a few occasions, it felt like the nastiness outside the school found its way in.

    My junior year, I took a rigorous course that nearly everyone dropped after the first week. One day, the professor asked me a question and my response fell short. He laughed. I later learned he had posted about the response on his Facebook account, calling out students who ask silly questions. The same professor later told me he was "surprised" I got into Columbia Journalism School.

    A few weeks after I received that message, a different professor accused me of plagiarizing a history paper. I showed him my sources; it was clear I hadn't done so.

    I loved school and wanted to shrug off these experiences. But while I could chalk up the hostility on the street to Italian culture, in the classroom, I was surrounded by Americans. And the truth is that my white friends weren't being questioned about the validity of their work or asked to prove that they deserved to be there.

    But I never said anything. I didn't want to seem paranoid or overly sensitive. Most of all — amazingly — I didn't want to make them feel uncomfortable.

    I remember one day during my senior year a staff member whom I had worked with several times over three years asked me how my family was "holding up with the war and all." I was confused. My family is from Zimbabwe, but there was no war. I realized she had confused me with my friend and classmate who was South Sudanese. "They're fine," I told her, unsure of how to correct her and unwilling to take the time. My classmate was often mistaken for being me. We were the only black women in our class.

    As a senior I became frustrated that the security guards asked for my ID every time I entered one of the campuses. That was the policy, sure, but they didn't hold other students to the same standard. Others came and went without flashing theirs, yet I always had to show mine. I later heard from other students of color that this was a common experience.

    After graduation, I moved to New York to attend Columbia Journalism School. There, a career counselor told me not to bother applying to Reuters, The Washington Post or The New York Times, even for internships. When I asked why, she told me I was too young and inexperienced, and it just wasn't realistic.

    I ignored her. I applied to that internship at Reuters. I got it.

    She couldn't imagine me there. But I knew I belonged.

    Tariro Mzezewa (@tariro) is a staff editor for the Opinion section.



    13) Service Meant to Monitor Inmates' Calls Could Track You, Too

    By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, May 10, 2018




    Cory Hutcheson, a former Missouri sheriff, was charged with using a private service to track people's cellphones without court orders.CreditMississippi County Sheriff Office

    Thousands of jails and prisons across the United States use a company called Securus Technologies to provide and monitor calls to inmates. But the former sheriff of Mississippi County, Mo., used a lesser-known Securus service to track people's cellphones, including those of other officers, without court orders, according to charges filed against him in state and federal court.

    The service can find the whereabouts of almost any cellphone in the country within seconds. It does this by going through a system typically used by marketers and other companies to get location data from major cellphone carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, documents show.

    Between 2014 and 2017, the sheriff, Cory Hutcheson, used the service at least 11 times, prosecutors said. His alleged targets included a judge and members of the State Highway Patrol. Mr. Hutcheson, who was dismissed last year in an unrelated matter, has pleaded not guilty in the surveillance cases.

    As location tracking has become more accurate, and as more people carry their phones at every waking moment, the ability of law enforcement officers and companies like Securus to get that data has become an ever greater privacy concern.

    Securus offers the location-finding service as an additional feature for law enforcement and corrections officials, part of an effort to entice customers in a lucrative but competitive industry. In promotional packets, the company, one of the largest prison phone providers in the country, recounts several instances in which the service was used.

    In one, a woman sentenced to drug rehab left the center but was eventually located by an official using the service. Other examples include an official who found a missing Alzheimer's patient and detectives who used "precise location information positioning" to get "within 42 feet of the suspect's location" in a murder case.

    Asked about Securus's vetting of surveillance requests, a company spokesman said that it required customers to upload a legal document, such as a warrant or affidavit, and certify that the activity was authorized.

    "Securus is neither a judge nor a district attorney, and the responsibility of ensuring the legal adequacy of supporting documentation lies with our law enforcement customers and their counsel," the spokesman said in a statement. Securus offers services only to law enforcement and corrections facilities, and not all officials at a given location have access to the system, the spokesman said.

    Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, wrote in a letter this week to the Federal Communications Commission that Securus confirmed that it did not "conduct any review of surveillance requests." The senator said relying on customers to provide documentation was inadequate. "Wireless carriers have an obligation to take affirmative steps to verify law enforcement requests," he wrote, adding that Securus did not follow those procedures.

    The service provided by Securus reveals a potential weakness in a system that is supposed to protect the private information of millions of cellphone users. With customers' consent, carriers sell the ability to acquire location data for marketing purposes like providing coupons when someone is near a business, or services like roadside assistance or bank fraud protection. Companies that use the data generally sign contracts pledging to get people's approval — through a response to a text message, for example, or the push of a button on a menu — or to otherwise use the data legally.

    But the contracts between the companies, including Securus, are "the legal equivalent of a pinky promise," Mr. Wyden wrote. The F.C.C. said it was reviewing the letter.

    Courts are split on whether investigators need a warrant based on probable cause to acquire location data. In some states, a warrant is required for any sort of cellphone tracking. In other states, it is needed only if an investigator wants the data in real time. And in others no warrant is needed at all.

    The Justice Department has said its policy is to get warrants for real-time tracking. The Supreme Court has ruled that putting a GPS tracker on a car counts as a search under the Fourth Amendment, but this was because installing the device involved touching a person's property — something that doesn't happen when a cellphone is pinged.

    Phone companies have a legal responsibility under the Telecommunications Act to protect consumer data, including call location, and can provide it in response to a legal order or sell it for use with customer consent. But lawyers interviewed by The New York Times disagreed on whether location information that was not gathered during the course of a call had the same protections under the law.

    As long as they are following their own privacy policies, carriers "are largely free to do what they want with the information they obtain, including location information, as long as it's unrelated to a phone call," said Albert Gidari, the consulting director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and a former technology and telecommunications lawyer. Even when the phone is not making a call, the system receives location data, accurate within a few hundred feet, by communicating with the device and asking it which cellphone towers it is near.

    Other experts said the law should apply for any communications on a network, not just phone calls. "If the phone companies are giving someone a direct portal into the real-time location data on all of their customers, they should be policing it," said Laura Moy, the deputy director of the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology.

    Mr. Wyden, in his letter to the F.C.C., also said that carriers had an obligation to verify whether law enforcement requests were legal. But Securus cuts the carriers out of the review process, because the carriers do not receive the legal documents.

    The letter called for an F.C.C. investigation into Securus, as well as the phone companies and their protections of user data. Mr. Wyden also sent letters to the major carriers, seeking audits of their relationships with companies that buy consumer data. Representatives for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon said the companies had received the letters and were investigating.

    "If this company is, in fact, doing this with our customers' data, we will take steps to stop it," said Rich Young, a Verizon spokesman. T-Mobile said it "would take appropriate action" if it found any misuse of data.

    AT&T also said it followed industry "best practices" in handling data, and Sprint said it shared location information only with customer consent or in response to lawful requests.

    Privacy concerns about Securus and location services were raised to the F.C.C. last year before the company's sale to Platinum Equity, a private equity firm, for about $1.5 billion. Lee Petro, a lawyer representing a group of inmate family members, wrote letters urging the commission to reject the deal, based in part on concerns about locating people who spoke with inmates over the phone.

    Securus, founded in Dallas in 1986, has marketed its location service as a way for officials to monitor where inmates placed calls. Securus has said this would block escape attempts and the smuggling of contraband into jails and prisons, and help track calls to areas "known for generating illegal activity."

    In an email, Securus said the service was based on cell tower information, not on phone GPS.

    Securus received the data from a mobile marketing company called 3Cinteractive, according to 2013 documents from the Florida Department of Corrections. Securus said that for confidentiality reasons it could not confirm whether that deal was still in place, but a spokesman for Mr. Wyden said the company told the senator's office it was. In turn, 3Cinteractive got its data from LocationSmart, a firm known as a location aggregator, according to documents from those companies. LocationSmart buys access to the data from all the major American carriers, it says.

    LocationSmart and 3Cinteractive did not respond to requests for comment.

    Securus said it got consent before tracking phone calls made from prisons, requiring those on the receiving end to press a button agreeing to the collection of the data.

    The location service has proved to be a selling point. Matthew Thomas, chief deputy of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office in Arizona, said that the department had been using Securus's location tool for about a month, and that it had already come in handy. "We use it for search-and-rescue operations, and at the jail they use it to maintain security and to put cases together," he said.

    Mr. Thomas said that only three people in the office could log in to the system, and that the office did monthly audits to ensure its proper use.

    About three weeks ago, Mr. Thomas said, someone mailed a letter containing methamphetamine to an inmate. By using the tool, Mr. Thomas said, investigators were able to link phone calls between the address and the inmate and make an arrest.

    For search-and-rescue cases, Mr. Thomas said, the Securus tool was more efficient than requesting data through the phone companies. "It makes it a lot faster response for our crew," he said.

    In such instances, the people being located cannot give consent, so the official is supposed to upload a warrant, affidavit or court order to justify the surveillance.

    Securus said that it had cooperated with officials investigating the case in Missouri.

    Mr. Hutcheson, the defendant in the surveillance case, was charged with forgery in state court last year and also by a federal grand jury in March over similar offenses related to the phone pinging. He was removed from his duties as sheriff in 2017 after an inmate's death, though he was not charged with a crime in that matter. The Highway Patrol officers who were allegedly tracked filed suit in federal court. Mr. Hutcheson's lawyer declined to comment on the litigation.

    Timothy Williams contributed reporting.



    14)  How Did Our Sports Get So Divisive?

    By Howard Bryant, May 12, 2018

    Mr. Bryant is the author of "The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism."


    "How did we get here?" I've gotten that question a lot recently, especially since the publication of my book on black athletes and the politics of patriotism at sporting events.

    Where is "here"? One point of "here" is Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid being praised for their courage but jobless for dissenting and filing collusion lawsuits against the N.F.L. Or "here" is, more generally, our era of the protesting black player at sporting events.

    In my mind, though, all that cannot be decoupled from what Sept. 11 has done to sports. What was once ostensibly a unifying moment in the country has helped transform sports, with flags and flyovers, kneeling and protests — into the most divided public spectacle this side of Congress.

    I think back to that Tuesday morning nearly 17 years ago. I was living with my fiancée on 49th Street and 10th Avenue in New York, Hell's Kitchen, covering the Yankees for The Bergen Record, when the World Trade Center fell. It changed many things. For any American born after, say, 1985, it became the most defining day of their life — their Pearl Harbor, their Cold War, their Vietnam and Watergate.

    But it also changed how sports were sold, packaged, perceived and marketed. In ballparks across America, in every sport, sports was a healing balm for a broken country. Particularly in New York during those early years after Sept. 11, Americans could look at one another and feel everything was going to be all right, could mourn the 343 firemen killedduring the attacks, the 37 Port Authority personnel and the 23 New York City police officers, and thank the ones who survived — but also get angry, and demand revenge on their attackers and obedience from their countrymen.

    It felt appropriate at the time. I remember that first Sunday driving from Hell's Kitchen to Chicago, where the Yankees were going to resume the regular season. Air travel was still shut down, and nobody wanted to fly anyway. I remember the guy at a rest stop in Indiana, a bearded trucker who probably never would have given me the time of day under normal circumstances but who looked at me while we were washing our hands in the men's room. He asked with soft eyes and a warm face, "You doing O.K.?" For the first time, I felt American. No qualifications. Just American.

    It all felt right, until temporary grieving turned into a permanent, commercial bonanza — and a chilling referendum on who gets to be American. But then it didn't feel right, like when in 2008, a New York police officer ejected a fan at a Red Sox-Yankees game after he left his seat during a seventh-inning-stretch recording of "God Bless America." Recently a high-ranking Red Sox official told me — nearly 17 years after the towers fell — that he really doesn't know why the team still plays "God Bless America," but he knows this: The team would "get killed" publicly if it was the first team to stop doing it.

    There was another major pivot when the Department of Defense surreptitiously began paying sports teams to embed the military in the game — paying to have servicemen strategically seated at games, surprise homecomings as in-game entertainment, American flags the size of the football field — as recruiting tools. The public wasn't told that the displays weren't organic supporters of the troops but a business transaction between military and team. The commercials followed.

    Why was everyone — from players to coaches to fans in authentic team gear — suddenly wearing camouflage at a sporting event?

    I asked Russel Honoré, the famed American three-star general, what it meant. I said that I didn't want my 12-year-old son secretly recruited by the Army at Fenway Park. I wanted him to be a kid and enjoy the ballgame. The general said: "Sorry, but we've got to man the force, and sports is a great place to find the warrior-athlete. … So hold on to them little SOBs for as long as you can because we need them."

    The general added that maybe some little kid attending a Dallas Cowboys game will see an F-14 fighter buzz the stadium and want to join the Army.

    The veterans are watching, too, and not all of them like what they see about the current state of sports. They, too, see that nearly two decades have passed since the towers fell, and all the props and touches designed to uplift a wounded country have become permanent. The American flag appears, and it is not a neutral symbol. It is there to keep you in line. It is fixed to the lapels of politicians and broadcasters, stitched into the uniforms of the referees and the players. It is a decal on the back of football and batting helmets. It appears stickered on the backboard glass on both baskets in N.B.A. arenas.

    I've heard from veterans who say they are horrified that a profit machine presents an orgy of mismatching military symbols at the stadium, like wearing plaid with stripes. On Memorial Day, the somber day of mourning the dead who fought for this country, Major League Baseball outfits its players in camouflage caps and jerseys, appropriate for active-duty military but not mourning the dead. Indeed, in past seasons, including when the Fourth of July approaches, the day of barbecues and fireworks, of baseball and celebrating the nation's birthday, teams like the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres have regularly taken the field in camouflage as if it's Veterans Day.

    The veterans said that they are grateful that it looks like Americans care about them. But they are also resentful of being used as shields to prevent any criticism of the country or the military. The soldiers know they serve so Americans can speak their minds, not be cowed into obedience.

    They also don't want to throw out the first pitch nearly as much as they want jobs and the Department of Veterans Affairs fixed.

    All of it is political, of course, but very little of it feels partisan, and certainly not when the veterans call. I talked to William Astore, once an Air Force Lt. Colonel, and Mark Zinno, same rank but of the Army, who live on opposite ends of the political spectrum yet watch the money being made off sports attaching itself to the military and reach the same conclusion: What are we doing?

    And yet, in recent years, what is all the talk about? Is it about the politicizing of sports, the appropriateness of it all? No. The focus is not on the selling of war to the sports fan or the runaway commercialism. There was also little talk about the scathing takedown of the entire paid patriotism scam in a joint oversight report in 2015 by the Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, who said they were personally offended the Milwaukee Brewers charged the Wisconsin Army National Guard nearly $50,000 to perform the national anthem during home games.

    No, the focus is on the black athletes, who have returned to the heritage of political activism of Jackie Robinson and Bill Russell, Tommie Smith and John Carlos. The fan attitude of "shut up and play" may be directed at the big, wealthy athlete, but you know it is also designed to shut all black people up. If the public can try to silence LeBron James (net worth about $400 million), what chance, then, to disagree does the average citizen have?

    On it goes, the perfectly scripted games, with Law Enforcement Appreciation Night in Dallas and anti-police protests outside a Kings game in Sacramento. Sports have been remade since Sept. 11, and nobody seems to care. People even acknowledge paid patriotism to be a deception, but have decided incongruously that it's a "harmless deception." Ultimately, I reached another conclusion: I no longer ask "How did we get here" but "How do we get out of here?" and do we even care enough to try?

    Howard Bryant is a contributor to ESPN and NPR Weekend Edition Saturday and the author of "The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism."



    15)  Breaking Up Immigrant Families: A Look at the Latest Border Tactic

    By Miriam Jordan, May 12, 2018


    Immigrants near McAllen, Tex., last month. The number of families making the journey over land to the United States has soared in recent months after subsiding last year.CreditLoren Elliott/Reuters

    Ramping up a promised "zero tolerance" immigration policy on the Southwest border, the Justice Department said that 11 members of a caravan of migrants from Central America were being criminally prosecuted for crossing the border illegally.

    At least four of those facing criminal charges had children taken from them and placed into separate custody, lawyers for the migrants said, highlighting one of the most contentious aspects of the Trump administration's new border policies: family separations.

    Hundreds of immigrant children have already been separated from their parents at the border since October, and the new policy calling for criminal prosecutions of all those who cross illegally promises to increase that number drastically.

    President Trump and his aides at the White House have pushed a family separation policy in order to deter Central American families from trying to cross the border illegally, according to administration officials. The number of families making the journey over land to the United States has soared in recent months after subsiding last year, infuriating the president, who had touted the initial decline as proof that his tough stance on immigration was succeeding.

    The new policy on criminal prosecutions became official on Monday when Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Arizona and California.

    "If you cross the Southwest border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It's that simple," Mr. Sessions said. "If you're smuggling a child, then we're going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you. If you don't want your child separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally."

    With few exceptions, the United States has historically treated immigration violations as civil, rather than criminal, offenses, and thus parents have not typically been separated from their children when they enter the legal system.

    "This is an additional punitive measure the administration is imposing on parents in an effort to frighten Central Americans, to discourage them from seeking asylum," said Reuben Cahn, executive director of the Federal Defenders of San Diego, who is representing several of the caravan migrants.

    Here's a look at what is happening to migrant families on the border, and what's behind it.

    Is there a new policy to separate parents from their children at the border?

    The administration did not announce a blanket policy to separate families.

    Mr. Sessions said his department would criminally prosecute everyone who illegally enters the United States. If a mother or father is with a child when apprehended for the crime of illegal entry, the minor must be taken from the parent. The child cannot remain with a parent in the criminal court system.

    Is the administration deliberately breaking up families?

    Administration officials say the aim is to protect the border and uphold the law through new measures to deter illegal immigration.

    Other motivations: Mr. Sessions has said the asylum system is overwhelmed with people making frivolous claims, and Mr. Trump, according to administration officials, had been demanding that families be broken up to stanch the flow of Central Americans to the border. The majority of apprehended migrants hail from Honduras and El Salvador, two countries wracked by violence. Children are often targeted for recruitment by gangs, and their families seek safe haven in the United States.

    Nearly 80,000 people came as members of family units between October, the beginning of the current fiscal year, and April. About 14,000 came in March; about 15,000 in April.

    When did the separations begin?

    Immigration lawyers and advocates who work at the border say that family separations began after Mr. Trump took office pledging to crack down on illegal immigration, though a very small number occurred during previous administrations.

    The practice gained momentum in the last two months, particularly in Texas, where many families from Central America seek to cross, they say.

    "What we saw in El Paso was a massive increase in cases of families being separated at the border," said Laura St. John, legal director of the Florence Project, a nonprofit that offers legal education to migrants in detention facilities.

    In California, public defenders said that they had not seen the practice until the recent caravan of Central Americans — the group shrank to 300 from 1,200 by the time it reached the border — grabbed headlines and drew the ire of Mr. Trump.

    "We began to hear rumors that separations were happening a couple months ago, but hadn't encountered any," said Mr. Cahn, adding that the caravan members were the first manifestation of the new policy in his region.

    Is anyone challenging the policy?

    The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking a nationwide injunction against the practice. The organization argues in its lawsuit that it is a violation of due process to separate parents and children simply as a means to deter illegal immigration. Only parents who are abusive or unfit to care for their children can legally have them taken away, the suit argues.

    In the lawsuit, filed before the administration announced the new practice, the A.C.L.U. accused the Homeland Security Department of unlawfully separating a Congolese woman and her 7-year-old daughter who had sought asylum.

    The pair turned themselves in to agents at a port of entry. After about five days, the child was taken away "screaming and crying, pleading with guards not to take her from her mother," according to the lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Diego. The child was sent to a shelter in Chicago.

    They remained apart for four months. After the A.C.L.U. sued, the authorities released the mother, performed a DNA test and reunited her with her child in March.

    Another plaintiff — a Brazilian woman who crossed with her 14-year-old son and asked for asylum — was prosecuted for the misdemeanor of illegal entry. She received 25 days of jail time in Texas; her son was sent to the Chicago facility. They were not reunited even after the mother returned to immigration custody. They have been apart for seven months.

    Are there other reasons that families are being separated?

    Logistics are a factor. The nation's two family detention centers, where families can remain together while awaiting disposition of their cases, have a combined capacity of just 2,700 people.

    The other option is to release parents and their children with orders to return to court for their immigration hearings. That has often been the practice until now.

    How many families have been separated so far?

    The government has acknowledged that about 700 children have been separated from their parents since October 1. But that number appears to be increasing.

    What is happening to the children?

    The government says that once it decides to detain a parent, it cannot release a minor without providing a guardian for that child. As a result, it sends children to federal facilities while the parent remains in the criminal justice system.

    A child can be released to another guardian, say, a family member, if one is available and can prove ties. But typically the child must first pass through a federal facility operated by the Health and Human Services Department.

    How long are they being separated for?

    Since the practice is still relatively new, it is hard to know. Members of the caravan who were recently detained have been separated from their children for about 10 days.

    Normally, a child is reunited with a parent once the parent has been released from detention.

    Immigration lawyers report that they have clients who have been kept apart from their children for four months or longer.

    Are the children suffering adverse impacts?

    Studies have shown that children who are separated from their parents can suffer from anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as exhibit behavioral problems and poor educational outcomes.

    In an affidavit attached to the A.C.L.U. lawsuit, the heads of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Child Welfare League of America, among others, strongly urged the homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, not to break up families.

    "Separation from family leaves children more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, no matter what the care setting. In addition, traumatic separation from parents creates toxic stress in children and adolescents that can profoundly impact their development," they said.

    Are some adults using children who are not family members to win favorable treatment?

    It is unclear how frequently that happens.

    However, government officials say that there is a perception that migrants with children are more likely to be released into the United States than others who try to enter the country illegally. This, they say, acts as a "pull factor" that encourages illegal immigration and puts children at risk of exploitation.

    Some abuses have been documented. Beginning in 2013, minors were fraudulently plucked from shelters by men who posed as friends or family, promised to provide them shelter and transport them to their immigration court hearings, then made them work on egg farms in Ohio.

    They were forced to toil long hours, live in dilapidated trailers and use their earnings to pay for their passage to the United States. Six people were later sentenced to federal prison for their participation in the scheme.

    Advocates have suggested that the government could identify potential smugglers by performing a DNA test on adults and any minors they claim to be their children, to verify whether they are related.





















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