Immigrant rights are human rights, and human rights are immigrant rights. It's time we take the streets to call for an end to the human rights abuses of ICE and the Trump Administration as they cruelly separate children from their families. The world is watching, and we won't allow this to continue. We've rallied, we've protested, now join us as we MARCH in San Francisco to send a powerful message: Families belong together! 

10:00am: Meet at Dolores Street and 18th Street

**Marching at 10 AM SHARP**

10:00am-11:00am: March to San Francisco City Hall

11:00am-1:00pm: Rally at San Francisco City Hall

This action is in coordination with MoveOn's call for a national day of action on June 30th, and is hosted by Families Belong Together San Francisco, Women's March San Francisco, and Indivisible SF, and endorsed by:

• Chicana Latina Foundation

• San Francisco Latino Democratic Club

• Latina/o Young Democrats of San Francisco

• Planned Parenthood Northern California

• Prospera Community Development

• San Francisco Progressive Alliance

• The National Center for Lesbian Rights

• Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club

• Democratic Socialists of America: San Francisco

• San Francisco Berniecrats

• Juanita More

• The Women's Building

• MoveOn

• 5 Calls

• South Beach District 6 Democratic Club of San Francisco


• Carecen

• San Francisco Labor Council

• SF Progressive Democrats of America

• Yemeni American Association in the Bay Area

• Malikah

• A Day With Out Immigrant SF

• CAIR San Francisco Bay Area

Peace Ambassadors Volunteers Please Sign-up Here

We are combining efforts with the MoveOn/Indivisible rally at Civic Center from 11:00-1:00. Please sign up here! 

#KeepFamiliesTogether #SiSePuede #abolishICE

#noban #nowall #sanctuaryforall #ResistandReunite 





Action Alert – PA Parole Board Must Grant Janet and Janine Africa Parole


Take action Monday, June 25th - Wednesday, June 27th

Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole: 717-787-5699

Send Email message: ra-pbppopc@pa.gov

On Saturday, June 16, MOVE member Debbie Africa was released on parole from State Correctional Institution (SCI) Cambridge Springs after 39 years and 10 months of incarceration.

Fellow MOVE members Janet and Janine Africa, however, were denied parole despite having virtually identical Department of Corrections records as Debbie.

Janet, Janine, and Debbie all:

- Have gone more than 20 years without a misconduct for any rule violation

- Were recommended for parole by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

- Were recommended for parole by former PA DOC Secretary Martin Horn

- Were recommended for parole by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office

- It is beyond dispute that Debbie, Janet and Janine present zero threat to public safety

The Parole Board has denied them the opportunity to return home based on unlawful factors. Claiming the two minimized the offense and did not express remorse, the Board ignored the only relevant assessment under Pennsylvania law: that the two do not present a threat to public safety.

The Parole Board also lied, claiming that Janet and Janine received the negative recommendation of the prosecuting attorney, when in truth Philadelphia's District Attorney, Larry Krasner, recommended all three women – Debbie, Janet, and Janine – for parole, his office stating that it "was "confident" that Janet and Janine "will not pose a threat to the Philadelphia community" and that their "continued incarceration does not make our city safer."

Take Action – Call the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and Parole Chairman Leo Dunn:

Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole: 717-787-5699 – Ask for Chairman Leo Dunn's office

Send Email message: ra-pbppopc@pa.gov

Talking Points:

- Janet and Janine have not had any rule violation in more than 20 years

- Each has the support of the DOC, former DOC Secretary and nationally-renowned corrections expert Martin Horn, and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office

- Janet and Janine do not present a threat to public safety and should be released just like Debbie

- The Board must stop making political decisions in the MOVE cases: when judged on their record in the DOC and community support Janet and Janine have a right to be released


- That Leo Dunn agree to have the Board reconsider its denial

- Grant Janet and Janine Africa release on parole


Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/

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



For Immediate Release                                        For Immediate Release

Press Contact: Herb Mintz

(415) 759-9679

Photos and Interviews: Steve Zeltzer

(415) 867-0628

25th Annual LaborFest 2018

Surviving The Billionaire Robot Assault in

 the 21st Century

San Francisco:  LaborFest opens its 25th annual festival on July 1, 2018 with a month of timely events inspired by local and international labor activists and labor history.  The program schedule includes eleven international and local films, labor history walks, a labor history bike ride, a maritime history boat ride, lectures, forums, readings and theater and music performances. Most events are free of charge and are presented in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose.

This year LaborFest continues to commemorate the San Francisco General Strike of 1934 with a series of lectures and walks.  LaborFest will also focus on the role of technology on workers from Silicon Valley to UBER, Lyft and taxi drivers, workers in the so-called 'gig economy' as well the role of Airbnb on hotel workers and communities and neighborhoods in San Francisco.  The FilmWorks United International Working Class Film and Video Festival will feature films not only from the United States but China, Turkey, South Korea, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.  Directors will be present to introduce some of the films.

Particular events in this year's LaborFest include a forum on the 50th Anniversary of the student strike at San Francisco State University, a concert by labor musician extraordinaire Charlie King, a screening of the LGBT historical comedy-drama film Pride, a book reading from Matilda Rabinowitz's memoir, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman, a night of labor and immigration history inspired song by the Rockin' Solidarity Labor Chorus and a panel entitled Workplace Racism: Hanging Nooses and Fightback sponsored by United Public Workers.


LaborFest is the premier labor cultural arts and film festival in the United States.  LaborFest recognizes the role of working people in the building of America and making it work with over 50 events.  Most of these events are free or ask for a voluntary donation.  The festival is self-funded with contributions from unions and other organizations that support and celebrate the contributions of working people.

For more details and to read or download a full schedule and description of LaborFest 2018 events, go here: http://www.laborfest.net /events/2018-07/





Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018


Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile deviceVia Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today's episode:

• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

The feds initially provided only a few days for the public to submit comments regarding the future of the draft in the United States. This mirrored their process of announcing public hearings with only a few days notice. Due to pressure, they have extended the deadline for your online comments until September. 

They need to hear from us!

  • It's time to end draft registration once and for all.
  • Don't expand the draft to women. End it for everyone.
  • No national service linked to the military--including immigration enforcement.
  • Until the US is invaded by a foreign power, stop pretending that the draft is about anything other than empire.
  • Submit your own comments online here.

As we have been reporting to you, a federal commission has been formed to address the future of draft registration in the United States and whether the draft should end or be extended.

The press release states "The Commission wants to learn why people serve and why people don't; the barriers to participation; whether modifications to the selective service system are needed; ways to increase the number of Americans in service; and more."

Public hearings are currently scheduled for the following cities. We encourage folks to attend these hearings by checking the commission's website for the actual dates and locations of these hearings (usually annouced only days before).

  • June 26/27, 2018: Iowa City, IA
  • June 28/29, 2018: Chicago, IL
  • July 19/20, 2018: Waco, TX
  • August 16/17, 2018: Memphis, TN
  • September 19/21, 2018: Los Angeles, CA

For more background information, read our recent post "Why is the government soliciting feedback on the draft now?"

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 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."

The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 

about the draft in decades . . .

Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops Who Refuse to Fight!

484 Lake Park Ave. No. 41, Oakland, CA 94610




Incarceration Nation

Emergency Action Alert:


In October, 2017, the 2 year court monitoring period of the Ashker v. Governor settlement to limit solitary confinement in California expired. Since then, the four drafters of the Agreement to End Hostilities and lead hunger strike negotiators – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, and Todd Ashker, have all been removed from general population and put in solitary in Administrative Segregation Units, based on fabricated information created by staff and/or collaborating "inmate informants." In Todd Ashker's case, he is being isolated "for his own protection," although he does not ask for nor desire to be placed in isolation for this or any reason. Sitawa has since been returned to population, but can still not have visitors.

Please contact CDCr Secretary Scott Kernan and Governor Edmund G. Brown and demand CDCr:

• Immediately release back into general population any of the four lead organizers still held in solitary

• Return other Ashker class members to general population who have been placed in Ad Seg 

• Stop the retaliation against all Ashker class members and offer them meaningful rehabilitation opportunities

Contact Scott Kernan. He prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov

Contact Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/

As a result of the administrative reviews established after the second prisoner hunger strike in 2011 and the Ashker settlement of 2015, California's SHU population has decreased from 3923 people in October 2012 to 537 in January 2018.  Returning these four men and many other hunger strikers back to solitary in the form of Ad Seg represents an intentional effort to undermine the Agreement to End Hostilities and the settlement, and return to the lock 'em up mentality of the 1980's.

Sitawa writes: "What many of you on the outside may not know is the long sordid history of CDCr's ISU [Institutional Services Unit]/ IGI [Institutional Gang Investigator]/Green Wall syndicate's [organized groups of guards who act with impunity] pattern and practice, here and throughout its prison system, of retaliating, reprisals, intimidating, harassing, coercing, bad-jacketing [making false entries in prisoner files], setting prisoners up, planting evidence, fabricating and falsifying reports (i.e., state documents), excessive force upon unarmed prisoners, [and] stealing their personal property . . ." 

CDCr officials are targeting the Ashker v. Governor class members to prevent them from being able to organize based on the Agreement to End Hostilities, and to obstruct their peaceful efforts to effect genuine changes - for rehabilitation, returning home, productively contributing to the improvement of their communities, and deterring recidivism.

Please help put a stop to this retaliation with impunity. Contact Kernan and Brown today:

Scott Kernan prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/

Read statements from the reps: 

Todd – We stand together so prisoners never have to go through the years of torture we did  (with Open Letter to Gov. Brown, CA legislators and CDCR Secretary Kernan)



"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






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

    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



    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." 

     Want to take action in support of Reality?

    Step up to defend our whistleblower of conscience ► DONATE NOW

    c/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610 ~ 510-488-3559


    @standbyreality (Twitter)

     Friends of Reality Winner (Facebook)



    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





    1) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Defeats Joseph Crowley in Major Democratic House Upset

    By Shane Goldmacher and Jonathan Martin, June 26, 2018


    Representative Joseph Crowley of New York, once seen as a possible successor to Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader of the House, suffered a shocking primary defeat on Tuesday, the most significant loss for a Democratic incumbent in more than a decade, and one that will reverberate across the party and the country.

    Mr. Crowley was defeated by a 28-year-old political newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former organizer for Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign, who had declared it was time for generational, racial and ideological change.

    The last time Mr. Crowley, 56, even had a primary challenger, in 2004, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was not old enough to vote.

    Mr. Crowley, the No. 4 Democrat in the House, had drastically outspent his lesser-known rival to no avail, as Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's campaign was lifted by an aggressive social media presence and fueled by attention from national progressives hoping to flex their muscle in a race against a potential future speaker.

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had used Mr. Crowley's role in the leadership, and the fact that he was the head of the local Democratic Party machine, against him in her bid to upend the existing political class. She will face Anthony Pappas, the Republican candidate, in the November general election.

    [Read more on who Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is and her history]

    Mr. Crowley is the first House Democrat in the nation to lose a primary in 2018. His loss is most significant for a congressional incumbent since Eric Cantor, then the No. 2 Republican in the House, was defeated in 2014 to a Tea Party activist, David Brat.

    Like that contest, the Crowley defeat is expected to shake up Congress, where Mr. Crowley was seen as a top contender to replace Ms. Pelosi, if she stepped aside after the midterms.

    The race was not close. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had more than 57 percent of the vote, with almost all precincts reporting.

    "It's surreal," Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in a live television interview as the votes were being tallied.

    By then, no television showed results at what was supposed to have been Mr. Crowley's victory party.

    Mr. Crowley appeared rattled when he spoke. "I know you're all trying your best to make me cry, but it's not going to happen," he told supporters.

    The guitar-strumming incumbent later played Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run," and dedicated it to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a native of the Bronx and a Latina in a Queens and Bronx district that is majority-minority, a fact she emphasized repeatedly on the trail against Mr. Crowley, who is white. In hindsight, the seat represented perhaps a perfect brew for an upset: a rusty incumbent, a charismatic challenger and a liberal district that gave Mr. Sanders more than 41 percent of the vote against Hillary Clinton.

    "Women like me aren't supposed to run for office," Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said at the start of a biographical video that went viral last month and was viewed more than half-a-million times.

    She ran as a woman, as a young person, as a working-class champion, as an unabashed liberal and as a person of color. She piled up endorsements from national progressive groups in recent weeks and from Cynthia Nixon, who is running her own insurgent bid for governor against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Ms. Nixon attended the Ocasio-Cortez victory party.

    "What I see is that the Democratic Party takes working class communities for granted, they take people of color for granted and they just assume that we're going to turn out no matter how bland or half-stepping these proposals are," Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in a recent interview about why she was running.

    A member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez gathered endorsements from liberal groups like MoveOn, Democracy for America and People for Bernie. The news site The Intercept had urged her on, publishing a drumbeat of negative stories about Mr. Crowley, and glowing stories about her, in the campaign's closing weeks.

    President Trump, who like Mr. Crowley is from Queens, waded in on Twitter. "That is a big one that nobody saw happening," Mr. Trump wrote. "Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!"

    Days before the election, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had unexpectedly left New York entirely to travel to Texas to protest the ongoing separation of children from their parents who crossed the border illegally.

    That came on the heels of her call to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Mr. Crowley heated up his own rhetoric in response to her challenge, calling it a "fascist organization," but stopped short of saying it should be dissolved.

    Ten days before the primary, Mr. Crowley skipped a debate against Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and instead sent a surrogate, a Latina former city councilwoman. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez called it "a bizarre twist" on Twitter to be seated across from someone "with slight resemblance to me" instead of her opponent.

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez used the moment to generate a fresh wave of publicity in the race's crucial closing days.

    Waging a sharp and sometimes personal campaign, she attacked Mr. Crowley for not living in New York and, specifically, sending his children to school near Washington. When there was tear gas released on protesters in Puerto Rico, she tagged Mr. Crowley on Twitter and wrote, "You are responsible for this." And when he asked her at a debate if she would endorse him, if he prevailed, she pointedly refused.

    Mr. Crowley was not caught totally off guard. He had campaigned aggressively in the last six weeks, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into television ads and mailers, often highlighting his opposition to Mr. Trump.

    But in an indication of how disparate the two camps were and how much of an outsider Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was, Mr. Crowley said that, as of 11 p.m., they had yet to speak. He did not have her number and he did not believe she had his.

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's triumph echoed some of the past upsets in New York City races that turned on a yearning for generational or racial change.

    In 1992, for example, Nydia Velázquez, then 39, became the first Hispanic woman to represent New York City when she defeated a veteran congressman in a newly drawn district that was filled with Puerto Rican voters.

    And two decades earlier, Elizabeth Holtzman, then only 31, unseated 84-year-old Representative Emanuel Celler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who had come to Congress during the Harding administration.

    Mr. Crowley's loss left Democrats in Washington stunned. In recent months, he had begun meeting with lawmakers in small groups in a quiet effort to prepare for a bid for the speakership.

    His departure leaves a gaping vacuum in the House, where he is the top-ranked Democrat under the age of 70.

    "Hi Nance," Mr. Crowley greeted Ms. Pelosi when she called him shortly after his defeat. He later told reporters, "She called me to tell me how much she loves me."

    Representative Steny Hoyer, a longtime rival of Ms. Pelosi's, now is freed from having to worry about Mr. Crowley in his ambition to be leader. But some House Democrats, speaking anonymously to discuss a delicate topic, said Tuesday night that given the party's changing face, it would be difficult to dump Ms. Pelosi for an older, white male lawmaker.

    In a flurry of phone calls and text messages, Democratic lawmakers floated names such as Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Linda Sanchez of California, Joseph Kennedy of Massachusetts and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts as potential younger alternatives to Ms. Pelosi. But Ms. Pelosi has made clear she intends to seek the post again if Democrats take back the House and it is not clear that any potential alternative candidate could build a coalition to defeat her.

    As for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, she had complained in recent weeks about media coverage that didn't include her name but only that of the better-known man she was running against.

    "Headlines from the Political Patriarchy," she wrote on Twitter of one recent story.

    Now, she is likely to be in headlines for years to come.

    J. David Goodman and John Surico contributed reporting.



    2) America Is Guilty of Neglecting Kids: Our Own

    By Nicholas Kristof, June 27, 2018


    A family in Flint, Mich. Lead in the public water system endangered the health of city residents, particularly children.CreditBrittany Greeson/The New York Times

    It's not just the kids at the border.

    America systematically shortchanges tens of millions of children, including homegrown kids. The upshot is that American kids are more likely to be poor, to drop out of high school and even to die young than in other advanced countries.

    We tear apart homegrown families, too, through mass incarceration, excessive juvenile detention and overuse of foster care. One black child in 10 spends time in foster care — and 61,000 foster kids have simply gone missing since 2000.

    Like immigration, the mistreatment of children is an old problem that President Trump is exacerbating. Here's a rule of thumb in America for any shortage of resources or conflict over priorities: Kids get screwed.

    "A shockingly high number of children in the U.S. live in poverty," the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, declared in a scathing report. Almost one-fifth of American children live in poverty, he noted, and they account for more than one-fifth of homeless people.

    Alston told me that "there's a very direct link" between the mistreatment of immigrant children at the border and the indifference toward low-income children all across the country. The core reason, he suggested, is a lack of compassion.

    Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, protested the U.N. report, saying, "It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America."

    Really, Ambassador Haley?

    Yes, it's weird that a U.N. official tasked with poverty investigates the most powerful country in the world — and finds that kids here have worms. I'm glad that the U.N. speaks up not only for impoverished children in Congo, but also for those in, say, South Carolina (where a newborn black child has a shorter life expectancy than a child born in China).

    Two researchers, Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer, have found that some three million American children live in "extreme poverty," with a cash income of less than $2 per person per day, the global metric for extreme poverty.

    That's not to say that poverty in America is comparable to that in poor countries. American kids may go to bed hungry, but very few are stunted from malnutrition, compared with 38 percent of children in India.

    The paradox is that the United States historically was a safe and nurturing place for children. America helped lead the world in mass education, and in 1960 children here died at lower rates than in most other advanced countries.

    Since about 1970, however, as other countries provided universal health care and built up social safety nets, American kids have been dying at higher rates. A child is 57 percent more likely to die by the age of 19 in the U.S. than in our peer countries, according to a study published this year in Health Affairs.

    Half a million American kids still suffer from lead poisoning each year. And Dr. Peter Hotez, a tropical disease specialist at Baylor's College of Medicine, warns that here in the United States, "Millions of children living in poverty may be affected by toxocariasis, a parasitic roundworm infection."

    Why do we stiff kids? Why do we provide universal health care for senior citizens (which is expensive) but not for children (which would be cheap)? The simple answer: Kids don't vote. They depend on us, and we fail them.

    If we can broaden the current outrage to the plight of all children in America, we could transform lives.

    In Arkansas, I once dropped in on the home of a struggling 13-year-old boy. It was a filthy flophouse for drug users in a gang-ridden area. There were no books in the house, and no food; the only reason the power wasn't cut off for nonpayment was the pit bull kept to scare off the utility crew.

    These are difficult problems but not hopeless ones, and we know what works. Early childhood programs in particular make a huge difference: parent coaching, high-quality prekindergarten, lead poisoning interventions, social worker visits, and mentoring.

    World Bank President Jim Yong Kim cites a study indicating that if the U.S. invested in effective early childhood programs, the lifelong benefits would be so transformative that American inequality could be reduced to Canadian levels.

    We already have a model: When Tony Blair was the British prime minister he undertook a major campaign against child poverty and cut it nearly in half.

    Unfortunately, Trump is moving in the opposite direction, cutting benefit programs in ways that will hurt poor kids. Trump's tax cuts add to the deficit — meaning that we are partying and sticking children with the bill.

    A national, bipartisan outcry forced Trump to back down from tearing immigrant children from their parents' arms at the border; that was a shared outpouring of compassion that represented our country's best. Now we need a similar outcry on behalf of all of America's children.




    3) Cities Cut Government Contracts for Immigrant Detention as Protests Grow

    By Simon Romero, June 28, 2018


    A protest against family separations in El Paso this week. Local governments around the United States are ending lucrative contracts with federal immigration entities as ire builds over the Trump administration's immigration policies.CreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times

    EL PASO — In Texas, officials near Austin terminated a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain dozens of migrant mothers who had been arrested and separated from their children. In California, Sacramento County ended a multimillion-dollar deal with ICE to keep immigrants jailed while awaiting hearings.

    The City Council of Springfield in western Oregon voted unanimously to end yet another contract with ICE for housing immigrants in the municipal jail. And in Alexandria, Virginia, authorities put an end to a deal allowing ICE to house immigrant children in a juvenile detention center.

    Local governments around the United States are starting to sever lucrative ties with federal immigration entities amid growing discomfort with the Trump administration's immigration policies. Fueled largely by alarm over the separation of migrant children from their parents, the cancellations suggest an attempt to disengage from federal policies seen as harmful to immigrant families — even when those policies could be pouring millions of dollars into local government budgets.

    "It just felt inherently unjust for Sacramento to make money from dealing with ICE," said Phil Serna, a Sacramento County supervisor who joined two colleagues in canceling the contract. "For me, it came down to an administration that is extremely hostile to immigrants. I didn't feel we should be part of that."

    The local debates over what to do with ICE facilities come at a time when federal immigration policies are disrupting local politics. Insurgent Democratic candidates on the left who are winning primaries, such as Deb Haaland in New Mexico and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, have made defunding or abolishing ICE a central feature of their campaign platforms.

    But even before the uproar this month over separations of migrant families, claims of overreach and inhumane treatment by ICE agents, including targeting immigrants outside churches, schools and courthouses, were flaring tempers in communities around the country.

    "Dealing with ICE became distracting from the day-to-day operations of running our county," said Terry Cook, a commissioner in Williamson County in Texas, a relatively conservative part of the Austin metropolitan area where Dell Computer employs thousands of people.

    Ms. Cook was among the commissioners who voted 4 to 1 this week to end the county's contract with ICE by 2019, an agreement under which nearly 40 mothers separated from their children have been held in the T. Don Hutto Residential Center. The facility is managed by CoreCivic, a private prison operator, through an intergovernment agreement with the county.

    "The federal government made their bed with its policies, so let them sleep in it," said Ms. Cook, emphasizing that efforts to end the contract had started to gain momentum about four months ago, well before the migrant family separations made national headlines. "We did not need to be in the middle of this."

    In another sign of public concern over immigration policies, even some private companies and nonprofits are balking at potentially lucrative deals with federal immigration agencies. Two Texas entities, APTIM and BCFS, declined this month to participate in a proposed no-bid contract worth as much as $1 billion to expand a tent camp for migrant children, according to a report by Texas Monthly.

    In some parts of the country, the discussions over ICE contracts seem to be widening political fissures.

    Residents of Evanston, a town of 12,000 in southwest Wyoming, have been fiercely debating for weeks a proposal by the private prison operator Management Training Corporation to build an ICE detention center near the community. The project could create as many as 150 jobs in a region with a relatively weak economy.

    Some in Evanston compare the plan to the concentration camps built in Wyoming for Japanese-Americans during World War II. But accusations of racism and xenophobia leveled against supporters of the project have produced angry rebuttals. Jim Hissong, the director of family services for Uinta County, which encompasses Evanston, said opponents of the facility were "using the same kind of divisive rhetoric that Trump uses."

    "I don't like being called immoral and a racist," said Mr. Hissong, who described himself as a "Reagan Republican" who dislikes the Trump administration. "I just believe that the federal government has an obligation to uphold immigration laws and this would be an economic boon for us."

    Indeed, some local governments are opting to remain in or even expand contracts with federal authorities for holding immigrants. Officials in Yolo County in Northern California voted this week to accept more than $2 million in additional federal money from the Office of Refugee Resettlement for holding immigrant children at a detention facility, overriding criticism.

    "We need to approach each facility on a case-by-case basis to do what's right for the young people involved," said David Lichtenhan, vice chairman of the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network, which urged the county to go forward with the contract. "The kids are vulnerable and could end up being moved into a district that's less favorable to immigrants than ours. That's an outcome we sought to avoid."

    But local governments are clearly reading the political winds, amid widespread public protests around the country over the treatment of migrant families. Some of those expressing the most concern are cities that already are home to large immigrant populations.

    In Houston, the city's leadership is urging Southwest Key, the Texas organization that has already won nearly $1 billion in federal contracts for migrant facilities since 2015, to abandon plans to put immigrant children in a former warehouse near the city's downtown.

    "I do not want to be an enabler in this process," said Mayor Sylvester Turner, adding that he had also made a personal appeal to its owner, David Denenburg, to find another use for the building. "There comes a time when we must draw the line, and for me the line is with our children."




    4)  U.K. Spies Said to Be Complicit in U.S. Torture of Terrorism Suspects

    By By Richard Pérez-Peña, June 28, 2018


    The headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service, in London. In hundreds of cases, a report from a committee of Parliament says, agents knew or suspected that detainees were abused, but did not object.CreditToby Melville/Reuters

    LONDON — Britain's intelligence services tolerated and abetted "inexcusable" abuse of terrorism suspects by their American counterparts, according to a report released by Parliament on Thursday that offers a wide-ranging official condemnation of British conduct in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    Many cases described by Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committeeinvolved British agents feeding information to allies, primarily Americans, for the interrogation of detainees who they knew or suspected were being abused, or receiving intelligence from such interrogations, without raising objections.

    The committee documented dozens of cases in which Britain sent suspects to other countries that were known to use torture or aided others in doing so — a practice known as rendition. But it said that in four years of investigation, reviewing some 40,000 documents, it found only a few instances of British agents directly taking part in abuse.

    The report also says that considerable evidence makes it "difficult to comprehend" how top officials in London "did not recognize in this period the pattern of mistreatment by the U.S." — abuses that the Intelligence Committee of the United States Senate has documented in grisly detail.

    The committee wrote that it did not find evidence that British intelligence services willfully overlooked American abuses as a matter of policy. Rather, it concluded, the British "were the junior partner with limited access or influence, and distinctly uncomfortable at the prospect of complaining to their host."

    The abuses occurred primarily from 2002 to 2004, the report says, after which guidelines for British conduct were strengthened, though not always followed.

    The report exposed a rift between Prime Minister Theresa May and the committee, led by Dominic Grieve, a lawmaker from Mrs. May's Conservative Party who is also a former attorney general.

    It said that Mrs. May had prevented the panel from questioning agents who were low-ranking at the time — in other words, most of those working in the field — and from asking any officials about specifics of the operations they worked on.

    The committee said that it had asked Mrs. May to reconsider her orders in early 2017, but that, more than a year later, "no response has been received."

    "We were adamant that we must hear from officers who were involved at the time," the committee wrote, "as this was essential if the inquiry was to be thorough and comprehensive and be in a position to reach properly considered, balanced and fair views about the facts."



    5) U.N. Reports Sharp Increase in Children Killed or Maimed in Conflicts

    By Satoshi Suglyama, June 27, 2018


    More than 10,000 children were killed or maimed in armed conflicts last year, the United Nations reported on Wednesday in an annual survey that is closely examined because it names and shames countries that fail to protect children.

    The suffering occurred across the world.

    In Yemen, a coalition backed by the United States and led by Saudi Arabia was responsible for more than 1,300 child deaths or injuries recorded in 2017. The Saudis quickly disputed that conclusion.

    In Syria, where a civil war has dragged on for seven years, more human rights abuses against children were recorded than ever before.

    The number of children recruited for armed violence quadrupled in the Central African Republic and doubled in the Democratic Republic of Congo, compared with 2016.

    "When your own house or your school can be attacked without qualms, when traditional safe-havens become targets, how can boys and girls escape the brutality of war?" Virginia Gamba, the United Nations secretary general's special representative for children and armed conflict, said in a statement. "This shows a blatant disregard for international law by parties to conflict, making civilians, especially children, increasingly vulnerable to violence, use and abuse."

    Her office confirmed more than 900 cases of rape and sexual violence, but the actual number could be higher.

    She deplored the abuses. "It is the use of human beings as toys, as weapons, as terror, to confuse society, and to divide those children from even the remotest possibility of ever being an active part of society," she said.

    Here is a brief guide to the findings.

    Why is the report carried out?

    The United Nations General Assembly established the mandate of the special representative in 1996, following a report by Graça Machel, a Mozambican politician and the second wife of the South African leader Nelson Mandela. Three years later, the Security Council adopted the first resolution on children and armed conflict, which paved the way for the report to be published.

    Under a resolution adopted in 2005, the report counts six categories of human rights violations: killing and maiming, recruitment or use of children as soldiers, sexual violence, abduction, attacks against schools or hospitals and denial of humanitarian access.

    Why is it important?

    The report includes a list which monitors use to "name and shame" countries that have failed to protect children. The list is meant to coerce these countries into improving.

    This year's report named 59 nonstate actors and 10 state actors in 14 countries, including the armed forces led by the Syrian government, the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State in Iraq.

    The countries were Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, the Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

    The list has at times led to intense political jockeying. Two years ago, the United Nations included Saudi Arabia on the list. The country forcefully protested, and the secretary general at the time, Ban Ki-moon, removed Saudi Arabia pending review. The United Nations also kept Israel and the militant group Hamas off the list, even though experts had recommended that they be included.

    This year's report did not explicitly criticize Saudi Arabia, but made clear that a coalition of Arab countries fighting the Houthis, a Shiite rebel group in Yemen, should be held to account. More than half of the 1,300 children reported killed in Yemen last year died in airstrikes. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the leading members of the coalition, and have significant military partnerships with the United States.

    In a statement issued Wednesday night, the Saudi coalition rejected the report's findings and criticized the United Nations for what the coalition called "inaccurate information provided by unreliable sources."

    On Wednesday, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch criticized the United Nations for not including the governments of Israel, Sudan and Iraq, and actors in Ukraine in the report.

    "The voluminous evidence in the report on violations against children in Yemen, Sudan, and Palestine show that the secretary general's 'list of shame' is tainted by completely unjustified omissions," said Jo Becker, children's rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, in a news release.

    Where is the violence getting worse? 

    The United Nations recorded 21,000 "grave violations of children's rights" last year, a big increase from the 15,500 recorded in 2016.

    Many of the violations occurred in countries where governmental authority is weak.

    In Somalia, the Shabab, a militant group affiliated with Al Qaeda, kidnapped more than 1,600 children to replenish its fighting force.

    In South Sudan, the United Nations found, at least 1,200 children were recruited and used in armed conflict.

    In Nigeria, the Islamist group Boko Haram kidnapped girls as young as 8, raped them and strapped explosive vests to them, using the girls as human bombs to kill relatives and neighbors.

    The abuses went beyond armed violence.

    In Iraq, at least 1,036 children were held in juvenile detention facilities on suspicion of links with the Islamic State. In Nigeria, more than 1,900 children were deprived of liberty because of their parents' alleged association with Boko Haram.

    The report argued that children who were previously associated with armed groups should be treated primarily as victims — and should be detained only as a last resort.

    The United Nations also found that lifesaving aid had been denied to children, as a tactic of war, in places like Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

    "Preventing violations against children affected by conflict should be a primary concern of the international community," the report read, assailing all countries for "failing to assume this collective responsibility."



    6) Immigration Lawyer Broke Her Foot When ICE Officer Pushed Her, She Says

    By Mihir Zaveri, June 27, 2018


    Andrea Martinez, a Kansas City immigration lawyer, said she fractured her foot after being pushed to the ground by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer.CreditAndrea Martinez


    Andrea Martinez fractured her foot when she was pushed to the ground Tuesday morning.CreditAndrea Martinez

    An immigration lawyer said she fractured her foot after being pushed to the ground by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer as she followed her client, a 3-year-old boy, into an ICE building in Kansas City, Mo.

    The lawyer, Andrea Martinez, said that she and a colleague were trying to accompany the child, Noah Bautista-Mayorga, into the ICE office around 3 a.m. Tuesday. Noah's mother, Kenia Bautista-Mayorga, had been detained since May.

    The family had entered the country illegally in February 2016 and was to be deported to Honduras on Tuesday morning.

    Ms. Martinez said that she and the other lawyer were pushed forcefully by the ICE officer as he tried to block her from entering the building. The encounter was captured on a widely circulated video, which shows a brief scuffle between the two lawyers and an ICE officer, with Ms. Martinez tumbling to the ground after she approaches the door to the building.

    "I'm traumatized," Ms. Martinez said Wednesday. "As attorneys, we expect ourselves to be strong for our clients. When you get physically battered by an ICE officer, it also takes a toll emotionally; we've been in shock and in tears."

    She declined to say whether she had filed a complaint with ICE.

    In an emailed statement on Wednesday, an ICE official said that the agency took "allegations against ICE personnel very seriously" and that it was "looking into the matter." The official declined to comment further until the agency completed a review of the evidence.

    Ms. Martinez said that she had announced Ms. Bautista-Mayorga's deportation on a message board for lawyers, and on Tuesday morning, dozens of immigrant rights advocates and members of the news media gathered outside the ICE office.

    Ms. Martinez said that if an officer was willing to push a lawyer while cameras were rolling, then "imagine how ICE is treating immigrants behind closed doors when nobody is watching."

    Ms. Bautista-Mayorga, who is pregnant, said she was fleeing an abusive relationship with Noah's father in Honduras. Her case had already received some news media attention.

    This month, the administration dropped asylum protections for victims of domestic abuse, and ICE said it would detain pregnant women on a case-by-case basis, shifting away from a policy that assumed all pregnant women should be released.

    The encounter comes more than a year after a series of executive orders by President Trump broadened the focus of immigration enforcement beyond gang members and violent and serious criminals. Mr. Trump's press secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, described the policy shift as a move to "take the shackles off" ICE agents.

    Ms. Martinez said that Ms. Bautista-Mayorga and Noah had been arrested in February 2016 after illegally entering the United States near Eagle Pass, Tex. She missed an immigration court hearing later that year, and an immigration judge issued an order for her deportation in November 2016.

    In May, Ms. Bautista-Mayorga was arrested in Missouri as she, Noah and her partner, Luis Diaz-Inestroza, were driving to Iowa to visit Mr. Diaz-Inestroza's son.

    On Monday, an emergency motion to stop Ms. Bautista-Mayorga's deportation was denied, and ICE agents set up a meeting early Tuesday to reunite Noah and his mother ahead of their deportation.

    Ms. Martinez said ICE agents at the Kansas City facility initially said the family's reunion would be outside the building but then moved it inside the building.

    She said that Mr. Diaz-Inestroza, who is also undocumented, was holding Noah when an ICE officer took his arm and directed Mr. Diaz-Inestroza inside. At that point, the scuffle between the officer and the two lawyers began and Ms. Martinez was knocked to the ground, fracturing her foot.

    She was then allowed the enter the building, where she spoke with the family for 15 minutes before Noah and Ms. Bautista-Mayorga were deported.

    Ms. Martinez said the ICE agents detained Mr. Diaz-Inestroza and have started deportation proceedings against him.



    7)  Wisconsin Lawmakers Outraged After Ex-Student Gets 'Lenient' Sentence for Sex Crimes

    By Melissa Gomez and Matt Stevens, June 28, 2018


    Alec Cook, who pleaded guilty to five felonies, was sentenced by Judge Stephen Ehlke last week to three years in prison, a term a group of Wisconsin lawmakers and others said was too lenient. Ed Treleven/Wisconsin State Journal, via Associated Press

    Six Wisconsin lawmakers this week condemned what they said was a lenient three-year prison sentence given to a former University of Wisconsin student who admitted to sexually assaulting three women and choking or stalking two others.

    The student, Alec Cook, 22, was initially charged with 23 crimes involving 11 female accusers, after the women began coming forward in 2016. In February, Mr. Cook pleaded guilty to five of those crimes — three counts of third-degree sexual assault, one count of strangulation and one count of stalking, collectively involving five different women — as part of a deal with prosecutors.

    Prosecutors had asked that he be sentenced to 19½ years in prison, though he faced a maximum sentence of about 40; Mr. Cook's lawyers had recommended eight years of probation.

    On June 21, the judge, Stephen Ehlke of Dane County Circuit Court, sentenced Mr. Cook to three years in prison, followed by five years of extended supervision and three years of probation. He also ordered Mr. Cook to register as a sex offender until he reaches age 48, one of Mr. Cook's lawyers said.

    The sentence prompted a widespread backlash from students, Wisconsin residents and lawmakers — many of whom saw troubling parallels between Judge Ehlke's decision and a six-month sentence handed down by a California judge to a Stanford student for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

    "Your lenient sentence amounts to a slap on the wrist for a serial rapist whose violent and sadistic sex crimes will haunt his victims for years to come," six state and local officials, all women, wrote to Judge Ehlke in a letter on Tuesday. "In just three or fewer years, this predator will be back on the streets because men like Alec Cook, men with privilege, are above the law."

    "When brave women come forward yet do not receive justice, it discourages future victims from reporting," they continued.

    Judge Ehlke's wife, Rachelle Weber, said Wednesday night that her husband was recovering from surgery and would not be available for comment.

    But during the sentencing, Judge Ehlke, a former prosecutor, insisted that he had listened carefully to the victims and had tried to be fair by applying the law "without regard to public pressure." He said he was required to give Mr. Cook credit for having no criminal record, for not violating the terms of his bail and for having pleaded guilty.

    The state's recommendation of a roughly 19-year prison sentence, he added, "is out of line for what is normally recommended for other similarly serious cases."

    The judge's voice shook as he addressed one of the victims. "Please, continue to be kind — I'm sorry — and positive," he said. "And don't let him take that from you."

    In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Jessa Nicholson Goetz, a lawyer for Mr. Cook, referred a reporter to comments she made in court.

    At the time of the sentencing, she said of Mr. Cook: "He stood up here, he took responsibility. That says something about his character."

    For his part, Wisconsin's attorney general, Brad Schimel, issued a statementafter the sentencing expressing dismay that the prison sentence wasn't longer. The prosecutors who handled the case could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening.

    The state and local lawmakers who wrote the critical letter to Judge Ehlke also sought a meeting with him.

    But in a letter of response, William E. Hanrahan, the chief judge of Fifth Judicial Administrative District in Wisconsin, said such a meeting would be "a violation of the ethical responsibilities of the court."

    Judge Hanrahan encouraged the officials to examine transcripts of what was said in court and scrutinize the terms of the plea bargain.

    Afterward, he said, if they felt the judge had made an error, they should contact the attorney general.

    Mr. Cook, of Edina, Minn., a suburb of the Twin Cities, had been a student in the School of Business at the University of Wisconsin, majoring in real estate and land economics before he was arrested and charged in October 2016. At the time, prosecutors in Dane County described Mr. Cook as a serial sexual predator who targeted fellow college students.

    The arrest came after one woman told her harrowing story to the authorities, prompting others to follow suit. Several women would eventually describe similar attacks: an innocent introduction, followed by an exchange of messages, which led them to accompany Mr. Cook to his apartment, where they said sexual encounters began as consensual but escalated to assault.

    The sentencing included tearful remarks by one victim, and statements by others, read by the judge and a mother of one of the victims.

    "I am learning that it is O.K. to not be O.K., and that none of this is my fault," one victim said at the sentencing. "While Alec might have taken away some of my power and my adventurous spirit, I hope that some day I will be ready to take it back."

    Addressing his victims, Mr. Cook apologized. "I'm sorry, I was wrong," he said through tears. "You told the truth, and everybody should believe you. This is my fault."

    From the beginning, the case sent shock waves through the university. Mr. Cook was removed from classes and campus on an "emergency suspension" immediately after criminal charges were filed, and was expelled in June 2017, a university spokesman said Wednesday.

    The sentencing controversy arose just weeks after Aaron Persky, a California judge who was criticized for sentencing a Stanford student to just six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, was recalled by voters. The recall stemmed from the case of Brock Turner, a former champion swimmer for Stanford, who had faced up to 14 years in prison for three felony counts.

    Doris Burke contributed research.



    8) Did Sen. Warner and Comey 'Collude' on Russia-gate?

    By Ray McGovern, June 27, 2018


    Assange: Came close to a deal with the U.S. (Photo credit: New Media Days / Peter Erichsen)

    An explosive report by investigative journalist John Solomon on the opinion page of Monday's edition of The Hill sheds a bright light on how Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and then-FBI Director James Comey collaborated to prevent WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from discussing "technical evidence ruling out certain parties [read Russia]" in the controversial leak of Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 election.

    A deal that was being discussed last year between Assange and U.S. government officials would have given Assange "limited immunity" to allow him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been exiled for six years. In exchange, Assange would agree to limit through redactions "some classified CIA information he might release in the future," according to Solomon, who cited "interviews and a trove of internal DOJ documents turned over to Senate investigators." Solomon even provided a copy of the draft immunity deal with Assange.  

    But Comey's intervention to stop the negotiations with Assange ultimately ruined the deal, Solomon says, quoting "multiple sources." With the prospective agreement thrown into serious doubt, Assange "unleashed a series of leaks that U.S. officials say damaged their cyber warfare capabilities for a long time to come." These were the Vault 7 releases, which led then CIA Director Mike Pompeo to call WikiLeaks "a hostile intelligence service."

    Solomon's report provides reasons why Official Washington has now put so much pressure on Ecuador to keep Assange incommunicado in its embassy in London.

    The report does not say what led Comey to intervene to ruin the talks with Assange. But it came after Assange had offered to  "provide technical evidence and discussion regarding who did not engage in the DNC releases," Solomon quotes WikiLeaks' intermediary with the government as saying.  It would be a safe assumption that Assange was offering to prove that Russia was not WikiLeaks' source of the DNC emails. 

    If that was the reason Comey and Warner ruined the talks, as is likely, it would reveal a cynical decision to put U.S. intelligence agents and highly sophisticated cybertools at risk, rather than allow Assange to at least attempt to prove that Russia was not behind the DNC leak. 

    The greater risk to Warner and Comey apparently would have been if Assange provided evidence that Russia played no role in the 2016 leaks of DNC documents.

    Missteps and Stand Down

    In mid-February 2017, in a remarkable display of naiveté, Adam Waldman, Assange's pro bono attorney who acted as the intermediary in the talks, asked Warner if the Senate Intelligence Committee staff would like any contact with Assange to ask about Russia or other issues. Waldman was apparently oblivious to Sen. Warner's stoking of Russia-gate. 

    Warner contacted Comey and, invoking his name, instructed Waldman to "stand down and end the discussions with Assange," Waldman told Solomon.  The "stand down" instruction "did happen," according to another of Solomon's sources with good access to Warner.  However, Waldman's counterpart attorney David Laufmanan accomplished federal prosecutor picked by the Justice Departent to work the government side of the CIA-Assange fledgling deal, told Waldman, "That's B.S.  You're not standing down, and neither am I."

    But the damage had been done.  When word of the original stand-down order reached WikiLeaks, trust evaporated, putting an end to two months of what Waldman called "constructive, principled discussions that included the Department of Justice."

    The two sides had come within inches of sealing the deal.  Writing to Laufman on March 28, 2017, Waldman gave him Assange's offer to discuss "risk mitigation approaches relating to CIA documents in WikiLeaks' possession or control, such as the redaction of Agency personnel in hostile jurisdictions," in return for "an acceptable immunity and safe passage agreement." 

    On March 31, 2017, though, WikiLeaks released the most damaging disclosure up to that point from what it called "Vault 7" — a treasure trove of CIA cybertools leaked from CIA files.  This disclosure featured the tool "Marble Framework," which enabled the CIA to hack into computers, disguise who hacked in, and falsely attribute the hack to someone else by leaving so-called tell-tale signs — like Cyrillic, for example. The CIA documents also showed that the "Marble" tool had been employed in 2016.

    Misfeasance or Malfeasance

    Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which includes among our members two former Technical Directors of the National Security Agency, has repeatedly called attention to its conclusion that the DNC emails were leaked — not "hacked" by Russia or anyone else (and, later, our suspicion that someone may have been playing Marbles, so to speak). 

    In fact, VIPS and independent forensic investigators, have performed what former FBI Director Comey — at first inexplicably, now not so inexplicably — failed to do when the so-called "Russian hack" of the DNC was first reported. In July 2017 VIPS published its key findings with supporting data.

    Two month later, VIPS published the results of follow-up experiments conducted to test the conclusions reached in July. 

    Why did then FBI Director Comey fail to insist on getting direct access to the DNC computers in order to follow best-practice forensics to discover who intruded into the DNC computers?  (Recall, at the time Sen. John McCain and others were calling the "Russian hack" no less than an "act of war.")  A 7th grader can now figure that out.

    Asked on January 10, 2017 by Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) whether direct access to the servers and devices would have helped the FBI in their investigation, Comey replied:  "Our forensics folks would always prefer to get access to the original device or server that's involved, so it's the best evidence." 

    At that point, Burr and Warner let Comey down easy. Hence, it should come as no surprise that, according to one of John Solomon's sources, Sen. Warner (who is co-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee) kept Sen. Burr apprised of his intervention into the negotiation with Assange, leading to its collapse.

    Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and prepared and briefed, one-on-one, the President's Daily Brief from 1981 to 1985.



    9) Central American Migrants Fleeing Violence Stoked by the U.S.By Cole Kazdin, June 27, 2018


    Ronald Regan in 1986.

    As courts, law enforcement, and the Trump administration continue to sort out what to do with the steady stream of migrants either crossing the southern border illegally or seeking asylum, the roots of the current misery are often forgotten. The desperate border-crossers often come from Central America's "Northern Triangle"—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—and are fleeing high homicide rates and violence in those countries. But this instability did not arise in a vacuum. Many historians and policy experts are quick to point out that much of the troubles in Central America were created or at least helped by the U.S.'s interference in those countries going back decades. In other words, the foreign policy of the past has profoundly shaped the present immigration crisis.

    "Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced in the 1980s," said Elizabeth Oglesby, an associate professor of Latin American studies at the University of Arizona. "People were fleeing violence and massacres and political persecution that the United States was either funding directly or at the very minimum, covering up and excusing." Violence today in those countries, she said, is a directly legacy of U.S. involvement.

    Oglesby spoke to me from Guatemala, which even today is still feeling the cumulative effects of U.S. actions from over 50 years ago. In the 1950s, Guatemala attempted to end exploitative labor practices and give land to Mayan Indians in the highlands. The move, according to now-unclassified CIA documents, threatened U.S. interests like the United Fruit Company, which controlled a good portion of land in Guatemala. But instead of citing economic factors, many in the U.S. cried "communism," saying the labor reforms were a threat to democracy. Wisconsin Senator Alexander Wiley, chair of the Foreign Relations Committee at the time, said he believed that a "Communist octopus" had used its tentacles to control events in Guatemala. In 1954, the CIA helped organize a military coupto overthrow Guatemala's democratically elected government, and continued to train the Guatemalan military well into the '70s. 

    "The war in Guatemala was really a genocide," Oglesby said, adding that an estimated 200,000 were killed in the subsequent 36-year-long civil war, which stretched from 1960 to 1996. "The history is important because it went so far beyond anti-communism—the purpose was to destroy people's vision of the future. It had a terrible impact on the country, hundreds-of-thousands of people were displaced."

    In Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras, there are similar stories. When, in the late '70s, the Nicaraguan resistance group called the Sandinistas overthrew the country's dictatorship that had been in power for over 40 years, the U.S. opposed the revolution, backed the dictatorship, and later supported the rebel group known as the Contras. In El Salvador, the U.S. gave billions to the government to fight the socialist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), and used Honduras as a base to hold military exercises. 

    "Under the umbrella of the Cold War, the U.S. amplified its presence in the region, especially El Salvador, in order to defeat the guerrillas of the FMLN," said Xochitl Sanchez of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) in Los Angeles. "The United States is complicit in creating the rampant and bloody gang violence, dire poverty, displacement and migration from El Salvador." CARECEN was founded in 1983, as Central Americans were fleeing en masseto the U.S. "The need was astonishing," said Sanchez.

    Adding to the instability from the various civil wars the U.S. was involved in throughout the region, Richard Nixon's so-called "war on drugs," beginning in 1971, pushed cartels from Colombia into an increasingly unstable and impoverished Central America. "The drug trafficking routes began to change, and that coincided with economic crises in the region and criminal networks that took up the trafficking that was displaced out of Colombia," said Oglesby. She was quick to emphasize that while MS-13 garners most of the headlines today (and whose origins are in Los Angeles, not Central America,) "a much deeper problem for Central America are government-linked organized crime networks that come directly out of the counterinsurgency experience of the 1980s."

    At the time, some refugees were granted asylum in the U.S., based in part on their perceived politics. "In Cold War politics, the Reagan administration was only too happy to declare Nicaragua unsafe," said Charles Kamasaki, senior cabinet advisor for UNIDOS U.S., the nation's largest Latino civil rights organization. "By contrast, something like 99 percent of Salvadoran applications for asylum were turned down for the reverse reasons. We were backing the right-wing juntas—we could not say from a foreign policy perspective that conditions were unsafe, and therefore declined virtually every political asylum case."

    Tightening of the border has, according to Oglesby, made coming to the U.S. a significantly more perilous and expensive journey for Central Americans, but hasn't slowed down migration. "The militarization of our border is actually leading to increased migration," she said. In the '90s it wasn't expensive to travel north with a local smuggler. "Now it costs $10,000 or $12,000 for someone from Central America to migrate—criminal networks control the routes through Mexico. So once they go, they stay, because they can no longer come back and forth. The only way for families to be reunited is for the families to also try to go." 

    Following the administration's recent announcement that domestic abuse and gang violence are no longer grounds for asylum, Oglesby is concerned that more people will be crossing through the desert instead of turning themselves in legally at the border. "Meaning more deaths in the desert," she said. "They also will be more inclined to cross using criminal networks. I feel that criminalizing the asylum process is going to strengthen the criminal networks that control the routes."

    Immigration and civil rights advocates told me it's impossible to look at domestic immigration policy without examining the foreign policy roots of the current crisis. "The U.S. has a moral and social responsibility to this population of immigrants as they are complicit in the creation of the conditions of forced migration from the country," said Sanchez.

    While UNIDOS U.S. doesn't take official positions on foreign policy, Kamasaki told me that in his view, the U.S. does bear responsibility for its role in the circumstances that cause people to leave their home countries. "For those who felt strongly that we should intervene in Central America, whether it was to fight communism, or to maintain good conditions for business so American consumers could enjoy cheap bananas or Nicaraguan coffee, I would argue that responsibility's a two-way street. If we enjoy benefits, then that brings with it some obligations."

    "I get asked all the time, Why can't Central Americans just stay in their country and strive for better?" Oglesby told me. "I want people to understand, Central Americans have been trying to do that for decades, and the United States put itself on the wrong side of those struggles, and now we are reaping the consequences."

    Vice, June 27, 2018




    10) Reunite

    By The Editorial Board, June 29


    Illustration by Aimee Sicuro

    The marches taking place across the country this weekend are really about the soul of America. Forcibly separating children from their parents is not about "deterrence," or the legal technicalities of law, or illegal immigration, or anything else President Trump has claimed to justify his latest and most odious outrage. It's about "Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation," to borrow from the Declaration of Independence.

    No, the United States does not have clean hands: It has tolerated many inequities and atrocities throughout its history, toward Native Americans, blacks, Japanese and women, among others. Yet against that is the tradition in American law, culture and practice to defend the weak, to welcome the other, to give refuge to the oppressed and to refuse to acquiesce when a government acts against basic dictates of conscience.

    The Trump administration has committed a gross offense. It is the duty of every decent American to demand that it promptly reunite these children with their parents.



    11) Mugger Mick Mulvaney—Trump's Sadist-in-Chief

    By Ralph Nader, June 27, 2018


    "Mugger Mick is a walking candidate for impeachment." (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

    Mr. Mulvaney's title seems uninterestingly bureaucratic—director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). But as Trump's chief hatchet man extraordinaire, Mugger Mick Mulvaney is easily one of the cruelest, most vicious presidential henchman in modern American history. From his powerful perch next door to the White House, he is carving a bloody trail against tens of millions of Americans who are poor, disabled, frail, and elderly. He has gone after defenseless children and injured or sick patients with little or no access to health care.

    It is difficult to exaggerate the relentless, savage delight that this former Congressman from South Carolina—handpicked for Trump by the brutish, oil funded Heritage Foundation—takes in attacking the most vulnerable members of our society.

    A human wrecking ball, Mugger Mick has pushed to eliminate the Meals-on-Wheels assistance for isolated elderly, to increase rents for poor tenants, to severely gut SNAP (food stamps) and nutritious food standards, and to diminish Medicaid. In addition the Trump administration wants to impose work requirements in Medicaid as a condition of eligibility.  Many adult Medicaid recipients are already working. Where will the new jobs come from? Those who want to work but can't find jobs are not Mr. Mulvaney's concern.

    His hellish agenda, undertaken on behalf of his plutocratic rulers, is comprehensive. He wants to smash consumer, environmental, and workplace health and safety standards. To Mugger Mick, killing and disabling Americans doesn't even qualify as collateral damage. To Mulvaney's fevered, psychopathic mind, eliminating Americans' health and safety protections is worth it if it means "efficiency" and less spending of tax dollars (more on that lie later).

    He even would plunge a dagger into Social Security and Medicare. President Trump has the political sense to restrain Mugger Mick from this attack on the elderly. However, biding his time, Mulvaney has led the campaign for the enacted corporate and wealthy tax cuts that are already swelling the forthcoming massive deficits.  Mulvaney wants to use the deficit to persuade Trump eventually to butcher these two pillars of our society's foresight and compassion for seniors.

    The New York Times reports that Mulvaney is at the core of the Trump regime's "rollback in the enforcement of fair housing, educational equity, payday lending and civil rights cases pursued aggressively under the Obama administration intended to protect vulnerable populations from discrimination and abusive business practices."

    Nowhere has Mugger Mick been more blatant about his ugly mission than in his efforts to freeze and dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB was created after the Wall Street collapse of the economy, which displaced millions of workers and drained trillions of dollars from pension and mutual funds. Remember Wall Street then had to be bailed out by America's taxpayers.

    Mulvaney has jettisoned ongoing enforcement actions, driven or reassigned personnel, zeroed out the CFPB's first quarter budget, and prioritized the protection of Wall Street in the CFPB mission statement.  How grotesque a response to the corporate crime wave in this country that has been stealing trillions of dollars from defenseless consumers, workers, and investors!

    There is, of course, more to this colossal bully.  Mulvaney is also a colossal coward and a greasy hypocrite at that. He shuts his foul mouth when it comes to the bloated defense budget and the corporate contractors profiting from endless Pentagon golden handshakes. He shuts his mouth when confronted with thousands of corporate subsidies, handouts, giveaways, and bailouts. In these crony capitalistic binge arenas, he demands no corporate self-reliance or worries about taxpayer losses. Why would he argue with his future paymasters and the corporate donors who funded his prior Congressional campaigns?

    Mugger Mick is a walking candidate for impeachment, a poster boy for high crimes and misdemeanors, as well as a lawsuit by members of Congress for the deliberate dereliction of duties that aids and abets corporate criminality. Every day he has been systematically defying and violating existing Congressional mandates, called federal statutes.

    So where are the Democrats? Aside a few members such as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown pummeling Mugger Mick at Congressional hearings that go nowhere, action by the Democratic Party on Capitol Hill is largely AWOL. Mulvaney just laughs at the Democrats' verbal darts.

    Forget about their own pride, these lawmakers have little fortitude in preserving the best work of their forbears in Congress and in the White House. They're too busy having fun ridiculing Trump's foibles, fibs, and fantasies. Such distractions may well cause them not to urgently focus on what is happening to the American peoples' freedom, urgent necessities and livelihoods emanating from the Trumpsters and their media ditto heads.

    November is coming fast.



    12) White America's Age-Old, Misguided Obsession With Civility

    By Thomas J. Sugrue, June 29, 2018


    1n 1963 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a mass demonstration in Birmingham, Ala., to pressure the Kennedy administration to actively defend the civil rights of black citizens.

    Recent disruptive protests — from diners at Mexican restaurants in the capital calling the White House adviser Stephen Miller a fascist to protesters in Pittsburgh blocking rush-hour traffic after a police shooting of an unarmed teen — have provoked bipartisan alarm. The CNN commentator David Gergen compared the anti-Trump resistance unfavorably to 1960s protests, saying, "The antiwar movement in Vietnam, the civil rights movement in the '60s and early '70s, both of those were more civil in tone — even the antiwar movement was more civil in tone, but certainly the civil rights movement, among the people who were protesting."

    But those who say that the civil rights movement prevailed because of civil dialogue misunderstand protest and political change.

    This misunderstanding is widespread. Democratic leaders have lashed out at an epidemic of uncivil behavior in their own ranks. Senator Charles Schumer described the "harassment of political opponents" as "not American." His alternative: polite debate. "If you disagree with someone or something, stand up, make your voice heard, explain why you think they're wrong and why you're right." Democrat Cory Booker joined the chorus. "We've got to get to a point in our country where we can talk to each other, where we are all seeking a more beloved community. And some of those tactics that people are advocating for, to me, don't reflect that spirit."

    The theme: We need a little more love, a little more Martin Luther King, a dollop of Gandhi. Be polite, be civil, present arguments thoughtfully and reasonably. Appeal to people's better angels. Take the moral high ground above Trump and his supporters' low road. Above all, don't disrupt.

    This sugarcoating of protest has a long history. During the last major skirmish in the civility wars two decades ago, when President Bill Clinton held a national conversation about race to dampen tempers about welfare reform, affirmative action and a controversial crime bill, the Yale law professor Stephen Carter argued that King "understood that uncivil dialogue serves no democratic function."

    But, in fact, civil rights leaders, while they did believe in the power of nonviolence, knew that their success depended on disruption and coercion as much — sometimes more — than on dialogue and persuasion. They knew that the vast majority of whites who were indifferent or openly hostile to the demands of civil rights would not be moved by appeals to the American creed or to bromides about liberty and justice for all. Polite words would not change their behavior.

    For King and his allies, the key moment was spring 1963, a contentious season when polite discourse gave way to what many called the "Negro Revolt." That year, King led a mass demonstration in Birmingham, Ala., deliberately planned to provoke police violence. After the infamous police commissioner Bull Connor sicced dogs on schoolchildren and arrested hundreds, including King, angry black protesters looted Birmingham's downtown shopping district. Protesters against workplace discrimination in Philadelphia and New York deployed increasingly disruptive tactics, including blockading construction sites, chaining themselves to cranes and clashing with law enforcement officials. Police forces around the United States began girding for what they feared was an impending race war.

    Whites both North and South, moderate and conservative, continued to denounce advocates of civil rights as "un-American" and destructive throughout the 1960s. Agonized moderates argued that mass protest was counterproductive. It would alienate potential white allies and set the goal of racial equality back years, if not decades. Conservatives more harshly criticized the movement. By 1966, more than two-thirds of Americans disapproved of King.

    King aimed some of his harshest words toward advocates of civility, whose concerns aligned with the hand-wringing of many of today's politicians and pundits. From his Birmingham jail cell, King wrote: "I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice." King knew that whites' insistence on civility usually stymied civil rights.

    Those methods of direct action — disruptive and threatening — spurred the Kennedy administration to move decisively. On June 11, the president addressed the nation on the "fires of frustration and discord that are burning in every city, North and South, where legal remedies are not at hand." Kennedy, like today's advocates of civility, was skeptical of "passionate movements." He criticized "demonstrations, parades and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives." But he also had to put out those fires. He tasked his staff with drafting what could eventually become the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dialogue was necessary but far from sufficient for passage of civil rights laws. Disruption catalyzed change.

    That history is a reminder that civility is in the eye of the beholder. And when the beholder wants to maintain an unequal status quo, it's easy to accuse picketers, protesters and preachers alike of incivility, as much because of their message as their methods. For those upset by disruptive protests, the history of civil rights offers an unsettling reminder that the path to change is seldom polite. ☐

    Thomas J. Sugrue is professor of history and social and cultural analysis at New York University.



    13) What it Costs to Be Smuggled Across the U.S. Border

    By Nicholas Kulish, June 30, 2018


    Mr. Cruz crossed into Guatemala legally with his national identity card. Fred Ramos for The New York Times

    As Christopher Cruz made his way to the American border, his smugglers sometimes identified him by a numeric code or an assumed name, or simply called him "the package." Christopher Lee for The New York Times

    MATAMOROS, Mexico — Shortly before dawn one Sunday last August, a driver in an S.U.V. picked up Christopher Cruz at a stash house in this border city near the Gulf of Mexico. The 22-year-old from El Salvador was glad to leave the one-story building, where smugglers kept bundles of cocaine and marijuana alongside their human cargo, but he was anxious about what lay ahead.

    The driver deposited Mr. Cruz at an illegal crossing point on the edge of the Rio Grande. A smuggler took a smartphone photograph to confirm his identity and sent it using WhatsApp to a driver waiting to pick him up on the other side of the frontier when — if — he made it across.

    The nearly 2,000-mile trip had already cost Mr. Cruz's family more than $6,000 and brought him within sight of Brownsville, Tex. The remaining 500 miles to Houston — terrain prowled by the United States Border Patrol as well as the state and local police — would set them back another $6,500.

    It was an almost inconceivable amount of money for someone who earned just a few dollars a day picking coffee beans back home. But he wasn't weighing the benefits of a higher-paying job. He was fleeing violence and what he said was near-certain death at the hands of local gangs.

    "There's no other option," Mr. Cruz said. "The first thought I had was, 'I just need to get out of here at whatever cost.'"

    The stretch of southwest border where he intended to cross has become the epicenter of the raging battle over the Trump administration's immigration crackdown. One clear consequence of the tightening American border and the growing perils getting there is that more and more desperate families are turning to increasingly sophisticated smuggling operations to get relatives into the United States.

    Mr. Cruz's story provides an unusually detailed anatomy of the price of the journey. The money paid for a network of drivers who concealed him in tractor-trailers and minibuses, a series of houses where he hid out, handlers tied to criminal organizations who arranged his passage, and bribes for Mexican police officers to look the other way as he passed.

    Even with his family's payment, he slept amid filth and vermin. He watched guides abandon some migrants who could not keep up, and guards prod others to become drug mules. Sometimes the smugglers identified him by a numeric code, other times by an assumed name. But as often as not, they simply called him "the package," to be moved for profit like an illicit good.

    For Mr. Cruz, it was worth it. "They can build as many walls as they want," he said, referring to American officials. "They can send as many soldiers to the border as they want, but a people's need and desire for a better life is stronger."

    President Trump and his supporters have called for greater vigilance along the border to keep out people like Mr. Cruz, a low-skilled worker who followed in the path of other family members who also arrived illegally, and who hopes those left behind will join him.

    Pledging to halt illegal immigration, Mr. Trump has pushed for a 1,000-mile wall, ordered National Guard units to the border and encouraged workplace roundups of undocumented immigrants, which had largely been curtailed during the Obama years.

    The number of illegal crossings has dropped significantly in the last decade, but responding to a surge in recent months of Central Americans arriving at the southern border or sneaking across it, the administration has embraced even tougher measures: "zero tolerance"for those arriving illegally, by requiring criminal prosecutions; family separation, a policy from which Mr. Trump was forced to retreat after images of children wailing for their parents provoked a public outcry; and eliminating domestic violence and gang violence as grounds for granting asylum to migrants who arrived at legal crossing points.

    "The zero-tolerance policy and the publicity surrounding the child separations will further strengthen the smuggling networks and reinforce the patterns we have observed, as the risks, costs and fees are significantly growing," said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor at George Mason University and an expert on organized crime. "This will certainly increase the demand for smugglers and will further strengthen the connection between human smugglers and other criminal actors, such as drug cartels and corrupt local law enforcement."

    The homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, told lawmakers in May that migrants paid $500 million a year to groups fueling violence and instability in the region. A decade ago, Mexicans and Central Americans paid between $1,000 and $3,000 for clandestine passage into the United States. Now they hand over up to $9,200 for the same journey, the Department of Homeland Security reported last year. Those figures have continued to rise, according to interviews at migrant shelters in Mexico.

    To trace Mr. Cruz's journey from El Salvador, The New York Times relied on extensive interviews with him and his family, and reviewed contemporaneous photographs, text messages, receipts and GPS positions.

    His uncle in the United States checked in constantly by Facebook Messenger during his weeks on the road. He asked for proof-of-life selfies and confirmed his locations along the route using the Find My iPhone app before wiring money for each leg of the journey.

    The Times also interviewed dozens of experts, academics, and current and former law enforcement officials about the underground economy of human smuggling. Reporters reviewed more than 200 recent criminal complaints in smuggling cases along the southwest border, including those brought against drivers, stash-house operators, foot guides and migrants.

    That day at the Rio Grande last summer, a guide prepared to lead Mr. Cruz and some two dozen other migrants to the far side of the river while three lookouts perched in trees, scanning the horizon for any hint of the Border Patrol.

    When he arrived at the crossing, Mr. Cruz found that the river wasn't wide, at most a few hundred feet, but the water was murky and full of debris. The smugglers had gathered the migrants at the water's edge, with giant inflated inner tubes for those who couldn't swim. They said the makeshift rafts were slower than swimming, so Mr. Cruz pulled off his skinny-leg khakis and T-shirt and paddled to the other side in his boxer shorts.

    After climbing up the bank, his first tenuous toehold in the United States, he crouched, wet and shivering, in the brush and got dressed. Mr. Cruz's face had lost much of its roundness as he had shed 30 pounds over a month of hard travel. A life of skateboarding, tinkering with computers and eating his grandmother's cooking had not prepared him for the demands of the road.

    The smugglers almost hadn't let him cross, because they worried that his coughing fits from a respiratory infection might give the group away. But he had made it. The foot guide passed along the all-clear signal from the sentries in the trees, and the small crowd of migrants began to sprint toward the 18-foot steel security fence blocking their passage into the United States. That area of the border, which Mr. Trump wants to fortify with a new wall, was already among the stretches best defended by the Americans.

    Mr. Cruz had climbed halfway up the fence when he heard a helicopter overhead and saw patrol cars converging. Agents grabbed those already over the fence and began to arrest them.

    "When I saw that, I slid down and I ran back," Mr. Cruz recalled. He dived again into the Rio Grande, his only hope to escape back to Mexico.

    Under Fear of Death

    Mr. Cruz grew up in San Miguel, the fourth-largest city in El Salvador. Gang violence is virtually endemic in the country, and Mr. Cruz dropped out of high school when the infamous MS-13 became too dangerous there. His family relocated to Berlín, about an hour's drive away, which had less of a gang problem than the big cities.

    Mr. Cruz's mother lived in the United States, but he was much closer to her brother there, an uncle he considered a father figure and called "Papi." Mr. Cruz lived with his grandmother and younger sister. He also had a 2-year-old son to provide for, though he and the boy's mother had broken up.

    During coffee-picking season he rose at 4 in the morning, walked an hour to the farm where he worked, then plucked ripe red coffee cherries until dark. He usually earned $15 to $20 a week. Outside harvest season, Mr. Cruz painted murals and cleaned streets for the local government. He briefly worked as a bartender at a restaurant an hour's bus ride away.

    The police had all but declared open season on gang-age men, Mr. Cruz said, and he and his friends were harassed and beaten by the security forces. Meanwhile, gang members regularly threatened him and shook him down for money because they realized he received support from his uncle in the United States.

    One night, Mr. Cruz and his friends were walking home when they noticed a blue Honda creeping behind them. When the young men started to run, the car accelerated, then followed Mr. Cruz as the group split up.

    "I got to my house and it was locked," he recalled. He considered climbing over the front gate but worried the men who were following him might kill his grandmother and sister too. Over his shoulder he saw the gang members draw guns as he fled across a soccer field before taking refuge in a nearby health clinic.

    After that night, he resolved to leave. "That is the reality of El Salvador," he said. "You are scared of both, the gangs and the police." He did not consider trying to enter United States legally to seek asylum; even under the more lenient asylum policies a year ago only a fraction of gang-violence victims won that status.

    Mr. Cruz had never gone farther than neighboring Honduras. But in some Central American cities, smuggling services to the United States are openly promoted on the streets, with hawkers luring customers the way agents at tourist destinations advertise sailing or snorkeling excursions. They take potential customers to a back room of a nearby store, where salesmen pitch them on a smuggling route. Some would-be migrants give up homes, cars, livestock and even farmland tilled by their families for generations and take on debt to pay the fees.

    Mr. Cruz's uncle, who now has legal status in the United States after arriving illegally years ago, spoke to a woman in his local Salvadoran community. She told him of smugglers who brought her three children over for a flat $20,000 fee after gang members back home killed her husband. The uncle used WhatsApp to contact a woman in Mexico representing the smuggling network, who became the point of contact throughout Mr. Cruz's journey.

    "Would it be possible to pick up my nephew as close as possible to the edge of San Salvador?" the uncle asked her in one message. "The boy is 22 years old but acts more like 12." The uncle spoke on the condition of anonymity because he, like other relatives of unauthorized immigrants, feared he could be prosecuted for trafficking a family member.

    Mr. Cruz worried about the trip. His best friend had made the same journey the year before only to be kidnapped near the American border and held for two months. His family paid $20,000 to free him, and he ended up back in El Salvador. And a female friend of Mr. Cruz had been raped by smugglers on the American side of the border, caught by the authorities and then deported.

    His uncle assured him over Facebook Messenger that everything would be fine.

    Mr. Cruz's aunt and uncle earned enough to advance him the money for the journey, but Mr. Cruz would have to pay them back. They wired $800 to El Salvador the day he set out on the initial leg of the trip. "Any opportunity you have to connect, send me a message with your location," the uncle wrote.

    "Activate Find My iPhone so you can find out my location from the iCloud," Mr. Cruz answered. "That way you'll know the route I'm taking." Mr. Cruz set off for the United States with a backpack carrying three changes of clothes, deodorant, cookies and a charger for the iPhone 5 that would be his connection and lifeline.

    'You Already Know How Much This Is'

    His trip began with an idling pickup truck outside a mall in Soyapango, on the edge of San Salvador. The smuggler who would accompany him through El Salvador and Guatemala sat behind the wheel.

    In the beginning, it was almost like being a tourist. Mr. Cruz crossed into Guatemala legally at La Hachadura, close to El Salvador's Pacific coast, with his national identity card. He even received a printed receipt.

    The driver left the pickup truck behind in El Salvador and chaperoned him by bus to the capital, Guatemala City. The two of them transferred buses and traveled a few hours further to Huehuetenango, in the western highlands, which serves as a jumping-off point for the Mexican border.

    They spent a night in a cheap hotel and traveled the next day to La Mesilla along the Mexican frontier. Vendors under colorful umbrellas sold drinks and snacks at the crossing. A blue sign wished travelers a "feliz viaje," or nice trip, above the gate separating the two countries.

    To skirt the border police outpost, the smuggler directed Mr. Cruz to a nearby industrial area where he walked alone up a gravel path and into Mexico. For the first time, he became an illegal immigrant.

    Mr. Cruz boarded a minibus, filled with local passengers, to begin his trip through the southern state of Chiapas. As instructed by the driver, at toll plazas he hunched down between the seats and covered himself with the passengers' backpacks, suitcases and packages. The driver whistled when it was safe to come out.

    He was vulnerable to criminals who might try to kidnap him, police officers seeking bribes and the more robust immigration enforcement that has taken root in recent years in southern Mexico. Under pressure from Washington, the Mexican government has cracked down on migrants passing through its territory. Because of the greater vigilance along the smuggling routes, between 80 and 95 percent of migrants bound for the United States used so-called coyotes in recent years, compared with fewer than half in the early 1970s, Border Patrol surveys of captured migrants found.

    Just two days into Mr. Cruz's journey, his family had to wire the smuggling network $1,900 to get him through southern Mexico.

    Mr. Cruz spent several days in a small house near Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas, sleeping on a sofa. It was comfortable enough, but he wondered what the holdup was. "They want to move you even more than you do," his uncle assured him, "because they have to pay for every day that you're there but I don't pay extra."

    When the smugglers finally continued the trip, Mr. Cruz spent a night on a hammock at an isolated spot near the Malpaso Dam, surrounded by trees. "I was headed for Puebla yesterday, but immigration stopped two people who had gone ahead," he texted his uncle. "So they moved me here instead."

    The next morning, Mr. Cruz climbed into the cab of a tractor-trailer and rode alongside the driver. At a toll area, he had his first run-in with the police. Officers stopped the truck for a routine check, and after seeing Mr. Cruz's Salvadoran ID, realized that he was in Mexico illegally. They demanded money or else they would deport him, Mr. Cruz said.

    He fished out $170 he had hidden in his shoes. Mr. Cruz remembered one of the police officers telling him it was his lucky day. "I was getting out of trouble. I was able to get away because I had this money on me," he said.

    The officers stole the truck driver's cash as well. Once they left, the driver threatened to hand the migrant over to violent drug traffickers unless Mr. Cruz got him $600. Panicked, Mr. Cruz called his aunt and uncle in the United States for help, but they didn't answer.

    Thousands of miles away, the couple emerged from a water park — a rare day off with their young daughter — to find the missed calls. They had been observing Mr. Cruz's progress on their smartphones and computers, watching him move northward through small towns, streets full of pastel houses and parking lots for Walmarts and Pemex gas stations.

    On the phone with his relatives, he described the police theft and the driver's threat. His uncle quickly turned to the Mexican woman at the smuggling network, who found another driver to carry Mr. Cruz to Puebla. The uncle asked Mr. Cruz to remain calm.

    "Stay calm, stay calm, everyone keeps saying that," Mr. Cruz responded in a Facebook message. "Knowing I've never been away from home. That I'm easily frightened in a situation like this. And you want me to keep calm and keep calm. I can't."

    On subsequent traffic stops, the bribe for the police was always the same: 1,500 Mexican pesos, or about $84. At first Mr. Cruz tried to lie, saying he wasn't a migrant but was on his way to Monterrey to make a delivery. Eventually he dropped any pretense. The fourth time he was stopped for a payoff, the cop simply said, "You already know how much this is."

    Doors Locked, Windows Barred

    Mr. Cruz made it as far as Puebla, southeast of Mexico City and a pivot point on the journey. His family wired $450 to the smugglers, including pocket money for Mr. Cruz for food and bribes.

    The woman he stayed with in Puebla treated him well, feeding him the local delicacy "chiles en nogada," chiles in cream sauce with pomegranate seeds: green, white and red like the Mexican flag. She took him to buy soap, shampoo and toothpaste, but also got rid of his shoes — Bracos, a brand that the Mexican authorities would recognize as Salvadoran — and gave him another pair.

    After four days there the smugglers tried to move him north, but word came that some migrants had been killed near Monterrey, his next stop, so they brought him back to Puebla. After waiting three more days, Mr. Cruz hid with a young woman and her infant son in the sleeping compartment of a tractor-trailer for the overnight drive to Monterrey.

    The driver insisted they each take a pill, saying it was to keep them alert in case they were stopped. He then ground another pill into powder and mixed part of it in the baby's bottle before snorting the rest himself. Mr. Cruz said that he did not know what was in the pill but that after taking it he couldn't have slept even if he had tried.

    He arrived in Monterrey, the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and an industrial and commercial hub. Far from the booming downtown, behind a metal front gate, the windows and doors were shut and barred on the cinder-block house where Mr. Cruz was kept. Trash was everywhere. The small courtyard was filled with mud and debris. Ants and cockroaches crawled indoors. The only water ran brown and unfiltered from the faucet. A terrible smell wafted from the bathroom.

    "It was like a prison," Mr. Cruz said.

    Migrants like Mr. Cruz had to pay their captors to bring them bottled water or snacks, if they even had the cash to pay prices that were triple those at the local convenience store. Otherwise food arrived only every other day, in the form of a carton of 30 eggs to feed the dozen or so people typically there. At night, Mr. Cruz said, he lay on a thin mat on the floor but couldn't sleep with mice and insects running over him.

    Every day smugglers dropped off and picked up migrants, who were kept locked inside. A Guatemalan man everyone called "el dueño," "the owner," was in charge because he had been there the longest. He had run out of money to continue his journey a month and a half earlier.

    Mr. Cruz was stuck there for four days. His uncle sent $2,800, and they carried him onward to the eastern Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, just below southern Texas. His journey took him first to Ciudad Miguel Alemán, across from Roma, Tex., before he boarded a bus for Matamoros, two and a half hours away, with the assumed name Carlos Hernandez on his ticket.

    Tamaulipas has become known for violent confrontations between organized crime groups, and migrants caught in the middle have been massacred. In the summer of 2010, the corpses of 72 migrants killed by cartel members were discovered there in San Fernando. The message was clear: Crossing into the United States without permission from the drug traffickers, or narcos, who controlled the border territory could be lethal.

    Rodolfo Casillas, an expert on illegal migration at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Mexico, estimated that up to $1,000 of the total smuggling price went to pay off the narcos for the "derecho de paso," or right to pass. One migrant testifying in a human-smuggling case in Texas last year told the authorities that he had paid 11,000 pesos, or about $630, for protection from the Zetas criminal organization, and just 1,500 pesos for assistance with the river crossing.

    The house where Mr. Cruz was kept in Matamoros was better maintained than the hovel in Monterrey. He and the 30 other migrants could bathe with buckets of water from a pair of concrete basins with spigots outside. The men watching the house, tied to the narcos, brought them beers and even offered them drugs from bundles of cocaine and marijuana.

    "If you ran out of money, that's when they would offer to cross you as a mule," Mr. Cruz said.

    Some migrants at the house agreed to ferry drugs.

    After sending off the migrants with drugs one day, the traffickers returned to the stash house seething. "They were extremely angry," Mr. Cruz recalled, not because the migrants had been arrested but because they had lost their shipment of drugs.

    Back and Forth Across the Rio Grande

    Mr. Cruz was sick. The temperature along his journey had yo-yoed 40 degrees as the altitude climbed to 7,000 feet in Puebla before dropping to sea level in Matamoros. The unsanitary conditions in Monterrey probably hadn't helped.

    Mr. Cruz was eager to leave the house in Matamoros, but his coughing spasms gave the smugglers pause. They didn't want him giving their position away as a group tried to slip past Border Patrol agents.

    His uncle asked Mr. Cruz if the Mexican woman from the smuggling network could insist that they move him anyway. But Mr. Cruz realized she had little sway at the border. "Someone else decides who leaves," he told his uncle, "and she pays them."

    His family sent $180 to the smugglers, who said half would go toward medicine and half for a backup phone. Doses of cough syrup, along with several days of rest, seemed to help. That Saturday night Mr. Cruz wrote to his uncle, "They're going to say if I leave in the morning." Shortly after midnight he wrote again, saying, "At 4 o'clock in the morning I go."

    The region, where the Rio Grande coils and bends in switchbacks, has become the central battleground of the southwest frontier for illegal entries. Some 138,000 people were caught trying to cross here in 2017, close to half of all those apprehended from the California coast all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

    Illegal crossings fell significantly in the initial months of the Trump administration but shot up this year: From March to May, the number of migrants apprehended along the southwest border was triple the total for the same period in 2017, though far below the levels of a decade or two ago. Last year Customs and Border Protection intercepted 303,916 people there — compared with more than 1.6 million in 2000.

    As part of the $1.3 trillion spending bill that Congress passed in March, $1.375 billion in funding went for more than 90 miles of physical barriers along the border with Mexico. Of that, 33 miles will be built in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas, where Mr. Cruz was trying to cross.

    For all the debate about Mr. Trump's proposed wall, a virtual barrier was steadily strengthened under previous administrations. Doughy blimps equipped with cameras provide video surveillance, with thermal imaging for nighttime. Migrants unknowingly trip advanced seismic sensors with their first steps on American soil. The number of Border Patrol agents has grown to about 20,000 from roughly 9,000 in 2001, while budgets have quadrupled, spent on everything from all-terrain vehicles and horse patrols to helicopters and advanced reconnaissance drones.

    That gives the Border Patrol a much better chance of combating criminal smuggling networks, which use Facebook and Craigslist to recruit drivers, satellite phones and encrypted communication applications to direct them, night-vision technology to scan for patrols, and off-the shelf tracking devices to monitor moving vehicles.

    "They have evolved as the technology has evolved, and we have as well," said Benjamine Huffman, chief of strategic planning and analysis for the Border Patrol.

    Early that morning, the smugglers gathered Mr. Cruz, one of two dozen migrants from two stash houses in town, and crammed them into the back of an S.U.V., stacking them like cordwood. Wedged into a corner of the trunk with the weight of his fellow migrants crushing down on him, Mr. Cruz struggled to catch his breath.

    Once at the Rio Grande, he swam to the other side, while those who couldn't swim were pulled on the inner tubes. The migrants in his group began to mount the border fence. But the Border Patrol descended, grabbing some of the first arrivals. He realized he had to turn back.

    "There was no other alternative but to cross the river," Mr. Cruz said.

    As was customary, the smugglers would give him three tries to make it across safely. One chance was gone. Mr. Cruz steeled himself to try again at a different bend along the river.

    The temperature had climbed to 93 degrees by midday Sunday when Mr. Cruz made his second illegal visit to the United States, at another crossing nearby. It was even shorter than his first.

    Border Patrol agents swarmed the group as they made landfall on the north bank again. One agent got a hand on Mr. Cruz's back but, instead of arresting him, sent him sprawling into the river. Swallowing water and struggling to stay afloat, Mr. Cruz said, he barely managed to swim back to Mexico.

    The sun was low and dusk approaching by the time the coyotes brought the migrants to their third crossing point. The smugglers said the spot, more isolated, was usually reserved for moving drug shipments, more valuable than migrants. Mr. Cruz would have to swim across the Rio Grande for the fifth time that day.

    Of the 17 people left from the two dozen in the morning, Mr. Cruz recalled, five were women, including one who appeared about eight months pregnant and another in her 50s, he guessed. He wondered how they would make it, but his family had warned him: Worry about yourself. Do not stop for anyone.

    Mr. Cruz could hardly believe the determination of the pregnant woman as they emerged from the river again and started to run. But the older woman slipped behind and fell to the ground. The guide did nothing. "He just left her there," Mr. Cruz said.

    Checkpoints and Hidden Compartments

    The driver of the waiting S.U.V. honked his horn to get their attention. He was angry, expecting just a few migrants to crawl out of the South Texas field and instead finding 16 people. In a region full of Border Patrol agents, it was a risky load to carry.

    The driver told Mr. Cruz to ride shotgun, and he saw bundles of cocaine on the passenger seat. But it was only a short drive to a parking lot where the smugglers separated the group into different cars, depending on their destinations. Mr. Cruz and five others got into a Cadillac headed an hour northwest to a stash house in McAllen, Tex.

    Drop-offs and pickups are often meticulously planned so that migrants are ready to jump in as soon as the car pulls up. Smugglers sometimes mark migrants with colored tape to quickly sort who is going where. Smugglers often drive two cars, using one to draw the attention of law enforcement and another to carry the migrants.

    Border Patrol officers have grown more aggressive in their search for unauthorized immigrants throughout the 100-mile band of territory inside the United States border, where they have authority to establish checkpoints and perform searches.

    At the stash house in McAllen, the caretakers took away phones and even migrants' shoes so they wouldn't run away. "One particular person, they beat him up and kicked him because he wasn't paying attention," Mr. Cruz said.

    He estimated there were 70 people inside. They were given no food and were not allowed to speak to one another or even move without permission. Neighbors in border regions can be quick to report suspected stash houses. More than a third of all those busted by Customs and Border Protection last year — 140 out of 407 in the Southwest — were in the Rio Grande Valley, where Mr. Cruz was.

    After just a day and a half in McAllen, Mr. Cruz huddled with four other migrants in the sleeping compartment of a tractor-trailer headed to San Antonio. They were nearly discovered by agents during a routine search at a highway checkpoint, cowering under blankets as they felt someone check the bedding they were hiding under. Mr. Cruz was transferred to a minivan with a concealed compartment built under the back seat, where he hid for part of the ride.

    Mr. Cruz was brought to one last stash house, stripped to just his boxer shorts in a room "with no electricity, no light coming through, no windows and one big bed with four men," as he described it, essentially a hostage until the final payments were made. Two days passed.

    His family had to transfer the remaining $6,500 to the smuggling network. Although a record $28.8 billion in remittances was sent to Mexico last year, the authorities regularly flag suspicious transactions. Mr. Cruz's uncle had to break up the sum into smaller, less conspicuous transfers.

    Even with the precautions, one of the payments was flagged, canceled and had to be re-sent to a different recipient. Only when the final installment arrived in Mexico could Mr. Cruz go. "They gave me my clothes to put back on, and they blindfolded me again," he said.

    The smugglers drove him to a gas station. There he saw the familiar face of his uncle. Mr. Cruz began to cry.

    Relief at finishing his journey did not last long. Mr. Cruz was now in an unfamiliar country, where he did not speak the language and could not legally hold a job. He would have to hide in plain sight. He was $12,630 in debt. But, he said, at least he didn't fear for his life. "Here I know I'm safe," he said.

    His uncle found him tougher and more mature after the journey's hardships. Mr. Cruz looked ahead to earning enough money to begin the cycle again, paying for his son, his sister and his grandmother to join him in the United States. "I dream of bringing them over here," he said.

    Reporting was contributed by Ron Nixon in San Antonio, Nadia T. Rodriguez in New York and Cecilia Ballí in Matamoros. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

    Produced by Beth Flynn, Rebecca Lieberman and Derek Watkins.



    14) Parents and Children Remain Separated by Miles and Bureaucracy

    By Annie Correal, June 30, 2018


    Yeni González and her lawyer, José Xavier Orochena, after her release from immigration detention in Arizona. She is seeking to be reunited with her children who are in New York. 

    Ms. Gonzalez's children, from left, Deyuin, Jamelin and Lester, were photographed by their lawyer during a visit at the Cayuga Centers, an agency in New York that placed them in a foster home.

    Yeni González emerged into the warm evening air in Eloy, Ariz., her hair braided by the other women in the detention center. We're braiding up all your strength, they had told her in Spanish. You can do it.

    Ms. González, who had been released on a bond, was meeting her lawyer on Thursday and would soon join the volunteers who were driving her to New York City to find her three young children — Lester, Jamelin and Deyuin — who had been taken away from her more than a month before at the southern border.

    She is one of the rare ones.

    With protests being held around the country on Saturday to demand the reunification of parents and children separated at the border, progress on putting families back together has been painfully slow. Despite a federal judge's order requiring reunification within 30 days, more than 2,000 children remain scattered across 17 states, including some 300 in New York. Their parents too have been sent around the country — to detention centers in Arizona, Colorado and as far away as Washington State.

    How will federal authorities reunite them? "There is no answer that I'm aware of about how the reunification will happen to the parents who are in detention," said Mario Russell, the director of Immigrant & Refugee Services for Catholic Charities, the nonprofit charged with representing the children sent to New York.

    Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services said this weekthat they were facilitating communication between children and parents, but did not plan to release children while their parents were being detained. Under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy, thousands have been detained and face prosecution on charges of illegally entering the United States.

    Citing the possibility that human traffickers might pose as parents, officials said that the government intends to aggressively "vet" those who wish to gain custody of children, including running background checks on them and requiring fingerprinting for every adult in their household, even if it slows down the reunification process.

    The administration declined to say how many children had been reunited with their relatives since President Trump ended the separation policy with an executive order more than a week ago.

    Yolany Padilla, 24, is one of about 50 parents who have been sent to two detention centers in Seattle. In a phone call from the Federal Detention Center at Seatac, she said the only trace she still has of Jelsin, her 6-year-old son, is the little case for his eyeglasses.

    For close to a month after they were separated, she had no idea where he was.

    She had been given a slip of paper with his alien number after they were separated at a detention center near Laredo, Tex., she said, but employees of Immigration and Customs Enforcement took it from her — along with their birth certificates and the backpacks she and Jelsin had carried from the tiny village of Los Puentes, HondurasSo it had been no use calling the toll-free number set up by the federal refugee office for separated families.

    For weeks, she knew nothing. "I dreamed of him, sometimes bad things," she said, speaking in Spanish. "I couldn't sleep, I just hid under the blanket and cried."

    Honduran consular officials recently came to the detention center looking for parents who had been separated from their children. And last week, Ms. Padilla finally got a call from a social worker at Cayuga Centers, a child welfare agency in New York City.

    "Oof," she said, "It felt like they lifted a huge weight off me."

    When Jelsin got on the phone, Ms. Padilla said neither one of them could speak because they were both crying so hard. She coaxed a few words from her little boy, who she says loves to read and to ride his bicycle.

    Yes, he was eating, he told her, but he didn't like the vegetables. They had cut his hair. He was one of six children staying in his foster home.

    Ms. Padilla's case is particularly difficult to move forward, said her lawyer, Aimee Souza — who recently came on as a volunteer to represent Ms. Padilla in immigration court as she applies for asylum — because her client is being held in federal detention, which is more restrictive than immigration detention. "That throws 45 wrenches into the process," said Ms. Souza. "I can't easily get in there. I can't easily call. The only way to communicate is snail mail, visiting her," or waiting for her to call.

    The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed a lawsuit in federal court this week challenging the administration's practice of family separation on behalf of the parents sent to Washington. Ms. Padilla is one of three plaintiffs named in the lawsuit.

    Jorge Barón, the executive director of the organization, said it's unclear how the reunification process will play out.

    He hopes that parents might be able to be released on bond, perhaps with ankle monitors, and then be reunited with their children while they await immigration hearings.

    Alternatively, he said, "they could open new facilities and keep them together and locked up. But we're hoping that doesn't happen."

    Even if parents are released on a bond, physically getting them across thousands of miles is difficult, especially if authorities hold their identification while the parents go through immigration proceedings. Without proper identification, they cannot board airplanes. That is why Ms. González, the mother held in Arizona, is being driven to New York by a team of volunteers.

    Ms. González, who is from Guatemala, contacted relatives living in North Carolina after learning her children were in New York. The relatives contacted a lawyer there and sent him copies of the children's birth certificates.

    The lawyer, José Xavier Orochena, then confirmed that the children — who are 6, 9 and 11 — were placed in foster homes through Cayuga, the largest of the agencies in New York.

    After he spoke about the case on television and radio, a group of artists and parents in the New York area started a crowdfunding campaign for Ms. González that raised the money to cover her $7,500 bond and arranged her cross-country trip.

    "I feel very happy to be free, and very grateful for all the help," Ms. González, 29, said through tears after her release, speaking in Spanish. "I'm free and now I can fight for my children."

    Mr. Orochena said he expected the family to be reunited for the first time early next week. "It's not unfettered, but Cayuga says she can see the children as much as she wants, from 9 to 5."

    Their relative in North Carolina has applied to become the children's sponsor, meaning that the children might not have to remain in federal custody while their mother's asylum case makes its way through immigration court — a solution that many families might pursue.

    But that too could complicate things. Every adult living in a child's house must be included in the sponsorship petition. So Ms. González might not be allowed to live with her children.

    But at least she will be near them. Many more parents will likely remain in detention for some time, thousands of miles from their children. "I tell myself, God will help us, because we are not criminals," said Ms. Padilla, the mother being held in Seattle.

    There, she waits in her tan-colored prison uniform for her son's calls, and turns his nine-digit alien number over in her mind like a rosary.

    Liz Robbins contributed reporting.



    15) The Firebrand Leftist Far Ahead in Mexico's Presidential Polls

    By Adam Ahmad, June 29, 2018


    The presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador during the closing rally of his campaign on Wednesday in Mexico City.CreditAlfredo Estrella/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Andrés Manuel López Obrador nodded at the sea of red T-shirts and flag-waving devotees jammed into a plaza in Guadalajara.

    Never before had such a crowd welcomed him here. In his previous campaigns for the president's office, residents of Guadalajara, the wealthy capital of the state of Jalisco, shunned him, considering his leftist platform too radical.

    But this time, only days before one of Mexico's most important elections in decades, the cheers reflected a nationwide shift — and the ability of Mr. López Obrador to ride it.

    "We have had three transformations in the history of our country: our independence, the reform and the revolution," he told the crowd. "We are going to pull off the fourth."

    As corruption and violence gnaw at Mexico's patience, voters have turned to a familiar face in Mr. López Obrador, a three-time candidate for president who once shut down Mexico City for months after a narrow loss, refusing to accept defeat.

    Brandishing a deep connection with the poor, built over more than a decade of visits to every corner of this country of 120 million, he has managed a staggering lead ahead of Sunday's vote.

    If the poll numbers bear out on Election Day, Mr. López Obrador — who has promised to sell the presidential plane and convert the opulent presidential palace into a public park — could win by a landslide, putting a leftist leader in charge of Latin America's second-largest country for the first time in decades.

    He is currently 20 to 30 percentage points ahead of his closest rival, a stunning reversal for a politician whose future was far from clear just a few years ago. But a broad disgust with Mexico's political establishment has brought him back into the graces of the electorate.

    Now, he may confront an American president whose broadsides against Mexico have plunged relations between the two nations to their lowest point in recent history.

    But for all the brash, confrontational stances he has taken, Mr. López Obrador has been surprisingly moderate on the topic of President Trump, adopting a pragmatic approach that sounds a lot like the Mexican establishment figures he hopes to topple.

    "We are going to maintain a good relationship" with the United States, Mr. López Obrador said in an interview. "Or rather, we will aim to have a good bilateral relationship because it is indispensable."

    In fact, Mr. López Obrador has earned more than a few comparisons to Mr. Trump.

    Both men lash out at their critics and perceived enemies. Both are suspicious of the press and checks on their power. A sense of nationalism and nostalgia for a lost past are central to their platforms and appeal.

    But where Mr. Trump tacks right, Mr. López Obrador goes left. And while Mr. Trump has made Mexico a favorite target, Mr. López Obrador describes the North American Free Trade Agreement as a vital part of Mexico's livelihood.

    "I mean, the Brazilians, the French can fight with the U.S., but Mexico, for geopolitical reasons, we simply cannot," he added. "We have to come to an agreement."

    For much of his career, Mr. López Obrador has focused on two central issues, poverty and corruption, national scourges he views as inseparable. For the masses in Mexico, the twin pillars of his platform hold a powerful appeal.

    He vows to increase pensions for older citizens, and educational grants for the young. He promises to reduce the top salaries in government, including his own, and lift the wages of the lowest-paid public workers instead. He says he will fight corruption and use the billions of dollars a year in savings to pay for social programs.

    Many doubt he can eliminate graft or come up with the windfall he has promised. But after spending the past 18 years vacillating between Mexico's two dominant parties, voters appear increasingly willing to try something else.

    Mr. López Obrador's positions are largely unchanged from his time as a young organizer for indigenous communities in his home state, Tabasco.

    What has changed is the political climate of Mexico.

    Stubborn poverty rates and vast inequality, coupled with corruption scandals and a rise in violence, have pushed voters toward Mr. López Obrador, who last held elected office in 2005 as mayor of Mexico City.

    Beyond that, young people, who are expected to make up about 40 percent of the vote in this election, have widely embraced Mr. López Obrador, who, at 64, happens to be the oldest candidate in the race.

    "It's sort of like a pox on all their houses," said Roberta S. Jacobson, the former American ambassador to Mexico. "He was the only one who could successfully paint himself as an outsider — and there are a lot of people in Mexico who feel that they are outside."

    Indeed, Mr. López Obrador's electoral prospects owe as much to the current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, as to his populist language and promises to take on the powerful.

    Presidents in Mexico are allowed just one six-year term, and Mr. Peña Nieto's tenure was marked by corruption. After it was revealed that his wife had bought a luxury home at a steep discount from a government contractor, a federal investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.

    After his administration's plodding response to the disappearance of 43 students was challenged by outside experts, they were essentially kicked out of the country. After evidence of illegal spying on journalists and human rights activists surfaced, a government investigation went nowhere.

    Mr. López Obrador is now reaping the rewards of Mr. Peña Nieto's missteps.

    Notably, the election debate has had little to do with Mr. Trump, who has taken aim at many aspects of life in Mexico, especially trade and migration.

    But all the main candidates in Mexico have been united in their opposition to Mr. Trump's threats. The primary drivers of this election are domestic issues — corruption, violence, poverty — that play right into Mr. López Obrador's hands.

    As for a personal relationship with Mr. Trump, even some of Mr. López Obrador's closest aides said they were unsure how Mr. López Obrador might react to the insults that the current president of Mexico has taken on the chin.

    Mr. López Obrador, for his part, says Mr. Trump is simply playing to his base.

    "Trump is a politician, more than what people assume, he acts politically, and it worked for him, his anti-immigrant policy and anti-Mexican rhetoric, the wall," he said. "He tapped into a nationalist sentiment in certain sectors of American society."

    Mr. López Obrador has instead focused internally, frightening many Mexicans with his vow to take on the "mafia of power," his shorthand for the business and political elite.

    He says he can save more than $20 billion a year by attacking corruption, a figure he wields in speeches but whose provenance is unclear.

    To critics, his crusade is representative of the dangers a López Obrador presidency might bring. Some fear he oversimplifies the problem of graft and the task of eradicating it — as well as the price tag for his grand ambitions.

    These same critics note that when he ran Mexico City, despite his broad popularity, he was unable to rid it of corruption.

    Mr. López Obrador is keenly aware of the ways Mexicans, who have long suffered at the hands of the wealthy and powerful, can be drawn into his orbit.

    In both style and message, he conveys simplicity. He lives in a modest two-story townhouse, flies coach to his campaign events and owns just a handful of suits.

    But behind the humility of his approach is a complex and unflinching ambition to reshape Mexico. For some, arguably including Mr. López Obrador himself, he is something of a messiah, the chosen leader to cure his nation's ills.

    "He genuinely thinks he is the best outcome for Mexico," said Kathleen Bruhn, a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara who has studied Mr. López Obrador's career. "But I don't think that is incompatible with him wanting to accumulate a lot of power."

    "People talk about his rhetoric and how he will be like Hugo Chávez," the polarizing and domineering former president of Venezuela, Ms. Bruhn added. But "there is a streak of pragmatism that I hope comes out."

    For others, his imperious temperament and sense of destiny are recipes for disaster.

    Mr. López Obrador often divides the world in two: the good versus the elite, who have robbed the country of equality and justice.

    His division between good and bad extends to critics and institutions that he feels do not serve his agenda. Many worry that his assumed moral authority will put him at odds with the same institutions he should protect.

    He has fought with the Mexican news media, accusing it of corruption and bias. And while the news media here has long survived on government money, which heavily influences coverage, his anger is a sign to many of a worrisome characteristic: an inability to take criticism.

    Much like Mr. Trump, he often attacks critics personally, and is a master of name-calling.

    Members of the rich elite are referred to as fifis, the equivalent of bourgeois. But civil rights and pro-democracy groups are also sometimes dismissed by Mr. López Obrador, despite being among the few counterbalances to the rampant impunity in Mexico.

    Many of the nation's most prominent anti-corruption advocates are fearful of a López Obrador presidency, worried that their nascent movement will be all but frozen out of the discussion.

    When Mr. López Obrador was mayor of Mexico City, organizers planned a march to protest the rising number of kidnappings, a tragic outcome of the nation's war on drugs.

    He initially refused to meet with the organizers, derisively referring to their initiatives as projects of the wealthy.

    María Elena Moreira, who now runs the nonprofit group Common Cause and helped organize the march, said she worried that Mr. López Obrador would marginalize outside efforts to improve Mexico's democracy.

    "You have to understand how to institutionalize this change, not tie all of it to just one person's mission," she added.

    Mr. López Obrador has essentially been campaigning full-time for more than a decade, and his party, Morena, is built entirely around him. Now, it is on the cusp of upending politics in Mexico, leaving longtime parties on the brink of ruin.

    Few thought that a leftist leader could take the helm of Mexico. It remains by the standards of Latin America a very conservative, Catholic nation.

    But Mr. López Obrador has managed to stitch together a broad movement that includes unions, far-right conservatives, religious groups, traditional leftists and some of the same tarnished officials he spends his days railing against.

    In some respects, what Mr. López Obrador has built resembles the current president's Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI — a party willing to incorporate just about everyone within its walls in the pursuit of power. Some members of the PRI have already defected to Mr. López Obrador's party, fearful of the drubbing to come.

    He has also tapped a television executive from a station widely reliant on government money — precisely the kind he attacks as compromised — to serve as his secretary of education if he wins.

    While some view his closeness with the unions and the far-right as contradictory, others view the alliances as evidence of his pragmatic side.

    As mayor of Mexico City, he maintained tight limits on spending and worked with the private sector, including the telecom magnate Carlos Slim. He built a highway to ease congestion, a project that largely benefited the middle class, not his typical base.

    If elected president, he has promised to practice fiscal austerity. To reassure the business community, he has promised not to nationalize businesses.

    When he left office, Mr. López Obrador enjoyed close to an 80 percent approval rating. The presidency did not seem out of the question. But the conservative National Action Party, which held the presidency, managed to paint him as a radical and a threat to democracy.

    In a hard-fought battle, Mr. López Obrador lost by less than 1 percent in the 2006 election, and almost immediately took to the streets to protest what he claimed was widespread fraud. His supporters took over the central plaza downtown and blocked one of the main traffic arteries through the city, Reforma Avenue.

    He then held an inauguration ceremony for himself and named a shadow cabinet to govern the nation, declaring himself the rightful president.

    The move seemed to validate some of the harshest criticisms of him, alienating some of his supporters. Eventually, he packed up and moved on, and many commentators wrote him off.

    He lost again in 2012, by a significantly larger margin. But Mr. López Obrador continued to build his coalition and prepare for another run.






















































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