"Give me your tired, your poor 

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. 

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 

Send these, the homeless. Tempest-tost to me, 

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"















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.



July 24th: Rise Mass Meeting in San Francisco

  We're less than 2 months away from the biggest climate march California has ever seen. Together we'll take the streets of San Francisco to Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice, and demand Governor Jerry Brown and other local elected officials take real action on climate change.

  Watch and share our new video to invite your friends to march, then join next Tuesday's Mass Meeting in San Francisco:


  Asian Pacific Environmental Network, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Idle No More SF Bay, Jobs With Justice, North Bay Organizing Project, PODER, SEIU 1021, 350.org and over 50 other organizations will be at the third Mass Organizing Meeting where we'll discuss and build people power around the September 8th Global Day of Action.

  Can you join us on Tuesday, July 24th in San Francisco for the third Mass Organizing Meeting for Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice? RSVP now:


  This will be your opportunity to bring your talents, gifts, and joy to our movement and demand elected leaders support a just transition away from fossil fuels and 100% renewable energy for all.

  Here are the final details for the meeting:

  Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice July Mass Organizing Meeting

 Tuesday, July 24th, 5:30- 8:00 PM 

Sha'ar Zahav, 290 Dolores Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

  Help make this action the biggest California has ever see – RSVP to join us on Tuesday, July 24th for the Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice Mass Organizing Meeting:


  P.S. If you can't make the organizing meeting, but still want to be looped in about California organizing, join the statewide call this Thursday, July 19th at 6:00 PM:


  Action Network is an open platform that empowers individuals and groups to organize for progressive causes. We encourage responsible activism, and do not support using the platform to take unlawful or other improper action. We do not control or endorse the conduct of users and make no representations of any kind about them.






All Hands on Deck:  Get Malik Washington out of Ad-Seg!

Several weeks ago, friends and supporters of incarcerated freedom fighter Comrade Malik Washington were overjoyed to hear that he was getting released, finally, from Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at Eastham Unit in Texas--until TDCJ pulled a fast one, falsely claiming that he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition Program to get him released back to general population.  

This is a complete lie:  Malik has been fighting to get out of Ad-Seg from the moment he was thrown in there two years ago on a bogus riot charge (which was, itself, retaliation for prison strike organizing and agitating against inhumane, discriminatory conditions).  

Here's what actually happened:  when Malik arrived at Ramsey Unit on June 21, he was assigned to a top bunk, which is prohibited by his medical restrictions as a seizure patient.  TDCJ had failed to transfer his medical restrictions records, or had erased them, and are now claiming no record of these restrictions, which have been on file and in place for the past ten years.  Malik wrote a detailed statement requesting to be placed on a lower bunk in order to avoid injury; later that night, he was abruptly transferred back to Ad-Seg at a new Unit (McConnell).  

Malik was told that Ramsey staff claimed he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition program--this is NOT true, and he needs to be re-instated to the program immediately!  He also urgently needs his medical restrictions put back into his records!


We are extremely concerned for Malik's safety, and urgently need the help of everyone reading this. Please take one or more of the following actions, and get a couple friends to do the same!

1. Call Senior Warden Phillip Sifuentes at Malik's current facility (McConnell) and tell them Keith Washington (#1487958) must be transferred out of McConnell and re-admitted to the Ad-Seg Transition Program!

Phone #: (361) 362-2300 (**048) 00 --  ask to be connected to the senior warden's office/receptionist--try to talk to someone, but also can leave a message. 

Sample Script: "Hello, I'm calling because I'm concerned about Keith H. Washington (#1487958) who was recently transferred to your facility.  I understand he was transferred there from Ramsey Unit, because he supposedly refused to participate in the Ad-Seg transition program there, but this is not true; Malik never refused to participate, and he needs to be re-admitted to the transition program immediately!  I am also concerned that his heat restrictions seem to have been removed from his records.  He is a seizure patient and has been on heat and work restriction for years, and these restrictions must be reinstated immediately."

Please let us know how your call goes at blueridgeABC@riseup.net

2. Flood TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier with calls/emails!  You can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.  

(936) 437-2101 / (936) 437-2123

3. Flood TDCJ with emails demanding that Malik's health restrictions and work restrictions be restored: Health.services@tdcj.texas.gov

You can use the call script above as a guide; you don't need to mention the Ad-Seg situation, but just focus on the need to restore his heat and work restrictions!

4. File a complaint with the Ombudsman's Office (the office in charge of investigating departmental misconduct); you can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.

5. Write to Malik!  Every letter he receives lifts his spirit and PROTECTS him, because prison officials know he has people around him, watching for what happens to him.

Keith H. Washington


McConnell Unit

3100 South Emily Drive

Beeville, TX 78103



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.



Last week I met with fellow organizers and members of Mijente to take joint action at the Tornillo Port of Entry, where detention camps have been built and where children and adults are currently being imprisoned. 

I oppose the hyper-criminalization of migrants and asylum seekers. Migration is a human right and every person is worthy of dignity and respect irrespective of whether they have "papers" or not. You shouldn't have to prove "extreme and unusual hardship" to avoid being separated from your family. We, as a country, have a moral responsibility to support and uplift those adversely affected by the US's decades-long role in the economic and military destabilization of the home countries these migrants and asylum seekers have been forced to leave.

While we expected to face resistance and potential trouble from the multiple law enforcement agencies represented at the border, we didn't expect to have a local farm hand pull a pistol on us to demand we deflate our giant balloon banner. Its message to those in detention:

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

Despite the slight disruption to our plan we were able to support Mijente and United We Dream in blocking the main entrance to the detention camp and letting those locked inside know that there are people here who care for them and want to see them free and reunited with their families. 

We are continuing to stand in solidarity with Mijente as they fight back against unjust immigration practices.Yesterday they took action in San Diego, continuing to lead and escalate resistance to unjust detention, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to ICE. 

While we were honored to offer on-the-ground support we see the potential to focus the energy of our Drop the MIC campaign into fighting against this injustice, to have an even greater impact. Here's how:

  1. Call out General Dynamics for profiteering of War, Militarization of the Border and Child and Family Detention (look for our social media toolkit this week);
  2. Create speaking forums and produce media that challenges the narrative of ICE and Jeff Sessions, encouraging troops who have served in the borderlands to speak out about that experience;
  3. Continue to show up and demand we demilitarize the border and abolish ICE.

Thank you for your vision and understanding of how militarism, racism, and capitalism are coming together in the most destructive ways. Help keep us in this fight by continuing to support our work.

In Solidarity,

Ramon Mejia

Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War

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

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



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).

  • 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



    Whistleblower Reality Winner Accepts Responsibility for Helping Expose Attacks on Election Systems

    After more than a year jailed without bail, NSA whistleblower Reality Winner has changed her plea to guilty. In a hearing this past Tuesday, June 26th, she stated - "all of these actions I did willfully." If this new plea deal is approved by the judge, she will have a maximum prison sentence of five years as opposed to the ten years she faced under the Espionage Act.

    Speaking to the family's relief due to this plea deal, Reality's mother Billie sharedthat "At least she knows it's coming to an end." "Her plea agreement reflects the conclusion of Winner and her lawyers," stated Betsy Reed, "that the terms of this deal represent the best outcome possible for her in the current environment."

    In a recent campaign status update Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist, reiterated the importance of continuing to support Reality and her truth-telling motives. "We cannot forget this Trump Administration political prisoner. Reality needs us each to do what we can to resist." Although Courage to Resist is no longer hosting Reality's defense fund, online monetary support can be contributed to the Winner family directly at standwithreality.org. Reality's inspiring artwork also available for purchase at realitywinnerart.com.

    "It's so important to me as her mom to know just all the people that are writing her, who are touching her, who are reaching out to her giving her that strength and that support . . . Please don't stop that" said Billie Winner-Davis. "And we'll always make sure that everybody knows where she's at, where you can write to her, how you can help her. You know, we'll continue to do that. Just follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter. We will continue to do that for her."

    Reality will remain at the Lincoln County jail near Augusta, Georgia, for the next few months pending the sentencing hearing and hopefully will then be transferred to a facility closer to her family.


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

    www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



    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) Israel Passes Law Anchoring Itself as Nation-State of the Jewish People

    By Isabel Kershner, July 19, 2018


    A protest in Tel Aviv this month against the new law, which has been advanced as flagship legislation of the most right-wing and religious governing coalition in Israel's 70-year history.CreditAbir Sultan/EPA, via Shutterstock

    JERUSALEM — After a decade of political wrangling and hours of impassioned debate, Parliament on Thursday passed a contentious basic law that in effect enshrines Israel as the Jewish nation state, a move hailed by supporters as "historic" and denounced by detractors as discriminatory, racist and a blow to democracy.

    Though largely symbolic, the new nationality law omits any mention of democracy or enunciation of the principle of equality, in what critics called a betrayal of Israel's foundational document, its Declaration of Independence.

    Opponents say it will inevitably harm the delicate balance between the country's Jewish majority and its Arab minority, which makes up about 21 percent of a population of nearly nine million.

    The law, pushed through just before the Knesset, or Parliament, went into summer recess, had been advanced as a flagship measure of the most right-wing and religious governing coalition in Israel's 70-year history. Members of the coalition applauded the passage.

    "This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the annals of the state of Israel," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said soon after the vote early Thursday. "We have determined in law the founding principle of our existence. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all of its citizens."

    But moments after the vote, Arab members of Parliament ripped up copies of the bill while crying out, "Apartheid!" Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties, which holds 13 seats and is the third-largest bloc in Parliament, waved a black flag in protest.

    "The end of democracy," declared Ahmad Tibi, a veteran Arab legislator, charging the government with demagogy. "The official beginning of fascism and apartheid. A black day (another black day)," he wrote on Twitter.

    Yael German, a lawmaker from the centrist opposition party Yesh Atid, said before the vote that the law was "a poison pill for democracy."

    The new law anchors Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people by declaring the Jewish people's exclusive right to self-determination in Israel. It also promotes the development of Jewish communities and downgrades the status of Arabic from an official language to one with a "special status."

    It is now one of more than a dozen basic laws that serve as the country's Constitution. Two other basic laws, on human dignity and on liberty and freedom of occupation, enacted in the 1990s, determine the values of the state as both Jewish and democratic.

    Since it was established, Israel, long accused of being an imperfect democracy, has grappled with the inherent tensions between its dual aspirations of being both Jewish and democratic.

    But if the law was meant to give expression to Israel's national identity, it exposed and further divided an already deeply fractured society. It passed in the 120-seat Parliament by a vote of 62 to 55 with two abstentions. One member was absent.

    Adalah, a legal center that campaigns for Arab rights in Israel, said in a statement, "This law guarantees the ethnic-religious character of Israel as exclusively Jewish and entrenches the privileges enjoyed by Jewish citizens, while simultaneously anchoring discrimination against Palestinian citizens and legitimizing exclusion, racism and systemic inequality."

    The law is the product of a Netanyahu government that has been empowered by the ascendancy of a friendly American administration led by President Trump.

    The ring-wing government has also been emboldened by other nationalist and populist movements that have gained traction in Europe and elsewhere, as it has increasingly allied itself with illiberal democracies in Europe. The new law passed soon after Viktor Orban, the far-right prime minister of Hungary, arrived in Jerusalem for a visit.

    Mr. Netanyahu's government has sought to exercise more control over the news media, to curtail the authority of the Supreme Court, to curb the activities of left-wing nongovernmental organizations and to undermine the police amid attempts to thwart or minimize the effect of multiple corruption investigations against the prime minister. The police have already recommended that Mr. Netanyahu be charged with bribery in two cases.

    Some supporters of the nationality law lamented that many of its proposed and more influential clauses had been watered down to allow its passage. Critics denounced it as a populist measure that largely sprang from the competition for votes between Mr. Netanyahu's conservative party, Likud, and political rivals to its right in elections due next year.

    "I don't agree with those saying this is an apartheid law," said Amir Fuchs, an expert in legislative processes and liberal thought at the Israel Democracy Institute, an independent think tank in Jerusalem. "It does not form two separate legal norms applying to Jews or non-Jews," he said.

    But he added, "Even if it is only declarative and won't change anything in the near future, I am 100 percent sure it will worsen the feeling of non-Jews and especially the Arab minority in Israel."

    The basic laws, enacted in the absence of a single Constitution, legally supersede the Declaration of Independence and, unlike regular laws, have never been overturned by Israel's Supreme Court. Basic laws can be amended only by a majority in the Knesset.

    The nationality law has also drawn the ire of Jews abroad. The American Jewish Committee said it was "deeply disappointed" and described the law as "unnecessary."

    It may be left to the Supreme Court to interpret how the "Jewish people" in the title of the law applies to non-Orthodox, more liberal streams of Judaism, which are not officially recognized in Israel.

    "We will use all of the legal means available to us to challenge this new law and to promote Reform and Progressive Judaism in Israel," said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the New York-based Union for Reform Judaism.

    The law could further strain relations between the Israeli government and many North American Jews who have been increasingly alienated by Israeli hawkishness and coercion by the strictly Orthodox state religious authorities.

    It comes a year after the government reneged on an agreement to improve pluralistic prayer arrangements at the ancient Western Wall in Jerusalem, once a hallowed symbol of Jewish unity, and promoted a bill enshrining the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate's monopoly over conversions to Judaism in Israel.

    Some of the provisions of the nationality law had already been anchored in previous laws, such as those dealing with the "Law of Return," which guarantees that Israel is open for Jewish immigration, state symbols and Jewish festivals.

    This law stipulates that Hebrew is "the state's language" and downgrades Arabic to a language with a "special status." The clause is not likely to have much practical meaning since a subsequent clause says, "This clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect."

    Another highly divisive clause in the draft version that legal experts said opens the way for segregated communities was replaced by one declaring, "The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation."

    Some critics argued that this was even worse, because while the previous clause allowed for separate but equal communities, the new one could be interpreted to allow for discrimination in the allocation of resources.

    The debate has its roots in the establishment of the state of Israel, after the United Nations voted in 1947 to partition the British Mandate for Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Arab states rejected the plan and went to war.

    Seventy years later, proponents of the new law cite continuing threats; some in Israel's Arab minority are demanding collective rights and forming a majority in the northern Galilee district; and critics abroad are questioning the legitimacy of the Jewish state and calling for boycotts.

    Others still view the law as a largely pointless expression of nationalism that lays bare basic insecurities in a hostile region that will serve only to fan tensions at home and beyond.

    Avi Shilon, an Israeli historian who teaches at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and New York University in Tel Aviv, noted that Mr. Netanyahu and Likud were the ideological heirs of the right-wing Zionist Revisionist movement of Zeev Jabotinsky, which believed that words could shape reality.

    That view is in contrast with those held by the Labor Zionist founders of the state, led by David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister, who placed more faith in deeds and actions.

    "The great spirit of Ben-Gurion and the founding fathers was that they knew how to adjust to the times," Mr. Shilon said. "Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era."



    2) U.S. Has Already Sold More Weapons This Year Than All 2017: $47B

    By Paul McLeary, July 16, 2018


    AH-64 Apache

    FARNBOROUGH The United States has already blown past the amount ofweaponry it sold to foreign governments all last year — with more than two months to go before the fiscal year ends. 

    American defense companies, with the blessing of the Pentagon and State Department, have already sold $46.9 billion worth of weapons to foreign governments this year, leaving the $41 billion worth of deals in 2017 in the dust.

    Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which coordinates foreign sales, revealed the new numbers to me on Monday. "The president and the administration's plans have given us that leadership, guidance and focus, and we understand that this comes directly from the top, directly from the White House," he said. 

    The record for any single year is the $69.1 billion reached in 2012, but that was an outlier since it saw a staggering $29 billion deal for 84 F-15s to Saudi Arabia — a single signature line item that sent the total rocketing up from $40 billion.

    The previous high — without that massive Saudi buy — was $47 billion in 2015, a number the Pentagon is now within inches of topping.

    The huge numbers being posted so far in 2018 are partly the product of a push by the Trump administration to increase weapons sales as part of its America First ideology to boost U.S. manufacturing and, the thinking goes, arm allies in order to take some pressure off the Pentagon from providing security across the globe.

    Asked about where he sees the most growth in arms sales in the near term, Hooper said that "clearly we see an emergence in ballistic missile threats," and allies in Europe eyeing Russia, and the Persian Gulf, nervous about Iranian capabilities, are important in that regard. 

    Arms sales have become a central part of the president's remarks whenever he travels overseas, where he extolls the virtues of American weapons, while pushing allies to spend more on their own defense. At the NATO summit in Brussels last week, Trump suggested that he's willing to help some smaller allies buy more American gear.

    "We have many wealthy countries with us today, but we have some that aren't so wealthy and they did ask me if they could buy the military equipment and could I help them out. And we will help them out a little bit," he said during an impromptu news conference.

    "We are not going to finance it for them, but we will make sure that they are able to get payments and various other things so they can buy — because the United States makes by far the best military equipment in the world: the best jets, the best missiles, the best guns, the best everything."

    Hooper said the desire to make deals happen has pushed down to all levels of the process.

    "Listen, I've been in security cooperation for 15 years," he said. "I've never seen a time where there was a better collaboration with the State Department, the Commerce Department, and Capitol Hill, the National Security Council and the White House. There's never been a better time."

    The Trump administration issued marching orders to diplomats, White House staffers and Pentagon staff to push American weaponry whenever traveling abroad.

    Tina Kaidanow,, the State Department's acting assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs told reporters on a Monday conference call that "we have the entire weight of the U.S. government behind these efforts."



    3) The Terms on a Food Label to Ignore, and the Ones to Watch For

    By Liz Schumer, July 3, 2018


    If your head starts spinning when trying to make healthy and budget-friendly food choices, you're not alone. Take a look around your local grocery store and you'll find a slew of confusing terms. Organic. Non-G.M.O. Low-sugar. Superfood. 

    What does it all mean, and how can a normal human shopper possibly make sense of any of it? We asked registered dietitians, food marketers and members of the New York City Agriculture Collective for help decoding the labels you see in the grocery store. Let's break down how to decode the label and get past the marketing into the actual benefits of what we're buying. 

    The Food Label Terms to Ignore

    Liz Vaknin of the food marketing company Our Name Is Farm said the way food is labeled — you guessed it — aims to get it off the shelf and into our shopping carts. 

    "The more value you ascribe to a term, the more you identify with it, the more you're willing to pay for it," she explained. "Some are useful, some are misleading, and a lot of them are not regulated enough to mean anything." Take "natural," for example, she said. The term has been thrown around so much, it barely means anything at all.

    "Superfood," according to Andy Bellatti, a registered dietitian and co-founder of Dietitians for Professional Integrity, is almost equally meaningless. "As I like to say, all plant-based foods are 'superfoods' in the sense that they offer fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients," he said. "A peach is just as 'super' as a berry that grows in the Himalayas."

    That said, some terms do matter — sort of. 

    Two Things You Should Definitely Pay Attention To

    The federal Food and Drug Administration requires that labels of nutrition facts include added sugars, one important element to consider. Mr. Bellatti suggested capping your added sugar consumption at no more than 24 grams, per day. "A healthful food is low in added sugar, low in added sodium and offers a nice amount of fiber," he explained. 

    Debi Zvi, a clinical nutritionist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and a NYC Agricultural Collective member, recommends reading the serving size carefully, too. Even supposed "single-serving" packages can contain multiples. "If you only have a few seconds to make your food choice, I would recommend looking for foods with less than 20 percent daily value of sodium and saturated fat, and less than 10 grams of added sugar," she suggested. 

    G.M.O. vs. Non-G.M.O.

    It's important to note that not all G.M.O.s, or genetically modified organisms, are necessarily bad. The F.D.A. actually prefers to use"genetically engineered," calling the term G.M.O. "overly broad and inaccurate." 

    "People are scared of the term because they don't really know what it means," Ms. Vaknin said. "Pretty much everything has been somewhat genetically modified."

    Take carrots, for example. While they naturally occur in a rainbow of colors, the proliferation of the common orange variety first rose to prominence in the 15th and 16th centuries, and its popularity stuck. We owe that to selective breeding — or genetic modification. 

    While most scientists agree that G.M.O. foods are safe, genetic modification can run the gamut from selecting spinach for frost resistance to adding nutrients to foods that don't produce those compounds in nature. And that doesn't come without controversy, and consumer groups have demanded foods with G.M.O. ingredients be labeled.

    A lot of the opposition to non-G.M.O. foods is purely psychological. However, if the idea of Frankenfood freaks you out, stick to heirloom vegetables and heritage meat. Many of those will taste better too, although you often pay more for the privilege.

    What 'Organic' Really Means, and When It Matters

    A lot of us misunderstand what the term "organic" actually means. When farming organically, farmers use naturally occurring compounds instead of industrial pesticides to keep pests at bay. Animals raised for organic meat must not consume antibiotics or hormones. Practically, organic practices matter more in produce you consume in its entirety. 

    "Some [fruits and vegetables] take in a lot more of their environment than others," Ms. Vaknin explained. She said that nonorganic bananas, "are probably fine because you're going to be peeling them, but with strawberries, those pesticides are going to be absorbed directly into the fruit. So if you can't afford to buy all organic, pick and choose." (However, the idea that "organic equals less pesticides," often a selling point, is not necessarily true. For a complete view on the issue, this article at The Washington Post clarifies.)

    The organic label does provide two key benefits: education and regulation. "Food labeled U.S.D.A. organic has to meet a set of publicly available standards and in that way, we have access to much more information about it. The organic label offers a level of transparency," Mrs. Zvi said. 

    Farms that receive that United States Department of Agriculture's organic stamp also have to undergo a rigorous application and certification process, which takes about five years to complete. Many small, local farms don't have the resources to complete the application, even if they do use organic processes.

    Pay Attention to How Far Your Food Travels

    The most important consideration when buying produce is the amount of time it spends away from the plant. "The second you harvest, it starts losing vitamin C and phytochemicals that are sensitive to oxygen," explained Alina Zolotareva, a registered dietitian and marketing manager of AeroFarms.

    She added that most produce comes from the West Coast, meaning that many tomatoes have spent up to two to three weeks in transit before they make it to your grocery store. "Most [vegetables] are not bred for flavor," she explained. "They're bred for transportability and durability. They're bred to survive to the plate, not focused on nutrition." 

    If you can't buy organic (or if flavor matters more than anything else), go for locally grown instead. Local farmers also provide a valuable resource, in general. They can tell you how their food is grown, how long ago they harvested it and what's in season. If you have questions, never hesitate to ask. 

    The Nuance Between 'Whole' and 'Processed' Foods

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that ready-to-eat (68.1 percent) and ready-to-heat (15.2 percent) products supplied the majority of calories in American food purchases. While it's easy to demonize "processed" foods, what constitutes a "whole" food isn't as intuitive as you might think. 

    "Yes, whole or minimally processed foods are best," said Mr. Bellatti, the registered dietitian. "When it comes to plant-based foods, processing greatly reduces fiber as well as minerals like potassium and vitamins like vitamin C." However, the U.S.D.A.'s definition of "processed food" also includes "healthy" foods like frozen vegetables, dried fruit, canned beans and whole-wheat bread, as well as problematic ones like ready-to-heat meals, candy and soda. 

    All of the nutritionists we consulted said it's all about balance. "At the end of the day, eat real food," Ms. Zolotareva advised. "It's got to end up in your mouth, not your garbage can." She added that some processing is fine — as long as it makes you more likely to actually consume it. 

    Ms. Zvi also helps her clients find food that they can enjoy. "I work with clients to expand that sweet spot of nutrient dense food they also find delicious and, practically speaking, some processed foods often end up in that sweet spot," she said.

    Most Importantly: Buy What You'll Actually Eat

    "The most important thing is to buy what you and your family is realistically going to eat. It does take some trial and error," said Ms. Zolotareva. She recommends cooking in batches, but only if your family eats leftovers. Buying in bulk only saves money if you actually eat it. 

    The U.S.D.A. reports that in the United States, food waste consumes between 30 to 40 percent of the food supply. That doesn't just hurt your wallet, but the planet, too. And it's important to note the way we look at spending on food, period. "As a country, we're willing to spend money on a lot of things and the one thing we compromise on is food," Ms. Vaknin said.

    Life is often all about compromises and making educated decisions. If you struggle to pay rent or make ends meet, you're probably not buying organic strawberries or obsessing over whether your kale is G.M.O. But if you're able to spend less on your next pair of shoes and a little more on feeding yourself and your family the most healthy options, it may be worth giving your grocery budget a little boost.



    4) Interior Department Proposes a Vast Reworking of the Endangered Species Act

    By Lisa FriedmanKendra Pierre-Louis and Livia Albeck-Ripka, July 19, 2018


    A northern spotted owl in Point Reyes, Calif.CreditTom Gallagher/Associated Press


    The Interior Department on Thursday proposed the most sweeping set of changes in decades to the Endangered Species Act, the law that brought the bald eagle and the Yellowstone grizzly bear back from the edge of extinction but which Republicans say is cumbersome and restricts economic development.

    The proposed revisions have far-reaching implications, potentially making it easier for roads, pipelines and other construction projects to gain approvals than under current rules. One change, for instance, would eliminate longstanding language that prohibits considering economic factors when deciding whether or not a species should be protected.

    The agency also intends to make it more difficult to shield species like the Atlantic sturgeon that are considered "threatened," which is the category one level beneath the most serious one, "endangered."

    Battles over endangered species have consumed vast swaths of the West for decades, and confrontations over protections for the spotted owl, the sage grouse and the gray wolf have shaped politics and public debate. While the changes proposed Thursday by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service wouldn't be retroactive, they could set the stage for new clashes over offshore drilling and also could help smooth the path for projects like oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    David L. Bernhardt, the deputy secretary of the Interior Department, said that the 1973 law had not seen major changes in 30 years and described the proposals as streamlining and improving the regulatory process. He rejected a suggestion that the moves would help the oil and gas businesses, although leaders in those industries have long sought similar changes to the ones outlined Thursday.

    "Together these rules will be very protective and enhance the conservation of the species," Mr. Bernhardt said. "At the same time we hope that they ameliorate some of the unnecessary burden, conflict and uncertainty that is within our current regulatory structure."

    Environmental activists criticized the proposed changes, saying they would put species at risk of extinction. "These proposals would slam a wrecking ball into the most crucial protections for our most endangered wildlife," said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

    The changes are in keeping with a broader pattern of regulatory moves in the Trump administration aimed at reducing cost and other burdens for businesses, particularly the energy business. Last month the Trump administration also started the process of rolling back the National Environmental Policy Act, an obscure law that is considered the cornerstone of environmental policy, laying out the process federal agencies must follow when considering major infrastructure projects.

    Republicans in Western states have long sought changes to both laws, arguing they are more focused on preventing development than protecting the environment. Oil and gas companies, the timber industry, farmers, rangers and some private landowners have echoed the message. The Endangered Species Act in particular, many have argued, is outdated, costly and allows for too many lawsuits from environmentalists.

    Separately, this week Republicans in Congress sought an ambitious overhaul of the law, arguing that only 3 percent of species listed as threatened or endangered have been successfully removed over the life of the act. 

    Robert Gordon, an adjunct fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank that opposes the Endangered Species Act, said the law is often a burden to property owners and pointed to the legal case of an amphibian called the dusky gopher frog

    The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the federal government's designation of private land in Louisiana as "critical habitat" for the frog limited the owners' ability to develop it. Mr. Gordon said if the proposed rules had been in place, the property would have been less likely to be designated as such. 

    Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, which represents the oil and gas industry, praised the Trump administration proposal, saying that "for too long the E.S.A. has been used as a means of controlling lands in the West rather than actually focusing on species recovery." She said she hoped the changes, which she described as a "tightening" of procedures, would help lift restrictions on "responsible economic activities on private and public lands."

    Environmentalists expressed concern the changes will gut protections for the country's most threatened species and weaken the agency's ability to address climate change. The changes, they contended, are part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to dismantle ecosystem protections and disregard science when making decisions about the environment.

    In its 40-year existence, the act "has successfully kept 99 percent of listed species from going extinct," said Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president for energy and environment policy at the liberal Center for American Progress, in a statement. "Instead of continuing the hard work needed to conserve a healthy and vibrant environment for our kids and grandkids, this administration is working to further imperil the more than 1,600 threatened and endangered species."

    The Interior Department and the Department of Commerce will give the public 60 days to comment on the changes before finalizing them. Typically, proposals don't change significantly as a result of the public comment period.

    Thursday's proposals also include a change that, while technical, could give the government greater leeway to play down climate change in judging whether a plant or animal is at risk of extinction. Environmentalists criticized the change — which involves writing a new definition for the term "foreseeable future" — as giving the government greater leeway to discount future effects of global warming.

    Currently, the law defines a threatened species as one "likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range," with the words "foreseeable future" left to interpretation. According to the Interior Department, the new definition will "make it clear that it extends only as far as they can reasonably determine that both the future threats and the species' response to those threats are probable."

    Bob Dreher, senior vice president for conservation programs at Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental group, said that could put climate change in the cross hairs. "If they define it narrowly, then they'll close their eyes to the fact that 30 years down the road polar bears will be endangered due to sea-level rise," he said.

    Another significant proposed change, which has been rumored since April when a proposal was posted to the White House's Office of Management and Budget, would alter how the Endangered Species Act deals with animals that are categorized as "threatened," or one level below "endangered." 

    Current rules require agencies to automatically extend protections to threatened species that mirror those of endangered species. Changing the rule could roll back some of those protections.

    Richard B. Stewart, a professor of environmental law at New York University, said the logic for the current rule was that "if you wait until the species' numbers are actually small enough that it's going to become extinct, it may be difficult or too late" to save it. The threatened list, he said, is designed "to anticipate a species is sort of going downhill sufficiently in advance, and protect it."

    Mr. Bernhardt on Wednesday also said that a section of the law that provides for consultations among federal agencies when considering permit applications would be streamlined. He described it as "where the rubber meets the road of the Endangered Species Act," and said he expected the process to be improved.

    "Our general intention is to maintain the scope of consultation, but that's always in the eye of the beholder," he said.

    Lisa Friedman reports on climate and environmental policy in Washington. A former editor at Climatewire, she has covered nine international climate talks. @LFFriedman

    Kendra Pierre-Louis is a reporter on the climate team. Before joining The Times in 2017, she covered science and the environment for Popular Science. @kendrawrites

    Livia Albeck‑Ripka is a freelance journalist covering the environment. She is a former James Reston reporting fellow at The Times. @livia_ar



    5)  A Family of 14 Dies in an Airstrike. U.S. Officials Deny They Were Civilians.

    By Najim Rahim and Rod Nordland, July 20, 2018


    This is the home bombed by the American military on Thursday where 14 civilians were killed, according to local villagers

    KUNDUZ, Afghanistan — Fourteen members of a family, including three small children, were killed in northern Afghanistan when an American airstrike destroyed their home, several Afghan officials confirmed on Friday.

    In what has become a familiar litany, particularly in Taliban-dominated Kunduz Province, Afghan and American officials had initially denied that any civilians had been killed in the strike on Thursday, claiming the victims were Taliban fighters.

    Then 11 bodies belonging to women and children appeared at the hospital in Kunduz City, about four miles from the site of the attack in Chardara District. The Taliban do not have women fighters and the children were very young.

    Soon after the attack, district officials described the incident as an airstrike that went wrong, in which only civilians were killed. "There were 12 killed and one wounded by American jets in Chardara District, and all casualties are civilians," said Abdul Karim, the local police chief. Two other children were later counted as dead because they were known to have been in the house, although their remains could not be found in the rubble, residents and relatives said.

    A local resident, Rahimullah, 26, drove the tractor used to excavate the bombed house and pull out the bodies. "I don't know why they attack civilians," he said. "I lost my nephews, Farid and Zainullah." (Rahimullah uses only one name, which is common in Afghanistan).

    Residents and local officials said 20 people had lived in the house, all members of an extended family. Of the 14 family members killed, eight were women and three children, officials said. Two other children from the family were hospitalized with serious wounds, a girl, 3; and a boy, 5.

    Three other children escaped from the house when the attack began, and one man, the father of the wounded children, was not home at the time of the attack.

    On Friday, the United Nations office in Kabul called the reports "credible" and said it was investigating.

    Farther from the scene, however, military officials dismissed the possibility of civilian fatalities.

    The executive officer of an Afghan Army unit on the front line in Chardara did not mince words. "It is propaganda by the enemy," the officer, Maj. Saifuddin Azizi of the 10th commando battalion, said."We deny there were any civilian casualties. Foreign troops are our friends and we don't target civilians. When the foreign troops decide to attack somewhere, first of all they check everything and then they launch the operation."

    If there were any civilian casualties, Major Azizi said, the Taliban must have attacked the victims with rockets.

    In Kabul, Lt. Col. Martin L. O'Donnell, a United States military spokesman, was also unequivocal. "U.S. forces did conduct strikes in support of Afghan-led ground operations in Chardara District, Kunduz Province," Colonel O'Donnell said in an email. "An on-the-ground assessment of those strikes reveals no indications they caused civilian casualties."

    By late Thursday, however, the provincial authorities in Kunduz had begun to change their accounts, as angry relatives besieged their offices. Villagers shared cellphone photographs of the bomb site and the victims, and witnesses spoke out. "There wasn't a single armed person in those homes," said Hajji Sherin Agha, a local elder.

    Nimatullah Timory, the spokesman for the Kunduz governor, retracted earlier official denials. "During an explosion, the type of which is not clear, some Afghan civilians were killed and wounded," he said. "The governor ordered Afghan forces to help people and investigate the incident."

    At the national level, doubt began to creep in. Mohammad Radmanish, the spokesman for the Ministry of Defense in Kabul, said that it had been an Afghan operation against terrorists, but added, "as you know, terrorists use civilians as shields." He said the defense minister had ordered local forces to clarify what had happened.

    Later, the Ministry of Defense circulated a statement acknowledging that civilians had been killed and wounded in the attack, without giving details.

    "We are really sad about the incident," the ministry statement read. "A delegation has been sent to the area to investigate and find out why it happened." The ministry later confirmed that 14 civilians were killed. There were no reports of any insurgent casualties.

    The American military, however, maintained that there had been no civilians at the site. In a statement issued on Friday, Colonel O'Donnell said the coalition was aware of the Defense Ministry's change of position and investigation, but "as previously stated, an on-the-ground assessment of our strikes revealed no indications they caused civilian casualties."

    The event was the third time since 2016 that an American airstrike was blamed for civilian deaths in Chardara District, an area that has been heavily dominated by the Taliban but that also partly borders the provincial capital. On at least six occasions since 2015, American airstrikes in Kunduz have been blamed for civilian deaths.

    In November, the United Nations confirmed that at least 10 civilians had been killed in airstrikes on a village in Chardara District that month. The American military disputed those findings, and released the results of an internal investigation that absolved itself of killing any civilians.

    By Nov. 28, however, the American military commander, Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., reversed that finding and apologized for civilians killed in those airstrikes.

    In 2016, officials in Chardara District said an American airstrike had hit a Taliban prison and killed as many as 16 prisoners who were allied with the national government. The American military said it would investigate.

    Kunduz is also the site of the war's most notorious civilian casualty event: the American bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz in 2015 that killed 42. The American military initially defended its actions, and some Afghan officials falsely claimed the Taliban had been fighting from inside the hospital. A few days later, President Barack Obama publicly apologized for the attack.

    On Friday, Major Azizi, the executive officer of the Afghan commandos, refused to concede that any civilians had been killed, despite his superiors' admissions. "Once again, I am saying that I didn't see any civilian casualties in Chardara District of Kunduz," he said. "It is not my business if the Taliban take civilians hostage and use them as a shield. The Taliban wanted to attack us, and they were just 150 to 200 meters away from us. The Taliban are just trying to put a bad face on our Afghan forces."

    Indeed, the insurgents quickly made propaganda of the latest airstrike, doubling the alleged death toll. "Once again, the Americans killed 28 civilians, including women and children, in Chardara District of Kunduz, with the help of their Afghan puppets in a brutal attack," the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a statement emailed to journalists on Thursday.

    The insurgents have claimed that they are working to reduce civilian casualties, after a United Nations report attributed 40 percent of such deaths to the Taliban and only 3 percent to the American military.

    Najim Rahim reported from Kunduz, and Rod Nordland from Kabul, Afghanistan. Reporting was contributed by Fatima Faizi in Kabul.



    6) Israel Picks Identity Over Democracy. More Nations May Follow.

    By Max Fisher, July 22, 2018


    In East Jerusalem, both Stars of David and an Islamic crescent moon dot the buildings.Credit

    Amid a moment of national euphoria, Israel's founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, emerged from retirement in July 1967 to warn Israelis they had sown the seeds of self-destruction.

    Israel had just won a stunning military victory against its neighbors, elating Israelis with a sense that the grand experiment of a Jewish state might really work.

    But Ben-Gurion insisted that Israel give up the territories it had conquered. If it did not, he said, occupation would distort the young state, which had been founded to protect not just the Jewish people but their ideals of democracy and pluralism.

    Now, a half century and one year later, Israel has formally declared the right of national self-determination, once envisioned to include all within its borders, as "unique to the Jewish people."

    To some, the new law is a natural outgrowth of Israel's 1967 victory over neighbors opposed to its existence, safeguarding the Jewish people within borders and laws that put them first.

    But to others, it is a step along Ben-Gurion's prophesied path: from occupation to endless conflict that would corrode democracy from within, endangering a national character thought to come from ideals as well as demographics.

    Above all, the law may be a choice between two visions of Israel that have come into growing tension. American diplomats have long issued a version of Ben-Gurion's warning: If Israel did not make peace with the Palestinians, they said, it would have to choose between its dual identities as a Jewish state and democratic one.

    Polls suggest that Israelis have come to agree: Growing numbers see their country as facing a choice between being Jewish first or democratic first. And for many on the political right, the choice is identity first.

    Though Israel's circumstances may be unique, its sense of facing a looming decision about its national identity is not. There is a growing backlash to the idea that countries should privilege democracy over all else. That movement, driven by perceptions of physical and demographic insecurity, insists that, now, identity will come first.

    A Global Contradiction

    The modern era endowed countries with two rights, supposedly unassailable, that turned out to exist in tension. The right of national self-determination envisioned states as unified collectives; one nation for one people. And the right of democracy prescribed equal participation for all, including in defining the nation's character.

    Idealistic world leaders who set out those rights a century ago imagined countries that would be internally homogeneous and static. But reality has proved messier. Borders do not perfectly align with populations. People move. Identities shift or evolve. What then?

    Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories sharpened questions over how to democratically incorporate the non-Jews within this avowedly Jewish nation — an identity that early Israeli leaders, remembering the Holocaust, felt bound to protect — just as countries around the world faced their own challenges over balancing identity and democracy.

    Civil rights movements challenged countries to broaden national identities long associated with whiteness. The end of colonialism saw mass migration of non-Europeans to Europe; within former colonies, conflicts erupted over who belonged and did not.

    The democratic world arrived, in the 1960s, at an informal consensus: If the requirements of democracy and national identity clash, the first should prevail. That didn't mean abandoning national identity, but it did mean softening how it was understood and maintained.

    France, for example, still calls itself the nation of the French, but that term has grown fuzzier to better include all within its borders. It's a work-in-process and remains controversial, but the trajectory is clear.

    In the 1960s, France nearly descended into civil war in part over whether Algerians could fully join the white, secular democracy. This week, the country is debating how best to refer to soccer players of African origin so as to honor both their heritage and their French status.

    Democracy Over Identity?

    Such transitions have been seen as essential to democracy's survival.

    In a landmark study of democracy's growth in Eastern Europe, the political scientist Sherrill Stroschein found that countries that formally defined themselves by their ethnic majority — Slovakia for Slovaks, Romania for Romanians — had, in practice, de-emphasized those identities.

    Dr. Stroschein chronicled one community in Ukraine where ethnic Hungarians field Hungarian political parties, attend Hungarian religious services, even operate on Hungarian time zones (the clocks of their ethnic Ukrainian neighbors run one hour ahead). The dueling time zones might cause a little friction, but Dr. Stroschein found that where Europeans tolerate these compromises about their once-sacrosanct identities, stable democracies emerge.

    Ethnic nationalism still tempts Europeans. But democracy has taken hold where nationalist attitudes have cooled. This global shift has been glacially slow but unidirectional enough that, among democracies, the exceptions stick out.

    The historian Tony Judt, in a controversial 2003 essay, called Israel's mission to maintain a firmly Jewish identity "an anachronism." The country's vision of itself as by and for a single demographic group, he wrote, "is rooted in another time and place," a stubborn holdout amid "a world that has moved on."

    But Mr. Judt may have overstated, as historians often did in those days, the decline of the national idea. Israel may not have been an anachronism at all, but a precursor of things to come.

    Fear and Backlash

    Old ideas of nationhood can have a powerful pull. The way that human beings think about group identity — as an extension of ourselves, particularly in moments of crisis — can make us see safety in conformity, and danger in diversity or tolerance.

    Nothing triggers those feelings like terrorism or demographic change.

    Jewish Israelis experienced both in the early and mid-2000s — about a decade before similar fears would provoke nationalist backlashes in much of the Western world.

    A wave of horrific violence known as the Second Intifada, which killed far more Palestinians than Israelis, included shocking terrorist attacks in previously safe Israeli enclaves.

    At the same time, Palestinian and Arab Israeli birthrates left Jewish Israelis feeling at demographic risk. In truth, Jewish birthrates are high and Muslim birthrates declining, but the fear of being outnumbered remains.

    Research has repeatedly found that terrorist attacks increase support, among the targeted community, for right-wing politics. One study found that even the perceived threat of an attack shifted Israeli voters toward right-wing parties. Tellingly, this favored a specific subset of right-wing parties — the nationalists.

    A study of Israelis led by Daphna Canetti-Nisim, a political psychologist at the University of Maryland, found that exposure to terrorism changes much more than party preference.

    When people believe they may be attacked merely for who they are, they hold more closely to their identity. Their sense of community narrows: only those who look like them are to be tolerated. They grow more supportive of policies to restrict or control minorities, the research found, and less supportive of pluralism or democracy.

    At the same time, when a majority demographic group believes it could become a minority, members of that group often become less supportive of democracy, preferring a strong ruler and harsh social controls, according to scholarly research on democratic decline.

    Jewish Israelis have changed how they see their country's identity. In polls, they once expressed optimism that it could be both Jewish and democratic. But in the past decade, according to polling by the Israel Democracy Institute, that has become a minority position. Large subsets say the country must be either Jewish first or democratic first.

    Those who say Israel should be Jewish first overwhelmingly belong to the political right, which pushed through this week's national self-determination law. But even those who say democracy should prevail express support for some caveats. In 2014, most Jews said that "crucial national decisions" — like, say, self-determination — should be left to the Jewish majority.

    The quality of Israeli democracy has been declining steadily since the early 2000s, according to a well-regarded index known as V-Dem that tracks countries across a host of metrics. In the mid-1990s, it scored alongside present-day South Korea and Jamaica. Today, it is seen as on par with African democracies such as Namibia and Senegal and well below Tunisia, the Middle East's highest-scored democracy.

    A Global Backlash

    Israelis are less alone than they once were in questioning the half-century-old consensus that democracy should prevail over national identity.

    In Europe, an influx of migrants and refugees, along with terrorist attacks, have transformed public attitudes. Europeans have grown more nationalistic, more politically extreme and less welcoming of outsiders. And much as in Israel, hard-line attitudes have continued to grow even as the threats have waned, with terrorism and migration both declining.

    In the United States, fear of migration and terrorism coincides, among a subset of white voters, with support for harsh policies against minorities and for a strong leader who can impose control.

    Some countries, like Hungary, have overtly embraced an old-style national identity, with leaders championing the ethnic origins of the state, warning darkly of foreigners and curtailing basic rights.

    Israel is not Hungary, which faces no equivalent to the Palestinian conflict. But they have arrived at a similar ideological destination. Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, has grown close to Israel's leaders, visiting them in Jerusalem last week.

    Democracy's growth has stalled globally. Though the causes for this are not fully known, the trend is marked, in part, by once-healthy democracies rolling backward. Conventional wisdom holds that this is because of mismanagement or the self-interest of leaders. But maybe this is wrong.

    Forced to choose between putting democracy or identity first, people may not always pick democracy.

    The Interpreter is a column by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub exploring the ideas and context behind major world events.



    7) Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It's Having a Major Revival.

    By Liz Alderman, July 22, 2018


    The Portuguese city of Porto. Business confidence has rebounded in Portugal, production and exports have taken off, and economic growth is at its highest level in a decade.

    LISBON — Ramón Rivera had barely gotten his olive oil business started in the sun-swept Alentejo region of Portugal when Europe's debt crisis struck. The economy crumbled, wages were cut, and unemployment doubled. The government in Lisbon had to accept a humiliating international bailout.

    But as the misery deepened, Portugal took a daring stand: In 2015, it cast aside the harshest austerity measures its European creditors had imposed, igniting a virtuous cycle that put its economy back on a path to growth. The country reversed cuts to wages, pensions and social security, and offered incentives to businesses.

    The government's U-turn, and willingness to spend, had a powerful effect. Creditors railed against the move, but the gloom that had gripped the nation through years of belt-tightening began to lift. Business confidence rebounded. Production and exports began to take off — including at Mr. Rivera's olive groves.

    "We had faith that Portugal would come out of the crisis," said Mr. Rivera, the general manager of Elaia. The company focused on state-of-the-art harvesting technology, and it is now one of Portugal's biggest olive oil producers. "We saw that this was the best place in the world to invest."

    At a time of mounting uncertainty in Europe, Portugal has defied critics who have insisted on austerity as the answer to the Continent's economic and financial crisis. While countries from Greece to Ireland — and for a stretch, Portugal itself — toed the line, Lisbon resisted, helping to stoke a revival that drove economic growth last year to its highest level in a decade.

    The renewal is visible just about everywhere. Hotels, restaurants and shops have opened in droves, fueled by a tourism surge that has helped cut unemployment in half. In the Beato district of Lisbon, a mega-campus for start-ups rises from the rubble of a derelict military factory. Bosch, Google and Mercedes-Benz recently opened offices and digital research centers here, collectively employing thousands.

    Foreign investment in aerospace, construction and other sectors is at a record high. And traditional Portuguese industries, including textiles and paper mills, are putting money into innovation, driving a boom in exports.

    "What happened in Portugal shows that too much austerity deepens a recession, and creates a vicious circle," Prime Minister António Costa said in an interview. "We devised an alternative to austerity, focusing on higher growth, and more and better jobs."

    Voters ushered Mr. Costa, a center-left leader, into power in late 2015 after he promised to reverse cuts to their income, which the previous government had approved to reduce Portugal's high deficit under the terms of an international bailout of 78 billion euros, or $90 billion. Mr. Costa formed an unusual alliance with Communist and radical-left parties, which had been shut out of power since the end of Portugal's dictatorship in 1974. They united with the goal of beating back some of the toughest aspects of austerity, while balancing the books to meet eurozone rules.

    The government raised public sector salaries, the minimum wage and pensions and even restored the amount of vacation days to prebailout levels over objections from creditors like Germany and the International Monetary Fund. Incentives to stimulate business included development subsidies, tax credits and funding for small and midsize companies.

    Mr. Costa made up for the givebacks with cuts in infrastructure and other spending, whittling the annual budget deficit to less than 1 percent of its gross domestic product, compared with 4.4 percent when he took office. The government is on track to achieve a surplus by 2020, a year ahead of schedule, ending a quarter-century of deficits.

    European officials are now admitting that Portugal may have found a better response to the crisis. Recently, they rewarded Lisbon by elevating the country's finance minister, Mário Centeno, who helped engineer the changes, to president of the Eurogroup, the influential collective of eurozone finance ministers.

    The economic about-face had a remarkable impact on Portugal's collective psyche. While discouragement lingers in Greece after a decade of spending cuts, Portugal's recovery has pivoted around restoring confidence to get people and businesses motivated again.

    "The actual stimulus spending was very small," said João Borges de Assunção, a professor at the Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics. "But the country's mind-set became completely different, and from an economic perspective, that's more impactful than the actual change in policy."

    The brighter outlook has lifted companies like Elaia, the olive oil producer. Its parent company, Sovena, opened Elaia as a start-up on a vast agricultural plain in southern Portugal in 2007, just before the downturn. Its timing could hardly have been worse, but managers persisted, paving the way for a surge in production when the crisis ebbed.

    Elaia says it generates 14 percent of Portugal's olive oil today, contributing to a renaissance in Portuguese exports, which now constitute 40 percent of economic activity. Drones buzz over vast olive groves, precision-planted with 2,000 trees per hectare, or roughly 2.5 acres, compared with around 150 trees for a traditional farm, monitoring crops for insect infestations, water levels and optimum harvesting time. Olives are picked by machine. Instead of field hands, the company hires technicians to operate the robots, and it has teamed up with universities for research.

    "Portugal has benefited a lot after the tough years we had," said Jorge de Melo, Sovena's chief executive. "The mood is much better than it was before, and that's important for the economy."

    Yet Portugal's success is still vulnerable.

    Growth is cooling from 2.7 percent last year, as Mr. Costa keeps public investment at a 40-year low to cut the deficit. While he restored public sector salaries to previous levels, they have barely budged since before the crisis. Social precariousness lingers, worsened by the spread of low-paying part-time contracts. And the minimum wage of 580 euros a month, although up, remains one of the lowest in the eurozone.

    Portugal's unions are now threatening strikes to press the government to more fully reverse austerity, increase wages and unlock more public spending to reduce inequality.

    Mr. Costa insists that the government must keep cutting the deficit to offset the biggest threat to Portugal: its enormous debt, still one of the eurozone'slargest. Portuguese banks are saddled with bad loans from the earlier crisis, and the country remains vulnerable to any financial market turmoil that might be stirred up by problems in nearby Italy.

    "We didn't go from the dark side to the bright side of the moon," the prime minister said. "There's still a lot to do."

    "But when we started this process, a lot of people said that what we wanted to achieve was impossible," he added. "We showed that there is an alternative."

    To cement the growth cycle, the government is putting what little investment it makes into targeted initiatives like tax breaks for foreign companies and training for the unemployed.

    An hour and a half east of Lisbon, in Évora, a five-acre factory built by the French airplane-parts maker Mecachrome rises from rolling plains fringed with cork trees. Lured in 2016 by government incentives and European Union loans, it invested €30 million in a vast aerospace park where bulldozers are plowing fields to make way for roads and businesses.

    Robots forge precision parts for Airbus, Boeing and other industry giants. Most of the 150 technicians were recruited nearby by an unemployment agency that started an intensive retraining program with the government.

    Luis Salgueiro, 29, an apprentice with Mecachrome, was jobless during the crisis. He eventually got work as a waiter, and then in a tomato factory, before landing again at the unemployment office. At the Mecachrome plant, however, he was helping to code a complex machine to fashion a titanium airplane part. Completing the apprenticeship is expected to lead to a full-time job.

    "The future looks really bright for me now," he said, beaming as he gestured around the factory.

    Christian Santos, Mecachrome's director in Portugal, said he plans to hire 150 more workers and to make millions in additional investments in the next three years.

    "Things are happening in Portugal," he said. "There's an enthusiastic mojo here."

    Camilo Soldado contributed reporting.



    8) New York City's Young Inmates Are Held in Isolation Upstate, Despite Ban

    By Ashley Southall and Jan Ransom, July 22, 2018


    Nazeem Francis, 19, was charged with assaulting a correction officer at Rikers Island. He was sent to Albany County Correctional Facility and placed in solitary confinement, a practice that was banned three years ago in New York City for inmates younger than 22.

    Three years ago, when New York City banned solitary confinement for inmates younger than 22 and curtailed it for others, Mayor Bill de Blasio held up the policy as a model for reform.

    But since the rules were approved, the city has stepped up a longstanding practice of transferring some inmates to correctional facilities elsewhere in the state where no such restrictions exist. Dozens of New York City inmates, including several teenagers, have ended up in solitary confinement.

    Transfers of inmates 21 and younger increased sharply starting in 2015, the year the city adopted the solitary ban, and except for a drop in 2017, the number of such transfers has remained well above the levels seen before the ban, according to Correction Department data.

    At least 10 young inmates have been transferred from New York City this year, including eight who are in solitary at one upstate jail, the Albany County Correctional Facility, according to their lawyers.

    New York City has long had the power to make such transfers if an inmate is especially vulnerable to attack or presents a high risk to other inmates or to guards. But the sharp overall increase in transfers since the solitary ban was put into place for city jails suggests that transfers to other jurisdictions have become an end-run around the city's own rules on solitary confinement.

    Defense lawyers say transferring inmates allows city officials to avoid responsibility for harsher conditions of confinement. A few of the lawyers are challenging the transfers in court on the grounds that they violate inmates' due process rights, as well as state law and city rules.

    Peter Thorne, the chief spokesman for the Correction Department, said transfers are based on "safety or security" and are not used as punishment.

    Isolation of inmates has been shown to heighten risks of suicide and depression, especially among young people, and the city has not only limited the use of solitary confinement, but has begun moving 16- and 17-year-olds off Rikers Island to comply with a new state law that raised the age at which a person could be charged as an adult to 18.

    But some of the reform efforts have faced resistance, most notably from the union representing guards, which has said serious sanctions like solitary must be preserved for violent inmates.

    Inmates who have been charged with assaulting guards are among those most often transferred, in part because the Correction Department cannot ensure their safety.

    Martin F. Horn, who was correction commissioner from 2003 to 2009, said that if such inmates were harmed, it could raise the specter of payback: "It makes sense to send them elsewhere where they're not 'hot,'" he said.

    But inmates said the transfers do not make them safer. All the inmates sent to Albany said through their attorneys or in interviews that they have been beaten by guards and put into solitary confinement for months.

    Steven Espinal, 19, who prosecutors say led an attack in February that left a Rikers guard's spine fractured, said guards stomped and kicked him so badly when he arrived that he lost hearing in his left ear and passed blood in his urine. He was hospitalized, then sentenced to 600 days in solitary confinement for violating jail rules, his lawyer said.

    While they beat him, Mr. Espinal said in an interview, the guards kept saying, "This ain't New York City. We do what we want."

    Jesse Hoberman-Kelly said he learned of the transfers in February, when he began representing one of Mr. Espinal's co-defendants, Samson Walston, 19. Both teenagers, and their two co-defendants, are being held in Albany awaiting trial on a charge of gang assault for the attack on the Rikers guard, Officer Jean Souffrant, which was captured on video.

    Sheriff Craig D. Apple Sr., who runs the Albany jail, dismissed the inmates' claims of abuse as "frivolous" and an attempt to force their return to the city.

    "My staff has not done anything to these people whatsoever," Sheriff Apple said.

    He said it was the jail's policy to isolate inmates who have assaulted staff, regardless of their age, where the incident occurred, or restrictions in the jurisdiction that sent them to Albany.

    The solitary rules put in place in 2015 expanded a restriction that only had applied to 16- and 17-year-olds.

    Previously, the city sent few inmates 21 and younger out of town each year, according to city data. But the number rose to 16 in the first two years of the ban. It declined in 2017, but rose again this year. Currently, 10 young New York City inmates are being held in outside jails, according to the Correction Department. There are currently 811 inmates younger than 21 in the city's jails.

    Detailed information about how transfers have been used under Mr. de Blasio was not available because orders granted for safety reasons were destroyed three years after they expired. That practice ended in April, when the state Commission of Correction, which approves transfers, began collecting data about inmates, including age, ethnicity, race and sex.

    The Correction Department operates eight jails on Rikers Island and four others around the city. Together the facilities can hold about 11,000 people, and the agency has more than 10,400 uniformed officers.

    But with fewer people being detained, the jails are well below capacity. David A. Fullard, a former correction captain who worked at Rikers for 30 years, said it was a shame that the city has been unable to find a way to house high-risk inmates without relying on other jurisdictions.

    "You can't figure this out? You can't pull a consultant to help you with that?" Mr. Fullard, a professor at Empire State College, said. "It's embarrassing."

    The case of Kalief Browder, a Bronx teenager who spent much of a three-year stint awaiting trial in solitary confinement at Rikers Island, highlighted the dangers associated with prolonged isolation. After prosecutors dropped their case, he committed suicide in 2015. After his death, Mr. de Blasio said, "Kalief's story helped inspire our efforts" at Rikers.

    Martin Guggenheim, a law professor at New York University, said what had been "a great victory" is now being circumvented by a practice that he believes is legally dubious.

    The Correction Department has implemented alternatives to solitary confinement, including secure units where inmates receive therapy and counseling. States such as Mississippi, California, Colorado, Illinois and Washington have taken steps toward reducing the number of inmatesplaced in solitary.

    Since city jails implemented alternatives to solitary confinement for inmates 21 and younger, officers have complained they lost an effective tool for controlling young inmates. Elias Husamudeen, the president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, said the city is trying to have it both ways by banning youth from solitary in its jails but transferring them to jails where they can be isolated.

    "The city, the mayor would rather have someone do what we could do and pay hundreds of dollars a day to have them there," he said.

    Between July 2013 and June 2017, the Correction Department said it paid more than $560,000 to jails in other counties to house city inmates. Albany County receives $175 per inmate each day, Sheriff Apple said.

    Inmates sent to the Albany jail described a pattern of abuse that begins with made-up misconduct and weapons violations. In written complaints and in interviews with The New York Times and their lawyers, they said the charges serve as a pretext for beating and isolating them.

    Those charged with assaulting Rikers guards described taunts from guards in Albany that suggest retaliation: "'This is for Rikers,'" Nazeem Francis, 19, told his lawyer, Stuart J. Grossman. Mr. Francis and Devin Burns, 18, are also charged with assaulting Officer Souffrant.

    Mr. Espinal was taken to Albany Medical Center, where doctors scanned his body and inserted a catheter in his penis, his lawyer, Ruben D. Fernandez, said.

    The Correction Commission, which is managed by a three-member board appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and oversees local jails and state prisons, is investigating eight grievances filed by two city inmates who are being held in Albany, according to its spokeswoman, Janine Kava.

    Natalie Grybauskas, a spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio, said the city views transfers as the safest option for the inmates, but she conceded, "That doesn't eliminate the possibility of any violence happening in any other jail."

    A spokesman for the Board of Correction, the city's jail oversight panel, said it wants to see the practice minimized.

    Albany is a two-and-a-half hour drive from New York City, and lawyers complain that inmates sent to the jail have missed court dates because they are transported late or not at all, prolonging their cases and pressuring them to accept plea deals.

    The young men accused of assaulting Officer Souffrant were already facing serious charges like attempted murder, assault and gun possession. Correction officials believe they are gang members, an affiliation that leads to tougher bail conditions and sentences. Three of them had weapons when they arrived in Albany, a Bronx prosecutor recently said in court.

    Last year, Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, introduced regulations broadening oversight of solitary confinement in local jails, which the state commission is expected to adopt this summer. The regulations require jails to explain in writing any decision to place inmates in solitary for more than a month or to restrict or deny recreation and services.

    In June, legislation that would have restricted the use of solitary in state prisons and local jails passed the Democrat-led Assembly, but stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

    But even without these changes, advocates for inmates say the city's practice of transferring young inmates appears to violate current law, which requires correction officials to send inmates to the closest suitable facilities and to take into consideration their lawyers' and families' ability to reach them.

    Nancy Ginsburg, the director of The Legal Aid Society's Adolescent Intervention and Diversion Project, which is challenging Mr. Francis's transfer, said, "I think that nobody's really paying attention to that."



    9)  Congratulations, You Are Now a U.S. Citizen. Unless Someone Decides Later You're Not.

    By Patricia Mazzel, July 23, 2018


    Norma Borgoño, left, with her daughter, Urpi Ríos. Federal prosecutors filed a rare denaturalization case against Ms. Borgoño, accusing her of committing fraud when she applied for citizenship in 2007.

    MIAMI — Norma Borgoño immigrated to the United States from Peru in 1989. A single mother with two children, she set roots in the Miami suburbs, finding work as a secretary, dedicating herself to her church and, earlier this year, welcoming her first grandchild, a girl named Isabel, after Ms. Borgoño's middle name.

    She took the oath of citizenship in 2007, a step she felt would secure her status in her adopted homeland. But hers, it turns out, is not a feel-good immigrant story: The Justice Department has moved to revoke Ms. Borgoño's citizenship, an action that could eventually force her to return to Peru.

    Federal prosecutors in May filed a rare denaturalization case against Ms. Borgoño, 64, accusing her of committing fraud when she applied for citizenship and failed to disclose that she had taken part in a crime several years before she applied for citizenship — though she had not at the time been charged with it. It wasn't until four years later, in 2011, that Ms. Borgoño pleaded guilty to helping her boss, to no benefit of her own, defraud the Export-Import Bank of the United States of $24 million.

    Since President Trump took office, the number of denaturalization cases lhas grown substantially, part of a campaign of aggressive immigration enforcement that now promises to include even the most protected class of legal immigrants: naturalized citizens.

    The government says it is doing what it has always done: Prosecuting cases of fraud among 21.2 million naturalized citizens, from people suspected of war crimes or terrorism to those in phony marriages or with false identities.

    But Ms. Borgoño's case comes as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that handles residency and citizenship, is separately opening a new office to investigate thousands of potential denaturalization cases, even as it approves more new citizenship applications than before. U.S.C.I.S. also intends to refer more cases for possible deportation, and to give citizenship adjudicating officers more discretion to deny applications they consider ineligible or incomplete.

    Another agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has requested $207.6 million to hire an additional 300 agents to investigate more cases, including marriage, visa, residency and citizenship fraud.

    Taken together, "it's new terrain for the government," said Victor X. Cerda, one of Ms. Borgoño's defense attorneys. "They're being more aggressive."

    The renewed focus on denaturalization, and a recent uptick in the number of cases filed by the Justice Department, have deeply unsettled many immigrants who had long believed that a United States passport warded off a lifetime of anxiety over possible deportation. Citizenship also opens the door to voting, a fact that Democratic Party activists and others used to their advantage in naturalization drives before the 2016 election.

    The new push for denaturalization investigations, though, threatens what were once certainties.

    "You put a question mark next to every naturalized citizen's name," said David W. Leopold, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "And then you instill fear."

    Denaturalization remains a rare, lengthy and difficult process, and immigration authorities say that only people who have deliberately lied to the government have any reason to be concerned. U.S.C.I.S. naturalizes 700,000 to 750,000 people a year; in 2017, that number was 715,000, despite a 35 percent surge in applications that began in the run-up to the last presidential election.

    The increase required U.S.C.I.S. to hire more staff, open two new offices and expand 10 existing offices to keep up, though processing times have slowed. Still, the agency says it naturalized more people in the first six months of this year than in the same period for each of the previous five years.

    The number of denaturalization cases, however, has also gone up: They averaged 11 a year from 1990 to 2017 and rose to approximately 15 in 2016 and about 25 in 2017, according to the Justice Department. About 20 cases have been filed so far this year, the department said.

    More cases are expected from the new U.S.C.I.S. office investigating suspected citizenship fraud. Expected to open in Los Angeles next year, the office will review naturalizations that were flagged after old fingerprint records on paper were scanned into a government database a decade ago. The scans allowed immigration authorities to find people who had been granted citizenship despite having prior criminal convictions or deportation orders.

    The Obama administration appeared to pursue few cases involving duplicate identities, unless they involved egregious wrongdoing or naturalized citizens who had received government security clearances. But a 2016 report by the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security found that more than 315,000 fingerprint records for people who had been deported or had criminal convictions had still not been uploaded.

    The report prompted U.S.C.I.S. to dedicate funds and workers to the job, starting in January 2017. So far, about 2,500 cases have required an in-depth review, and about 100 cases have been referred to the Justice Department. Prosecutors have not pursued all of them.

    "We are not out there looking for people to denaturalize," said Daniel M. Renaud, associate director for field operations at U.S.C.I.S. "We're not going out and saying, 'Who did we naturalize last year? Let's open up that file and take a look!'"

    As with any other immigration approval, he said, "If there is fraud, then we think it's in the interest of everyone for us to deal with it."

    Last year, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that citizenship could not be revoked over minor falsehoods in an application.

    Among the pending denaturalizations are cases against two men in Michigan and Florida. The Justice Department says it found evidence that the men did not disclose in their applications that they had outstanding deportation orders under other identities. Six people have been denaturalized since the fingerprint reviews began, including a New Jersey man who had immigrated from India and failed to respond to the denaturalization lawsuit filed against him.

    Ms. Borgoño's case in Miami, however, is different, because it did not originate with the fingerprint database but with her criminal conviction.

    Ms. Borgoño cooperated with investigators to build the case against her boss and never profited from his fraudulent scheme involving bank loan applications. She was sentenced to house arrest and probation, which she completed early after paying a small amount of restitution.

    But prosecutors say that because the scheme began before Ms. Borgoño became naturalized, she should have divulged her involvement to immigration authorities, who might have then denied her citizenship. Her attorneys say it is unclear whether Ms. Borgoño knew of her boss's unlawful scheme at the time.

    When Ms. Borgoño pleaded guilty, prosecutors did not suggest her citizenship was at risk, said Mr. Cerda, her attorney, who has asked the court to dismiss the denaturalization case.

    "There was no indication, no discussion, that this could be used against her," he said, saying Ms. Borgoño's defense might have taken a different tack if it had known her immigration status was at stake. "There has to be a modicum of understanding, frankly, in terms of the government's perspective of which cases to pursue and which ones not to pursue. I just don't think that's being applied right now."

    The Justice Department's other recent denaturalization targets include child sex abusers, repeat sex offenders and people accused of supporting or conspiring with terrorists. In 2016, a Pennsylvania man who 18 years earlier had been convicted of a white-collar crime, like Ms. Borgoño, agreed to give up his citizenship but remain a legal permanent resident.

    "There's no statute of limitations," noted Matthew Hoppock, an immigration lawyer in Kansas who tracks denaturalization cases. "It makes negotiating these cases with the government really difficult. My client can agree to give up her citizenship if you promise not to deport her. You can make that promise now, but you could always deport her later — 10 years from now, 20 years from now."

    Mr. Cerda declined to make Ms. Borgoño available for an interview, citing the pending case. Her daughter, Urpi Ríos, said the lawsuit had shattered the family.

    "She did everything that was asked of her," Ms. Ríos said, speaking through tears. "I'm trying to do the best I can to make her smile every day."

    Ms. Borgoño has no close family remaining in Peru, according to her daughter, who worries her mother could be deported and wind up alone and sick. Ms. Borgoño has Alport syndrome, a genetic condition, and has been on a kidney transplant list for two years.

    She was overjoyed by the birth of her granddaughter, who spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit before coming home.

    "And then, not even a week goes by, and this bombshell comes," said Ms. Ríos, recalling the moment her mother was served with the denaturalization complaint. "It's without mercy."

    Kitty Bennett and Doris Burke contributed research.



    10) Women Ask 'What if It Were Me?' and Rush to Aid Separated Families

    By Annie Correal, July 20, 2018


    Julie Schwietert Collazo, right, initially began a campaign to get Yeni González out of immigration detention, but her efforts have expanded.

    Julie Schwietert Collazo unrolled a giant sheet of paper at her kitchen table in Long Island City, Queens, on a recent morning. As her three children played nearby, she began going down a list of names written on it in purple marker.

    "Hillary Estefany. Hillary Alejandra," she read, explaining they were 19-year-old twins whose brother was separated from them after they illegally crossed the Southwest border. Both were being held in Eloy, Ariz., on $15,000 bonds. "Delmi. She's from Guatemala," she went on. "Separation case. $30,000."

    Just over three weeks ago, Ms. Schwietert Collazo launched a crowdfunding campaign on behalf of another woman detained in Eloy, Yeni González, a Guatemalan migrant whose children had been taken from her at the border as part of the Trump Administration's zero tolerance policy. Ms. Schwietert Collazo was spurred into action after she heard Ms. González's lawyer on the radio. While Ms. González was being held in Arizona on a $7,500 bond, her three children were living in a foster home in New York.

    "The subtext was if we could get her here, she could get her kids back," Ms. Schwietert Collazo said.

    She set about getting Ms. González to New York. She asked a few mothers she had just met at a donation drive for separated children — and then the public — to help post Ms. González's $7,500 bond.

    [Yeni González was the first woman to have her bond paid by the New York women. Follow her cross-country journey to be reunited with her children.] 

    Like the Texas-based nonprofit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES, which raised more than $20 million after launching a Facebook fund-raiser to cover one detained parent's $1,500 bond, the New York group soon exceeded its once modest goal. As of this week, Ms. Schwietert Collazo's group, which has gone from being called the Yeni González Support Team, to Immigrant Families Together, has raised more than $300,000. They call themselves "a network of Americans committed to rapid response unification of families separated by the 'zero tolerance' policy."

    Sara Farrington, a playwright, joined the group and "blitzed mom groups within 100 miles of here" on Facebook to raise money. "People ask me, 'Why this?' 'Why aren't you focusing on the midterms?' I think it comes back to empathy," she said. "To the gut punch of a mom separated from her 5-year-old. The reason that this has exploded, I truly think, is that moms have put themselves in that situation. It has hit a primitive motherly nerve. I think it all stems from, 'What if it were me?'"

    Ms. Schwietert Collazo, a former social worker, is now a writer and editor. She launched the Yeni González crowdfunding campaign on June 25. Days later, she paid her bond, and Ms. González was released to her lawyer, José Orochena, in Eloy, and set out for New York.

    Other women in the Eloy Detention Center learned of Mr. Orochena through Ms. González, who gave them her lawyer's contact information before she was released. Someone typed it up at a library in the detention center, printed 50 copies, and circulated them, Mr. Orochena said.

    As the lawyer was flooded with calls, he passed along women's names to Ms. Schwietert Collazo and her group. And so began their round-the-clock work to release and reunite the mothers of Eloy with their children. For each woman they learned about, the organizers launched a crowdfunding campaign in her name.

    To date, the group has raised funds — through a mix of crowdfunding and private donors — to cover the bonds of 12 women. It has also arranged for them to be driven by volunteers to wherever their children were sent, even if it was thousands of miles from Eloy. Most cannot fly because immigration authorities have held onto their photo identification.

    The group has also provided the newly reunited families with housing and pro bono attorneys in the states where they have ended up, Ms. Schwietert Collazo said, creating, in the process, a broad network of helpers. "With the rabbis in Tennessee," she said into her phone at one point this week, "we should be set."

    But now, the group's role may be changing. The federal government is hastily putting families back together in order to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite all separated families by July 26. And the group in New York is getting calls for new kinds of help from all over the country.

    This week, a lawyer made an urgent request for medical care for two girls, 2 and 6, who were on the road to Maryland after being reunited with a parent, but had been running high fevers. Another lawyer needed diapers and wipes.

    Meghan Finn, the group member in charge of coordinating the women's travel after they are released from Eloy, said what they had been hearing was distressing.

    After being transported over long distances to be reunited, often without much food or sleep, many families had been released in government offices, airports and bus stations, with their ankle monitors and a handful of paperwork from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and little more than the clothes in which they crossed the border.

    "They're getting dropped off at Greyhound stations at random times," said Ms. Finn, co-artistic director of the Tank, a nonprofit theater in Midtown Manhattan.

    "Listen, this is our job. This is our job because our government did something really heinous to these families, and it's not just about putting them on a bus."

    Other than Ms. Schwietert Collazo's husband, Francisco Collazo — a refugee from Cuba who arrived on the Mariel boatlift — the group members are all women, most of them mothers. As their days have been consumed with helping separated families, their partners and parents have taken over child care duties, cooking meals, giving the children haircuts.

    "My mom refers to the kitchen as the 'immigration office,'" said Ms. Finn, who lives in Kensington, Brooklyn, with her husband and their two young sons.

    Ms. Schwietert Collazo remembers checking with her husband before she launched the first campaign. "I said, 'We both have to be all in on this. Because it's something that's going to take over our lives.' But I don't think either of us expected it would be to this extent."

    Meeting the women they have bonded out has revealed the toll of separation and detention, Ms. Finn said. "They're losing their hair. Their hands are peeling. They're malnourished. It takes them a while to eat properly."

    So the group has continued raising funds to get more mothers out of Eloy, even as the immigration authorities there have kept increasing the bonds. Delmi's bond, $30,000, is about four times as much as Ms. González's bond. "It's the highest one I've seen," Ms. Schwietert Collazo said.

    On Tuesday, Ms. Finn sat with her laptop in a narrow dressing room at Tank on West 36th Street — that day's immigration office. As actors rehearsed to music onstage, she got a text message from Ms. Schwietert Collazo. Two more bonds had been posted, including one that would have expired the next day.

    "Yes! Yes!" Ms. Finn said, slapping the counter. "Beautiful. We're going to get these ladies out!"

    She picked up the phone and called a group member on the West Coast to start organizing the women's travel.

    The next day, Delmi's bond was covered, too — all $30,000 of it. The actress Kristen Bell closed the gap, with a $4,207 donation.



    11) Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the U.K. What Comes Next?

    By Glen Greenwald, July 21, 2018


    July 21, 2018—Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno traveled to London on Friday for the ostensible purpose of speaking at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit (Moreno has been using a wheelchair since being shot in a 1998 robbery attempt.) The concealed, actual purpose of the president's trip is to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012, eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and then hand over the WikiLeaksfounder to British authorities.

    Moreno's itinerary also notably includes a trip to Madrid, where he will meet with Spanish officials still seething over Assange's denunciation of human rights abuses perpetrated by Spain's central government against protesters marching for Catalonian independence. Almost three months ago, Ecuador blocked Assange from accessing the Internet, and Assange has not been able to communicate with the outside world ever since. The primary factor in Ecuador's decision to silence him was Spanish anger over Assange's tweets about Catalonia.

    A source close to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and the president's office, unauthorized to speak publicly, has confirmed to The Interceptthat Moreno is close to finalizing, if he has not already finalized, an agreement to hand over Assange to the U.K. within the next several weeks. The withdrawal of asylum and physical ejection of Assange could come as early as this week. On Friday, RT reported that Ecuador was preparing to enter into such an agreement.

    The consequences of such an agreement depend in part on the concessions Ecuador extracts in exchange for withdrawing Assange's asylum. But as former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa told The Intercept in an interview in May, Moreno's government has returned Ecuador to a highly "subservient" and "submissive" posture toward western governments.

    It is thus highly unlikely that Moreno—who has shown himself willing to submit to threats and coercion from the U.K., Spain and the U.S.—will obtain a guarantee that the U.K. not extradite Assange to the U.S., where top Trump officials have vowed to prosecute Assange and destroy WikiLeaks.

    The central oddity of Assange's case—that he has been effectively imprisoned for eight years despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime—is virtually certain to be prolonged once Ecuador hands him over to the U.K. Even under the best-case scenario, it appears highly likely that Assange will continue to be imprisoned by British authorities.

    The only known criminal proceeding Assange currently faces is a pending 2012 arrest warrant for "failure to surrender"—basically a minor bail violation that arose when he obtained asylum from Ecuador rather than complying with bail conditions by returning to court for a hearing on his attempt to resist extradition to Sweden.

    That offense carries a prison term of three months and a fine, though it is possible that the time Assange has already spent in prison in the U.K. could be counted against that sentence. In 2010, Assange was imprisoned in Wandsworth Prison, kept in isolation, for ten days until he was released on bail; he was then under house arrest for 550 days at the home of a supporter.

    Assange's lawyer, Jen Robinson, told The Interceptthat he would argue that all of that prison time already served should count toward (and thus completely fulfill) any prison term imposed on the "failure to surrender" charge, though British prosecutors would almost certainly contest that claim. Assange would also argue that he had a reasonable, valid basis for seeking asylum rather than submitting to U.K. authorities: namely, well-grounded fear that he would be extradited to the U.S. for prosecution for the act of publishing documents.

    Beyond that minor charge, British prosecutors could argue that Assange's evading of legal process in the U.K. was so protracted, intentional and malicious that it rose beyond mere "failure to surrender" to "contempt of court," which carries a prison term of up to two years. Just on those charges alone, then, Assange faces a high risk of detention for another year or even longer in a British prison.

    Currently, that is the only known criminal proceeding Assange faces. In May 2017, Swedish prosecutors announced they were closing their investigation into the sexual assault allegations due to the futility of proceeding in light of Assange's asylum and the time that has elapsed.

    The far more important question that will determine Assange's future is what the U.S. government intends to do. The Obama administration was eager to prosecute Assange and WikiLeaksfor publishing hundreds of thousands of classified documents, but ultimately concluded that there was no way to do so without either also prosecuting newspapers such as the New York Timesand The Guardian, which published the same documents, or creating precedents that would enable the criminal prosecution of media outlets in the future.

    Indeed, it is technically a crime under U.S. law for anyone—including a media outlet—to publish certain types of classified information. Under U.S. law, for instance, it was a felony for the Washington Post'sDavid Ignatius to report on the contents of telephone calls, intercepted by the NSA, between then National Security Adviser nominee Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, even though such reporting was clearly in the public interest since it proved Flynn lied when he denied such contacts.

    That the Washington Postand Ignatius—and not merely their sources—violated U.S. criminal law by revealing the contents of intercepted communications with a Russian official is made clear by the text of 18 § 798 of the U.S. Code, which provides (emphasis added):

    "Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates…or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes…any classified information…obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government…shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both."

    But the U.S. Justice Department has never wanted to indict and prosecute anyone for the crime of publishing such material, contenting themselves instead to prosecuting the government sources who leak it. Their reluctance has been due to two reasons: First, media outlets would argue that any attempts to criminalize the mere publication of classified or stolen documents is barred by the press freedom guarantee of the First Amendment, a proposition the DOJ has never wanted to test; second, no DOJ has wanted as part of its legacy the creation of a precedent that allows the U.S. government to criminally prosecute journalists and media outlets for reporting classified documents.

    But the Trump administration has made clear that they have no such concerns. Quite the contrary: Last April, Trump's then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, now his secretary of state, delivered a deranged, rambling, highly threatening broadsideagainst WikiLeaks. Without citing any evidence, Pompeo decreed that WikiLeaksis "a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia," and thus declared: "We have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us."

    The longtime right-wing congressman, now one of Trump's most loyal and favored cabinet officials, also explicitly rejected any First Amendment concerns about prosecuting Assange, arguing that while WikiLeaks"pretended that America's First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice…they may have believed that, but they are wrong."

    Pompeo then issued this bold threat: "To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now."

    Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions has similarly vowed not only to continue and expand the Obama DOJ's crackdown on sources, but also to consider the prosecution of media outlets that publish classified information. It would be incredibly shrewd for Sessions to lay the foundation for doing so by prosecuting Assange first, safe in the knowledge that journalists themselves—consumed with hatred for Assange due to personal reasons, professional jealousies, and anger over the role they believed he played in 2016 in helping Hillary Clinton lose—would unite behind the Trump DOJ and in support of its efforts to imprison Assange.

    During the Obama years, it was a mainstream view among media outlets that prosecuting Assange would be a serious danger to press freedoms. Even the Washington Posteditorial page, which vehemently condemned WikiLeakswarned in 2010 that any such prosecution would "criminalize the exchange of information and put at risk" all media outlets. When Pompeo and Sessions last year issued their threats to prosecute Assange, former Obama DOJ spokesperson Matthew Miller insisted that no such prosecution could ever succeed:

    "Glen Greenwald, April 13, 2017

    "Pompeo also creepily vowed to end the use of 'free speech values' by 'Assange and his colleagues.' How?

    "Jim Sciutto: Breaking: CIA Director Pompeo: 'It's time to call out WikiLeaksfor what it is; a non-state hostile intelligence service' abetted by Russia.

    "Matthew Miller: Replying to Greenwald: It's also hollow. DOJ knows it can't win a cast against someone just for publishing secrets."

    For years, the Obama DOJ searched for evidence that Assange actively assisted Chelsea Manning or other sources in the hacking or stealing of documents—in order to prosecute them for more than merely publishing documents—and found no such evidence. But even that theory—that a publisher of classified documents can be prosecuted for assisting a source—would be a severe threat to press freedom, since journalists frequently work in some form of collaboration with sources who remove or disclose classified information. And nobody has ever presented evidence that WikiLeaksconspired with whoever hacked the DNC and Podesta email inboxes to effectuate that hacking.

    But there seems little question that, as Sessions surely knows, large numbers of U.S. journalists—along with many, perhaps most, Democrats—would actually support the Trump DOJ in prosecuting Assange for publishing documents. After all, the DNC sued WikiLeaksin April for publishing documents—a serious, obvious threat to press freedom—and few objected.

    And it was Democratic senators such as Dianne Feinstein who, during the Obama years, were urging the prosecution of WikiLeaks, with the support of numerous GOP senators. There is no doubt that, after 2016, support among both journalists and Democrats for imprisoning Assange for publishing documents would be higher than ever.

    If the U.S. did indict Assange for alleged crimes relating to the publication of documents, or if they have already obtained a sealed indictment, and then uses that indictment to request that the U.K. extradite him to the U.S. to stand trial, that alone would ensure that Assange remains in prison in the U.K. for years to come.

    Assange would, of course, resist any such extradition on the ground that publishing documents is not a cognizable crime and that the U.S is seeking his extradition for political charges that, by treaty, cannot serve as the basis for extradition. But it would take at least a year, and probably closer to three years, for U.K. courts to decide these extradition questions. And while all of that lingers, Assange would almost certainly be in prison, given that it is inconceivable that a British judge would release Assange on bail given what happened the last time he was released.

    All of this means that it is highly likely that Assange—under his best-case scenario—faces at least another year in prison, and will end up having spent a decade in prison despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime. He has essentially been punished—imprisoned—by process.

    And while it is often argued that Assange has only himself to blame, it is beyond doubt, given the grand jury convened by the Obama DOJ and now the threats of Pompeo and Sessions, that the fear that led Assange to seek asylum in the first place—being extradited to the U.S. and politically persecuted for political crimes—was well-grounded.

    Assange, his lawyers and his supporters always said that he would immediately board a plane to Stockholm if he were guaranteed that doing so would not be used to extradite him to the U.S., and for years offered to be questioned by Swedish investigators inside the embassy in London, something Swedish prosecutors only did years later. Citing those facts, a United Nations panel ruled in 2016 that the actions of the U.K. government constituted "arbitrary detention" and a violation of Assange's fundamental human rights.

    But if, as seems quite likely, the Trump administration finally announces that it intends to prosecute Assange for publishing classified U.S. government documents, we will be faced with the bizarre spectacle of U.S. journalists—who have spent the last two years melodramatically expressing grave concern over press freedom due to insulting tweets from Donald Trump about Wolf Blitzer and Chuck Todd or his mean treatment of Jim Acosta—possibly cheering for a precedent that would be the gravest press freedom threat in decades.

    That precedent would be one that could easily be used to put them in a prison cell alongside Assange for the new "crime" of publishing any documents that the U.S. government has decreed should not be published. When it comes to press freedom threats, such an indictment would not be in the same universe as name-calling tweets by Trump directed at various TV personalities.

    When it came to denouncing due process denials and the use of torture at Guantanamo, it was not difficult for journalists to set aside their personal dislike for Al Qaeda sympathizers to denounce the dangers of those human rights and legal abuses. When it comes to free speech assaults, journalists are able to set aside their personal contempt for a person's opinions to oppose the precedent that the government can punish people for expressing noxious ideas.

    It should not be this difficult for journalists to set aside their personal emotions about Assange to recognize the profound dangers—not just to press freedoms but to themselves—if the U.S. government succeeds in keeping Assange imprisoned for years to come, all due to its attempts to prosecute him for publishing classified or stolen documents. That seems the highly likely scenario once Ecuador hands over Assange to the U.K.





















































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