"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!"















 Donate to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund using the 'Donate' button ***


The spark that lit the most recent rebellion was an announcement by the Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant that gas, diesel and kerosene prices would be raised by 38-51%.  Haitians took to the streets en-masse across the country.  After just two days, the growing grassroots mobilization forced the government to rescind the gas price increases.  But the protests escalated into a two-day general strike, barricades blocking streets and highways in cities throughout the country.  PM Jack Guy Lafontant resigned but it was too little too late.  The Haitian people are demanding the removal of the US-backed and fraudulently-elected president, Jovenel Moïse.


·        The Jovenel Moïse government's announcement of a double-digit increase in fuel prices, increasing the cost of gas by about $1.20/gallon, sparked the latest protests which began July 6th

·        Government corruption including the theft of $3.8 billion from PetroCaribe by officials - those named include two former prime ministers as well as heads of private firms in Haiti.  

·        Ongoing attacks on Haiti's grassroots majority, including the burning of public markets, targeting market women; government land theft and demolition of homes; teachers not being paid; attacks on student protesters; and the violence of poverty – 59% of Haitians live on less than $2/day, 24.7% on less than $1.25.

·        Ongoing repression.  As of July 6th, independent media on the ground Radio Timoun reported five people killed and many wounded by gunfire by police and government-sponsored paramilitary; more protestors have been killed or injured since.

·        Fourteen years of corrupt government since the 2004 US-backed coup that removed Haiti's first democratically-elected president, much loved Jean/Bertrand Aristide, and imposed a UN/US military occupation.  The massive election fraud that made Jovenel Moïse president in 2017.  Fanmi Lavalas, the party of Aristide and the poor majority, said on July 8th, 2018: "The cauldron of corruption and lies has been boiling non-stop 24 hours a day. The time has come to overturn it, for Haitians to begin to see the light of peace. Haiti is for all Haitians."


·        Independent media including Radio and Tele Timoun have been vital to spread the news of what is actually going on rather than spouting the US Embassy/Haitian government line. 

·        Independent Haitian journalists have increasingly been targeted and some killed for reporting the truth and giving a voice to the people's movement.


Donate to support independent GRASSROOTS MEDIA IN HAITI, so it can continue to share news and information among people in all parts of Haiti, and with the rest of the world.  

Make a tax-deductible donation to the 
Haiti Emergency Relief Fund using the 'Donate' button  via their fiscal sponsor Eastbay Sanctuary Covenant's Paypal

For more info: Haiti Action Committee www.haitisolidarity.net  @HaitiAction1 & on FACEBOOK

Issued by the Global Women's Strike & Women of Color GWS – please donate to HERF & circulate your networks.


sent by Haiti Action Committee




Hands Off Julian Assange

Don't allow the arrest of journalist whistleblower, Julian Assange

August 1, 2018, NOON

S.F. Ecuador Consulate

235 Montgomery St., S.F.

Endorsed by:

WorkWeek Radio

Project Censored

United Public Workers For Action www.upwa.info

Socialist Action

Ann Garrison, Journalist, San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report

Randy Credico, NYC Journalist, and WBAI Radio Host will speak by cell phone

Dr. Darrell Whitman, OSHA Whistleblower

The US has been pressuring the Ecuadorian government to force the removal of Julian Assange because of the US embarrassment over the release of emails of governments and politicians. The British government has also spent millions of dollars to surround the consulate and the May government plans to arrest Assange as soon as he is pushed out of the consulate. The effort to silence Julian Assange is not just about him but silencing all journalists who release information that threatens the exposure of government corruption and crimes. The refusal of the US government to prosecute those involved in US crimes in Iraq, Libya and around the world despite the evidence of these crimes provided by WikiLeaks is further reason why the US government is so interested in arresting Assange. 

Journalists are also under attack globally and the right of journalists to write and publish material about these activities is something that must be defended. The US and UK government officials are united in continuing the silencing of journalists and those who want to hold them responsible for the crimes of their governments around the world.

It is time to stand up for Assange and all journalists who are speaking truth to power.

Don't Force Assange Out Of Ecuadorian Consulate!

Hands Off Journalists and Whistleblowers!

Prosecute the Real Criminals!

To Endorse Rally & For Further Information:




Dangerous far right forces are planning another demonstration at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley on August 5, 2018.

The Berkeley far right mobilization is being organized in conjunction with a far right "Freedom March" in Portland, Oregon, planned for the day before on Saturday, August 4, 2018.  The Portland far right rally has been initiated by a group that was engaged in street fighting in Portland as recently as June 30 of this year. Many far right activists from the Pacific Northwest are planning to first attend the demonstration in Portland on August 4 and then to travel to Berkeley for the demonstration on August 5. Far Right organizations are now threatening to hold additional rallies in Oakland and Berkeley this summer and fall.

These West Coast mobilizations are scheduled to take place one week prior to a  "White Civil Rights Rally" planned for August 12 in Washington, DC. This mobilization will take place on the one-year anniversary of the violent "Unite the Right" demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia when a neo-Nazi murdered anti-racist activist Heather Heyer. Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler is also behind the White Civil Rights Rally this year in DC.

The far right is attempting to reassert itself on the streets of U.S. cities one year after it was exposed for its violence and its neo-nazi sympathies in Charlottesville but was peacefully outnumbered in Boston and the Bay Area.

Solidarity Against Fascism Eastbay (SAFEBay) is organizing a peaceful, non-violent counter protest on Sunday August 5th . The counter protest will start at 2:00 in Ohlone Park (Playground and Greenway) in Berkeley, located across the street from the North Berkeley BART station. At 3:00, some folks and organizations will leave the area and others will march to the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, in downtown Berkeley, where the far right will be rallying.

Sweep Out the Fascists: A Festival of Resilience

Endorsed by:

Solidarity Against Fascism East Bay (SAFEBay) 

SURJ Bay Area


National Lawyer Guild S.F. Bay Area Chapter

East Bay DSA Socialist Feminist Caucus

DSA Communist Caucus

DSA San Francisco

International Socialist Organization

Movement Generation

Critical Resistance Oakland

John Brown Anti-Klan Committee


Bay Area Queer Antifascist Network

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Folsom Lake College Campus Antifascist Network

Punks for Progress

Last August (2017), groups of white supremacists, aided by police and politicians, attempted to take over Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Park in order to build a base in the Bay. A crowd of thousands—including students, unionists, faith-based activists, teachers, and other everyday people—was there to confront them. We worked together to shut down the fascists and send them packing. Nationally, we sent a message that hate will not be welcome in the Bay. (Photo essay of 8/27 here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/kellyjohnsonrevelationaryphotography/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1371548832961154)

Once again, a group of white supremacists, Trump supporters, and fascists has announced a rally in downtown Berkeley for August 5, 2018. This event is part of a week-long nationwide "commemoration" of the hateful acts that took place nearly a year ago in Charlottesville, in which DeAndre Harris was beaten and Heather Heyer murdered. It is our duty to loudly and publicly reject their hate and to redouble our efforts in building a truly just and liberatory world. 

We are calling on all members of our community to assemble together to stop white supremacist and state violence from growing. As history demonstrates, regular maintenance is required by people of heart and conscience to shut down white supremacy and fascism, which are foundational violences of this settler-colonial state. We've got to tend to the relationships and values that fuel, nourish, and inspire us to build a vision of collective liberation. 

On August 5, we will gather to maintain a Bay Area free of fascism and white supremacy, sweeping out those that seek to deport, cage, harm, or extinguish members of our communities. Attacks on immigrants, Black and Indigenous people and other people of color, Muslims, the un-housed, queer and trans folks, disabled people, and/or women are becoming more prevalent as fascism reasserts itself in governments, state agencies, and increasingly organized groups across the globe. In the US, law enforcement, ICE and other deportation agents, and the jails and prisons work to remind people that this country was built on Indigenous land, on the backs of enslaved people, and that the prison industrial complex currently functions to maintain racial capitalism. We are reminded of this every time police kill another Black, Brown, and/or trans person in the streets. This country was founded on white supremacy and we must rise up with others around the world in an international movement to resist the fascism of both government and vigilantes. It's time to take out the trash. 

This is a community-wide call for each of us to perform critical community maintenance by removing fascists and white supremacists from our community. This will be a festival of resilience starting in Ohlone Park at 2pm going to MLK park for August 5, 2018. Featuring local artists, activists, musicians, comedians and everyday people. Our rally will send a clear message: "No hate in the Bay."

#TrashtheFash #FashFreeBayArea 

Join SAFEBay on Friday evening (August 3rd at 7:00pm) for and Art Build and Public Forum as we organize and come together to protect our communities. 

Fascists and other far-right racists that are again planning to meet in Berkeley, on August 5th. They're attempting to reassert the far right on the streets of U.S. cities after it was exposed in Charlottesville and outnumbered in Boston and the Bay Area last summer. We will not be silenced or intimidated. The massive demonstrations of last August in Boston and the Bay Area proved that when we come together, we can protect our communities and politically defeat the bigots.

There will be a panel presentation on who these racists and fascists are, why they keep coming to the Bay, and ways to stay safe during that weekend. SafeBay will also talk about the counter-rally planned, and why it's important to show up as a community.

There will be free art supplies for people to create signs and banners for the counter-rally, but please feel free to bring your own too!



Mass Action: No Nazis, No KKK in D.C.

Sunday, August 12, 2018, 11:00 A.M.

Lafayette Park, Washington D.C.

On August 12, the same white supremacist movement which murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia (exactly one year earlier) are bringing their racist roadshow to Lafayette Park in front of the White House. They are coming to Washington because they want to fan the flames of racism throughout the country. They were thrilled when Donald Trump said that their fascist ranks included "some very fine people".

We won't stand for that, or let this disgusting event go unanswered!

The vast majority of people in the Washington, D.C., area and throughout the country reject the message of the Nazis, KKK and other white supremacists. They are coming to Washington to be deliberately provocative. They are trying to prove that the fascist right wing is now a legitimate part of the political landscape.

We won't allow Washington, D.C., to be used as a stage to promote white supremacist hatred. This is a moment that demands action, not passivity. It is critically important to show that the forces opposed to racism, anti-immigrant bigotry, Islamophobia, anti-LGBTQ hatred and anti-Semitism will not be silenced or intimidated.

We urge you to help mobilize and support this protest against racism. We know that you believe just as much as we do that the disgusting forces who make up the "unite the right" coalition must be visibly rejected by the people of this country.

Initiating organizations include: ANSWER Coalition, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Justice First, Link-UP, Justice Center en El Barrio NYC, Internationalist Students Front-George Washington University, GW Queer Radicals, Philadelphia Liberation Center.

Click here to endorse this protest against racism:




Right now, Californians have the opportunity to make waves not just in our state, but around the globe. Together, we can make California the first major economy in the world to stop all new fossil fuel development and embark on a racially, economically just transition to 100% clean energy.

In the past year Trump has launched unprecedented attacks on frontline communities, the Clean Power Plan, and the EPA. Meanwhile, Governor Brown would like to build his legacy around the climate - but he has yet to stand up to Big Oil and prioritize a clean energy future for all of us. Now Governor Brown is hosting the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco September 12-14 with public officials from around the world.

That's why we're planning the largest climate march the West Coast has ever seen – days before the Summit, as part of a global day of action. Sign up to march in San Francisco on September 8.

Eight weeks later, millions more will take these demands to the polls, making Climate, Jobs, and Justice deciding issues in the mid-term elections and beyond.

We won't be acting alone. Bay Resistance is working with the California Environmental Justice Alliance, Idle No More SF Bay, 350, People's Climate Movement, and hundreds of other labor, faith, environmental justice, and community groups.

Mark your calendars to Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice on September 8th. Then sign up to paint the largest street mural ever with us that day, so elected officials hear our message loud and clear!

In solidarity,

Kung, Celi, Kimi, Irene, and the Bay Resistance team



Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Self Portrait, 2013

To: Virginia Department of Corrections; Chief of VA Corrections Operations David Robinson

We call on the Virginia Department of Corrections to immediately release Kevin "Rashid" Johnson from solitary confinement and not to transfer him again out of state.
Why is this important?

Click here to sign this petition.

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson has been a Virginia prisoner (#1007485) since 1990. During his imprisonment, he became a human rights advocate and a journalist. His journalistic work in particular exposes abuses by prison administration and staff. His related steps toward litigation have resulted in his being "interstate compacted" or transferred back-and-forth between state prisons.

Currently, Rashid is being held in solitary confinement with no legitimate security justification at Sussex I State Prison in Virginia. Between 2012 and June of 2018, he has been transferred to prisons in three other states (Oregon, Texas, and Florida) before being returned to a different prison in Virginia. He was kept in solitary confinement in Texas and Florida, where he witnessed and suffered many acts of abuse by prison staff. All this, in reprisal for his political and journalistic activity.

Each state prison transfer has subjected Rashid to serious abuses -- the most recent being caged in a freezing cold cell without heat or a blanket for over a week. Over the years, Rashid has had his life threatened by corrections officers and endured explicit, violent retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right of protected free speech. 

Rashid expects to be transferred again soon and to be subjected to more serious conditions of extreme isolation.

Kevin Rashid Johnson does not advocate for violence or illegal activity and has not been charged with anything of the like during his imprisonment. He is not a threat to the Virginia Department of Corrections – he is an imprisoned journalist and human rights advocate – and should be released from solitary confinement immediately.

Help by adding your name here.

Solitary confinement has been increasingly recognized by courts and society as a torturous means of punishment. This punitive measure has been imposed on Kevin Johnson not because of any violent conduct on his part but because of his relentless exposure of abuses by prison officials, his willingness to challenge those abuses through the legal system, and his efforts to educate fellow prisoners and encourage them to challenge by peaceful means the unhealthy and humiliating conditions to which they are subjected. Using solitary confinement as a tool to silence someone who exposes prison abuses and advocates for prison reform is a human rights abuse and unconstitutional.

Click here to demand the immediate release of Kevin Johnson from solitary confinement and for the VADOC not to transfer him again out of state.

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now. 

-- The RootsAction.org Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.


> Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw 

> Kevin "Rashid" Johnson: The Rising Tide of Hate in Amerika: A Sign of the Times



immigrant camps

US Military Ordered to Host Massive Immigrant Concentration Camps

We believe that all military personnel have a moral and legal obligation to refuse to comply with any order that involves collaboration with these camps.

Actual concentration camps are in the process of development at military bases across the Southern United States. This isn't the first time in US history that facilities are being constructed and used to imprison large numbers of a persecuted minority in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities (the definition of a concentration camp). Previous examples of this are now infamous, such as the so-called Japanese internment camps. We're now on the brink of adding a new chapter to this dark history.

Potential locations have been identified as:

  • Tornillo Port of Entry, Texas - capacity 360 teenagers CURRENTLY ACTIVE
  • Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas - capacity 45,000
  • Fort Bliss, Texas
  • Dyess Air Force Base, Texas
  • Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas - capacity 20,000
  • Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Air Station, California - capacity 47,000
  • Navy Outlying Field Wolf and Silverhill, Alabama - capacity 25,000
  • Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, Arizona
  • Concord Naval Weapons Station, California - capacity 47,000 CANCELLED

to support resistance

Military officials, in response to pressured deadlines from the White House, have stated that these camps can begin to be operational by mid-August. Estimates are that capacity for another 10,000 people can be added each month. The White House's stated timeline of 45 days out from June 27th has local base commanders scrambling and caught unaware.

In addition to providing the land, military personnel will construct the camps while private agencies will manage the operations. While this simplified explanation of operations seeks to minimize the military's role, it omits the endless capacities in which the armed forces will surely be facilitating the functioning of these camps such as with water, electricity, sewage, trash, and all of the other services to go allow with sustaining tens of thousands of immigrant detainees.

The military is strictly prohibited from domestic policing as stated in the constitution yet military personnel are being drafted into doing just that with this rising domestic enforcement of immigration policy. Just because Trump/Sessions Co. declares a war on immigrants, doesn't make it an actual war. Being quite clearly an illegal order, the question is who will refuse to aid and abet?



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

www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist





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

"Trumpty Dumpty"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

Trumpty Dumpty sat on his wall,

Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the kingpin's forces and all the KKKlansmem

Couldn't put Trumpty together again.

July 25, 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) 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.



    2)  Pizza Delivery Man Detained by ICE Is Freed by Judge

    By Liz Robbins, July 24, 2018


    Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, an undocumented pizza delivery man, spoke to reporters after his release from the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, N.J., on Tuesday

    A federal district court judge on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, an undocumented pizza delivery man, from immigration detention in New Jersey, where he had been locked up since June 1.

    The order came after a morning hearing in which Judge Paul A. Crotty, an appointee of President George W. Bush and the former corporation counsel for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, pointedly questioned the government about why it had detained Mr. Villavicencio and planned to deport him. "Is there any concept of justice here?" Judge Crotty asked the government's lawyer.

    Later in the day, the judge said that Mr. Villavicencio, 35, who is married to a United States citizen and in February began a petition for a green card, should be released. The judge granted a stay of deportation while Mr. Villavicencio pursues permanent residency.

    "Removal is no longer reasonably feasible," Judge Crotty wrote in an order to be followed by a formal opinion.

    "It's absolutely sensational, he's back with his family and the judge has allowed him to go through the process," said Gregory Copeland, one of Mr. Villavicencio's lawyers from the Legal Aid Society of New York.

    Judge Crotty set the tone for his decision during the hearing in Manhattan when he questioned why Mr. Villavicencio had been held for 53 days by the immigration agency since his arrest while dropping off food at a Brooklyn army base. "Is he a threat to the country? A flight risk? Don't they have to justify it?" he asked the government lawyer.

    The lawyer, Joseph Cordaro, stammered, but said that the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, had made the decision.

    Mr. Villavicencio was arrested when delivering food from a Queens brick-oven pizzeria to a Fort Hamilton Army base. He presented a municipal identification card from the city, known as IDNYC, which Mr. Villavicencio has said he used previously at the base. This time it was not accepted.

    Mr. Villavicencio, who is married to an American citizen, with their two daughters. A judge ruled that he should be released on Tuesday.

    A military police officer on duty said Mr. Villavicencio needed a driver's license, which he did not have; the officer then ran a background check — which Mr. Villavicencio has said he did not consent to — which revealed an open order of deportation from 2010.

    Despite the order, Mr. Villavicencio, who is originally from Ecuador, had not left the country, and in 2013, he married Sandra Chica, a naturalized citizen. Through her sponsorship, Mr. Villavicencio applied for permanent residency. But it was not until Tuesday morning that his lawyers received a date for an interview: Aug. 21.

    Earlier this month, a judge had temporarily blocked Mr. Villavicencio's deportation.

    Throughout the hearing, Ms. Chica sat in the front row of the gallery while the couple's two daughters, ages 3 and 4, played with rainbow beanie babies and princess figurines. Mr. Villavicencio was not in the Manhattan courtroom; he was detained at Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, N.J.

    For that reason, the government was arguing for a change of venue, to New Jersey. Mr. Villavicencio's lawyers, from Debevoise & Plimpton and Legal Aid, wanted to keep the case in New York, since it was originally filed in the Southern District in Manhattan and keeping it in that jurisdiction would offer the swiftest resolution.

    During the hearing Judge Crotty made a point that still resonated when he made his decision six hours later. "The powerful are doing what they want," he said, "and the poor are suffering what they must."



    3) Swedish student's plane protest stops man's deportation 'to hell'

    By David Crouch, July 15, 2018


    Elin Ersson

    A lone student activist on board a plane at Gothenburg airport has prevented the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker from Sweden by refusing to sit down until the man was removed from the flight.

    Her successful protest, footage of which spread rapidly across the internet, shines a spotlight on domestic opposition to Sweden's tough asylum regime, at a time when immigration and asylum are topping the agenda of a general election campaign in which the far right is polling strongly.

    "I hope that people start questioning how their country treats refugees," Elin Ersson, 21, told the Guardian in an interview. "We need to start seeing the people whose lives our immigration [policies] are destroying."

    The social work student at Gothenburg University bought a ticket for the flight from Gothenburg to Turkey on Monday morning, after she and other asylum activists found out that a young Afghan was due to be deported on it. In fact he was not on the plane but activists discovered another Afghan man in his 50s was onboard for deportation.

    As she entered the plane, Ersson started to livestream her protest in English. The video received more than 4m hits on Tuesday. 

    Facing both sympathy and hostility from passengers, the footage shows Ersson struggling to keep her composure. "I don't want a man's life to be taken away just because you don't want to miss your flight," she says. "I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane."

    Repeatedly told by a steward to stop filming, Ersson says: "I am doing what I can to save a person's life. As long as a person is standing up the pilot cannot take off. All I want to do is stop the deportation and then I will comply with the rules here. This is all perfectly legal and I have not committed a crime."

    When an angry passenger, who appears to be English, tries to seize her phone, she tells him: "What is more important, a life, or your time? … I want him to get off the plane because he is not safe in Afghanistan. I am trying to change my country's rules, I don't like them. It is not right to send people to hell."

    After a tense standoff, during which the airport authorities declined to use force to eject Ersson, passengers broke into applause when the asylum seeker was taken off the plane.

    Ersson told the Guardian she had been volunteering with refugee groups for about a year.

    "People [in Afghanistan] are not sure of any safety," she said. "They don't know if they're going to live another day. As I've been working and meeting people from Afghanistan and heard their stories, I've been more and more in the belief that no one should be deported to Afghanistan because it's not a safe place. The way that we are treating refugees right now, I think that we can do better, especially in a rich country like Sweden."

    As the country heads towards a general election in September, Sweden's centre-left coalition government is keen to keep up expulsions of asylum seekers whose applications have been turned down. "If you get rejected, you have to go home – otherwise we will not have a proper migration system," the prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said last year after an Uzbek asylum seeker whose claim had been rejected drove a truck into shoppers in Stockholm, killing five people.

    After Taliban violence increased in January, the country briefly halted deportations to Afghanistan. But the Swedish migration board stands by its assessment that the country is a safe destination for asylum seekers whose claims have been turned down.

    In its most recent assessment, the migration board said Taliban attacks had been aimed mainly at the military or foreigners, and violence against Afghan civilians was rare. As for a bomb in an ambulance in January that killed at least 95 and injured many more in Kabul, the board said it was "unclear whether the purpose was really to attack civilians".

    Tens of thousands of deportation cases are expected to be handed over to the police as the country continues to process a backlog of asylum applications, after 163,000 people claimed asylum in Sweden in 2015. Last year, the border police deported 12,500 people, while the rate of expulsions so far this year is slightly higher

    Normally deportations go peacefully, according to a spokesperson for the police in Sweden's west region. But occasionally the process is disrupted by demonstrators such as Ersson or by asylum seekers themselves. 

    "You do it once or twice, and if it doesn't work we rent a private plane to send them back to Afghanistan, or wherever," the spokesperson said.

    Ersson's protest was a civil and not a criminal case, he said. Should the airline and passengers decide to prosecute, Ersson could face a substantial fine. 

    When the refugee crisis began to escalate 2015, Sweden made it much harder for refugees to get into the country and asylum applications fell sharply. In 2016 almost 29,000 people claimed asylum, followed by just under 26,000 last year. So far this year, asylum applications are running at about 1,500 a month

    The fates of the young man due to be deported on Monday, and the man who was on the plane, are unknown. A spokesperson for the Swedish Prison and Probation Service confirmed that the young man would be deported again, once transport was found. The Swedish border police in Kalmar, responsible for the attempted deportation, did not return calls from the Guardian.

    Ersson believes the young man was taken to Stockholm and put on a flight there already. 

    "This is how deportations in Sweden work. The people involved know nothing and they are not allowed to reach out to their lawyers or family," she said. "My ultimate goal is to end deportations to Afghanistan."



    4)  With Deadline Hours Away, Authorities Scramble to Reunite Migrant Families

    By Caitlin Dickerson, Annie Correal and Michael Ferman, July 26, 2018


    Denis Espinoza and his daughter Carmen, at a bus station in Phoenix, were reunited early this month after being separated for nearly three weeks.

    The federal government was rushing on Thursday to reunite the last 1,634 migrant families separated at the Southwest border who have been deemed "eligible" for reunification, in the final hours of a court-ordered scramble to reverse a contentious immigration policy that drew international condemnation.

    While the government appeared to be on track to meet Thursday's deadline, its work to address the effects of family separation is far from over. The parents who were deemed eligible for reunification represent only about a third of all those who were separated from their children after crossing the border, a practice that began last summer and escalated in May.

    At least 917 other parents were not cleared to recover their children this week because they failed criminal background or parental verification checks. About 460 others appeared to have been deported without their children, and the government has yet to find them.

    Their futures, along with those of about 37 children whose parents have not yet been identified, remain uncertain.

    "The only deadline they are meeting is the one they have set for themselves," said Lee Gelernt, lead counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the federal lawsuit challenging the family separations. "The government should not be getting applause for cleaning up their own mess, but moreover, they're still not meeting the deadline for all the families."

    Still, it appeared that the judge handing the case, Dana M. Sabrow of the Federal District Court in San Diego, was inclined to allow the government some leeway in complying with his order to rapidly bring separated families back together.

    "The parties are really working through the issues in a very measured and successful way given the enormity of the undertaking," Judge Sabrow said at a status hearing earlier this month.

    The reunifications have unfolded in chaotic scenes across the country. Many have been concentrated in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, where families have been funneled into federal offices that were designated as "staging facilities," overwhelming local resources to the extent that some parents have had to wait days after arriving to rejoin their children.

    At one such facility in South Texas, the Port Isabel Detention Center, the government has been labeling some parents as "released" while they are still in custody, according to Bethany Carson, who works for Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit advocacy group in Austin.

    Ms. Carson said that hundreds of parents were sent to Port Isabel this week after receiving word in the middle of the night from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials that their children were there. When they arrived, the parents quickly changed into street clothes and were broken into groups of about 70 to wait in rooms to rejoin their children.

    Some waited up to a week, Ms. Carson said, and were not allowed access to showers, phones or religious services, while efforts stalled to return their children.

    "They're completely cut off from the outside world," she said. "And officials are saying they're free."

    Last-minute logistical planning to meet the deadline has led to some mistakes. Some children have been sent to the wrong facilities, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the reunification efforts.

    On Tuesday, two siblings, 9 and 14, were abruptly flown from New York to be reunited with their mother in the Southwest — but the mother may have already been deported, according to the children's lawyer, Priya Konings. On Wednesday, a case worker was in "panic mode" trying to resolve the situation.

    The hours and days after reunification have come with their own challenges, which have largely been absorbed by aid groups tapped by the government to provide emergency shelter and food, as well as transport. While it is not typical for the government to support migrants once they are released from federal custody, the separation policy left many families far from the border, where a long-established network of shelters and volunteer organizations have traditionally provided support.

    Danielle Bernard, a spokeswoman for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, one of two organizations working with the government on family reunifications, said her group, too, was feeling the time crunch of the court order.

    Ms. Bernard said that two of the organization's offices in Arizona and New Mexico were warned by ICE officials on Wednesday to prepare to receive about 300 families — or at least 600 people in all.

    "This has really been something completely new to all of us," Ms. Bernard said. "Usually we have weeks or months to develop programs to make sure people have the support they need. In this situation we've been given like 24 hours' notice."

    After their immediate needs are met, many families have relied on donated travel miles, cellphones and money, pooled by advocates, to regain some stability. Well-established groups with powerful donor networks, such as the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, known as RAICES, and Fwd.us, an advocacy group backed by tech entrepreneurs Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, have raised tens of millions of dollars to pay for immigration court bonds and plane tickets.

    Amateur fund-raisers have also been crucial in the reunification effort, such as one called Immigrants and Families Together that was started by a former social worker and two theater professionals in New York. The group has helped about a dozen reunified parents and raised more than $400,000.

    Julie Schwietert Collazo, the group's founder, echoed the frustration expressed by many such advocates over why the responsibility has fallen to them, rather than the government, to complete the reunifications. "You could at least make the gesture of not dropping them off at a Greyhound station," she said, "and saying 'Bye, it's been real.'"

    Families that remained in custody after they were reunited have poured into three large family detention facilities, where the government can hold them for 20 days. Those are likely families for whom the government has already issued deportation orders — 900 of them, according to the latest court filings — which could be quickly executed if Judge Sabraw lifts a temporary stay on such deportations. A court hearing was scheduled for Thursday.

    Immigrant lawyers working at the family detention facilities were bracing to receive dozens more families on Thursday, and expected to prepare some of them for the initial interviews needed to pursue a case for asylum, which may represent their only hope of remaining in the United States.

    The government quietly began separating families along the Southwest border last summer, and ramped the practice up significantly in May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would have "zero tolerance" for illegal border crossers. The practice was intended in part to deter migrant families from traveling to the United States, though the administration insisted for months that it did not have a family separation policy, and blamed Democrats and Congress for tying their hands.

    Facing bitter, bipartisan condemnation of the policy, President Trump ended it with an executive order on June 26.

    By that time, nearly 3,000 children had been taken from their parents. Their separations were challenged in a lawsuit by the A.C.L.U., after which Judge Sabraw ordered that the children under 5 years of age be reunited with their parents by July 10, and those ages 5 to 17 by July 26.

    Lawyers on both sides agree that much work remains, especially when it comes to locating about 460 parents who appear to have been deported without their children. Government lawyers have said the parents will not be allowed back into the country to retrieve their children, but they must be found and vetted before the children can be returned to their native countries.

    The A.C.L.U. filed a motion on Wednesday to protect parents whom the government has claimed have waived their rights to immediately recover their children, citing testimony from some who said they did not know what they had agreed to because documents were not translated into their native languages, or who felt they had been forced to sign documents under duress. Most of the cases involve parents who are still in custody.

    A Department of Homeland Security official disputed the accounts, saying that the agency's procedures call for the consent form to be read to parents in a language they understand, with provisions to certify that this occurred.

    Plaintiffs' lawyers may also seek government support to address the psychological toll of family separation. Some children have not recognized their parents after being returned. Others continue to ask if the government is going to take them away again, said Mr. Gelernt of the A.C.L.U. "That feeling of insecurity in the children is likely to last a lifetime," he said.

    Liz Robbins contributed reporting.



    5) Judge Orders New Trial in Al Qaeda Terror Case

    By Benjamin Weiser, July 25, 2018


    Uzair Paracha

    A federal judge in Manhattan has taken the unusual step of granting a new trial to a Pakistani man convicted more than a decade ago of providing support to Al Qaeda, citing years-old statements by terrorism detainees at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, wartime prison who called his guilt into question.

    The decision was based on new evidence gleaned from the declassified statements of three detainees that were made more than a year after the man's trial and might have prevented him from being convicted, the judge said. The detainees included Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    The Pakistani man, Uzair Paracha, who was 23 and living in Brooklyn when he was charged in 2003. Prosecutors said he had agreed to help an operative for Al Qaeda fraudulently obtain immigration documents to re-enter the United States and carry out a terrorist attack.

    Mr. Paracha was one of dozens of suspects charged, in the years after Sept. 11, with providing money, expertise or other "material support" to Al Qaeda. Despite his claim that he did not realize he was helping a Qaeda terrorist, Mr. Paracha was tried, convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

    In his July 3 opinion granting a new trial, the judge, Sidney H. Stein of Federal District Court, said allowing Mr. Paracha's conviction to stand would be "a manifest injustice."

    "The critical question in this case," he wrote, "is now and has always been whether Paracha acted with knowledge that he was helping Al Qaeda."

    The new statements, the judge said, "would yield a very different trial." There was a "significant chance," he added, that they "would have induced a reasonable doubt in the minds of enough jurors to prevent a conviction."

    It is not common for a conviction to be thrown out on grounds of newly discovered evidence, but Judge Stein's decision was also noteworthy, legal experts said, because the new evidence emanated from the military system, which has long been held separate from the civilian courts.

    Bobby Chesney, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law and co-founder of Lawfare, a national security blog, said, "This surprising ruling complicates our longstanding policy of using both criminal prosecution and military detention as options for Al Qaeda members."

    "It shows the two systems can't be hermetically sealed off from each other," Professor Chesney said, "particularly where a military detainee has relevant information about a criminal defendant."

    Karen J. Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law, who has written about terrorism and the legal system, said, "It's fascinating that Guantánamo has yielded information that could be exculpatory for a retrial" in civilian court.

    Mr. Paracha's lawyer, Joshua L. Dratel (who has coedited two books with Ms. Greenberg), said he was "thrilled with the opinion because it recognizes the important impact that these potential witnesses would have had on the case."

    The United States attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment. On Tuesday, Judge Stein granted the office's request for more time to decide whether to appeal — a decision, the office wrote to the judge, that "implicates more difficult legal and practical issues than the usual case."

    The opinion offered no explanation as to why resolving Mr. Paracha's motion took so long. Mr. Dratel said he did not push the court to move more quickly because "the prospect of continuing revelations was very real, and therefore I didn't necessarily think it was ripe for a decision." In February, Mr. Paracha complained to a federal appeals court that his motion had been pending for more than nine years without a ruling; a district court spokesman said the court does not comment on pending matters.

    At Mr. Paracha's 2005 trial, the opinion said, the government presented evidence that he and his father, Saifullah Paracha, who was himself later sent to Guantánamo, met in Pakistan with two Qaeda members — Majid Khan and Ammar al-Baluchi. Prosecutors said that Uzair Paracha agreed to help Mr. Khan fraudulently obtain immigration documents in order to return to the United States, where he had once lived, to carry out a plot to bomb gas stations.

    Mr. Khan and Mr. al-Baluchi were the other detainees whose statements were cited in the judge's ruling.

    Mr. Paracha, who did certain tasks for Mr. Khan, including checking on his immigration paperwork, offered the authorities varying and, at times, incriminating statements about what he knew of Mr. Khan's and Mr. al-Baluchi's ties to Al Qaeda, the opinion said.

    At his trial, Mr. Paracha testified that key portions of his incriminating statements were false, "made out of a combination of fear, intimidation and exhaustion," the judge wrote.

    Mr. Paracha also testified that he had never knowingly aided a terrorist group, saying, "If I had known these people were Al Qaeda, I would not have helped them out," the judge noted.

    In 2008, after Mr. Paracha's conviction was affirmed on appeal, he filed a new trial motion, citing the detainee statements, which had been made before military tribunals or in interviews with federal agents, the judge said.

    In his opinion, Judge Stein said that key portions of the statements "directly contradict the government's case that defendant knowingly aided Al Qaeda."

    Mr. Khan, for example, had said explicitly that Mr. Paracha was "innocent," and Mr. Khan said he had never disclosed his Qaeda ties to Mr. Paracha. Judge Stein also cited statements by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who had "openly confessed his responsibility for dozens of heinous crimes and terrorist plots."

    "Crucially, K.S.M. nowhere mentions defendant or his father," Judge Stein said.

    "From this new evidence," the judge added, Mr. Paracha could "credibly ask the jury" to infer his innocence and "lack of involvement in the operations discussed."



    6)  Worried About the I.R.S. Scam? Here's How to Handle Phone Fraud

    By Christine Hauser, July 26, 2018


    Officials have warned American consumers about unsolicited phone calls that could be scams. A recent fraudulent effort involved callers claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service.

    Lee Meyer, a retired New York City schoolteacher, recently began getting strange telephone calls on weekday afternoons. A woman claiming to be a Treasury Department official left a message and a phone number, Mr. Meyer said, telling him he needed to settle a "tax-fraud charge" or else he would be hauled in front of a "magistrate judge."

    His reaction? "I laughed," he said. "I wasn't born yesterday."

    Mr. Meyer, 83, did not return the calls, having learned long ago what law enforcement and consumer protection officials say many Americans need to remember: The Internal Revenue Service does not call people and threaten legal action or harass them over debts.

    The Justice Department recently highlighted that message when it announced it had broken up a vast I.R.S. impersonation operation in which conspirators in the United States coordinated with call centers in India from 2012 to 2016, causing "hundreds of millions of dollars" in losses to more than 15,000 victims.

    Twenty-four people have been convicted and sentenced in the case, and more indictments have been issued in India. The Justice Department said it hoped the case would serve as a deterrent.

    "I.R.S. scams, as well as other telefraud scams, are conducted by multiple groups and individuals operating out of India, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Jamaica and other countries," said Nicole Navas Oxman, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department. "While this prosecution is a major success in disrupting the largest group of conspirators operating out of multiple call centers identified to date, other perpetrators of the IRS scam and similar scams remain at large."

    After The New York Times's article on Monday about the convictions, readers, including Mr. Meyer, responded with their own stories. Some asked where they could turn for restitution or to report suspicious calls.

    One reader said he had fallen victim in June after being instructed to transfer $8,000 in Best Buy cards — a common type of fraud in which a person is told to obtain a prepaid card and provide the number to the caller.

    Another reader said that a friend of her father had recently lost $5,000 in such a scam. And a couple said they had received at least 10 calls in the last three months, which they ignored, claiming that their tax return had problems that needed to be addressed immediately.

    Some steps you can take to protect yourself

    As The Times has previously recommended, don't provide personal information and don't engage with the caller. But you can ask for a name to include it in a complaint.

    The website of the Treasury inspector general for tax administration has an online form to report I.R.S. impersonations. It includes sections for reporting how much you paid to the perpetrators of the fraud, and whether you provided personal information. A personal identification number is assigned to the case so you can confirm that any agent who follows up is legitimate.

    You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which investigates consumer fraud.

    If you've been scammed and you file a complaint, you might be entitled to restitution if a court orders defendants to pay up. You'll only have a limited amount of time to claim losses, because the court may amend restitution orders for up to 60 days after sentencing. In the case of the India call centers, that date would be in mid-September. The claim form for that case is online.

    If you used a wire transfer to pay a con artist, you should contact the wire transfer company. The MoneyGram Customer Care Center is 1‑800‑926‑9400. The Western Union Fraud Hotline is 1-800-448-1492.

    The I.R.S. generally contacts people by mail. If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the agency, do not open attachments or click on links. Forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

    It is not always the I.R.S. that is being impersonated. Be aware, and learn to recognize a scam when you see or hear one.

    The indictment pertaining to the Justice Department's recent convictions described other ploys used by the conspirators. Some calls were purported to be from immigration officials who threatened deportation unless bogus fines were paid. Another technique was to pretend to be a payday lender and promise a loan if a fee was paid upfront, and then the loan would never materialize, the indictment said.

    Federal agencies have pages where consumers can browse scams by type, and the list suggests that there is no end to the creativity of crooked callers.

    This month alone, the F.T.C. warned about half a dozen types of scams.

    The F.T.C. said this week that people answering advertisements for child-care jobs had been tricked into buying supplies from a specific vendor before they were hired. The promised reimbursement and job never materialized after the vendor was paid.

    Con artists also impersonate a relative or friend pleading to be bailed out of jail or swept up in a travel emergency and in need of a loan. Others pretend they are collecting money, cars or boats for military veterans.

    Reports about online romantic scams, in which impostors created fake profiles to trick a love interest, have tripled from 2012 to 2016, the F.T.C. said. "Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money," the agency said.

    "These scams can take a military angle with impostors stealing service members' photos to create phony profiles," it added. "They might claim to be service members who can't get into their accounts overseas or who need money fast."

    The agency also warned consumers last week of a common technical support scam.

    "You're working on your computer when, suddenly, a message pops up on the screen: 'Virus detected! Call now for a free security scan and to repair your device,'" the agency said in a blog post. The impostor asks for remote access, or pretends to run a test, it said.

    If you're worried about your computer, the agency advised, call your security software company directly, and do not use the phone number in the pop-up window or on caller ID.



    7)  Pop Culture Gets Radical

    "Sorry to Bother You" and "Dietland" offer something we need at this moment.

    By Michelle Goldberg, July 27, 2018


    Tessa Thompson as Detroit and Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius Green in "Sorry to Bother You."

    When the history of this terrible moment in American life is written, I suspect the surreal and deeply radical indie film "Sorry to Bother You" will be a major cultural marker, like "Easy Rider" in 1969 or "Slacker" in 1990. Watching it — agog that it ever got made in the first place — felt like getting a little glimpse into the future, and not just because its dystopian satire is half a step away from our reality.

    "Sorry to Bother You," a sleeper hit, may be the most overtly anticapitalist feature film made in America. If you want to get a feel for the zeitgeist behind the growth of the Democratic Socialists of America, the wave of unionizing in digital media, the striking teachers in red states, and the general broad seething fury about inequality that's particularly pronounced among people who came of age amid the Great Recession, it's a good place to start. It's the kind of art we can expect as more and more members of the creative class find themselves living precariously, forced to spend inordinate energy worrying about their basic material needs. 

    I say this even though the film's writer and director, Boots Riley, avowed Communist and frontman for the Oakland hip-hop act The Coup, is, at 47, far from a millennial. And though "Sorry to Bother You" feels shockingly current, as Jonah Weiner wrote in The New York Times Magazine, Riley published the screenplay as a book in 2014. If it took a long time to gestate, though, it feels like it was born at precisely the right moment. 

    The film is impossible to really summarize, and I don't want to give away its gobsmacking twists. It's about an African-American man named Cassius Green — he goes by Cash — living with his girlfriend, an avant-garde artist, in the garage of his uncle's house, which is facing foreclosure. Desperate for work, he becomes a telemarketer, where his uncanny ability to feign the voice of a confident white man makes him a star, lofting him into a rarefied realm of high-paid, grotesquely immoral salesmanship. The movie includes subplots about unionization, (literal) debt slavery, viral videos, brutal reality television and the cultural worship of sociopathic entrepreneurs. (As well as weird disturbing stuff I don't want to give away.) I've never seen anything like it.

    Last week it was the seventh highest grossing film in the country, on a list that is dominated by big-budget studio movies. The reviews have been rapturous; the young socialists feel seen. "Riley has made the indignity of wage labor a part of the public conversation, including among a multiracial demographic that has been excluded from media narratives about the progressive movement," Briahna Gray wrote in The Intercept

    Even if it weren't that good, the mere existence of the movie would be an astonishment. That's also how I feel about "Dietland," an uneven drama on AMC about an overweight ghostwriter for a fashion-magazine editor who gets involved with feminist terrorist revolutionaries. (It's wild to see corporate advertising on a show in which the anarchist idea of the "propaganda of the deed" is invoked more or less sympathetically to justify murdering misogynists.) Dietland is another early sign that the atmosphere of ambient rage we're all living in is making its way into pop culture.

    Joy Nash, right, and Sarah Stiles in "Dietland."

    In another time, the fantasies of violent leftist resistance in "Sorry to Bother You" and "Dietland" might have caused more of a backlash. But the scary obliteration of limits on the right has also opened up new imaginative space on the left. Donald Trump is trying to destroy liberal democracy, a system that seemed inviolable, before our eyes. Watching it happen, it's hard not to wonder: what other systems might be more fragile than they seem?

    At least for the duration of "Sorry to Bother You," capitalism feels evil but also tawdry and preposterous, and labor solidarity seems sexy and exuberant. Sitting in the theater, I felt like I had a new apprehension of what it might be like to be young, idealistic, and at the mercy of nearly totalitarian economic forces.

    Americans in their 20s and 30s, after all, are as a cohort poorer and more indebted than their predecessors, while being surrounded by comic-book villain displays of wealth. (Just this week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose family owns 10 yachts, proposed to make it harder for students defrauded by for-profit colleges to seek loan forgiveness.) They are the most diverse generation of adults in history at a time of vicious right-wing backlash from older white people. 

    At moments in "Sorry to Bother You," I thought of the ads of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kaniela Ing, a left-wing congressional candidate in Hawaii, both made by the cheekily-named company Means of Production. Both spots showed members of a multicultural working class in small apartments and grimy streets, as the candidates spoke urgently of the systems squeezing their communities. The tone of these advertisements is very different than that of "Sorry to Bother You," but the worlds they depict, of defiance in the face of privatization and relentless economic pressure, are similar. As multicultural socialism reshapes our politics, it's probably inevitable that it will also start to reshape our entertainment. Right now, anticapitalism is a growth market.

    Michelle Goldberg, a Times Op-Ed columnist since 2017, is a former columnist at Slate and a frequent commentator on radio and television. She is the author of three books, most recently a biography of Indra Devi. She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues.



    8)  Nia Wilson Had Big Plans. Then She Was Killed in a BART Station.

    By Matthew Haag, July 25, 2018


    Nia Wilson, 18, was fatally stabbed after getting off a train with her sisters at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station in Oakland, Calif.

    Nia Wilson was the youngest of six sisters and two brothers, but she knew how to stand out.

    She jumped at the chance to help others, one of her sisters said, offering pep talks to her sisters when they were down and performing the Heimlich maneuver on her aunt as she was choking at a recent family party. She loved to look pretty, even if it meant holding up everyone else until she picked out the perfect outfit for a late-night run to the grocery store.

    At 18, Nia still had the bulk of her life ahead her and she had big plans — joining the Army or becoming a paramedic, or maybe a music producer would see her rap videos on YouTube and offer a record deal. But on Sunday night, Nia was attacked and killed by a man with a knife after stepping off a train with two of her sisters at an Oakland, Calif., transit station. One of her sisters, Lahtifa Wilson, 26, was also stabbed. She was taken to a hospital but later released.

    Three days after Nia's death, her sister Malika Harris said that her family was struggling to process what had happened and to accept that she was gone. In any other situation, her sister said, they would be turning to Nia for comfort.

    "She was always there and motivating you and telling you to stay positive," Ms. Harris, who was not with her on the train, said in an interview on Wednesday.

    As her family finalized funeral plans for Nia on Wednesday, the man accused of stabbing her, John Lee Cowell, was formally charged with murder and attempted murder. Mr. Cowell, 27, made his first appearance in an Oakland court at an arraignment hearing on Wednesday afternoon. He did not enter a plea.

    Nia's father, Ansar Muhammad, went to the courthouse to attend the hearing.

    "My daughter was everything to me," Mr. Muhammad told reporters outside a courtroom. "She was so beautiful, so inspirational, had dreams. I'm supposed to be planning her graduation, not her funeral."

    The Bay Area Rapid Transit police arrested Mr. Cowell, who they said was homeless and had a lengthy criminal record, on Monday evening after a nearly 24-hour, citywide manhunt. His family released a statement to a local TV station that said Mr. Cowell had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and had not received recent proper mental health treatment.

    Ms. Harris said she believed that the fatal attack on Nia, who was black, should be classified as a hate crime. "They are trying to say that he was sick and crazy," she said. "It was an act of racism."

    After the arrest on Monday of Mr. Cowell, who is white, the police said that they were still searching for a motive and had not ruled out race as a factor.

    Images from local news media show sizable crowds at a vigil Monday evening for Nia at the MacArthur BART station in Oakland, where the stabbing occurred.

    The vigil expanded beyond the station, with some people marching to a nearby bar that had denied a white supremacist group's request to host an event there that evening. On the way there, a fight broke out when they encountered a man thought to be a member of that white supremacist group, the Proud Boys.

    For Nia, Sunday was the start of what was expected to be an emotional but exciting week, Ms. Harris said.

    That afternoon, she traveled with some family members, including several sisters, from Oakland to her aunt's apartment in the nearby city of Concord. Her aunt has Stage 4 cancer, so the family organized a pool party and cookout to celebrate her life.

    At the party, Nia posted some video footage on social media. Only 49 seconds long, it still captured so much about Nia, her sister said.

    She can be seen posing for the camera, wearing a gold necklace and sparkly pink eye makeup, pausing to hug family members or to direct a comment offscreen.

    "She wouldn't go anywhere without looking presentable," Ms. Harris, 25, said. "She was really passionate about the way she looked and carried herself."

    Nia had a job interview scheduled for this week. For the past several months, Nia, who graduated from Oakland High School last year, had worked at a clothing distribution center for ThredUp, an online consignment store.

    Ms. Harris said that Nia told her about the interview for the first time on Friday — but she refused to reveal much, not even the name of the place or the type of work. Ms. Harris said she pressed her sister for more details, but she would not budge.

    "She wanted to keep it a surprise," she said.

    Nia was also planning to attend a party with friends for what would have been the 18th birthday of her high school boyfriend, Josiah Pratt-Rose. He and his best friend both drowned in May 2016 after jumping off a boat in Woodward Reservoir near Modesto, Calif.

    Not long after the boys died, Nia attended a vigil for them in downtown Oakland, Ms. Harris said. She was standing near a girl who had just performed a dance routine when someone fired a gun into the crowd. The girl, Reggin'a Jefferies, was hit in the neck and fell to the ground.

    Bleeding and struggling to breathe, she asked Nia to stay by her side, Ms. Harris said, until the paramedics arrived and placed her in an ambulance. Nia stayed with her. Reggin'a was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

    "Any way she could help," Ms. Harris said, "she would be there for you."



    9)  Inquiry on Public Housing Lead Failures Extends to Health Department

    By J. David Goodman, July 27, 2018


    The New York City Housing Authority manages public housing like this complex in Brooklyn.

    New York City's failure to comply with federal rules on lead paint hazards, which has plunged the troubled public housing authority into scandal, has now entangled the city's well-regarded Health Department.

    The Department of Investigation is pursuing an inquiry into how information about blood lead levels in children, gathered by the Health Department from tests around the city, was or was not communicated to the city's public housing authority, according to two people with knowledge of the inquiry.

    The investigation opens yet another front in a slow-moving scandal at the nation's largest public housing system. It has already resulted in a settlement with federal prosecutors over lead and other issues, an acknowledgment that the agency may be out of compliance on a host of other federal requirements and a promise by the city to spend at least $1 billion more to improve conditions.

    The problems, the inquiry suggests, were not limited to the housing authority.

    "Earlier this month, D.O.I. asked the Health Department for information related to lead investigations, and we have provided it," Sam Miller, a spokesman for the department, said in a statement.

    [What does fixing public housing look like on the ground? We spent a day with a Nycha superintendent]

    Unlike the New York City Housing Authority, which has been plagued by mismanagement and disinvestment, the Health Department has a relatively strong reputation, burnished by its handling of public heath crises, from Ebola to Legionnaires' Disease.

    City investigators this month interviewed an official at the Housing Authority, known as Nycha, who is involved in the handling of lead hazards, one of the people said. But rather than asking the official about the workings of Nycha, the person said, the investigators' questions focused on the Health Department and how information about blood lead levels was shared by health officials, particularly in 2017.

    In January 2017, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced new rules for public housing, lowering the threshold of lead in children's blood that would trigger an inspection. The change reduced the threshold to five micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, from 10. The federal government gave all housing authorities until July 2017 to comply.

    But for the second half of last year, Nycha failed to comply with the new federal rule. That is because the Health Department did not tell Nycha when children in public housing had tested positive for lead under the new regulations, and Nycha had no way of independently knowing, one of the people familiar with the inquiry said.

    Before the rule went into effect last year, Nycha drafted an agreement to explain how the two agencies would cooperate in order to comply, the person said. But the Health Department did not believe such an agreement was necessary.

    Officials from both agencies have since acknowledged that they did not begin complying until January 2018. At that point, the Health Department inspectors began testing apartments for lead under the new threshold and ordering Nycha to abate the hazards that were identified.

    Once that process began, the Health Department conducted 40 lead inspections in public housing based on children who tested positive for lead since July using the new threshold. City Hall refused to provide the number of affected children or apartments that were covered by those 40 inspections or whether lead hazards were found.

    "While all the affected families have now received a home visit, Nycha and D.O.H. should've started these inspections earlier," said Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a spokeswoman for the mayor. "The new leadership at Nycha is fostering a culture of urgency and rigor that's never before taken hold at the agency."

    The timing of the newly revealed compliance failure is remarkable: It occurred at a moment when the issue of meeting federal rules on lead paint was known across the government — including inside City Hall — and Nycha was scrambling to inspect thousands of apartments with children under 6 years old. Those inspections, required under city and federal law, were halted in 2012 and did not resume until 2016, officials have said.

    At the time, federal prosecutors were negotiating with city officials as part of a yearslong investigation into falsely filed paperwork related to lead paint inspections — forms that certified inspections had been conducted when they had not been — and many other aspects of the operations at the housing authority that is home to over 400,000 people. The investigation, by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, resulted in the settlement with federal prosecutors last month.

    Days after the agreement was announced, the Department of Investigation, along with the inspector general for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency, seized documents in two surprise visits to Nycha offices in Queens. The raids were separate from the civil settlement, and appeared to be part of a potential criminal investigation, according to one person with direct knowledge of the action.

    It was not known if the raid was connected with the inquiry into the Health Department.

    Health officials explained their actions, in part, by saying that the 2017 federal rule change did not apply to their agency, only to Nycha.

    Officials said the Health Department needed a full year to adjust to the rule in part because, for the first time, the federal government had mandated action based on blood lead levels in children that were lower than those that required action under city and state regulations.

    The agency also had to create an entirely new policy for inspecting for lead in private buildings where residents were paying rent using Section 8 vouchers administered by Nycha. That required the agency to get access to data about where the subsidized apartments were located; it did not previously differentiate between types of private housing, officials said.

    The Health Department, as a routine matter, receives the results of lead tests of children around the city, positive or negative. When the Health Department learns of a child with elevated blood lead levels, it conducts an inspection for lead in the home. If chipping paint or another lead paint hazard is found, the agency orders the landlord to abate the issue; those orders go to private landlords and to Nycha.

    The orders do not contain information about the child or the level of lead in the blood. Housing officials said they did not know, based on the orders they received in the second half of 2017, that they were not abiding by the new threshold.

    A spokeswoman for Nycha, Jasmine Blake, said in a statement that the two agencies work closely together. "When we first learned of this new rule we reached out to the Health Department, and with their assistance, we have been able to continue properly addressing apartments where the Health Department has identified potential lead hazards," she said.

    Applying the new, more stringent threshold to prior years, the city has said about 800 children under 6 were found to have tested positive for lead between 2012 and 2016.



    10)  BP Makes $10.5 Billion Shale Deal, Its Biggest Since Deepwater Horizon

    By Stanley Reed, July 27, 2018


    A view of BP's Thunder Horse oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 2017. The company's deal to buy shale oil and gas properties in Texas and Louisiana is its biggest in nearly 20 years.

    LONDON — BP has effectively declared that it has recovered from the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

    The London-based energy giant said late on Thursday that it would buy an enormous portfolio covering 470,000 acres of shale oil and gas properties in Texas and Louisiana from BHP Billiton of Australia.

    The $10.5 billion deal — BP's biggest in nearly 20 years — signals the company's management believes the financial costs of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which have totaled $66 billion, have mostly been paid, leaving it free to contemplate big-ticket acquisitions. The purchase also gives the company a significant foothold in the fast-growing shale industry in the United States, one in which BP had largely been left behind by its major rivals.

    "BP was aware that they were late on this crucial global resource theme," said Roy Martin, an analyst at the energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

    The agreement with BHP Billiton is BP's largest since 1999, when it bought Arco, a Los Angeles-based oil company, for $27 billion. Back then, BP was seen as a trendsetter in the global energy industry, snapping up other companies and making an early foray into renewables. It even adopted the slogan, "Beyond Petroleum."

    The Gulf of Mexico spill changed all that, though, and the company has been considerably more cautious in making major investments since.

    Beyond its symbolic value, analysts said the BHP deal was a sign that BP was scrambling to catch up with an industry shift.

    Shale exploration, which involves drilling long horizontal wells and then injecting fluids or fracking to break up rocks beneath the Earth's surface, had long been carried out by smaller companies. But it has become increasingly attractive to international businesses as oil prices rise and the capacity of the American shale industry increases.

    Behemoths like Chevron and Exxon Mobil have moved aggressively to extract oil from shale rock. Chevron is ramping up its spending on shale drilling by 50 percent, and it will soon account for almost a third of its overall expenditure on energy output, according to Wood Mackenzie. Exxon Mobil, which is rapidly developing a swathe of acreage it bought last year, is also increasing its spending on shale drilling to a similar proportion.

    By comparison, BP had been spending just 10 percent of its overall drilling expenditure on shale, until it reached the BHP deal. But the sheer size of the deal could by itself catapult the British company to second among large companies when it comes to shale oil output in the United States, Wood Mackenzie said.

    "Shale is becoming the realm of Big Oil," said Rob West, a partner at Redburn, an independent financial analysis firm. Mr. West forecasts that the proportion of major oil companies' output from shale will double by 2025, an increase from about 10 percent of their production now.

    Part of the attractiveness of investments in shale is the quick payoff. Drilling in shale rock leads to oil extraction much faster than traditional large, and complex, oil and gas investments, which have longer time frames. That helps reduce a project's exposure to fluctuations in the price of oil.

    Those rapid turnarounds are of greater interest to large energy companies, whose boards are increasingly hesitant to approve long-term oil and gas projects. Fearful of declining demand for their products as renewable energy sources like wind and solar become more prevalent, energy executives have been keen to lock in short-term returns on their investments.

    "The short-term return, which is the story of shale, is building its way into the board room," Andrew F. Gould, a former chief executive of Schlumberger, the oil services giant, said at a conference in Vienna last month.

    On a call with reporters after the BHP deal was announced, BP executives said that the acquisition offered the chance to scale up their shale investments with modest risk.

    "These are discovered resources in the ground," said Bernard Looney, BP's upstream chief executive. "We know they are there."

    Uncertainty about the future, and a desire for quick returns on investment, have also driven companies like BP to make deals in areas like solar and wind power, and even for small electric utilities. Total, for instance, recently purchased a utility called Direct Energie for $1.7 billion, while BP struck a $200 million deal for a solar power developer called Lightsource at the end of last year.

    While these investments remain relatively small in proportion to the companies' overall spending, analysts say they also offer a quicker payback than oil and gas projects as well as a hedge against an uncertain future for fossil fuels.



    11) Idaho Inmates Hacked Prison Service for $225,000 in Credit

    By Jacey Fortin, July 27, 2018


    JPay tablets allow inmates to communicate with family members via emails and video calls. They are also used to access music, simple games and reading materials.

    Hundreds of prison inmates in Idaho found a way to add hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of credit to their personal accounts, officials discovered this month.

    The prisoners were not inflating their bank accounts, but rather their JPay accounts. JPay is a service that inmates can use to communicate with the outside world; for example, by using secure tablets or kiosks to send emails or listen to music.

    The Idaho Department of Correction learned about the hacking on July 2, and an investigation revealed that 364 inmates at five correctional facilities "had improperly credited their JPay accounts by $224,772.40," Jeff Ray, the department's spokesman, said in a statement.

    "This conduct was intentional, not accidental," he said. "It required a knowledge of the JPay system and multiple actions by every inmate who exploited the system's vulnerability to improperly credit their account."

    The inmates inflated their accounts by taking advantage of a quirk in the system that did not cost taxpayers money. Of the 364 inmates, 50 credited their accounts with more than $1,000 apiece, and one person managed to accumulate nearly $10,000.

    In recent years, tablets designed for prison use have become increasingly popular. JPay is one of the country's biggest prison financial services providers and has business in dozens of states. Inmates can use JPay to communicate with family members via emails, video calls and money transfers. Some can also access music, simple games or reading materials.

    "While the vast majority of individuals use our secure technology appropriately, we are continually working to improve our products to prevent any attempts at misuse," Jade Trombetta, the company's spokeswoman, said in an email on Thursday.

    "In this case, a number of individuals were found to have improperly credited their accounts, creating credits that could be used to purchase content. Once the issue was discovered it was quickly corrected."

    Tablets have been marketed as a way to incentivize good behavior. But the companies that offer them have also been criticized for profiting from a captive market; when prisoners or their correspondents have to pay to communicate, the costs can add up.

    The state's Department of Correction said that JPay had recovered more than $65,000 worth of improper credits, and the department had charged inmates with disciplinary offenses that could temporarily revoke privileges or tighten security for some.

    "JPay has also suspended the ability of the inmates to download music and games until they compensate JPay for its losses," Mr. Ray said. "The inmates are still able to use JPay to send and receive email."



    12) How the Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women

    By Brent Staples, July 28, 2018


    Susan B. Anthony during a portrait session circa 1891.

    The suffragist heroes Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony seized control of the feminist narrative of the 19th century. Their influential history of the movement still governs popular understanding of the struggle for women's rights and will no doubt serve as a touchstone for commemorations that will unfold across the United States around the centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020.

    That narrative, in the six-volume "History of Women's Suffrage," betrays more than a hint of vanity when it credits the Stanton-Anthony cohort with starting a movement that actually had diverse origins and many mothers. Its worst offenses may be that it rendered nearly invisible the black women who labored in the suffragist vineyard and that it looked away from the racism that tightened its grip on the fight for the women's vote in the years after the Civil War.

    Historians who are not inclined to hero worship — including Elsa Barkley BrownLori Ginzberg and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn — have recently provided an unsparing portrait of this once-neglected period. Stripped of her halo, Stanton, the campaign's principal philosopher, is exposed as a classic liberal racist who embraced fairness in the abstract while publicly enunciating bigoted views of African-American men, whom she characterized as "Sambos" and incipient rapists in the period just after the war. The suffrage struggle itself took on a similar flavor, acquiescing to white supremacy — and selling out the interests of African-American women — when it became politically expedient to do so. This betrayal of trust opened a rift between black and white feminists that persists to this day.

    This toxic legacy looms especially large as cities, including New York, prepare monuments and educational programs to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, which barred the states from denying voting rights based on gender. Black feminists in particular are eager to see if these remembrances own up to the real history of the fight for the vote — and whether black suffragists appear in them.

    The famous suffrage convention convened in Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1848 featured Stanton and her partner-in-arms, Lucretia Mott, in addition to the towering figure of Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist and dyed-in-the-wool supporter of women's rights who was on his way to becoming one of the most famous speakers of the century. Were it not for Douglass's oratory, the historian Lisa Tetrault tells us in "The Myth of Seneca Falls," the "controversial" resolution demanding the vote for women might actually have failed. 

    It became clear after the Civil War that black and white women had different views of why the right to vote was essential. White women were seeking the vote as a symbol of parity with their husbands and brothers. Black women, most of whom lived in the South, were seeking the ballot for themselves and their men, as a means of empowering black communities besieged by the reign of racial terror that erupted after Emancipation.

    The tension escalated in the run-up to the 15th Amendment, a provision that ostensibly barred the states from denying Negro men the right to vote. Reasonable people could, of course, disagree on the merits of who should first be given the vote — women or black men. Stanton, instead, embarked on a Klan-like tirade against the amendment. She warned that white woman would be degraded if Negro men preceded them into the franchise. Admiring historians have dismissed this as an unfortunate interlude in an exemplary life. By contrast, the historian Lori Ginzberg argues persuasively that racism and elitism were enduring features of the great suffragist's makeup and philosophy. 

    Similarly, the historian Faye Dudden wrote that Stanton "dipped her pen into a tincture of white racism and sketched a reference to a nightmarish figure, the black rapist," and lashed out from the pages of the suffragist paper that she and Anthony published. Her message — that passage of the 15th Amendment would mean only degradation for women at the hands of Negro men — must have cheered the Ku Klux Klan as it terrorized the black South.

    Douglass was clearly wounded by what he described as the "employment of certain names, such as 'Sambo,' and the gardener, and the bootblack … and all the rest," but gracefully declined to answer insult with insult. Instead, he summarized in dramatic fashion the differences between the interests of black and white suffragists — and the case for federal protection of black voters.

    "When women, because they are women," he said, "are hunted down through the cities of New York and New Orleans; when they are dragged from their houses and hung upon lampposts; when their children are torn from their arms and their brains dashed out upon the pavement; when they are objects of insult and outrage at every turn; when they are in danger of having their homes burnt down over their heads; when their children are not allowed to enter schools; then they will have an urgency to obtain the ballot equal to our own." 

    Douglass cut to the central fallacy of the white suffragist push — that African-American women could magically separate their blackness from their femaleness.

    The 15th Amendment was, of course, ratified. Women would wait another 50 years for the 19th. Racism intensified among suffragists as they neared their goals. African-American luminaries like the noted anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells and the civil rights leader Mary Church Terrell became more deeply and publicly engaged. 

    As in other instances, suffragists outside the South used the racism in the Jim Crow states as an excuse for their discriminatory treatment of their black suffragist sisters. Black women's suffrage clubs that sought formal affiliation with the national white suffrage movement were discouraged from doing so on the grounds that admitting them might anger white Southerners. It has since become clear that this was a ruse Northern whites used to obscure their own discriminatory policies.

    The most blatant example of accommodationism came in 1913 when organizers of a huge suffragist parade in Washington demanded that black participants march in an all-black assembly at the back of the parade instead of with their state delegations. Wells famously refused. Terrell, who marched in a colored delegation as requested, believed at the time that white suffragists would exclude black women from the 19th Amendment — nicknamed the Anthony Amendment — if they thought they could get away with it. These episodes fueled within the African-American community a lasting suspicion of white suffragists and of the very idea of political cooperation across racial lines.

    Historians are rightly warning groups involved in suffrage commemorations not to overstate the significance of the 19th Amendment. It covered the needs of middle-class white women quite nicely. But it meant very little to black women in the South, where most lived at the time and where election officials were well practiced in the art of obstructing black access to the ballot box. As African-American women streamed in to register, Southern officials merely stepped up the level of fraud and intimidation.

    By this time, the former suffragists of the North were celebrating the amendment and were uninterested in fighting discrimination against women who were suffering racial, as opposed to gender, discrimination. As the historian Rosalyn Terborg-Penn writes: "Within a few years, white supremacy was victorious throughout the South. Unlike Black men, who had been disenfranchised within 20 years after the ratification of the 15th Amendment, Black women had lost the vote in less than a decade." It would take another half-century — and a new suffrage campaign, with black women in a leading role — before that black community was fully enfranchised, through the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    The recent uproar over the monuments to white supremacy that dominate public spaces in the South has put civic groups on notice that memorials often convey pernicious messages and perpetuate historical wrongs. Organizers need to keep that in mind as they commemorate a movement in which racism clearly played a central role.

    Brent Staples joined the Times editorial board in 1990 after working as an editor of the Book Review and an assistant editor for metropolitan news. Mr. Staples holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Chicago.




    13) Mother of Dead Woman Says Medics Told Her She Could Not Afford Ambulance

    By Mihir Zaveri, July 29, 2018


    Crystle Galloway was taken to the hospital by her mother after she fell in the bathroom. Her mother said that when she called 911, medical workers told her she could not afford the ambulance trip.

    Nicole Black got a call around 1:45 a.m. on July 4 that her daughter Crystle Galloway had fallen in the bathroom of her Tampa, Fla., condominium and that something was wrong.

    She had hit her head, Ms. Galloway's daughter said, and by the time Ms. Black raced from her home two blocks away, she was slumped over the bathtub, foaming at the mouth and her lips were swollen.

    Ms. Black called 911. Later that day, Ms. Galloway slipped into a coma. She died five days after.

    But weeks later, questions persist about what happened after the 911 call and whether race played a role in how Ms. Black and her daughter were treated. Four emergency medical workers have been placed on paid leave and face a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.

    Ms. Black said that the responders told her she could not afford the $600 ambulance ride to take her daughter to the hospital, and that she was directed by the medics to drive her there on her own. Ms. Black said she believed her family was treated poorly because they are black.

    Officials in Hillsborough County, which provided the emergency medical response, disputed her account, denied that race played a role and said Ms. Black herself said she wanted to take her daughter to the hospital.

    But officials acknowledged other troubling issues: Nobody took Ms. Galloway's vitals at the scene; responders failed to get a signed confirmation from Ms. Black that her daughter wouldn't use the ambulance; and, in a follow-up report, medical workers indicated that they had not arrived at the scene at all that morning.

    Mike Merrill, the county administrator, put all four medical workers on paid leave.

    Ms. Black on Saturday would not disclose specific medical information about her daughter, but she said she did not believe she would have died if the responders had acted differently.

    "I'm devastated," Ms. Black said. "I feel like my chest has been ripped open."

    At a news conference last week, Mr. Merrill said he deeply regretted "that this has happened, and clearly this is unacceptable."

    "My deepest sympathies to the family, and my deepest apologies for my fire medics not properly performing and caring for this patient," he said.

    On June 27, Ms. Galloway had a cesarean section, giving birth to a boy. Recent news reports have highlighted the high rates of maternal mortalityamong black women. Nationally, they are three to four times as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth as white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Mr. Merrill said on Saturday that he had not received any information that would indicate that race was a factor influencing the medical workers' actions, or that if they had acted differently, Ms. Galloway would have survived.

    The county identified the emergency medical workers as John Morris, 36, a lieutenant; Justin Sweeney, 36, and Andrew Martin, 28, both fire medics; and Cortney Barton, 38, an acting lieutenant. They could not be reached for comment.

    In statements released by the county, the responders described helping Ms. Galloway down the stairs of her home and placing her into Ms. Black's car, but they denied refusing to take her.

    "By the time we realized that no information was obtained, the mother had already left the scene," Lieutenant Morris wrote.

    He said that Ms. Black was "adamant" she would take her daughter to the emergency room and that "at no point would I advise against a person being transported by our rescue."

    Derrik Ryan, president of Hillsborough County Firefighters Local 2294, said Ms. Black's description of what happened was "not factual." He said that the medical workers did not "talk her out of going to the hospital" and that they did not talk about the cost of the ambulance trip.

    Mr. Ryan called the assertion that race played a role in their interactions "totally ridiculous."

    He acknowledged that the medical workers failed to get Ms. Galloway's vitals and should have gotten Ms. Black to sign a document stating that they would not be taking Ms. Galloway to the hospital. He said that a medical worker mistakenly entered into a report that they didn't reach Ms. Galloway.

    "Did we make minor mistakes on that call? Absolutely," Mr. Ryan said. "We did not kill that lady and we did not refuse to transport that lady."

    Mr. Merrill said two Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies who also responded that night had some discussion with Ms. Black about the cost of transporting her daughter to the hospital.

    In a statement, a sheriff's office spokesman said Ms. Black had asked one of the deputies if emergency medical workers would take Ms. Galloway to the hospital and if she would have to pay for the transport. According to the statement, the deputy responded affirmatively to both questions but did not further discuss the ambulance or its cost with Ms. Black.

    After Ms. Black filed a complaint, the sheriff's office conducted a review and "determined no violations of agency policy or standards occurred," the statement read.



    14) Think Summer Child Care Is Tough? Low-Income Families Deal With That All Year

    By Julia Henly, July 29, 2018


    Summertime throws into relief the mismatch between work and family life.

    Working parents in middle- and upper-income families have stitched together activities for kids by now. Maybe the 6-year-old is enrolled in art camp and taekwondo, the 10-year-old is learning to code and improving her basketball skills, and a nanny or babysitter fills in the gaps.

    But the gaps in care that frustrate well-off families over the summer are a constant in the lives of lower-income parents, who disproportionately work jobs with schedules that are not limited to weekday hours and can change unexpectedly. It's a year-round second job to find safe, let alone enriching, supervision for their kids.

    As part of a study my colleagues and I did on the child-care arrangements of parents in the retail sector, a part-time department store sales clerk told me that she had worked a different schedule each day the prior week: on Sunday she worked from noon to 5 p.m., on Monday from 2 to 8:30 p.m., on Wednesday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 1:30 to 9 p.m.

    Over 40 percent of American children live with a parent who mostly works during hours when schools aren't open and traditional child care isn't available — during the early mornings, evenings, weekends or overnight — and these work schedules are often changing at the last minute. Some parents choose these shifts as part of a shared caregiving strategy with a spouse, but most don't have a choice.

    Another participant in our study, a full-time cashier at a home improvement store and mother of a 4-year-old, told me in describing her schedule: "Everything is different and open. Nothing is consistent." She takes her son to a home-based child-care center most days. But when she has to work nights or weekends, she relies on her mother, grandmother or cousin. "Without my family," she said, "I wouldn't be able to do it."

    In a 2015 survey of low-income families receiving government child-care subsidies that my research team and I conducted, 38 percent indicated that they received less than one week's notice of their work schedule, 33 percent reported that their work hours varied either "sometimes" or "a lot" and 33 percent said that they either "sometimes" or "very often" had to go into work unexpectedly or stay later than scheduled.

    Yet only 8 percent of child-care centers and 34 percent of listed home-based child-care programs offer care during nontraditional hours. And even these programs are rarely set up to accommodate families with last-minute or variable needs.

    This mismatch between child-care needs and work demands forces parents to assemble a complicated bundle of arrangements, often with both formal and informal caregivers. These arrangements can be unstable and difficult to maintain, stress relationships and threaten the stability of already precarious work situations.

    There are several steps we can take to address this problem.

    One could imagine child-care centers that remained open 24/7 and accepted variable and last-minute enrollment. But widespread use of this model probably wouldn't work. Few businesses could afford the staffing necessary to care for an unpredictable number of children. And many parents wouldn't want to leave their kids at child-care centers over dinner and bedtime anyway.

    A better solution would be to properly compensate informal caregivers, who are likely to continue to do the biggest share of child care. In most states, they can get reimbursed for serving families that receive the Child Care and Development Block Grant. But the funding only serves 15 percent of eligible families, and most of it goes to subsidize center care.

    Ultimately, employers have to be part of the solution. Flexible work environments and family-friendly labor practices are critical pieces of the puzzle. Some employers have stepped up by giving employees more predictable hours and greater input into their work schedules. One experiment at Gap stores in Chicago and San Francisco showed sales and productivity increased as a result.

    Beyond voluntary employer efforts, a few state and local governments have strengthened policies to support working families and have passed scheduling laws that increase the predictability of workers' hours. Yet, so far just 10 states and around 30 cities or counties have paid sick leave laws. Only four states offer paid family leave. And only Oregon, Washington, D.C., and six cities have passed laws to reduce unpredictable scheduling practices. More should do the same.

    Whether it's just the summer or year-round, many families could use a great deal more help aligning paid work with caregiving responsibilities. Working parents need a fuller range of children's programs and labor market policies that reflect the realities of work and family life.

    Julia Henly is an associate professor in the School of Social Service Administration and co-director of the Employment Instability, Family Well-Being and Social Policy Network at the University of Chicago.



    15) More Cities and States Should Divest From Private Prisons

    By Scott M. Stringer and Javier H. Valdés, July 30, 2018


    Activists rallied against financial institutions' support of private prisons and immigrant detention centers near Wall Street in May.

    The Trump administration's decision to separate migrant children and their parents at the border and its anemic efforts to reunite families since the reversal of that policy have been widely condemned as cruel. But the president's so-called solution — to imprison immigrants as families in detention centers — is equally abhorrent.

    This policy, which will undoubtedly cause immense human suffering, has one clear beneficiary: the private prison industry.

    In recent decades, private prison operators have opened facilities that detain immigrants and their children. This means that many times, when a mother escapes life-threatening dangers in her home country and arrives in the United States only to be imprisoned in one of these facilities, they profit. When a family seeking refuge in this country is put behind bars, they profit. When a new center needs to be opened because law enforcement officers are arresting more immigrants, they profit.

    This industry has turned human suffering into a billion-dollar business.

    It's long been known that the conditions in private prisons are dismal. In 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union report "Warehoused and Forgotten" chronicled the conditions faced by immigrants in these institutions. This investigation uncovered evidence that people held in private prisons were denied access to functioning toilets and proper medical care and served inedible food, and had no opportunity to challenge excessive use of solitary confinement.

    A 2016 Justice Department report found that there were more safety and security problems in private prisons than in those run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This partly explains why the Obama administration began phasing out the use of private prisons — an order Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed.

    They also explain why New York City was proud to be the first city in the country to divest from private prison companies in its pension fund investments.

    Pension funds have a fiduciary duty to make sound investments that grow their portfolios and help fund retirement benefits for their members. That means constantly evaluating the long-term viability and risk of investments across the pension funds' portfolios, which is what the New York City Comptroller's Office does every day.

    Private prisons fail that basic risk assessment. That's because the industry's bottom line depends on locking people up. And when you imprison people for money, it means you have to choose between padding the bottom line and spending the money needed to create safe and healthy conditions. Too often, the bottom line wins out. These companies have a financial interest in perpetuating the inhumane "zero tolerance" policies whose consequences we now see on the front page of the news each day. Consequently, as an investment, they're at the whims of a seesawing political climate. This combined with the moral issues surrounding private prisons has convinced us that they are imprudent for investors to own and for banks to finance.

    In May 2017, the boards of all five of New York City's pension funds passed resolutions requiring divestment, declaring that "investment in for-profit prison companies exposes the system to undue legal and regulatory risks and worker-safety issues that are inconsistent with the board's risk profile and objectives."

    Others have followed our lead. Philadelphia's pension board voted last year to divest its holdings in private prisons. City Council members in Cincinnati have pushed for the same. This month, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli sold the state pension funds' remaining stocks in the private prison industry, making our state the first to fully withdraw from it.

    Leaders across the country should recognize that in addition to their human costs, private prison companies are part of an industry that poses major financial risks to cities and states. It's clearer than ever that we should put our money elsewhere.

    Scott M. Stringer is the Comptroller of New York City. Javier H. Valdés is the co-executive director of Make the Road New York.



    16) An Artist Honors Tamir Rice, One Orange Object at a Time

    By Jillian Steinhauer, July 29, 2018


    Some of the orange objects donated by residents of Cleveland or collected by Michael Rakowitz at the opening of "A Color Removed," a tribute to Tamir Rice, at the Spaces gallery on July 14.

    CLEVELAND — Boxes of pizza and trays filled with steaming food lined wooden tables at the Spaces art gallery here. Visitors to a recent opening could help themselves, but if they chose corn on the cob or chicken nuggets, they had to reach over the sign that read: "Please enjoy this offering of Tamir Rice's favorite foods, to make him present in a project that is about his death."

    The installation, by Michael Rakowitz, an Iraqi-American artist and professor based in Chicago, is titled "A Color Removed," and it asks, Can you remove a color — and a symbol of safety — from an entire city? Mr. Rakowitz is trying to do just that, as a tribute to Tamir, the 12-year-old boy who was playing with a pellet gun when he was fatally shot in 2014 by a Cleveland police officer, Timothy Loehmann. The police chief, Calvin Williams, said that the pellet gun had been "indistinguishable from a real firearm" because it was lacking its orange safety cap. A grand jury did not indict Mr. Loehmann, who was fired last year for lying on his employment application.

    "When that minor object got isolated, it was outrageous and infuriated me, but at the same time I thought, 'That's something to talk about, because we're talking about color,'" said Mr. Rakowitz, whose art practice often involves trying to execute impossible-seeming actions, including reconstructing — from disposable materials — all the artifacts looted from the National Museum of Iraq.

    "If we need an indirect way of talking about black and white, maybe we can talk about red and yellow," he said of his Cleveland project. In other words, maybe metaphor can be a useful way of getting at the reality of race. As Mr. Rakowitz said, "We are living in spaces where color is removed every day with the shootings of young black men."

    The artist was also struck by a coincidence: in Arabic, the word "tamir" means "date," a food found in abundance in his family's home country and a frequent subject of his work. "That's where you realize you're living in a world where it really is all connected," he says. He saw Tamir Rice's death as both a local tragedy and something more universal: "the brutality of difference being marked on somebody's body."

    Mr. Rakowitz proposed "A Color Removed" in a lecture at Case Western Reserve University in April 2015 but the project went mostly dormant. Then, in 2017, when plans were being made for Front, a new art triennial in Cleveland, it was revived.

    With the triennial proposing Cleveland as "An American City," Christina Vassallo, the executive director of Spaces, an alternative art venue, offered Mr. Rakowitz's show. "There is nothing more American than disintegrating community-police relations," she said.

    Last fall, Mr. Rakowitz held workshops here where attendees were prompted to think about racial justice and the right to safety: Who has it, and how is it represented? He began working with the graphic designer Amir Berbić to create collection bins that are now placed at institutions around the city. Branded in red and yellow, the bins invite viewers to donate orange objects, which make up the physical installation of "A Color Removed." Orange clothing, construction equipment, toys and household items fill the gallery. Some objects are especially poignant, including a plastic figure of a child holding a sign that reads, "Caution: Children at Play," and the life jacket of a Syrian refugee who never reached Europe.

    Orange objects donated to Mr. Rakowitz for his art gallery show, his effort to remove the color from the city of Cleveland as a statement on the right to safety.

    A scene from Mr. Rakowitz's opening.

    But as the project expanded from a strictly conceptual one to a community-based one, some onlookers raised questions: Did people of color really need art to remind them they weren't safe? Was it acceptable for an artist who isn't black or from Cleveland to make work about Tamir Rice? Where was Tamir's mother, Samaria Rice, in all this?

    Those concerns came to a head in April, at a dinner where a number of black Cleveland artists spoke honestly and critically about the project. Mr. Rakowitz and Ms. Vassallo responded by inviting them in: Amanda King(along with the youth photographers in her art program, Shooting Without Bullets), M. Carmen Lane, RA Washington, and Amber N. Ford made their own work about racial violence for the show. Their contributions are a more explicitly personal counterpoint to the collection of orange objects, since all were living in Cleveland when Tamir was shot.

    "I watched a city fail her son and fail Ms. Rice under my roof," said Mr. Washington, a writer and the founder of a bookstore called Guide to Kulchur, where community members gathered at the time to process Tamir's death. "Participating in this felt like a nod to that."

    Over the years, members of the "Color Removed" team said they had tried to reach Tamir's mother through various intermediaries, without success. But after the dinner, Ms. King, who is an adviser to Ms. Rice, agreed to pass on a request: Could Mr. Rakowitz cook lunch for her? Ms. Rice agreed. She said that the artist "seemed sincere" when she met him, although she was upset that she hadn't been involved from the beginning.

    Ms. Rice, the mother of Tamir, who was killed by a policeman in 2014 when the youngster was playing with a pellet gun whose orange safety cap had been removed. Ms. Rice is starting the Tamir Rice Afrocentric Center in her son's honor.

    Ms. Rice ultimately agreed to allow the use of Tamir's name in "A Color Removed," and she became an artistic collaborator, making her own contribution with orange toys on poster board. It's the focus of the installation, resting beneath a neon sign that blares "SAFE" and a framed photograph of her son. "I know the power of art," Ms. Rice said in a speech at the opening, which felt both celebratory and solemn. "Tamir and his sister Tajai loved the arts. They participated in art classes at Cudell Recreation Center, where Tamir was murdered. Tamir loved to create, to express himself. The process brought him joy."

    In the gallery, pieces of orange paper explain that Ms. Rice is working to sustain her son's legacy through the Tamir Rice Afrocentric Center, which will offer after school arts programs and mentoring for teenagers in Cleveland. Mr. Rakowitz plans to give elements of the installation — the orange objects and communal table — to Ms. Rice to use as she pleases, when the exhibition closes on Sept. 30.

    Ms. Rice's artistic contribution to the project, "A Color Removed," at Spaces.

    "What does it mean if you move beyond good intentions?" he asked. "It means that we're talking then about advocacy, about accountability."

    "I'm very skeptical of socially engaged art that ends with a happy ending, because we're not living in that world," he added. He said he hopes others will also follow through on commitments to help, rather than reverting to complacency — a sentiment that echoes Ms. Rice's own.

    People in Cleveland aren't "making enough noise," she said, "and I don't really know why. So I guess I got to make it with the center, and they have to make it with their art."

    A Color Removed
    Through Sept. 30, SPACES, 2900 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland; 216-621-2314, spacesgallery.org.



    26)  Woman Says She Was Fired by Cricket Australia for Abortion-Rights Tweets

    By Lewis Evan Fischer, July 30, 2018


    he Cricket Australia headquarters in Melbourne. An Australian woman says the organization fired her after she urged expanded abortion access in posts on Twitter.

    SYDNEY, Australia — An Australian woman who says she was fired after posting tweets in support of greater access to abortion has filed a lawsuit against her former employer and will fight to get her job back.

    Angela Williamson, who worked in a government relations and public policy role at Cricket Australia, the sport's governing body here, said she was told her position had become "untenable" amid concerns that she insulted the Tasmanian state government in the series of Twitter posts this year.

    The case, which is under review by the government's Fair Work Commission, includes allegations that a senior member of the Tasmanian government disclosed to Cricket Australia that Ms. Williamson, a former Tasmanian government staff worker, had undergone an abortion herself.

    Ms. Williamson, a 39-year-old mother of three, says she was among the first women in Tasmania to have to fly to mainland Australia for an abortion after the island state's only dedicated abortion clinic closed in January because of high running costs.

    Australia's abortion laws are governed at the state level, and vary widely. South Australia was the first state to legalize the procedure, in 1969, with the restriction that the patient's life, physical or mental health must be in danger.

    Despite being decriminalized in Tasmania in 2013, abortion is not currently available through the state's public health system, which offers mostly free or low-cost care. Some private clinics in Hobart, the state capital, offer the procedure at a comparatively steep cost: one listed it at 2,500 Australian dollars, or about $1,850.

    That lack of accessibility is what drove Ms. Williamson to post on Twitter, she said.

    "I'm not a victim. I'm not seeking pity," she told The Sydney Morning Heraldin an interview published on Sunday. "And I'm not going to be quiet about reproductive health and surgical terminations."

    "The doors were closed to me," she said in the interview. "There was no pathway for me to access a surgical termination in Tasmania."

    Ms. Williamson added that she had to take time off work to go to Melbourne. "At the time, it made me feel alone and scared."

    "On my way home on the plane I was upset," she said. "But I decided I wasn't going to allow anyone to go through this again."

    Ms. Williamson has subsequently been critical of the Tasmanian government on the issue. In a June Twitter post, she said that its refusal to offer abortion through the public health system was "irresponsible, gutless and reckless."

    Her lawyer, Kamal Farouque, said that Ms. Williamson should be compensated and that she would fight to be reinstated at Cricket Australia.

    "The Fair Work Act says you can't be sacked because of your political opinion, so we think that the case is pretty compelling," he said. "It also touches on an issue that I think is quite important to a lot of people: To what extent will employers try to use their social media policies to regulate people's private activities?"

    Mr. Farouque added that cases like Ms. Williamson's could deter people from participating in public debate out of fear of possible reprisal by their employers.

    "A decision like this has the effect of killing public debate, and that's not right," he said.

    On Monday, Ms. Williamson posted a petition on change.org calling for equal access to abortion for all Australians. As of Monday evening, it had gotten more than 5,500 signatures.

    Cricket Australia confirmed in a statement it had ended her employment in late June but would not comment on the circumstances or legal proceedings.

    "Cricket Australia respects an individual's right to their opinion," the organization said. "However, it expects that employees will refrain from making offensive comments that contravene the organization's social media policy."

    Cricket Australia is generally held in high esteem by the public but has been recovering from a tainted image after a cheating scandal led to the suspension this year of the team's captain, Steve Smith.
































































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