Newly Unearthed FBI File Exposes Targeting of Folk Singer Dave Van Ronk

Folk singer Dave Van Ronk performs onstage at the Gaslight on June 22, 1964 in New York, New York.

When I was in first grade, one of the nuns discovered that I knew all three verses of the "Star Spangled Banner," and she was so enraptured by this phenomenon that she paraded me from class to class singing, "Oh thus be it ever when free men shall stand…" — Dave Van Ronk Subject is employed as a guitar player and folk singer at the Gaslight Cafe, 116 Macdougal St. … The NYO [New York Office] is currently preparing a summary report concerning subject. — FBI report, March 1963.Author's Note: The following is based on the heretofore unreleased FBI file of Dave Van Ronk from the National Archives I acquired via a Freedom of Information Act request made in June 2016. The file was obtained in the course of researching a book highlighting the repression brought against a cohort of folk singers during the Second Red Scare of the late 1940s into the 1950s.

The popular fairytale of the US, present Trump reality aside, is that the country is a bastion of freedom unlike any other. History textbooks tout our freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of expression as rights we uniquely hold. We like to imagine that in the US, one can engage in creative work at will — there are no Pussy Riots or Ai Weiweis here, no artists hounded by the political police and imprisoned for doing their art.

The reality, of course, is quite the opposite. From the blacklisting of Pete Seeger and the arrests of Lenny Bruce, to the radio banning of the Dixie Chicks — this country has a hearty tradition of artistic suppression. The FBI's repressive attention to the late folk singer Dave Van Ronk — apparent in the singer's FBI file –offers a new and disturbing window into this long US tradition of political suppression.

Read more at:




"Give me your tired, your poor 

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. 

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 

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

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"















For Immediate Release                                        For Immediate Release

Press Contact: Herb Mintz

(415) 759-9679

Photos and Interviews: Steve Zeltzer

(415) 867-0628

25th Annual LaborFest 2018

Surviving The Billionaire Robot Assault in

 the 21st Century

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

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

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


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

For Immediate Release                                                                 

Press Contact: Herb Mintz

(415) 759-9679

Photos and Interviews: Steve Zeltzer

(415) 867-0628





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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keith H. Washington


McConnell Unit

3100 South Emily Drive

Beeville, TX 78103



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

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018


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

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

On today's episode:

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



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

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

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

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

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

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

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

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

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

In Solidarity,

Ramon Mejia

Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War

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

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



Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

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

They need to hear from us!

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

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

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

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

  • July 19/20, 2018: Waco, TX
  • August 16/17, 2018: Memphis, TN
  • September 19/21, 2018: Los Angeles, CA

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 

about the draft in decades . . .

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

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




Incarceration Nation

Emergency Action Alert:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read statements from the reps: 

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



"There Was a Crooked Prez"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

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

He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,

They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,

And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

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



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

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

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

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

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

Onward in divestment,

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

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



October 20-21, 2018

Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Different wings of the same warbird

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

In response, Sheehan stated that: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MPN News, February 20, 2018






Major George Tillery




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

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

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

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

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

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

Major Tillery and family


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

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

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

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


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

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



    Free Leonard Peltier!

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

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

    USP Coleman I 

    P.O. Box 1033 

    Coleman, FL 33521

    Donations can be made on Leonard's behalf to the ILPD national office, 116 W. Osborne Ave, Tampa, FL 33603



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

    Charity for the Wealthy!

    GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 of America's Largest Corporations a $236B Tax Cut: Report

    By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017







    1)  Health Insurers Warn of Market Turmoil as Trump Suspends Billions in Payments

    By Robert Pear, July 7, 2018


    Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said Trump administration officials had decided to suspend payments because of a February court ruling in New Mexico.CreditEvan Vucci/Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Saturday that it was suspending a program that pays billions of dollars to insurers to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, a freeze that could increase uncertainty in the markets and drive up premiums this fall.

    Many insurers that enroll large numbers of unhealthy people depend on the "risk adjustment" payments, which are intended to reduce the incentives for insurers to seek out healthy consumers and shun those with chronic illnesses and other pre-existing conditions.

    "Any action to stop disbursements under the risk adjustment program will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small-business owners, and could result in far fewer health plan choices," said Justine G. Handelman, a senior vice president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. "It will undermine Americans' access to affordable care, particularly for those who need medical care the most."

    Trump administration officials said they decided to suspend payments under the program because of a ruling in February in Federal District Court in New Mexico. The judge tossed out the formula used to calculate payments, finding that it was flawed.

    "We were disappointed by the court's recent ruling," said Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "As a result of this litigation, billions of dollars in risk adjustment payments and collections are now on hold."

    Ms. Verma said her agency had asked the court to reconsider its ruling and was hoping for a prompt resolution of the issue, to "prevent more adverse impacts on Americans who receive their insurance in the individual and small group markets."

    But supporters of the Affordable Care Act said the move was the latest example of the Trump White House's efforts to undermine the health law.

    "The Trump administration just keeps pushing their destructive repeal-and-sabotage agenda, no matter the cost to the American people," said Brad Woodhouse, the director of Protect Our Care, an advocacy group that supports the health law. "Following through with this latest act of sabotage could raise rates for all consumers even more."

    Some insurers expressed alarm at the administration's decision, which comes just as insurance companies are developing premiums for 2019 and states are reviewing proposed rates.

    "We are very discouraged by the new market disruption brought about by the decision to freeze risk adjustment payments," said Matt Eyles, the president and chief executive of America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group for insurers.

    He predicted that costs to taxpayers would rise because the government provides subsidies that increase along with premiums. Those premium subsidies, for low- and moderate-income people, will continue.

    The decision in February, by Judge James O. Browning, voided the formula used by the federal government to calculate risk adjustment payments each year from 2014 to 2018. The amount at stake just for 2017 is $10.4 billion. The payments shuffle money among insurers, from those with healthier customers to those with less healthy members who have a higher risk of using costly medical care.

    Trump administration officials said they were caught between two conflicting court rulings. The New Mexico ruling prevents the government from making further collections or payments under the risk adjustment program using the current formula, they said. But, they added, in January a federal district judge in Massachusetts upheld the method used by the government to calculate risk adjustment payments.

    While insurers warned of market turmoil if the payments were withheld, Dr. Martin E. Hickey, the founder of New Mexico Health Connections, the company that filed the lawsuit in that state, said the court ruling there would benefit consumers.

    "The risk adjustment formula was extremely biased in favor of large, established insurers and discriminated against new and small insurers, including co-ops like ours," Dr. Hickey said in an interview on Saturday.

    "People spin the administration's decision as Trump trying to do harm, but it's exactly the opposite," Dr. Hickey said. "It will allow more companies to get into the insurance market. That will increase competition, and competition will help keep prices down."

    Risk adjustment payments are based, in part, on the health status of consumers. When the risk adjustment program began in 2014, some large insurers had a potential advantage: They knew the medical and claims history of many consumers because they had insured them in the past.

    Judge Browning said the payment formula was flawed because federal officials "assumed erroneously" that collections and payments under the risk adjustment program had to offset each other so there would be no new cost to the federal government.

    That might have been a rational policy choice, he said, but the government never articulated its reasons.

    The Trump administration blamed President Barack Obama on Saturday, saying, "This aspect of the risk adjustment methodology was promulgated as part of a regulation first issued by the Obama administration in 2013."



    2) We May Be Able to Get Kevin Cooper Off Death Row

    By Nicholas Kristof, July 11, 2018


    After 35 years, the wheels of justice may finally be creaking into motion for Kevin Cooper.CreditTony Cenicola/The New York Times

    The horror began with a nighttime home invasion and the stabbings of a white family, and was compounded when sheriff's deputies arrested and framed a black man for murder.

    That's my view, and now after 35 years the wheels of justice in California may finally be creaking into motion. I last wrote about the case two months ago, and there's a hopeful development: Gov. Jerry Brown seems to be moving toward allowing advanced DNA testing that may correct a gross injustice abetted by the police, prosecutors, judges, politicians and journalists.

    This was a horrific crime, the 1983 Manson-style stabbing murders of Doug and Peggy Ryen, both 41; their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica; and an 11-year neighbor, Chris Hughes. The Ryens' other child, Josh, had his throat slashed and was left for dead.

    Josh, who was 8 at the time, initially identified several white people as the killers; multiple witnesses saw three white people after the attack in what was apparently the Ryens' stolen car; and a woman reported to the police that her boyfriend, a white convicted murderer recently released from prison, appeared to have taken part in the crime. She gave sheriff's deputies the bloody coveralls he had worn that night, and deputies threw them away.

    Instead, deputies arrested Kevin Cooper, a 25-year-old black man, and when they couldn't find his fingerprints or hairs linking him to the crime scene, they began to plant evidence — or so concluded five federal appeals judges. Cooper was sentenced to death after a trial tainted by open racism.

    So Cooper has now spent more than 80 percent of his adult life behind bars for a brutal murder even though federal judges, law school deans, F.B.I. veterans and a former president of the American Bar Association say he may well be innocent.

    Yet California officials, including Brown and many others, refused to allow advanced DNA testing, even though Cooper's lawyers would pay for it. I've written about Cooper's case repeatedly for eight years, and finally in May I wrote what may be the longest column in New York Times history, a piece of visual journalism laying out the evidence that the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office framed Cooper and that Democratic and Republican politicians alike later blocked the DNA testing that could prove his innocence.

    That seemed to break a dam. Pope Francis sent a letter through his representative to the governor. The Los Angeles Times and The San Francisco Chronicle published editorials calling on Brown to allow the DNA testing. Senator Dianne Feinstein backed testingas did Senator Kamala Harris, who told me she regretted that she had not allowed it when she was California's attorney general. And Kim Kardashian fired off tweets.

    Now, in a letter sent by an aide, Brown has asked Cooper's lawyers practical questions about how to proceed: Which lab would do the testing, precisely which methods would be used, and would testing also be able to compare any DNA found to that of the white suspects believed by the defense to be the real perpetrators?

    "The ball has moved forward by this letter, quite a bit," said Norman Hile, who has worked pro bono defending Cooper for 14 years. "We're certainly better off than we were. We're encouraged that they're considering testing and we think we can convince them to do it."

    One crucial piece of evidence to be tested is a T-shirt stained with the Ryens' blood, because new "touch DNA" or "habitual wearer DNA" testing may establish who wore it. There are also hairs found in the victims' hands that have yet to be tested — hairs that are blond or brown. An orange towel apparently used by the murderers has not been tested at all.

    It has felt strange to me as a columnist, and it may feel peculiar to you as a reader, that I have devoted so much space over the years to the case of a single man awaiting execution, even if he is innocent. But this case is also a window into the much broader problem of an often dysfunctional criminal justice system that particularly oppresses the indigent.

    At least 162 people on death row in the United States have been exonerated since 1973, and one academic study estimated that 4.1 percent of those on death row in the U.S. may be innocent. That suggests that about 115 people now awaiting execution nationwide were wrongfully convicted.

    When people have been exonerated, science has been the savior — particularly DNA testing, cited by heroic lawyers and nonprofits — while the courts, politicians, law enforcement agencies and the news media have not (with some exceptions) been aggressive in righting these wrongs.

    Is it possible that I'm mistaken about Cooper's innocence? Of course.

    So let's test the evidence and find out before the state executes him. Thanks to all who spoke up, from the pope to Kardashian, and let's hope that Brown proceeds soon with the advanced DNA testing. I'm betting that testing will not only free an innocent man but also lay bare police corruption and a criminal justice system that too often doesn't have anything to do with justice.



    3)  A Black Man Wore Socks in the Pool. After Calling the Police on Him, a Manager Got Fired.

    By Sarah Mervosh, July 9, 2018


    A screen shot from a Facebook video about a confrontation at a pool at a Memphis apartment complex. The woman standing at right, identified as Erica Walker, was fired after calling the police on a black man wearing socks in the pool.CreditCamry Porter

    A white manager of a Memphis apartment complex was fired after she called the police on a black man wearing socks in the pool on the Fourth of July.

    The man, Kevin Yates, and his girlfriend, Camry Porter, said they had taken Ms. Porter's two young godsons swimming at the pool at Riverset Apartments, where Ms. Porter lives. They said they were the only black people at the pool.

    Mr. Yates, 25, was watching the children play in the pool, sitting at the edge with his feet dipped in the water, when a woman who identified herself as a property manager asked him to remove his socks because they were not "proper pool attire," the couple said. When he did not remove his socks or leave the property, they said, she called the police.

    Ms. Porter, 25, posted an account of the incident on Facebook, along with video of their conversation with a police officer.

    In an interview on Sunday, she said she felt racially targeted by the manager, whom she identified as Erica Walker. She said white people were wearing clothing other than swimsuits, such as hats or shirts, in the pool.

    "It's not the issue with socks," Ms. Porter said. "If socks were not to be worn, that was very well fine. The issue was we were the only one addressed."

    Riverset Apartments and its Chicago-based property management company, Trilogy Residential Management, did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday but have released statements condemning discrimination.

    "Ms. Walker was terminated immediately after we completed our investigation," one statement said, adding that "she will never be employed by Trilogy Residential Management, LLC or any of its properties in the future."

    A screen shot from a Facebook video showing the socks that the man was wearing.CreditCamry Porter

    Ms. Walker, reached by text message on Sunday, declined to comment.

    Several white people have faced consequences after calling the police on black people, or threatening to do so, at pools this summer.

    A white North Carolina man was fired after he demanded identification from a black woman at a private community pool and called the police when she refused. In South Carolina, a white woman was charged with assault after she accosted a black boy and his friends at a neighborhood pool by telling them they had to "get out" or she would call 911.

    On the Fourth of July, Mr. Yates said, he walked from the apartment to the pool wearing socks and flip-flops. He said he left his socks on as he tended to Ms. Porter's godsons.

    "I'm going to be in and out of the pool with the little kids and I don't want my feet scorching on this ground," he recalled.

    A woman in a swimsuit asked him to take off his socks, and then returned while identifying herself as a property manager, he said.

    Ms. Porter said she asked for identification to show that Ms. Walker worked at the complex, but Ms. Walker would not provide it. She said Ms. Walker asked them to leave and called the police when they refused.

    Ms. Porter and Mr. Yates commended the police officer for handling the situation professionally; the video shows him trying to defuse the tension.

    During a conversation with the officer, the couple said, Ms. Walker offered to allow them to go to a different pool at the complex.

    "That's when I finally understand: It's not the socks, it's me," Mr. Yates said.

    The couple took the children back to the apartment, and Ms. Porter posted about the confrontation on Facebook. The next day, she said, the management company contacted her and offered her three months of free rent.

    She later learned that Ms. Walker had been fired.

    "We all have bills," Ms. Porter said. "I'm not going to cheer and throw a party that Ms. Erica was fired." But, she added, "there should have been some consequences."



    4) Amazon Is Used to Promote White Supremacist Merchandise and Views, Report Says

    By Mihir Zaveri, July 8, 2018


    Amazon, which reported a net income of more than $1.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, is facing criticism that hate groups use it to sell merchandise and promote their ideas.

    Two nonprofits are criticizing Amazon for allowing its platforms to spread white supremacy and racism, identifying in a report how shoppers can buy onesies for babies stamped with alt-right images, Nazi-themed action figures and anti-Semitic books and music.

    The report, which was released on Friday by the Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race and the Economy, said Amazon's policies allow it to bar hateful or offensive merchandise and content, but the policies are "weak and inadequately enforced" and allow hate groups to "generate revenue, propagate their ideas and grow their movements."

    The report outlines a number of items available as of June, including a costume that makes it look as though wearers have marks around their neck from being hanged from a noose, and onesies for babies that include images of a burning cross emblazoned across the front and Pepe the Frog.

    The report identified dozens of e-books being sold in Amazon Kindle formats that were published by groups labeled "hate organizations" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist groups.

    It also criticized Amazon's CloudFront content delivery network for "facilitating the publication and distribution of digital media" associated with Islamophobia.

    As of Sunday afternoon, Amazon appeared to have removed many of the items identified in the report but others, like a sword with Nazi symbols, remained.

    "Either Amazon does not find the materials outlined in this report offensive or otherwise contrary to its policies, or it does not consistently enforce its own policies," the report said. "Amazon has been reactive, not proactive, in its response to use of its site by peddlers of hate."

    In the report, the organizations asked Amazon to develop better policies for policing its platforms, destroy hateful merchandise in its warehouses and stop allowing such goods and content to be distributed through its services.

    An Amazon spokesman said in a statement on Sunday that third-party sellers that use its marketplace service "must follow our guidelines and those who don't are subject to swift action including potential removal of their account."

    The report identified examples of merchandise available on Amazon that depicted ideas of racist and neo-Nazi groups.CreditAction Center on Race & the Economy, and The Partnership for Working Families

    Amazon did not answer questions about what specific items it had removed or what measures it was taking to vet other merchandise. The Washington Post reported that the company was working to remove neo-Nazi bands from its music platform.

    "They're making money, they are doing business with the people who are selling these things," said Mariah Montgomery, campaign director for the Partnership for Working Families and one of the report's authors. "The company has tremendous resources and some of them should be devoted to making sure they are not propping up racist organizations."

    Amazon reported a net income of more than $1.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, more than double the amount for the same period last year.

    The debate over how emerging technologies are being harnessed by those looking to spread hateful or bigoted ideas has raged for decades. In 2000, Yahoo was sued because it allowed internet users in France to visit its auction sites, which sold Nazi memorabilia.

    But the debate has ramped up in recent years with an emboldening of white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups and pressure from countries in Europe to get American technology companies to crack down on hate speech, said Danielle Citron, a professor at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and author of the book "Hate Crimes in Cyberspace."

    Nationally, the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents surged 57 percent in 2017, up to 1,986 from 1,267 in the previous year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which linked the increase to the divisive state of American politics, a rise of extremists and the effects of social media.

    "This isn't happening in a vacuum, this report," Ms. Citron said on Sunday. "It's happening when there's a lot of pressure on companies to remove and filter and block hate speech."

    Ms. Citron said companies are not legally liable for distributing goods or merchandise that reflect hate, though such practices might violate a company's policy. She said Amazon has faced less scrutiny compared with companies like Twitter and Facebook, which are rethinking their policies.

    "This is a conversation about morals and ethics and their own terms of service," she said.

    She warned, though, about the danger of overreaching. The report called on Amazon to get input from groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center to help it monitor and react to hate groups, but the center itself has faced criticism about how it classifies extremism and hate.

    "Unless we're really disciplined in how we define it, with examples, and we err on the side of narrow, it can grow in ways that are unintended," Ms. Citron said.



    5) Trump is set to separate more than 200,000 U.S.-born children from their parents

    By Mark L. Schneider, July 6, 2018


    Protesters in front of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Miami on May 13, 2017. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    Mark L. Schneider is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, former director of the U.S. Peace Corps, and former head of Latin America and the Caribbean at USAID.

    If you think the last few weeks of separating 2,300 children from their migrant parents along the southern border were heart-wrenching, imagine if 273,000 American-born children are separated from parents whose temporary protected status (TPS) is terminated. That is what could happen if the Trump administration's decision to revoke TPS for Haitians, Salvadorans and Hondurans is allowed to take effect.

    Despite President Trump's executive order reversing his policy of separating migrant families, most of those 2,300 children have not been returned to their parents. That is truly unconscionable.

    More than 100 times that number of children — all U.S. citizens — will be placed in similar jeopardy if the Department of Homeland Security begins programs to deport more than 58,000 Haitians on July 22, 2019, more than 262,000 Salvadorans on Sept. 9, 2019, and 86,000 Hondurans on Jan. 5, 2020. Parents will be faced with the decision of whether to take their children — most of whom speak mainly English and know only life in this country — back to countries deemed by the State Department as not safe for travel, some with the highest homicide rates in the hemisphere.

    Otherwise, parents will have to leave their children alone in the United States or, if they're lucky, with relatives, or foster parents who they may or may not know, or some with "adult sponsors" chosen by federal agencies. The only other choice available to those parents would be to hide in the shadows as undocumented aliens. And that is what the ambassadors to the United States from El Salvador and Honduras, during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), predicted that most families would attempt. And DHS would undoubtedly begin a massive hunt for them.

    The TPS provision in the Immigration Act of 1990 states that after each 18-month review, if conditions have changed — and governments can adequately handle the return of their citizens, and the returnees can return in safety — then it can be terminated. It does not say it is okay to deport them even as governments say they would still be overwhelmed or that it is still unsafe.

    The Trump administration's TPS termination decision reversed the findings of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, their secretaries of state and secretaries of homeland security, and their legal advisers. They found conditions justified legally extending the temporary protected status after each of 14 reviews for Honduras since it was granted following Hurricane Mitch in 1999, each of 13 reviews for El Salvador following two earthquakes in 2001, and each of four reviews for Haiti following the worst earthquake in the region's history in 2010.

    The decision to terminate the temporary protected status appears blatantly political since it contradicted the evaluation of U.S. diplomats in each of the countries who sent cables urging extension of TPS. They wrote that deportation of TPS holders and their children would endanger the fragile economies in those countries, overwhelm the countries' abilities to provide services, lead to more violence, and prompt new flows of migrants to our borders, thus undermining U.S. national security interests. The U.S. Southern Command, which covers Central and South America, came to the same conclusion.

    The Department of Homeland Security also ignored these State Department travel advisories in January warning U.S. travelers to "Reconsider Travel" to those countries:

    • El SalvadorViolent crime, such as murder, assault, rape, and armed robbery, is common. Gang activity, such as extortion, violent street crime, and narcotics and arms trafficking, is widespread. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

    • Honduras: Violent crime, such as homicide and armed robbery, is common. Violent gang activity, such as extortion, violent street crime, rape, and narcotics and human trafficking, is widespread. Local police and emergency services lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.

    • Haiti: Reconsider travel to Haiti due to crime and civil unrest. Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents or emergencies. Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and often spontaneous.

    Various studies show that more than 80 percent of TPS beneficiaries work, pay taxes, and contribute an estimated $690 million each year into Social Security. It would cost an estimated $3 billion to deport them and the U.S. economy would lose about $4.5 billion each year in gross domestic product.

    Finally, U.S. policy, begun under Obama and a Republican Congress, and continued, according to Vice President Pence, in the Trump administration, sees the best way to reduce the "push" factors on illegal migration is to assist Central America to strengthen their economies, democratic institutions and law enforcement.

    Sending back hundreds of thousands of people to those countries, when the governments themselves have said they cannot handle it, undermines that policy. And placing at risk 273,000 U.S. citizen children — some still being nursed — undermines our values.

    The immediate answer is for the president to reverse the DHS termination decisions. The best answer for those U.S. citizen children is for Congress to authorize permanent residency for their parents now and a pathway to citizenship — they have been here for as long as two decades and have demonstrated they can contribute to our future — as immigrant parents in this country have done for almost 250 years.



    6) UK Government Preparing for Anti-Trump Protests as "If London Was Burning Down" "We need to show the world what millions of people in this country think of the bigotry and the hatred that he represents," said one organizer


    "We've seen the rise of the far right in Britain and Europe, and the one lesson we should learn from history is that when racists and the far right mobilize, you fight back, you don't let them march and rise to power," said Guardian columnist Owen Jones. (Photo: Stop Trump Coalition/Screengrab)

    As U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's "embarrassing sham of a government" continued its slow-motion collapse on Monday with the resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, British authorities scrambled to prepare for "unprecedented" protests against U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming visit by launching a major police mobilization aimed at containing what organizers have dubbed "The Carnival of Resistance."

    Hundreds of thousands of Britons are expected to take to the streets nationwide on Friday in opposition to Trump, who is scheduled to arrive in the U.K. Thursday evening. The protests—which will include a 20-foot-tall angry Trump baby blimp flying over London—are expected to be so large that White House officials are reportedly concerned that the crowd-obsessed Trump could lash out at his British hosts.

    According to the British Sunday Times, White House officials are planning to do all they can to "shield" Trump from the demonstrations by keeping him on a tightly organized schedule, but this will be difficult as Britons have organized enormous demonstrations in major cities throughout the country.

    "We need to show the world what millions of people in this country think of the bigotry and the hatred that he represents," Owen Jones, a Guardian columnist who helped organize the anti-Trump demonstrations, told TIME on Monday. "We've seen the rise of the far right in Britain and Europe, and the one lesson we should learn from history is that when racists and the far right mobilize, you fight back, you don't let them march and rise to power."

    Speaking to the Guardian on Monday, one chief constable said the police resources requested by the government to contain the mass demonstrations were on the level that would be required "if London was burning down."

    "Donald Trump likes to pose as an international tough guy, but it looks like he's too scared to face protesters in London," the group Stand Up to Trump declared in a statement, alluding to the U.S. president's reported plans to steer clear of the streets of London. "If true, this is already a huge victory for protesters."

    The Stop Trump Coalition—a group of organizations that played a role in planning the nationwide actions—provided a map of the protests Trump's team will be attempting to avoid:

    Amid reports that the government is working to bring a major police presence to the demonstrations, Amnesty International warned British authorities against attempting to stamp out freedom of expression in an effort to "appease their visitors."

    Allan Hogarth, head of policy at Amnesty International U.K., said Trump's visit is a major "opportunity for the U.K. to show that peaceful protest is an essential component of a free and fair society, not something to be shut down as a political embarrassment."

    Acknowleging that Trump must "be defeated primarily in the U.S.," Global Justice Now organizer Sam Lund-Harket wrote in a blog post that it is the job of progressives in the U.K. to show solidarity with their American allies by turning out in large numbers to denounce the president's destructive and hate-filled agenda.

    "Under Theresa May, the U.K. is a key Trump ally, so it's important that he can't waltz in without significant opposition," Lund-Harket concluded. "Luckily tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, will be flooding to London on Friday, July 13 to march against him."



    7) Unable to Stop Flaming Kites, Israel Moves to Choke Off Gaza Commerce

    By David M. Halbfinger, July 9, 2018


    Palestinian protesters flew a kite loaded with an incendiary device toward Israel during a demonstration along the border with Israel in Gaza last month.CreditMohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    JERUSALEM — Unable to thwart the waves of incendiary devices lofted into Israel on kites and birthday balloons from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government opted for a punitive response on Monday, clamping down on cargo shipments in and out of Gaza in hopes that its rulers would halt the airborne arson themselves.

    The new restrictions at Gaza's main cargo crossing ban the import of all goods except food, medicine and "humanitarian equipment," as well as all exports.

    The militant organization Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and has encouraged the arsonist kite fliers, called the move a "crime against humanity." Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a rival Gaza militant group, called it a "declaration of war."

    The measures were intended to press Hamas to crack down on the arson. "We will weigh down heavier on Hamas's leadership, effective immediately," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said to applause as he announced the partial closing at a meeting of his Likud party on Monday.

    But the restrictions also seemed aimed at satisfying a domestic audience that has grown impatient with Mr. Netanyahu's inability to provide an effective answer to the fire raining down on communities across a wide area of southern Israel, or to articulate a broader strategy for addressing Gaza's underlying problems.

    The restrictions represented a sharp reversal by leaders of the Israeli military, in particular Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, chief of the general staff of the Israel Defense Forces, who have called for alleviating economic pressure on Gaza, including by increasing economic aid, as a way to reduce the likelihood that tensions there could boil over into another war with Israel.

    Analysts warned that reducing commerce at Kerem Shalom would only choke off what was left of the territory's economic vitality at a time when it was already near collapse.

    "I am frustrated by my own government," said Ben-Dror Yemini, a columnist for the newspaper Maariv who has clamored for Israel to offer a broad package of economic aid to Gaza in return for its demilitarization. "It's not enough to be right, you should be clever, and it's not a clever step on behalf of Israel."

    The immediate goal of the restrictions is to prod Hamas to abandon what has been an ingenious and, for Israel, exasperating tactic. Since April, Gaza militants have been turning kites and balloons into improvised firebombs, burning hundreds of acres of Israeli farmland and forcing firefighting crews from all over the country to race from fire to fire dowsing flames before they can spread.

    The Israeli Army says it has used drones to bring down 670 kites and balloons, but hundreds more have gotten through. By mid-June, officials said, 412 blazes had been set — and the military has conceded that it is unable to stop them.

    On Monday alone, at least 28 new arson fires caused by incendiary devices attached to kites and balloons had broken out by early evening.

    "What's happening in the south and the devastation to the farmers, and the environmental situation — I was down there recently, it's toxic to breathe in those communities, it's awful, and I agree there needs to be a response," said Tania Hary, executive director of the Israeli advocacy group Gisha, which promotes freedom of movement for Palestinians. "But the response needs to be proportionate to the threat, and actions which are aimed to punish nearly two million people in the strip are certainly not proportionate."

    Some right-wing Israeli politicians have called for kite launchers to be killed, but the army has refused to use lethal force, going only so far as to fire warning shots and to destroy vehicles belonging to kite launchers. Instead, seeing the damage done by the kites as mainly an economic threat to agriculture, Israel has opted for an economic response.

    In addition to the clampdown at Kerem Shalom, Israel said it was restricting Gaza's fishermen to six nautical miles offshore, after having allowed them to fish as far as nine miles into the Mediterranean for the past three months.

    Short of military action, analysts said, Israel has few options, since its blockade already severely restricts the movement of people in and out of Gaza. "The only measure that Israel has in its tool kit is to close the border," said Celine Touboul, deputy director general of Israel's Economic Cooperation Foundation.

    Nearly all the goods that enter Gaza arrive through Kerem Shalom: Through the first six months of 2018, according to United Nations figures, 48,424 truckloads of goods were imported there. Of those, about a third contained food and medical supplies, items that would be exempt from the new restrictions.

    Construction materials and nonfood consumable goods, which now appear to be barred by Israel, accounted for the bulk of the rest.

    "There's not a whole lot of stock on the shelves of Gaza, so it means that in a number of days you could already see shortages," said Ms. Hary of Gisha.

    The new restrictions at Kerem Shalom could quickly be subsumed into a larger diplomatic struggle involving Israel, Egypt, the United States and the Palestinian Authority over how to ease suffering in Gaza, and who should bear responsibility for it.

    Israel and Egypt have together maintained a punishing 11-year blockade of Gaza. The Palestinian Authority is imposing its own financial sanctions on Hamas, which have cost tens of thousands of Gazans their jobs and have kept the lights on in most Gaza homes for only a few hours at a time. The United States has laid much of the blame for Gaza's dire straits at the feet of the authority's president, Mahmoud Abbas.

    Nathan Thrall, a Gaza expert at the International Crisis Group, noted that Israel and Egypt, neither of which wants responsibility for Gaza and its problems, maintained a kind of tug of war such that, whenever Egypt opened the Rafah crossing, it worried that Israel would close its own Gaza crossings, leaving Egypt as the only outlet.

    If Egypt allowed more goods into Gaza at Rafah, "that's a win for Gazans, because Egyptian goods are much cheaper, and they're not taxed by the P.A.," Mr. Thrall said. "If Gaza's leaders could orchestrate that, they'd have a greater ability to tax those goods and get money to keep the government afloat."



    8) Judge Rejects Long Detentions of Migrant Families, Dealing Trump Another Setback

    By Miriam Jordan and Manny Fernandez, July 9, 2018


    Migrants who were separated from their children after crossing the border were dropped off at a shelter in El Paso, Tex.CreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times

    LOS ANGELES — The Trump administration on Monday lost a bid to persuade a federal court to allow long-term detention of migrant families, a significant legal setback to the president's immigration agenda.

    In a ruling that countered nearly every argument posed by the Justice Department, Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles held that there was no basis to amend a longstanding consent decree that requires children to be released to licensed care programs within 20 days. The government said that long-term confinement was the only way to avoid separating families when parents were detained on criminal charges.

    Judge Gee said the administration's request to modify the decree, the 1997 Flores agreement, was "a cynical attempt" to shift immigration policymaking to the courts in the wake of "over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill-considered executive action that have led to the current stalemate."

    In another setback, federal authorities were preparing Monday to unwind the administration's family separation program, with 54 young migrants scheduled to be returned to their parents as a result of an earlier court ruling from a federal judge in San Diego. The secretive operation set to unfold on Tuesday involves transporting children hundreds of miles to undisclosed locations around the country.

    The reunions cover a little more than half of the youngest children — those under age 5 — who had been separated from their families under the administration's program to jail adults who crossed the border illegally.

    The operation will be carried out with an unusual level of secrecy under the oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, according to federal lawyers and others familiar with the plan.

    A parallel effort is underway to deport some of the migrants: 11 reunified families will be returned to their home country, Guatemala, on Tuesday, the country's vice minister of foreign relations said at a news conference.

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen was scheduled to travel to Guatemala City the same day, with illegal immigration one of the topics on her agenda, department officials announced.

    President Trump had pledged to end what he called the "catch-and-release" policies adopted by previous administrations for undocumented immigrants apprehended at the border, but the two court rulings have left few good policy alternatives to achieve his goal.

    The attempt to jail illegal border crossers and hold their children in less-restrictive facilities, ordered in May, led to widespread public outrage and was effectively reversed by the ruling in San Diego; but holding parents and children together for lengthy periods, one of the few alternative methods of confining migrants who arrive with children, has now been ruled out by the court in Los Angeles.

    President Trump now faces the same dilemma that President Barack Obama's administration confronted when Central American migrants began surging across the southwest border in 2014. After exploring options for longer-term detention — including their own attempt in 2015 to amend the Flores agreement — Obama administration officials eventually permitted many migrant families to be released with orders to appear in court, with judges often imposing additional restrictions such as bond or ankle monitoring devices.

    In her ruling, Judge Gee said the Trump administration's petition to amend the Flores agreement, both by allowing longer-term detention of families and providing for housing them in facilities other than those licensed by child welfare agencies, raised no significant new argument that Obama lawyers had not already tried unsuccessfully.

    She rejected the contention that the court's refusal to amend the agreement in 2015 had spurred thousands of new migrants to flock toward the United States, believing they could avoid detention if they arrived with children.

    "Any number of other factors could have caused the increase in illegal border crossings, including civil strife, economic degradation, and fear of death in the migrants' home countries," the judge wrote.

    Lawyers who opposed any change to the original decree applauded the ruling.

    "The court clearly finds that the attorney general's efforts to strip detained immigrant children of their fundamental rights were completely unfounded and based on an intentional misreading of the 1997 Flores agreement," said Peter Schey, president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, who was a co-lead counsel on the initial lawsuit, which was filed in 1985.

    Contrary to assertions from the Trump administration, he said, nothing in the Flores agreement required separation of families. "On the contrary, the settlement has offered detained children the right to humane treatment and reasonably prompt release from custody, unless they are a flight risk or a danger, for some 20 years without incident," he said.

    Brenda Garcia was reunited with her 7-year-old son at Dulles Airport in Washington in late June.CreditRyan Christopher Jones for The New York Times

    The Justice Department said in a statement that it was reviewing the court's ruling.

    "We disagree with the court's ruling declining to amend the Flores Agreement to recognize the current crisis of families making the dangerous and unlawful journey across our southern border," the department said, "but the court does appear to acknowledge that parents who cross the border will not be released and must choose between remaining in family custody with their children pending immigration proceedings or requesting separation from their children so the child may be placed with a sponsor."

    In preparation for the family reunifications on Tuesday, most parents have already been transferred to detention facilities in the vicinity of where their children are currently held, Sarah B. Fabian, a Justice Department lawyer, said in court on Monday. She said the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency would oversee the transfers.

    "The children will be brought to an ICE location where the parents are. ICE will assume custody and then release the parent and children together," she said. "We have agreed it is best to not talk publicly about location too much for the safety of children, to ensure the orderly and safe release for everyone."

    Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the Federal District Court in San Diego had set a deadline of Tuesday for the youngest children to be returned, but government lawyers said Monday that of 102 such children now in government custody, the authorities have been able to identify, locate and vet the parents of only 54. The court order requires all 3,000 children to be returned to their families before the end of the month.

    A person familiar with the reunification plan said managers at the sites where younger children are being housed have been instructed that they are to put the children in vans on Tuesday and take them to locations that are as yet unknown to them.

    The 54 children are scattered around the country, and the operation calls for the children to be driven to nearby locations in different states, where they will be handed over to Homeland Security officials. The children will be reunited with their parents or relatives there, or will be taken to nearby ICE facilities for the reunifications.

    The plan for Tuesday was unusual not only for its secrecy, but for its oversight: The Homeland Security Department is not typically involved directly in family reunifications. Until now, most such reunifications have occurred at migrant youth shelters, many of which are run by contractors. Those contractors, however, do not appear to be actively involved in the reunifications planned for this week.

    "This is new ground being plowed," said the person familiar with the plan, who asked not to be identified in order to speak freely.

    The government has tapped two faith-based organizations to support families during and after the reunions. But they have also been tight-lipped about details out of concern over potential protests and a potential large news media presence.

    The operation comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which last month won a preliminary injunction ordering speedy reunification of migrant families separated under the "zero-tolerance" policy on border enforcement that was put into place in May.

    Amid mounting political pressure and public outrage, President Trump issued an executive order on June 20 ending the separations.

    Judge Sabraw did not grant the government's request to extend Tuesday's deadline for returning all children under 5, but during the court conference on Monday, he said he recognized that some cases "will necessitate additional time."

    Ms. Fabian told the court that nine parents of children who are under the age of 5 have been deported, making immediate reunification difficult. In the case of nine others, the parents have been released and their locations are unknown, she said. Other parents have criminal records that prevent the families from being reunited, Ms. Fabian said.

    The children have been housed in shelters from California to New York, licensed by the Health and Human Services Department. Ms. Fabian said these families would not remain in detention once they are reunited. The government has limited family-style detention space compliant with standards under Flores. The three family detention facilities, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania, can hold about 3,000 people.

    Mr. Trump said in his executive order that the government intended to keep families detained together, and tent camps and other facilities were being prepared to accommodate thousands of them.

    The Justice Department said in a statement on Monday that the administration had "worked tirelessly" since the latest court conference on Friday "toward the shared goal of promptly reunifying families while ensuring the safety of the children."

    The government announced last week that it would be using DNA testing to expedite confirmation of familial ties between adults coming forward to claim children, given that several agencies had been involved in the separation of families and that databases were not complete.

    Miriam Jordan reported from Los Angeles and Manny Fernandez from Houston. Caitlin Dickerson from New York, Ron Nixon from Washington and Kirk Semple from Mexico City contributed reporting.



    9) New Jersey Woman on Oxygen Dies After Electric Company Shuts Off Her Power

    By Matthew Haag, July 9, 2018


    Linda Daniels died on Thursday after power was shut off at her home in Newark and the electric-powered oxygen tank she used to breathe stopped working.Creditvia Desiree Washington

    New Jersey officials said on Monday they were investigating why a utility company shut off power last week at the Newark home of a woman in hospice care who then died after her electric-powered oxygen tank stopped operating.

    Family members of the woman, Linda Daniels, said she gasped for air for hours on Thursday until she died of congestive heart failure. The company, Public Service Electric and Gas Company, had cut off power to her home that morning because of overdue bills.

    The family said they pleaded with the company to restore electricity, telling customer service representatives that Ms. Daniels, 68, depended on oxygen equipment in order to breathe. Power was eventually returned to the home on Friday.

    "She was scared, and she was holding our hands tightly," said Desiree Washington, Ms. Daniels's daughter. "She was horrified. We were all horrified."

    The case has caught the attention of regulatory officials in New Jersey, where utilities are prohibited from shutting off power to people with medical emergencies. The company said Monday that it was not aware that Ms. Daniels had a medical condition, though her relatives said it had been notified.

    The state's Board of Public Utilities said it had opened an investigation.

    "BPU is investigating the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Linda Daniels last week at her home in Newark," a spokesman said. "As part of our investigation, we are in the process of gathering all appropriate information in order to determine how this could have occurred."

    Ms. Washington said her mother's home lost power around 10 a.m. on Thursday. When she arrived later that morning, the heat was suffocating. The high temperature on Thursday in Newark was 91 degrees.

    Family members repeatedly called the utility company, she said.

    "We kept calling, and they said to stop calling," Ms. Washington said. "What kind of customer service is that?"

    The family also called 911 to have paramedics bring a portable oxygen tank so Ms. Daniels could breathe. Even with the aid of the portable tank, Ms. Daniels's health continued to decline and she died shortly before 4:30 p.m.

    John Sharpe James, a Newark City Council member who represents the area where Ms. Daniels lived, said he was concerned about what had transpired and had asked the utility company for an explanation.

    He said he planned to meet with the family on Tuesday.

    "I will give them time, but ultimately it's a very sad day and it's an unfortunate incident," Mr. James said. "We want to ensure it doesn't happen again, and we cannot have our senior population in jeopardy like that."

    Officials at Public Service Electric and Gas Company said Monday that they had started an internal investigation into the case. But so far, they have uncovered no indication of a medical condition on Ms. Daniels's account, which was past due $1,500 as of last week.

    "This account was severely in arrears, and we made at least 26 attempts to notify the customer since January 2018, including two visits to the residence prior to the disconnection," the company said in a statement.

    Workers would not have shut off power if they were notified of her medical condition, the company said, adding, "We are carefully reviewing everything that happened around this terrible incident."

    Relatives of Ms. Daniels said that both her family and hospice nurses had informed Public Service Electric and Gas Company long before Thursday about her medical condition.

    Ms. Washington said the family wrote a letter to the utility company two years ago when her mother started using a machine to treat sleep apnea. Her nurses sent the company another letter in April, when Ms. Daniels started using an oxygen tank, she said.

    "It definitely was known to them," Ms. Washington said.

    She also disputed that her mother's account was past due. She said that the family paid $500 toward her balance, more than the minimum owed, on Tuesday to keep the power on.

    Ms. Washington said she was angry that the company had cut the power despite the "extreme weather." She added, "I'm ex-military, but I couldn't even take a breath."



    10) U.S. Reopens Investigation Into Emmett Till Slaying

    By Alan Blinder, July 12, 2018


    Emmett Till

    The federal government has quietly revived its investigation into the murder of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African-American boy whose abduction and killing in 1955 remains among the starkest and most searing examples of racial violence in the South.

    In a report submitted to Congress in late March, the Department of Justice said it had reopened its inquiry "based upon the discovery of new information," but it did not elaborate and declined to comment further on Thursday. The government has not announced any new charges in connection with its investigation, and it is unclear whether prosecutors will ultimately be able to bring a case against anyone.

    But the Justice Department's decision to devote new attention to the case is a demonstration of how deeply the episode resonates more than 60 years after Emmett was killed in rural Mississippi and photographs of his mutilated body were published, so staggering the nation that the case is now seen as a catalyst for the civil rights movement.

    Emmett was from Chicago and had been visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta when he went into a store and encountered one of its owners, a white woman who ultimately complained that the teenager had grabbed her and made crude sexual remarks. He was kidnapped and killed days later, his body tethered to a cotton gin fan with barbed wire and then cast into a river

    Although two white men eventually confessed to a magazine that they had killed Emmett, they had previously been acquitted by a Mississippi jury. The two men, like many others considered to be possibly connected to the episode, are now deceased.

    But the woman who made the allegations against Emmett remains alive, and her account has shifted through the years. In a book published last year, the researcher Timothy B. Tyson reported that the woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, had acknowledged that the entirety of her story was "not true" but that she did not remember the precise sequence of events.

    "Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him," Ms. Donham told Dr. Tyson, a senior research scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

    The Justice Department, whose new inquiry was first reported by The Associated Press, last began a significant review of the Till case in 2004, but prosecutors ultimately determined that the statute of limitations had left them without any charges they could pursue in a federal court. A state grand jury in Mississippi did not return any indictments, either.

     the woman linked to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till]



    11)  All 'Eligible' Separated Children Under 5 Are Back With Their Parents, Government Says

    By Ron Nixon and Miriam Jordan, July 12, 2018


    Mirce Alva Lopez, 31, with her 3-year-old son, Adan, at the bus station in Phoenix this week after being reunited.CreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said on Thursday that it had reunified all the migrant children under the age of 5 it determined were eligible to be returned to their parents, part of a court order to reunite the children who were separated from their families at the border.

    Officials said that 57 of the 103 children had been reunited with their families as of Thursday morning. An additional 46 children remain in government custody because they have been found ineligible to be returned to their families for various reasons.

    The government said that 22 of the children could not be placed back with their parents due to safety concerns — because the parents had criminal records or because the federal government determined that the child was not related to the person they were with at the border.

    Two dozen children could not be returned because the parent had been deported or was in jail or prison for other offenses.

    The reunifications came after a federal judge pressed for faster action on Tuesday, when the government said it would miss a court's deadline of returning at least half of children under 5 years old to a parent by that day.

    Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the Federal District Court of San Diego said that deadline and a second set for July 26 to reunite nearly 3,000 more children were "firm deadlines, not aspirational goals."

    He asked the A.C.L.U. to track the administration's progress, and suggested that the government could face sanctions if it failed to comply with the deadlines. The pace of reunions picked up Wednesday, and administration officials said late in the day that all the eligible children would be handed over to a parent by Thursday.

    "As ordered by the court, the government will have to abandon their lengthy reunification process and switch to a process more appropriate for the situation," said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the A.C.L.U.

    To speed up the reunions, the A.C.L.U. and immigration advocates said the government would no longer insist on fingerprinting all adults in a household where a child would live, or require home visits by a social worker.

    Instead, the authorities will release children to a parent once a familial tie has been established, provided the parent or guardian does not have a criminal record.

    About 3,000 children were separated from their parents under a "zero-tolerance" border enforcement program that resulted in the criminal prosecutions of their parents for illegal entry. The children were removed from their parents, with whom they had crossed the border, and placed in dozens of government-licensed shelters and foster care homes across the country while their parents remained in detention.

    Migrants from Central America arriving at the bus station in McAllen, Tex., after being released from government detention in June.

    Most of the families say they are fleeing gang or domestic violence in Central America and plan to seek asylum in the United States.

    Last month President Trump ended the policy of separating families amid outcry from the public and political leaders on both sides of the aisle. But his executive order on June 20 did not outline steps for reunification, leaving intact a series of requirements that had to be met before a child could be released to a sponsor or parent.

    Indeed, shortly before the government officially announced its zero-tolerance policy in May, it issued a memorandum setting stringent new rules for vetting parents, relatives and others who wished to recover a child from government custody.

    Among other things, the memo said that the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the minors, must collect the name, date of birth, address, fingerprint and identification of a potential sponsor, who might be the parent, and of "all adult members in the potential sponsor's household." Administration officials said the measures were intended to protect the children from trafficking.

    The A.C.L.U. argued in court that the lengthy procedures were unnecessary, given that the parents had already been fingerprinted at the border and that the children had been forcibly removed from them.

    Stories of frustration played out across the country as parents faced lengthy bureaucratic hurdles as they tried to recover their children.

    Often the adults were released from detention, only to realize that it would be weeks before their children could rejoin them, leaving the minors parked in government facilities. At least two Brazilian mothers sued the government in federal court and won orders for the release of their children from shelters and into their custody. More recently, other mothers have also filed suit to recover their children.

    Still, government lawyers said Monday that they needed more time to "safely reunite families." The Health and Human Services Department must follow procedures that are "time-consuming," the government told the court.

    The chaotic and slow reunions prompted the judge to push Tuesday for faster releases, ultimately forcing the government to change course.

    Advocates said they began seeing signs that the administration would waive the requirements on Wednesday: Many young children were released to their parents despite the fact that the adults had not fulfilled previously stipulated steps, like fingerprinting. The government performed DNA tests on some, but not all, of them, some advocates said.

    Since learning that the requirements would be streamlined, "we have been strategizing all night, putting our ducks in a row to get parents who are already out of detention to their kids," said Taylor Levy, legal coordinator at Annunciation House, a nonprofit in El Paso that offers temporary accommodation for migrants.

    Ms. Levy said she expected two migrant parents, who were staying just blocks from the shelter where their children were being housed, to be reunited with them as early as Thursday. They had been waiting for several weeks for background checks, including fingerprint processing, to be completed.

    "Finally the government is going to do what it needs to do to comply with the deadline," Ms. Levy said.

    Ron Nixon reported from Washington, and Miriam Jordan from Los Angeles.



    12)  Officer Who Appeared to Ignore Puerto Rican Flag Shirt Episode Resigns

    By Matt Stevens, July 11, 2018


    An officer with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County Police Department appeared to keep his distance while a man harassed a woman over her Puerto Rican flag shirt in a Chicago park.CreditMia Irizarry

    An Illinois police officer who drew criticism after he was caught on video appearing to ignore a woman's pleas for help as a man harassed her about a Puerto Rican flag shirt resigned his position late Wednesday, officials said.

    The officer, Patrick Connor, a 12-year veteran of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County Police Department, had been put under investigation and on desk duty after a widely shared video of the confrontation angered public officials, including Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló of Puerto Rico.

    In a statement announcing Officer Connor's resignation, officials with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County said that they planned to further address "aspects of this incident" and that they would not provide additional details until Thursday.

    The episode took place last month in Caldwell Woods, a park in northern Chicago. The recording, taken by the woman involved, shows a man, identified by the police as Timothy Trybus, demanding to know why she has a Puerto Rican flag shirt on and whether the woman, Mia Irizarry, is a United States citizen. While Mr. Trybus shouts at her, points at her face and follows her around part of the park, Officer Connor can be seen standing about 20 feet away with his hands against his chest.

    "You are not going to change us, you know that, right?" Mr. Trybus, 62, says to Ms. Irizarry, 24, as he walks up to her. "Are you a United States citizen? Then you should not be wearing that."

    Ms. Irizarry, who was at the park with friends for a birthday party, can be heard on the video telling Mr. Trybus that she is indeed an American citizen. Her friends can be heard telling him that Puerto Rico is part of the United States.

    At one point in the video, Ms. Irizarry tries to move away from Mr. Trybus and walks out from under a pavilion, but he follows her as Officer Connor appears not to approach them.

    "Officer, officer, I feel highly uncomfortable," Ms. Irizarry tells Officer Connor, who does not appear to respond to her as he is addressed, and can be seen turning his back and walking toward his police car.

    The video shows Mr. Trybus continuing to confront Ms. Irizarry and her friends for about 10 minutes before additional police officers arrive and eventually arrest him. Mr. Trybus was later charged with disorderly conduct and assault. Repeated attempts to reach him for comment have been unsuccessful.

    Ms. Irizarry has not responded to multiple requests for an interview.

    "That officer did absolutely nothing — he did absolutely zero," Ms. Irizarry said in the video, which was streamed from her Facebook profile on June 14, but gained a wider audience this week. "I told him I was uncomfortable multiple times. He did not do anything."

    Matthew Haag contributed reporting.



    13) 'Mi Amor!': Tearful Scenes as Immigrant Reunions Begin in New York

    By Annie Correal, July 11, 2018


    Celia Del Carmen Delgado and her 3-year-old daughter, Adela, were reunited in Manhattan on Wednesday.CreditMarian Carrasquero/The New York Times

    The reunions in New York began Tuesday night and continued at a trickle Wednesday morning — a handful of families whose children were among the youngest of those separated at the border.

    All the adults were fitted for ankle bracelets, their tether to the federal government. They left for the next stages of their journey, released and headed to relatives' homes all over the country, with little more than the dirty clothes in which they crossed the border. But they had the most important thing.

    Denis Rivas was back with Joshua, 4, after not even speaking to him since they were separated a month ago. Maria Guinac was with her three children, too — the youngest, Gustavo, turned 3 while she was being held in Texas. Javier Garrido was with his 4-year-old, William, who had been taken from him in the middle of the night in Laredo, Tex.

    A court order had mandated the government to reunify parents with children younger than 5 who had been separated from their families by Tuesday. But in many cases the deadline was missed.

    It was still unclear on Wednesday how many of the 63 children under 5 in federal custody across the country, who appeared to be eligible under a court order from a California judge for immediate reunification, had actually been returned to their parents.

    But according to a Trump administration official, authorities anticipated that as of early Thursday morning, they will have reunified all children under age 5 who are eligible under the court order for reunification with parents in the United States.

    Federal workers had labored late into the night to push through reunifications, but still there were glitches. Several parents flown in to detention centers near New York in the days leading up to the deadline had been taken to 26 Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, only to have to return to detention at the end of the day — because their ankle monitors were not working.

    Some of them were stirred again in the wee hours of Wednesday to return to Federal Plaza, where the three parents finally saw their children later that morning. The children were wearing new, unfamiliar clothes; their hair was combed and they carried backpacks so new that some still had the tags on.

    They were impassive as their parents embraced them; the tears came slowly. "Mi amor!" Celia Del Carmen Delgado cried as she first saw her 3-year-old, Adela, after more than two months. At first, she said, Adela just stared at her.

    "It was as if she was remembering me," Ms. Delgado said.

    Then the little girl started to cry.

    An agent from Immigration and Customs Enforcement handed each parent a stapled packet with the terms of their release, and left. Lawyers, workers from nonprofits and volunteers sat with the parents, going through the paperwork and helping them make arrangements to join relatives. In one case, a parent's flight had been paid for with airline points donated by volunteers.

    As the parents waited for flights and for relatives who were driving in from out of state to pick them up, volunteers arranged for two families to head to a home in Brooklyn to shower, eat and rest. They called other volunteers, asking them to bring fresh changes of clothes, a car seat from Target, and medicine for Adela, who had a nagging cough.

    Mr. Rivas and his boy Joshua were driven to the airport by a volunteer, who did not wish to give his name. They were bound for North Carolina, their original destination, where they planned to stay with Mr. Rivas's mother and sister. On the way to the airport, the volunteer bought Mr. Rivas a burger. He vomited; he hadn't eaten in three days, and said in detention in El Paso, Tex., he had eaten little more than bread.

    At the airport, Mr. Rivas presented the only documents he had: those given to him that day by ICE, which contained their grainy photographs. But he was told they could fly. Mr. Rivas was told he would receive a pat-down and his belongings — his son's yellow duffel bag — would be inspected.

    The volunteer who drove Mr. Rivas to the airport handed him $20 for a snack before the flight. As Mr. Rivas waited in a security line, a guard looked down at the boy, who stood by him, looking sleepy, and commented on how cute he was.

    Elsewhere in the city, at a facility affiliated with the nonprofit Catholic Charities, which was providing legal services for the children, two more fathers held their sons in their arms. Believed to be the first children in New York to have been reunited with their parents, on Tuesday, the 4-year-old boys had been living in the same foster home.

    One of the men, Javier Garrido, a construction worker from Honduras, broke down in tears as he described being separated from his son in Laredo, Tex. It was 4 a.m., and he and William were asleep in a freezing holding pen known as the "icebox."

    "All of a sudden they came asking for the boy. They told me, 'He's going.'

    "What do you mean you're taking him? And me?"

    The agents took William by force, Mr. Garrido said through tears, and told him the boy would be put up for adoption.

    Like the other families, he would be joining relatives out of state — his were in Louisiana — while lawyers sort out their cases. Both men may have unwittingly agreed to expedited orders of deportation, further complicating their futures, according to Mario Russell, the director of Immigrant and Refugee Services for Catholic Charities.

    The immediate concerns for the parents, however, now also include figuring out daily life with an ankle monitor. They were still unclear how the technology worked, having to Google instructions on showering and charging the devices.

    Liz Robbins, Caitlin Dickerson, Mariana Alfaro and Mark Abramson contributed reporting.




































































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