Prison Facts from the American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, AFSC.org

Lifetime likelihood of imprisonment for..

Momentem is growing to change this unjust system that imprisons so many of us. On May 8, 2018, Tucson, Arizona banned for-profit jails and detention centers. We need change like this to spread. Help use this momentum to lead to lasting change in cities and states around the country. Donate today to support our work to  end mass incarceration, and for-profit prisons, and promote a reconciliation and healing approach to criminal justice issues.

Transform the Justice System

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George Lester Jackson (September 23, 1941 – August 21, 1971)This extraordinary video is from a 16mm film "work print" made in 1971–1972, and includes interviews with George Jackson, Georgia Jackson (George and Jonathan Jackson's mother) and Angela Davis, while she was still in the Marin County Courthouse Jail—before her acquittal. We have not been able to identify the other prisoners. As you will see, the film has no titles or other credits. The discovery of such amazing, previously unknown historic materials always leaves us thrilled and in awe, deepening our understanding of those times and affirming the mission of the Freedom Archives.


Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org





PAM AFRICA 267 760 7344

We are asking our community and our supporters to come out or watch via live stream. since sista Pam will be speaking This is a battle for our warrior sister Ramona AFRICA

215-387-4107 or
Marilyn Kai Jewett


PHILADELPHIA, August 21, 2018 – The MOVE Organization will hold a news conference 10:00AM, Wednesday, August 22 in front of 4504 Kingsessing Avenue to provide an update on the health of its Minister of Communications Ramona Africa. Ramona, the sole survivor of the May 13, 1985 Holocaust that murdered 11 men, women and children, has been gravely ill for the past few months.

She has been hospitalized due to complications from post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted in a stroke. During her diagnosis, it was discovered that Ramona also has cancer.

"Ramona's dis- ease is a direct result of the on-going war waged on our Move Family by this government," said Pam Africa. "Two of our family members died in prison under suspicious circumstances termed "cancer." Now Ramona is diagnosed with "cancer" and once again, she's battling to be a survivor. We are standing strong and fighting for the proper medical care for our sister."

The hospital has informed the MOVE Family that Ramona's insurance will no longer cover her hospital and therapy bills, and that she will be released from both hospital and therapy unless she can pay the bills herself. To that end, a Go Fund Me page has be established to raise money for her care.
People can donate funds at www.gofundme.com/helpsaveramonaafrica.

The M OVE Family will provide details on Ramona's medical diagnosis and what is needed for her care and recovery. Your coverage is encouraged.



The Song Of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist
by Graeme Darling
I've been working my arse off for years,
So that parasites can sit on theirs,
Counting all the money they have stolen from me.
These venal cannibals are legal criminals,
Cloaking their immorality in the joke of respectability.
It's the same story in every capitalist trap;
The most essential employees ( exploitees ) are treated like crap.
Decent folk on scrimping wages strain, scrub and mop,
While bloodsucking turds ride on their backs to the top.
You don't need to know the Communist Manifesto
To recognise injustice that's manifestly so.
This situation blights every organisation, I'm telling you true;
The higher the pay, the less work they do!
I'm sick and tired of being trod into the ground,
I'd turn this crazy pyramid the right way round.
The bosses in armchairs should clean toilets and stairs,
And experience an existence of struggling for subsistence.
Along with a decent minimum, I'd have a wage maximum.
Four to one should be the widest disparity;
Anything more is an utter obscenity.
This economic system of domination wreaks global exploitation;
Our training shoes are made by kids in sweatshops,
The Earth is ravaged for our phones and laptops.
We must side with the oppressed of every form and nation;
The universal kinship should be our motivation.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists: a literary exposure of The Great Money Trick of capitalism

By Jenny Farrell, August 3, 2018







"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!"















Prisoner Hunger Strike August 21-September 9
The start of the strike was symbolically timed to mark the 47th anniversary of the death of the Black Panther leader George Jackson in San Quentin prison in California. The end of the strike, September 9, marks the day in 1971, when 1,000 of the Attica prison's approximately 2,200 inmates rioted and took control of the prison, taking 42 staff hostage.





Tell Missouri Gov. Mike Parson: 
Appoint a special prosecutor for Mike Brown's case!

Four years ago, my son, Mike Brown, was fatally gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson as he surrendered with arms in the air, pleading for his life. The world erupted and nothing has been the same since that nightmarish summer. My family and community took their outrage and pain to the streets. We made public pleas for the officer who murdered my son in broad daylight to be indicted and convicted. Yet, we were denied justice. My heart was broken over and over again. It has been 4 years, but I cannot forget. I will not stop fighting until Mike gets the justice he deserves.
Newly elected Missouri Governor, Mike Parson, has the opportunity to right this terrible wrong by appointing a special prosecutor to reopen my son's case. 
Over the course of three months after Mike was murdered, my family and I waited as St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, Bob McCulloch presented my son's case to a grand jury before the police investigation was over. McCulloch completely ignored standard protocol for a Prosecuting Attorney by enlisting the help of a grand jury to determine the charges against Officer Darren Wilson. It was a setup from the beginning. McCulloch abdicated his role as a County Prosecutor by making a politically calculated move that would shield him from criticism from the police and the media. 
Here are the facts:
  • McCulloch overwhelmed the jury with redundant and misleading information in an effort to manipulate the jury's confidence in Wilson's guilt.
  • A lawsuit was filed by one of the grand jurors detailing challenges and exposing their experiences on the grand jury.2
  • McCulloch admitted to allowing witnesses he knew were NOT telling the truth to testify before the grand jury. 3
The evidence is too significant to ignore. McCulloch thought he could avoid public scrutiny and accountability at the conclusion of this case. But he is wrong. I will not allow Bob McCulloch to get away with obstructing justice for my son. 
McCulloch cannot be allowed to get away with forgoing any and all responsibility as a high-level prosecutor. McCulloch's actions set a horrible precedent for prosecutors across the country. The primary charge for a prosecuting attorney is to fairly seek and achieve justice. McCulloch instead chose to make a political move with no regard for my family's pain. Furthermore, the relentless state-sanctioned violence against Black people has been nonstop since this nightmare began. Year after year, month after month, day after day, Black people remain targets for a bloodthirsty police force. This year alone, there have been over 600 incidents of deadly police encounters.4 Prosecutors are one of the few leverage points we have over the police. We must send a strong message to not only people in Missouri but to everyone around the country - killer cops will be held accountable.  
I am holding onto all hope that we get the justice we deserve. I believe in the resilience of our communities. And I believe that we will win. 
With love, 
Lezley McSpadden

    1. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77984?t=12&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y
    2. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77985?t=14&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y
    3. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77735?t=16&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y
    4. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/7854?t=18&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y

Sign Here:




Free Mumia Now!
Mumia's freedom is at stake in a court hearing on August 30th. 
With your help, we just might free him!
Rally To Free Mumia
Tuesday August 28th
4 pm at 14th & Broadway, Oakland CA

A Philadelphia court now has before it the evidence which could lead to Mumia's freedom. The evidence shows that Ronald Castille, of the District Attorney's office in 1982, intervened in the prosecution of Mumia for a crime he did not commit. Years later, Castille was a judge on the PA Supreme Court, where he sat in judgement over Mumia's case, and ruled against Mumia in every appeal! 
According to the US Supreme Court in the Williams ruling, this corrupt behavior was illegal!
But will the court rule to overturn all of Mumia's negative appeals rulings by the PA Supreme Court? If it does, Mumia would be free to appeal once again against his unfair conviction. If it does not, Mumia could remain imprisoned for life, without the possibility for parole, for a crime he did not commit.
• Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and framed!
• Mumia Abu-Jamal is a journalist censored off the airwaves!
• Mumia Abu-Jamal is victimized by cops, courts and politicians!
• Mumia Abu-Jamal stands for all prisoners treated unjustly!
• Courts have never treated Mumia fairly!
Will You Help Free Mumia?
Call DA Larry Krasner at (215) 686-8000
Tell him former DA Ron Castille violated Mumia's constitutional rights and 
Krasner should cease opposing Mumia's legal petition.
Tell the DA to release Mumia because he's factually innocent.
Rally To Free Mumia!
Tuesday August 28th
4 pm at 14th & Broadway, Oakland CA

The rally is called by the Free Mumia Coalition of the Bay Area.
Initial sponsor/participants include: Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Workers World Party, Oakland Teachers for Mumia, Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party, the Oscar Grant Committee, ANSWER Coalition, BAMN, Freedom Socialist Party, Love Not Blood Campaign, and Socialist Action.
Endorse and participate in this action! Send your info in reply to this email. 



Free Julian Assange NOW!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018, 12:00 Noon
San Francisco UK Consulate
1 Sansome Street, San Francisco
(Near Market Street, Montgomery BART Station)

Don’t Allow The Arrest Of Journalist Whistleblower Julian Assange

Free Him NOW!

Initiated By Bay Area Free Julian Assange Action Committee (BAFJAAC)
Endorsed by: United Public Workers For Action
http://www.upwa.info, WorkWeek Radio

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

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

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

Don’t Force Assange Out Of Ecuadorian Consulate!

Hands Off Journalists and Whistleblowers!  

Prosecute the Real Criminals!

Free Julian NOW!

Additional media:

Solidarity Rally For Julian Assange In San Francisco

Australian Journalist Union Supports Assange

Bay Area Free Julian Assange Action Committee BAFJAAC
info@aupwa.info, (415) 533-5942



Labor will Rise on September 8th to march as one in a Labor Contingent for Climate Jobs & Justice that will gather on Steuart Street just below Market at Embarcadero Plaza, at 10 a.m. The ILWU Drill Team and a Fire Engine driven by members of SF Firefighters Local 786 honoring first responders will lead the contingent. The Brass Liberation Orchestra will bring up the rear.
The march will call on the political leaders convening later in the week at the Global Climate Action Summit called by Governor Jerry Brown to take urgent, effective action to address climate change and the threat of runaway global warming. The time for half-measures and symbolic gestures is over. We need a transition to a renewable and sustainable energy system that is rapid, just and equitable for impacted workers and front-line communities.
Please plan to attend. Wear union colors. Bring union banners. Help Labor Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice on Saturday, September 8th. RSVP at CA.RiseforClimate.org
Sign the Labor Pledge and check out the Labor Council's resolutionendorsing the march.
For more information visit the event's Facebook page or write to http://bit.ly/LaborRiseGoogleGroup.

Right now, Californians have the opportunity to make waves not just in our state, but around the globe. Together, we can make California the first major economy in the world to stop all new fossil fuel development and embark on a racially, economically just transition to 100% clean energy.
In the past year Trump has launched unprecedented attacks on frontline communities, the Clean Power Plan, and the EPA. Meanwhile, Governor Brown would like to build his legacy around the climate - but he has yet to stand up to Big Oil and prioritize a clean energy future for all of us. Now Governor Brown is hosting the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco September 12-14 with public officials from around the world.
That's why we're planning the largest climate march the West Coast has ever seen – days before the Summit, as part of a global day of action. Sign up to march in San Francisco on September 8.
Eight weeks later, millions more will take these demands to the polls, making Climate, Jobs, and Justice deciding issues in the mid-term elections and beyond.
We won't be acting alone. Bay Resistance is working with the California Environmental Justice Alliance, Idle No More SF Bay, 350, People's Climate Movement, and hundreds of other labor, faith, environmental justice, and community groups.
Mark your calendars to Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice on September 8th. Then sign up to paint the largest street mural ever with us that day, so elected officials hear our message loud and clear!
In solidarity,
Kung, Celi, Kimi, Irene, and the Bay Resistance team



Usher in the "Age of the Healer," & Abolish the "Age of the Warrior."

September 30 - October 6, 2018

Come for all or part of the week!
Shut Down Creech 2016

This summer 2,500 peace activistsconverged at U.S. Air Base Ramstein, in Germany, in their first courageous mass civil resistance to Stopp Ramstein!Ramstein, the largest foreign U.S. military base, plays a critical role in the U.S. Drone Killing Program by acting as THE KEY RELAY STATIONin the U.S. global drone assassination program. Without a relay base like Ramstein, the U.S. could not successfully kill remotely from the other side of the planet. German activists demand an end to Germany's complicity in the illegal and immoral U.S. remote killing apparatus. As one German activist shouted out passionately and movingly in this video: "Stop the Murder!"At least 5 American citizens participated in the protest, including CODEPINK members Ann Wright, Toby Blomé and Elsa Rassbach. Dozens of us blocked two merging roads into one gate for nearly an hour, and ultimately about 15 people were arrested, including 2 Americans. It was an amazing collective stance for peace & justice, and the German police were remarkably humane and civil in how they responded. Fortunately all were released after being detained briefly.

Ramstein's "partner drone base," CREECH AFB, plays an equally important role as a CENTRAL DRONE COMMAND CENTERin the U.S. 
Learn more about Ramstein and Creech in this important Intercept investigative report.

SF Bay Area CODEPINKcalls on activists from across the country to converge this fall at Creech AFB for our 4th annual nonviolent, peaceful, mass mobilization to SHUT DOWN CREECH, and help us put an end to the barbarism of drone murder. Per a NY Times articleover 900 drone pilots/operators are actively working at Creech, remotely murdering people in foreign lands, often away from any battlefield, while victims are going about their daily lives: driving on the highway, praying at a mosque, attending schools, funerals and wedding parties, eating dinner with their family or sleeping in their beds. 

Shockingly, one recent report indicated that about 80% of all drone strikes go totally unreported.We must stand up for the right of all people around the planet to be safe from the terror of remote controlled slaughter from abroad. Drone killing is spreading like wildfirewith at least 10 countries now who have used drones to kill. The U.S is fully responsible for this uncontrolled Pandora's box, by developing and proliferating these horrendous weapons without giving concern to the long term consequences. 


Last April our protestat Creech was reported in over 20 states across the country by mainstream media, including TV, radio, print and military media, thus reaching tens of thousands of Americans about our resistance to these covert and brutal practices. It is remarkable the impact a small handful of peacemakers can have with a well planned action. We need you to help us educate the public and awaken the consciousness of U.S. military personnel. Drone operators themselvesare victims of this inhumanity by bearing deep psychic wounds within. Through our twice daily vigils, we call them over to the side of peace, and encourage them to assess the consequences and reality of having a daily job of remote-control murdering. U.S. drones are the main tool used to terrorize and dominate the planet. We must stand up to these barbaric policies and the system that gives little thought to the world our children's grandchildren will be living in, and the harm it is doing now to our young men and women in uniform. 


Check out our updated website for details on the 4TH Annual SHUT DOWN CREECH.

Let's show the Germans that we have a thriving U.S. resistance to U.S. Global Militarism and Drone Killing too!

We hope to see you there,

Eleanor, Maggie, Toby, Ann, Mary and Tim

Sponsored by S.F. Bay Area CODEPINK

Check out these inspiring videos of this summer's 2018 drone protest at Ramstein, Germany:

Great Overview of Stopp Ramstein(13.5 min - watch the first and last 2-3 minutes)

In Closing: Inspiring words
from Rafael Jesús González, Poet Laureate of Berkeley, Xochipilli Men's Circle

"We cannot say the purpose these millenniums of the Patriarchy have served, but their lopsided reign is toxic and has maimed and sickened men and women and greatly harmed the Earth. It must come to an end. Women, our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters must now take the reins for we men have made a botch of things. Women must take their power and men must step aside, follow, and support them even as we heal and liberate ourselves by freeing and honoring that which is feminine in our nature: loving, caring, nurturing. We must all free ourselves or none will. The long, long Age of the Warrior must come to an end and we must usher in the Age of the Healer.
Please lead us, our sisters. Together we must heal and heal the Earth or court the demise of all that lives."




The Quakers about Jamil Al-Amin

Newark Office
89 Market St. 6th floor - Newark, NJ 07102 (973) 643 1924 - nymro@afsc.org

Re: Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown) (PDF)

July 7, 2018

Dear John Lewis:
I am addressing this to you with copies to others because this is both a professional as well as a personal letter. I spent almost eight years in the south during the civil rights era, serving in Tennessee under the leadership of Maxine and Vasco Smith of the Memphis NAACP and then at Highlander for a year and a half. Professionally, I have the privilege of directing the Prison Watch Program for the American Friends Service Committee. The AFSC is a faith based Quaker organization with a deep belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome injustice. Our Prison Watch Program has been providing witness to conditions of confinement in United States prisons for over four decades, speaking truth to power via publications, public speaking and all forms of media.
In my professional capacity as a monitor of US prisons, I am often called upon to document the treatment endured by a specific person in our criminal legal system. Imam Jamil Al-Amin has been of special interest to me because of his leadership during that important era opposing the racism with which this country has governed. Since then, he has been convicted of serious charges in Georgia, spending the last 18 years in different prisons. He has sustained a number of physical transfers away from his family in Georgia, including spending many of those years in solitary confinement in both the state and federal systems, with no explicit charges for this type of placement. The use of isolated confinement for political dissidents from the civil rights era has been well documented. It was Andrew Young who, as US representative to the United Nations, noted that the United States had what he "would consider political prisoners". In later years, any number of us noted the differential treatment borne by political dissenters who ended up in US prisons. The use of extended isolation was used on many of them, including the Imam. The impact of this extended isolation has been medically documented as extremely damaging to the human psyche.
This should serve as a letter of human rights concern about the Imam. Of specific and current concern is his medical condition, as well as his age. The Imam was diagnosed at the federal Butner Medical Center in 2014 with a pre-cursor stage of multiple myeloma, an incurable form of cancer related to leukemia. This disease causes weight loss, kidney failure, rib fractures and other skeletal abnormalities. It is a medical condition which needs regular medical monitoring. He has been moved twice since his time in a medical facility and is currently at the USP in Arizona. His family and supporters feel continuing concern about his well-being. His disease coupled with his age make the Arizona weather often difficult for him. The long physical, and therefore emotional, separation from family is wearing on the Imam and his entire family. Punishment for a verdict of guilt in the United States is removal from society. The isolation and neglect he endured at ADX, and the current isolation from his home state of Georgia is beyond acceptable. It is hard for me, as a professional witness, to fathom the rationale for this ongoing placement. It also remains difficult for me to understand why this person, or any other person in prison, would be denied access to scholars and journalists. Because of his well-documented history of activism, there are those who would like to interview the Imam as a way of authenticating and studying this history.
Because I have been an activist since the Civil Right Era, my personal awareness of the Imam's life has been ongoing during the decades I have coordinated the AFSC Prison Watch Program. I remain profoundly impacted by the treatment of the Imam and other imprisoned political dissenters from my era of activism. They have endured inappropriate torture in the form of years of solitary confinement. Many, including the Imam, have also endured what can only be described as purposeful medical neglect. It seems to me that it is time for legislators of conscience to investigate our elderly imprisoned citizens, many who have suffered severely for their political beliefs. They need to be released. Short of that, they need to be close to home and cared for medically.
On a personal level, I have always felt very attached to my brave generation - from those who served in Vietnam to those who marched in the South. My own youthful experience in the south was full of many of those people being murdered, being spit at, called a race traitor and feeling unprotected from such hatred. I remember not understanding what there was to hate so deeply and feeling as if we were in a war against black and brown people. H. Rap Brown was an integral part of that very important force to the country towards real social change.
I have been witness since that time to what has happened to so many protesters from my generation who ended up in US prisons. You cannot give me a reason for their "specialized" treatment - the poor medical care which feels purposeful; for keeping families miles apart for no understandable reason; and for the general cruelty to the elderly in our society's prisons no matter why they were convicted. The Imam is currently 75 years old and is serving a life sentence without parole. It doesn't seem logical to keep him from his family, from Georgia or from dialogue with those who seek that with him. It certainly doesn't speak well of our criminal legal system to not provide appropriate medical care.
We need legislators of integrity to consider interceding in what can only be seen as ill-chosen restrictions and neglect. I am specifically reaching out to you because I have imagined a dialogue between you and the Imam, and I wondered if even you would be allowed to see him. Aside from his conditions of confinement issues, perhaps the most disturbing thing of all is that his voice has been deliberately silenced.
Bonnie Kerness, MSW
Prison Watch Program

Cc: Ben Chavis
Bennie Thompson

# # #


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

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Self Portrait, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- The RootsAction.org Team

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



immigrant camps
US Military Ordered to Host Massive Immigrant Concentration Camps
We believe that all military personnel have a moral and legal obligation to refuse to comply with any order that involves collaboration with these camps.
Actual concentration camps are in the process of development at military bases across the Southern United States. This isn't the first time in US history that facilities are being constructed and used to imprison large numbers of a persecuted minority in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities (the definition of a concentration camp). Previous examples of this are now infamous, such as the so-called Japanese internment camps. We're now on the brink of adding a new chapter to this dark history.
Potential locations have been identified as:
  • Tornillo Port of Entry, Texas - capacity 360 teenagers CURRENTLY ACTIVE
  • Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas - capacity 45,000
  • Fort Bliss, Texas
  • Dyess Air Force Base, Texas
  • Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas - capacity 20,000
  • Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Air Station, California - capacity 47,000
  • Navy Outlying Field Wolf and Silverhill, Alabama - capacity 25,000
  • Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, Arizona
  • Concord Naval Weapons Station, California - capacity 47,000 CANCELLED
to support resistance

Military officials, in response to pressured deadlines from the White House, have stated that these camps can begin to be operational by mid-August. Estimates are that capacity for another 10,000 people can be added each month. The White House's stated timeline of 45 days out from June 27th has local base commanders scrambling and caught unaware.
In addition to providing the land, military personnel will construct the camps while private agencies will manage the operations. While this simplified explanation of operations seeks to minimize the military's role, it omits the endless capacities in which the armed forces will surely be facilitating the functioning of these camps such as with water, electricity, sewage, trash, and all of the other services to go allow with sustaining tens of thousands of immigrant detainees.
The military is strictly prohibited from domestic policing as stated in the constitution yet military personnel are being drafted into doing just that with this rising domestic enforcement of immigration policy. Just because Trump/Sessions Co. declares a war on immigrants, doesn't make it an actual war. Being quite clearly an illegal order, the question is who will refuse to aid and abet?

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist




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

Several weeks ago, friends and supporters of incarcerated freedom fighter Comrade Malik Washington were overjoyed to hear that he was getting released, finally, from Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at Eastham Unit in Texas--until TDCJ pulled a fast one, falsely claiming that he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition Program to get him released back to general population.  
This is a complete lie:  Malik has been fighting to get out of Ad-Seg from the moment he was thrown in there two years ago on a bogus riot charge (which was, itself, retaliation for prison strike organizing and agitating against inhumane, discriminatory conditions).  
Here's what actually happened:  when Malik arrived at Ramsey Unit on June 21, he was assigned to a top bunk, which is prohibited by his medical restrictions as a seizure patient.  TDCJ had failed to transfer his medical restrictions records, or had erased them, and are now claiming no record of these restrictions, which have been on file and in place for the past ten years.  Malik wrote a detailed statement requesting to be placed on a lower bunk in order to avoid injury; later that night, he was abruptly transferred back to Ad-Seg at a new Unit (McConnell).  
Malik was told that Ramsey staff claimed he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition program--this is NOT true, and he needs to be re-instated to the program immediately!  He also urgently needs his medical restrictions put back into his records!
We are extremely concerned for Malik's safety, and urgently need the help of everyone reading this. Please take one or more of the following actions, and get a couple friends to do the same!
1. Call Senior Warden Phillip Sifuentes at Malik's current facility (McConnell) and tell them Keith Washington (#1487958) must be transferred out of McConnell and re-admitted to the Ad-Seg Transition Program!
Phone #: (361) 362-2300 (**048) 00 --  ask to be connected to the senior warden's office/receptionist--try to talk to someone, but also can leave a message. 
Sample Script: "Hello, I'm calling because I'm concerned about Keith H. Washington (#1487958) who was recently transferred to your facility.  I understand he was transferred there from Ramsey Unit, because he supposedly refused to participate in the Ad-Seg transition program there, but this is not true; Malik never refused to participate, and he needs to be re-admitted to the transition program immediately!  I am also concerned that his heat restrictions seem to have been removed from his records.  He is a seizure patient and has been on heat and work restriction for years, and these restrictions must be reinstated immediately."
Please let us know how your call goes at blueridgeABC@riseup.net
2. Flood TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier with calls/emails!  You can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.  
(936) 437-2101 / (936) 437-2123

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

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

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

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

Keith H. Washington
McConnell Unit
3100 South Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78103



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

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018

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

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

On today's episode:
• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



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

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

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

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

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

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

While we were honored to offer on-the-ground support we see the potential to focus the energy of our Drop the MIC campaign into fighting against this injustice, to have an even greater impact. Here's how:
  1. Call out General Dynamics for profiteering of War, Militarization of the Border and Child and Family Detention (look for our social media toolkit this week);
  2. Create speaking forums and produce media that challenges the narrative of ICE and Jeff Sessions, encouraging troops who have served in the borderlands to speak out about that experience;
  3. Continue to show up and demand we demilitarize the border and abolish ICE.

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

In Solidarity,
Ramon Mejia
Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War

P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe
To ensure delivery of About Face emails please add webmaster@ivaw.org to your address book.



Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

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

They need to hear from us!

  • It's time to end draft registration once and for all.
  • Don't expand the draft to women. End it for everyone.
  • No national service linked to the military--including immigration enforcement.
  • Until the US is invaded by a foreign power, stop pretending that the draft is about anything other than empire.
  • Submit your own comments online here.
As we have been reporting to you, a federal commission has been formed to address the future of draft registration in the United States and whether the draft should end or be extended.
The press release states "The Commission wants to learn why people serve and why people don't; the barriers to participation; whether modifications to the selective service system are needed; ways to increase the number of Americans in service; and more."
Public hearings are currently scheduled for the following cities. We encourage folks to attend these hearings by checking the commission's website for the actual dates and locations of these hearings (usually annouced only days before).

  • September 19/21, 2018: Los Angeles, CA
For more background information, read our recent post "Why is the government soliciting feedback on the draft now?"

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

We had draft registration resister Edward Hasbrouck on the Courage to Resistpodcast this week to explain what's going on. Edward talks about his own history of going to prison for refusing to register for the draft in 1983, the background on this new federal commission, and addresses liberal arguments in favor of involuntary service. Edward explains:
When you say, "I'm not willing to be drafted", you're saying, "I'm going to make my own choices about which wars we should be fighting", and when you say, "You should submit to the draft", you're saying, "You should let the politicians decide for you."
What's happening right now is that a National Commission … has been appointed to study the question of whether draft registration should be continued, whether it should be expanded to make women, as well as men register for the draft, whether a draft itself should be started, whether there should be some other kind of Compulsory National Service enacted.
The Pentagon would say, and it's true, they don't want a draft. It's not plan A, but it's always been plan B, and it's always been the assumption that if we can't get enough volunteers, if we get in over our head, if we pick a larger fight than we can pursue, we always have that option in our back pocket that, "If not enough people volunteer, we're just going to go go to the draft, go to the benches, and dragoon enough people to fight these wars."
The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 
about the draft in decades . . .
Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops Who Refuse to Fight!
484 Lake Park Ave. No. 41, Oakland, CA 94610



Incarceration Nation
Emergency Action Alert:
In October, 2017, the 2 year court monitoring period of the Ashker v. Governor settlement to limit solitary confinement in California expired. Since then, the four drafters of the Agreement to End Hostilities and lead hunger strike negotiators – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, and Todd Ashker, have all been removed from general population and put in solitary in Administrative Segregation Units, based on fabricated information created by staff and/or collaborating "inmate informants." In Todd Ashker's case, he is being isolated "for his own protection," although he does not ask for nor desire to be placed in isolation for this or any reason. Sitawa has since been returned to population, but can still not have visitors.
Please contact CDCr Secretary Scott Kernan and Governor Edmund G. Brown and demand CDCr:
• Immediately release back into general population any of the four lead organizers still held in solitary
• Return other Ashker class members to general population who have been placed in Ad Seg 
• Stop the retaliation against all Ashker class members and offer them meaningful rehabilitation opportunities
Contact Scott Kernan. He prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov
Contact Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/
As a result of the administrative reviews established after the second prisoner hunger strike in 2011 and the Ashker settlement of 2015, California's SHU population has decreased from 3923 people in October 2012 to 537 in January 2018.  Returning these four men and many other hunger strikers back to solitary in the form of Ad Seg represents an intentional effort to undermine the Agreement to End Hostilities and the settlement, and return to the lock 'em up mentality of the 1980's.
Sitawa writes: "What many of you on the outside may not know is the long sordid history of CDCr's ISU [Institutional Services Unit]/ IGI [Institutional Gang Investigator]/Green Wall syndicate's [organized groups of guards who act with impunity] pattern and practice, here and throughout its prison system, of retaliating, reprisals, intimidating, harassing, coercing, bad-jacketing [making false entries in prisoner files], setting prisoners up, planting evidence, fabricating and falsifying reports (i.e., state documents), excessive force upon unarmed prisoners, [and] stealing their personal property . . ." 
CDCr officials are targeting the Ashker v. Governor class members to prevent them from being able to organize based on the Agreement to End Hostilities, and to obstruct their peaceful efforts to effect genuine changes - for rehabilitation, returning home, productively contributing to the improvement of their communities, and deterring recidivism.
Please help put a stop to this retaliation with impunity. Contact Kernan and Brown today:
Scott Kernan prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/
Read statements from the reps: 
Todd – We stand together so prisoners never have to go through the years of torture we did  (with Open Letter to Gov. Brown, CA legislators and CDCR Secretary Kernan)



"There Was a Crooked Prez"
By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

There was a crooked Prez, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,
They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,
And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

"Trumpty Dumpty"
By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

Trumpty Dumpty sat on his wall,
Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the kingpin's forces and all the KKKlansmem
Couldn't put Trumpty together again.

July 25, 2018

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



It is so beautiful to see young people in this country rising up to demand an end to gun violence. But what is Donald Trump's response? Instead of banning assault weapons, he wants to give guns to teachers and militarize our schools. But one of the reasons for mass school shootings is precisely because our schools are already militarized. Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was trained by U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program while he was in high school.
Yesterday, Divest from the War Machine coalition member, Pat Elder, was featured on Democracy Now discussing his recent article about the JROTC in our schools. The JROTC teaches children how to shoot weapons. It is often taught by retired soldiers who have no background in teaching. They are allowed to teach classes that are given at least equal weight as classes taught by certified and trained teachers. We are pulling our children away from classes that expand their minds and putting them in classes that teach them how to be killing machines. The JROTC program costs our schools money. It sends equipment. But, the instructors and facilities must be constructed and paid for by the school.
The JROTC puts our children's futures at risk. Children who participate in JROTC shooting programs are exposed to lead bullets from guns. They are at an increased risk when the shooting ranges are inside. The JROTC program is designed to "put a jump start on your military career." Children are funneled into JROTC to make them compliant and to feed the military with young bodies which are prepared to be assimilated into the war machine. Instead of funneling children into the military, we should be channeling them into jobs that support peace and sustainable development. 
Tell Senator McCain and Representative Thornberry to take the war machine out of our schools! The JROTC program must end immediately. The money should be directed back into classrooms that educate our children.
The Divest from the War Machine campaign is working to remove our money from the hands of companies that make a killing on killing. We must take on the systems that keep fueling war, death, and destruction around the globe. AND, we must take on the systems that are creating an endless cycle of children who are being indoctrinated at vulnerable ages to become the next killing machine.  Don't forget to post this message on Facebook and Twitter.
Onward in divestment,
Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Sarah, Sophia and Tighe
P.S. Do you want to do more? Start a campaign to get the JROTC out of your school district or state. Email divest@codepink.org and we'll get you started!


October 20-21, 2018

Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb
WASHINGTON—In the last few years, arguably the most visible and well-publicized march on the U.S. capital has been the "Women's March," a movement aimed at advocating for legislation and policies promoting women's rights as well as a protest against the misogynistic actions and statements of high-profile U.S. politicians. The second Women's March, which took place this past year, attracted over a million protesters nationwide, with 500,000 estimated to have participated in Los Angeles alone.
However, absent from this women's movement has been a public antiwar voice, as its stated goal of "ending violence" does not include violence produced by the state. The absence of this voice seemed both odd and troubling to legendary peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose iconic protest against the invasion and occupation of Iraq made her a household name for many.
Sheehan was taken aback by how some prominent organizers of this year's Women's March were unwilling to express antiwar positions and argued for excluding the issue of peace entirely from the event and movement as a whole. In an interview with MintPress, Sheehan recounted how a prominent leader of the march had told her, "I appreciate that war is your issue Cindy, but the Women's March will never address the war issue as long as women aren't free."
War is indeed Sheehan's issue and she has been fighting against the U.S.' penchant for war for nearly 13 years. After her son Casey was killed in action while serving in Iraq in 2004, Sheehan drew international media attention for her extended protest in front of the Bush residence in Crawford, Texas, which later served as the launching point for many protests against U.S. military action in Iraq.
Sheehan rejected the notion that women could be "free" without addressing war and empire. She countered the dismissive comment of the march organizer by stating that divorcing peace activism from women's issues "ignored the voices of the women of the world who are being bombed and oppressed by U.S. military occupation."
Indeed, women are directly impacted by war—whether through displacement, the destruction of their homes, kidnapping, or torture. Women also suffer uniquely and differently from men in war as armed conflicts often result in an increase in sexual violence against women.
For example, of the estimated half-a-million civilians killed in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, many of them were women and children. In the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, the number of female casualties has been rising on average over 20 percent every year since 2015. In 2014 alone when Israel attacked Gaza in "Operation Protective Edge," Israeli forces, which receives $10 million in U.S. military aid every day, killed over two thousand Palestinians—half of them were women and children. Many of the casualties were pregnant women, who had been deliberately targeted.
Given the Women's March's apparent rejection of peace activism in its official platform, Sheehan was inspired to organize another Women's March that would address what many women's rights advocates, including Sheehan, believe to be an issue central to promoting women's rights.
Dubbed the "Women's March on the Pentagon," the event is scheduled to take place on October 21—the same date as an iconic antiwar march of the Vietnam era—with a mission aimed at countering the "bipartisan war machine." Though men, women and children are encouraged to attend, the march seeks to highlight women's issues as they relate to the disastrous consequences of war.
The effort of women in confronting the "war machine" will be highlighted at the event, as Sheehan remarked that "women have always tried to confront the war-makers," as the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives of the men and women in the military, as well as those innocent civilians killed in the U.S.' foreign wars. As a result, the push for change needs to come from women, according to Sheehan, because "we [women] are the only ones that can affect [the situation] in a positive way." All that's missing is an organized, antiwar women's movement.
Sheehan noted the march will seek to highlight the direct relationship between peace activism and women's rights, since "no woman is free until all women are free" and such "freedom also includes the freedom from U.S. imperial plunder, murder and aggression"that is part of the daily lives of women living both within and beyond the United States. Raising awareness of how the military-industrial complex negatively affects women everywhere is key, says Sheehan, as "unless there is a sense of international solidarity and a broader base for feminism, then there aren't going to be any solutions to any problems, [certainly not] if we don't stop giving trillions of dollars to the Pentagon."
Sheehan also urged that, even though U.S. military adventurism has long been an issue and the subject of protests, a march to confront the military-industrial complex is more important now than ever: "I'm not alarmist by nature but I feel like the threat of nuclear annihilation is much closer than it has been for a long time," adding that, despite the assertion of some in the current administration and U.S. military, "there is no such thing as 'limited' nuclear war." This makes "the need to get out in massive numbers" and march against this more imperative than ever.
Sheehan also noted that Trump's presidency has helped to make the Pentagon's influence on U.S. politics more obvious by bringing it to the forefront: "Even though militarism had been under wraps [under previous presidents], Trump has made very obvious the fact that he has given control of foreign policy to the 'generals.'"
Indeed, as MintPress has reported on several occasions, the Pentagon—beginning in March of last year—has been given the freedom to "engage the enemy" at will, without the oversight of the executive branch or Congress. As a result, the deaths of innocent civilians abroad as a consequence of U.S. military action has spiked. While opposing Trump is not the focus of the march, Sheehan opined that Trump's war-powers giveaway to the Pentagon, as well as his unpopularity, have helped to spark widespread interest in the event.

Different wings of the same warbird

Sheehan has rejected accusations that the march is partisan, as it is, by nature, focused on confronting the bipartisan nature of the military-industrial complex. She told MintPress that she has recently come under pressure owing to the march's proximity to the 2018 midterm elections—as some have ironically accused the march's bipartisan focus as "trying to harm the chances of the Democrats" in the ensuing electoral contest.
In response, Sheehan stated that: 
"Democrats and Republicans are different wings of the same warbird. We are protesting militarism and imperialism. The march is nonpartisan in nature because both parties are equally complicit. We have to end wars for the planet and for the future. I could really care less who wins in November."
She also noted that even when the Democrats were in power under Obama, nothing was done to change the government's militarism nor to address the host of issues that events like the Women's March have claimed to champion.
"We just got finished with eight years of a Democratic regime," Sheehan told MintPress. "For two of those years, they had complete control of Congress and the presidency and a [filibuster-proof] majority in the Senate and they did nothing" productive except to help "expand the war machine." She also emphasized that this march is in no way a "get out the vote" march for any political party.
Even though planning began less than a month ago, support has been pouring in for the march since it was first announced on Sheehan's website, Cindy Sheehan Soapbox. Encouraged by the amount of interest already received, Sheehan is busy working with activists to organize the events and will be taking her first organizing trip to the east coast in April of this year. 
In addition, those who are unable to travel to Washington are encouraged to participate in any number of solidarity protests that will be planned to take place around the world or to plan and attend rallies in front of U.S. embassies, military installations, and the corporate headquarters of war profiteers.
Early endorsers of the event include journalists Abby Martin, Mnar Muhawesh and Margaret Kimberley; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly; FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley; and U.S. politicians like former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Activist groups that have pledged their support include CodePink, United National Antiwar Coalition, Answer Coalition, Women's EcoPeace and World Beyond War.
Though October is eight months away, Sheehan has high hopes for the march. More than anything else, though, she hopes that the event will give birth to a "real revolutionary women's movement that recognizes the emancipation and liberation of all peoples—and that means [freeing] all people from war and empire, which is the biggest crime against humanity and against this planet." By building "a movement and not just a protest," the event's impact will not only be long-lasting, but grow into a force that could meaningfully challenge the U.S. military-industrial complex that threatens us all. God knows the world needs it.
For those eager to help the march, you can help spread the word through social media by joining the march's Facebook page or following the march'sTwitter account, as well as by word of mouth. In addition, supporting independent media outlets—such as MintPress, which will be reporting on the march—can help keep you and others informed as October approaches.
Whitney Webb is a staff writer forMintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, theAnti-Media, and21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.
MPN News, February 20, 2018




Major George Tillery
April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.
These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

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

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.
In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.
Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.
The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.
This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.
Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.
Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years
The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.
During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.
Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.
Major Tillery Needs Your Help:
Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.
Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.
Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.

Major Tillery and family

    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:
    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.
    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    SCI Frackville
    1111 Altamont Blvd.
    Frackville, PA 17931
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com


    Free Leonard Peltier!

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

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 
    USP Coleman I 
    P.O. Box 1033 
    Coleman, FL 33521
    Donations can be made on Leonard's behalf to the ILPD national office, 116 W. Osborne Ave, Tampa, FL 33603



    Whistleblower Reality Winner Accepts Responsibility for Helping Expose Attacks on Election Systems
    After more than a year jailed without bail, NSA whistleblower Reality Winner has changed her plea to guilty. In a hearing this past Tuesday, June 26th, she stated - "all of these actions I did willfully." If this new plea deal is approved by the judge, she will have a maximum prison sentence of five years as opposed to the ten years she faced under the Espionage Act.
    Speaking to the family's relief due to this plea deal, Reality's mother Billie sharedthat "At least she knows it's coming to an end." "Her plea agreement reflects the conclusion of Winner and her lawyers," stated Betsy Reed, "that the terms of this deal represent the best outcome possible for her in the current environment."
    In a recent campaign status update Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist, reiterated the importance of continuing to support Reality and her truth-telling motives. "We cannot forget this Trump Administration political prisoner. Reality needs us each to do what we can to resist." Although Courage to Resist is no longer hosting Reality's defense fund, online monetary support can be contributed to the Winner family directly at standwithreality.org. Reality's inspiring artwork also available for purchase at realitywinnerart.com.
    "It's so important to me as her mom to know just all the people that are writing her, who are touching her, who are reaching out to her giving her that strength and that support . . . Please don't stop that" said Billie Winner-Davis. "And we'll always make sure that everybody knows where she's at, where you can write to her, how you can help her. You know, we'll continue to do that. Just follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter. We will continue to do that for her."
    Reality will remain at the Lincoln County jail near Augusta, Georgia, for the next few months pending the sentencing hearing and hopefully will then be transferred to a facility closer to her family.

    484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
    www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 
    Charity for the Wealthy!

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

    By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017




    1) As Trump Dismantles Clean Air Rules, an Industry Lawyer Delivers for Ex-Clients
    By Eric Lipton, August 19, 2018

    William Wehrum has been able to push his deregulatory agenda because of a quirk in federal ethics rules that are less restrictive for industry lawyers than for officials who had worked as registered lobbyists.

    WASHINGTON — As a corporate lawyer, William L. Wehrum worked for the better part of a decade to weaken air pollution rules by fighting the Environmental Protection Agency in court on behalf of chemical manufacturers, refineries, oil drillers and coal-burning power plants.
    Now, Mr. Wehrum is about to deliver one of the biggest victories yet for his industry clients — this time from inside the Trump administration as the government's top air pollution official.
    On Tuesday, President Trump is expected to propose a vast rollback of regulations on emissions from coal plants, including many owned by members of a coal-burning trade association that had retained Mr. Wehrumand his firm as recently as last year to push for the changes.
    The proposal strikes at the heart of climate-change regulations adopted by the Obama administration to force change among polluting industries, and follows the relaxation of separate rules governing when power plants must upgrade air pollution equipment. Mr. Wehrum, who has led the E.P.A.'s clean air office since November, also helped deliver the changes in several of those rules.

    The rollbacks are part of the administration's effort to bring regulatory relief to the coal industry, and other major sources of air pollution. But to proponents of a tougher stance on industries that contribute to global warming, Mr. Wehrum is regarded as the single biggest threat inside the E.P.A., with Tuesday's expected announcement to weaken what is known as the Clean Power Plan the most recent evidence of his handiwork.
    "They basically found the most aggressive and knowledgeable fox and said, 'Here are the keys to the henhouse,'" said Bruce Buckheit, an air pollution expert who worked for the Justice Department's Environmental Enforcement Section and as director of the E.P.A.'s air enforcement office under Democratic and Republican presidents.
    Mr. Wehrum has been able to push his deregulatory agenda without running into ethics troubles because of a quirk in federal ethics rules. The rules limit the activities of officials who join the government from industry — but they are less restrictive for lawyers than for officials who had worked as registered lobbyists.
    The end result is that the ethics rules generally allow Mr. Wehrum to help oversee the drafting of policies that broadly benefit the industries or clients he represented in recent years.
    "It is a failing in the rule," said Norman Eisen, a former Obama administration lawyer who wrote the White House ethics code that creates the division between how ex-lawyers and ex-lobbyists are treated. "One is subject to the tougher lobbying restriction, and the other skates through."

    In an interview, Mr. Wehrum said he was following the rules carefully, and even some critics say he generally seems to be obeying the letter of the law. "I am scrupulously complying with my ethical obligations," he said, adding that he signed Mr. Trump's so-called ethics pledge in November, committing himself to honor all such rules.

    A DTE Energy Company power plant in Monroe, Mich. The company was a client of Mr. Wehrum's law firm. He is now at the heart of a rollback in coal emissions.

    Jeffrey R. Holmstead, the lawyer for the electric utility industry who has known Mr. Wehrum for over two decades and who served as his boss at the E.P.A. during the Bush administration, said environmentalists misunderstood Mr. Wehrum and falsely attempted to paint him as a villain.
    "What he really does care about is good regulatory policy," Mr. Holmstead said. "And that means making sure the programs are as efficient and effective as possible so collectively we are not paying more than we need to for the environmental protection that we have and that we need."
    Mr. Wehrum's client list over the last decade is a testament to his clout — and a road map to the potential conflicts as a government official.
    Mr. Wehrum has represented major industrial companies like Koch Industries, the diversified conglomerate that sells everything from petrochemicals to asphalt, and Diageo, one of the world's largest makers of spirits, including Smirnoff vodka and Baileys Irish Cream. His clients have included the industry's largest trade associations: the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the Brick Industry Association and the Utility Air Regulatory Group, whose membership list features coal-burning electric utilities.
    Mr. Wehrum's trip through the revolving door is hardly extraordinary in the Trump administration, where dozens of former lobbyists and industry lawyers now help oversee the same industries they once represented, including Andrew Wheeler, the acting agency administrator.

    But in few cases have the actions pushed by these just-departed industry executives seemed to offer such rapid and far-reaching benefits to ex-clients, and Mr. Wehrum has taken the steps even as he continues at times to meet privately with them despite federal ethics rules intended to limit such interactions.
    The overlap between Mr. Wehrum's work for the industry and his efforts since he arrived at the E.P.A. is perhaps best illustrated by a 13-page petrochemical industry memo that was shared with the E.P.A. air pollution office a week before Mr. Wehrum was confirmed by the Senate.
    The memo, which detailed a series of "regulatory changes that would be most beneficial to the refining and petrochemical sector," almost reads like a playbook for the 10 months since Mr. Wehrum arrived at the E.P.A. At least three of the major changes on the industry wish list have become or are in the process of becoming official agency policy with the help of Mr. Wehrum and his office.

    The primary author of the memo, written in October, was an industry consultant named Kenneth Weiss, but the document formed the basis of a presentation Mr. Wehrum gave on behalf of his industry clients late last year, an email sent to the E.P.A. said. The memo listed Mr. Wehrum's name at the top, in his capacity as outside counsel to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers association, a group whose executive committee includes corporate officers from Valero EnergyMarathon Petroleum and Chevron.
    The agency has also agreed to no longer "second guess" — the exact wordsused in the industry memo and in the E.P.A. policy change that followed shortly after Mr. Wehrum arrived — air pollution projections by power plants and refineries. The move provoked intense protests among Mr. Wehrum's colleagues at the E.P.A. as it potentially undermines pending enforcement cases, including one prominent case involving DTE Energy of Michigan, a longtime client of Mr. Wehrum's former law firm, Hunton Andrews Kurth.

    A second priority on Mr. Wehrum's industry presentation called for a revision of the E.P.A.'s "project aggregation" policy, which could allow companies to perhaps avoid expensive upgrades to pollution control equipment by not forcing them to consider hazardous air emissions from other nearby factories they own. Such a revision is now underway, Mr. Wehrum announced in April.

    third priority was taken care of by the E.P.A.'s March announcementrevising the "project netting" system the agency uses to evaluate anticipated increases in air pollution that might result from renovations and expansions of factories and power plants. Mr. Wehrum, as an E.P.A. official, called the revision "a common-sense interpretation" of the rules. He did not mention that this was the same change he had advocated as a petrochemical industry lawyer in the memo sent late last year.
    While pushing the various rollbacks, Mr. Wehrum has at times continued to interact with former clients, despite an ethics rule that prohibits former industry lawyers and lobbyists from meeting with former clients in private settings to discuss government-related matters for two years.
    For example, less than a month after he joined the E.P.A., Mr. Wehrum was back at the Pennsylvania Avenue offices of his old law firm to give a presentation to his former client, the Utility Air Regulatory Group, whose membership list features the nation's largest coal-burning electric utilities, like American Electric Power and the Southern Company.
    The topic was an overview of efforts at the E.P.A. to roll back some of the rules Mr. Wehrum and his former law firm had helped this group fight, including the Clean Power Plan, the email records show.
    "Exceeds the E.P.A.'s statutory authority and would be repealed," Mr. Wehrum said of the Clean Power Plan, according to a summary of the presentation, which was among records obtained through a Freedom of Information request.
    John Konkus, an E.P.A. spokesman, said Mr. Wehrum's presence at this event was allowed, despite the ethics ban, because "while it included some former clients," others who attended "were not former clients."

    In the interview, Mr. Wehrum acknowledged that the line between right and wrong was not always clear. For example, he said he had repeatedly sought a definition of what represents a "particular matter involving specific parties," which he would be banned from participating in as a result of the ethics pledge.
    Citing this lack of clarity, Mr. Wehrum since he was confirmed last year has taken the unusual step for a Senate-confirmed political appointee of declining to sign a "recusal letter" that details individual clients and matters he has to stay away from — making it harder to identify when he faces a potential conflict.
    "I have gotten three different interpretations, and what I don't want to do is sign a recusal letter and then have the rules change again," he said.
    Mr. Wehrum, an intense and cerebral lawyer as well as a rail-thin marathon runner — he has run the Boston Marathon in a time of 3 hours 28 minutes — knows E.P.A. air pollution rules well. Raised in Memphis, he moved to Delaware in the late 1980s soon after graduating from college and took a job as an engineer at a chemical plant, eventually attending night school to get a law degree.
    It was while working at the chemical plant — including studying a hydrogen peroxide fire at the plant — that he learned about the burden of responding to the E.P.A.'s complicated regulatory demands.

    The Valero St. Charles Oil Refiner in Norco, La. Just before Mr. Wehrum arrived at the E.P.A., the agency's clean air office was sent a lengthy petrochemical industry memo with his name on it as counsel to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers association, whose includes senior corporate officers from Valero Energy, Marathon Petroleum and Chevron.

    "I was the guy who had to figure out if we needed permits, and would go get permits for the plant," Mr. Wehrum said. "That sort of drives a lot of how I think about this."

    He later moved to Washington and began helping to defend electric utilities and other manufacturers facing E.P.A. regulatory actions. In 2001, when a law partner was named by President George W. Bush to take over the same E.P.A. air-pollution policy office, Mr. Wehrum went with him: He served as a senior lawyer and later acting head of air pollution policy before returning to private practice toward the end of the Bush administration.
    Several changes Mr. Wehrum has helped engineer since returning to the E.P.A. relate to a program known as New Source Review, a provision that since 2000 has forced more $7 billion worth of upgrades at 112 refineries in the United States — and another $116 million in civil penalties, according to petrochemical industry tally. New Source Review has also helped force tens of billions of dollars in air-pollution upgrades over the last two decades at more than 100 coal-burning power plants in the United States, which is why environmentalists credit the program for major reductions in smog nationwide.
    But Mr. Wehrum — like his former clients — considers the program "unnecessarily complicated and confusing," as Mr. Wehrum testified to the House in May.
    Asked if it was wrong for Mr. Wehrum to be pushing an agenda that would clearly benefit his former clients — chipping away at the so-called N.S.R. rule — an E.P.A. spokesman, said in a statement, "N.S.R. reform is part of the Trump administration's regulatory certainty agenda and predates Mr. Wehrum's service in the Trump E.P.A."
    One change was so helpful to the petrochemical industry — making it less likely that its members will be ordered to make major upgrades to manufacturing plants during renovations — that several of the industries top executives were invited to the E.P.A. headquarters in March to celebrate.
    Those present included executives from Marathon and Valero, two oil and gas and refinery companies that were key members of the petrochemical trade association Mr. Wehrum used to represent. Mr. Wehrum had helped write the new policy. But he has decided, at times, to skip ceremonies like this, in a nod to the ethics rules.
    "You can write the memo," joked Mr. Wehrum's chief counsel, David Harlow, who is another former Hunton lawyer, according to people present at the staff meeting where the matter was discussed. "But you can't go to the signing ceremony."

    Environmentalists and former E.P.A. officials say they remain concerned that many of the changes Mr. Wehrum is helping to deliver will hurt the public, including the repeal in January of a 23-year-old E.P.A. policy known as "once in, always in." That policy stipulates that once a major polluting entity, such as a factory or power plant, emits enough pollution to subject it to regulations under the Clean Air Act, it must forever remain subject to those rules — even if a company can show that it has lowered its pollution rates.
    "This reckless decision allows factories to switch off their pollution control systems to save a few dollars, even if that means dumping more toxic air pollution on their neighbors and putting their health at risk," said Eric Schaeffer who spent 12 years at the E.P.A., including a stint as the head of enforcement until he left early in the Bush administration.
    Mr. Wehrum considers the predictions scare mongering. He said the policy adjustments that he and others at the E.P.A. were making could help improve the environment, as companies would be less hesitant to make upgrades to air-pollution equipment.
    Like the marathon runner he is, Mr. Wehrum shows no sign of slowing down.
    "More than anything, I just want to get stuff done," he said.

    Coral Davenport contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.


    2) Two U.S. Agents Fired Into Mexico, Killing Teenagers. Only One Faces a Lawsuit.
    By Adam Liptak, August 20, 2018

    A portrait of José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, 16, who was killed on a Nogales, Mexico, street along the United States border. An appeals court ruled this month that his mother could sue a Border Patrol agent for violating her son's constitutional rights.

    WASHINGTON — The Constitution should mean the same thing in Arizona as it does in Texas. But federal appeals courts have issued starkly different rulings about whether border guards in those states can be held to account for shootings across the Mexican border that took the lives of two teenagers.
    In a dissent this month, a federal judge in California urged the Supreme Court to resolve the clashing rulings.
    It cannot be, Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. wrote, that guards standing on American soil in Arizona may be sued for cross-border killings but that ones standing in Texas cannot.
    "This is an untenable result," Judge Smith wrote, "and will lead to an uneven administration of the rule of law."

    In the Arizona case, a border guard named Lonnie Swartz, standing on high ground, fired across the border onto a street in Nogales, killing a 16-year-old, José Antonio Elena Rodríguez.

    A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled this month that José Antonio's mother could sue Mr. Swartz for violating her son's constitutional rights.
    What was described in her lawsuit, Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld wrote for the majority, "is simple and straightforward murder." He added — and this is what divided the two appeals courts — that José Antonio's mother should not need congressional permission to sue.
    The Texas case differed only in the details. There, a border guard named Jesus Mesa Jr. shot a fleeing 15-year-old boy in the head, killing him. The boy, Sergio Hernández Guereca, had been playing with friends in the dry bed of the Rio Grande and was in Mexico when he was struck.

    The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, said Sergio's family could not sue Mr. Mesa.
    "This is not a close case," Judge Edith Jones wrote for the majority in March. Congress could pass a law allowing suits against federal officials by "aliens injured abroad," she said. But without such a law, she wrote, federal courts should not "interfere with the political branches' oversight of national security and foreign affairs."
    The Supreme Court will soon consider whether to hear the Texas case, Hernandez v. Mesa, which has been before the justices once before. In the Arizona case, Rodriguez v. Swartz, a lawyer for Mr. Swartz filed papers last week indicating that he would seek Supreme Court review.
    The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, said Sergio's family could not sue Mr. Mesa.
    "This is not a close case," Judge Edith Jones wrote for the majority in March. Congress could pass a law allowing suits against federal officials by "aliens injured abroad," she said. But without such a law, she wrote, federal courts should not "interfere with the political branches' oversight of national security and foreign affairs."
    The Supreme Court will soon consider whether to hear the Texas case, Hernandez v. Mesa, which has been before the justices once before. In the Arizona case, Rodriguez v. Swartz, a lawyer for Mr. Swartz filed papers last week indicating that he would seek Supreme Court review.
    If the Supreme Court agrees to hear one or both of the cases, the families of the boys may face an uphill fight. And there is little reason to think that Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, would be sympathetic to their arguments.
    In 2015, Judge Kavanaugh, who sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, joined a decision dismissing a lawsuit filed by an American citizen who said he had suffered months of abuse at the hands of American law enforcement officials in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. In a concurring opinion, Judge Kavanaugh said the plaintiff, Amir Meshal, could not sue the officials for violating his constitutional rights because no statute authorized such suits.
    In 1971, in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, the Supreme Court ruled that such congressional authorization was not always needed for people to sue federal officials for violating their constitutional rights. But the court has grown increasingly uneasy about the decision, which concerned the unconstitutional search of a home in Brooklyn, and it has cautioned that the decision should not lightly be extended to new contexts. The Supreme Court itself has extended the Bivens decision only twice, most recently 38 years ago.

    Judge Kavanaugh wrote that the Bivens decision did not apply in Mr. Meshal's case because it involved "a national security investigation in a foreign country."
    "If I were a member of Congress, I might vote to enact a new tort cause of action to cover a case like Meshal's," he wrote. "But as judges, we do not get to make that decision."
    In the Arizona case, Judge Kleinfeld said that an unprovoked, willful and needless killing warranted extending the Bivens decision to allow a suit from the boy's mother. In the Texas case, Judge Jones wrote that only Congress could make that determination, particularly given the national security and diplomatic concerns at play.
    Both cases are at early stages, and for now judges must accept the version of events offered by the boys' families. They must assume, that is, that the guards shot unarmed boys who posed no threat to them.
    Mr. Swartz, the guard in the Arizona case, also faces criminal charges. In April, a jury in federal court in Tucson found him not guilty of murder but deadlocked on a manslaughter charge. Federal prosecutors have said that they will retry him for manslaughter.
    In the civil suit against Mr. Swartz, his lawyer, Sean C. Chapman, told the Ninth Circuit that José Antonio's "death was tragic."

    "The morality of Agent's Swartz's conduct, however, is not a relevant factor for this court's consideration," Mr. Chapman wrote.
    Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents José Antonio's mother, said the Ninth Circuit's decision "could not have come at a more important time, when this administration is seeking to further militarize the border."
    The government of Mexico, for its part, urged the Supreme Court to hear the Texas case.
    "It is a priority to Mexico to see that the United States has provided adequate means to hold the agents accountable and to compensate the victims," Mexico's brief said. "The United States would expect no less if the situation were reversed and a Mexican government agent had killed a U.S. national."


    3) US inmates stage nationwide prison labor strike over 'modern slavery'
    Organisers say prisoners across the country are expected to refuse to work, hold sit-ins and even stage hunger strikes
    By Ed Pilkington, August 21, 2018

    Prisoners at San Quentin in California. The strike is being largely organized by prisoners themselves. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

    The first part of the prisons likely to be hit will be the kitchens, where stoves will remain unlit, ready-meals unheated and thousands of breakfasts uncooked.
    From there the impact will fan out. The laundry will be left unwashed, prison corridors un-mopped, and the lawns on the external grounds ring-fenced with barbed wire will go uncut.
    On Tuesday, America's vast army of incarcerated men and women – at 2.3mof them they form by far the largest imprisoned population in the world – will brace itself for what has the potential to be the largest prison strike in US history.
    Nineteen days of peaceful protest are planned across the nation, organised largely by prisoners themselves.
    The strike is being spearheaded by incarcerated members of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, a group of prisoners providing mutual help and legal training to other inmates. A few days ago they released an anonymous statement setting out their reasons for calling a protest that carries the risk of substantial penal retaliation.
    "Fundamentally, it's a human rights issue," the statementsaid. "Prisoners understand they are being treated as animals. Prisons in America are a warzone. Every day prisoners are harmed due to conditions of confinement. For some of us it's as if we are already dead, so what do we have to lose?"
    Organizers have put together a list of 10 national demands. They include improved prison conditions, an end to life without parole sentences or "death by incarceration" as the authors call them, increased funding for rehabilitation services and an end to the disenfranchisement of some 6 million Americans with felony convictions who are barred from voting.
    One of the most passionately held demands is an immediate end to imposed labor in return for paltry wages, a widespread practice in US prisons that the strike organisers call a modern form of slavery. More than 800,000 prisoners are daily put to work, in some states compulsorily, in roles such as cleaning, cooking and lawn mowing.
    The remuneration can be as woeful in states such as Louisiana as 4 cents an hour.
    The idea that such lowly-paid work in a $2bn industry is equivalent to slavery is leant weight by the 13th amendment of the US constitution. It banned slavery and involuntary servitude, with one vital exception: "as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted".
    Prisoners, in other words, have no constitutional rights and can be blatantly exploited.
    In addition to a refusal to work, inmates engaging with the strike plan to go on hunger strikes, hold sit-in protests and stage a boycott of commissaries, collect phone calls and other payment streams where private and state-owned companies make money out of them. The boycott was the brainchild of Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun of the Free Alabama Movement under the rubric Redistribute the Pain.

    He called on fellow prisoners to stop channeling either their own or their relatives' money to what he called the "prison industrialized complex". He urged participants to spend 25% of what they saved from the boycott on books such as Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration.
    Inmates who join the action know that they face potentially serious consequences. Participants face being placed individually into isolation cells, while past prison strikes have been met with lockdowns of entire institutions.
    Communications too are certain to be blocked, leading potentially to a blackout of news on the protest.
    According to prison reform activists engaged in planning the strike, retaliatory measures have already started. Karen Smith, who runs the Gainesville, Florida chapter of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee that is backing the strike, said that prison authorities have moved most of the local strike organisers into solitary confinement wings where they will be unable to communicate with others.
    "Other inmates have been warned that if they continue to contact advocacy groups they will be moved to the most brutal camps."
    The strike comes two years after the last major nationwide prison strike in September 2016 that saw more than 20,000 inmates refuse to show up for work across 12 states. That strike was co-ordinated out of Holman prison in Alabama, a state notorious for its overcrowded and dilapidated penal institutions, by a group of inmates styling themselves the "Free Alabama Movement".
    The Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina was the scene of a deadly prison riot earlier this year. Photograph: Sean Rayford/AP
    This year's strike was triggered by the riot at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina in April in which seven inmates died in what was the most deadly prison unrest in a quarter of a century. The bloody melee, fueled by gang rivalry over contraband, lasted for seven hours while prison guards did next to nothing to stop it.
    Within days of the South Carolina carnage, and the renewed spotlight it put on the gross overcrowding, understaffing and inhumane living conditions in American prisons, the idea of a nationwide strike began to form.
    As inspiration for what promises to be a tough 20 days ahead, strike organizers are leaning on history. The nationwide action begins on Tuesday on the 47th anniversary of the death of the prominent Black Panther member, George Jackson, who was shot as he tried to escape in the prison yard of San Quentin in California.
    The strike is then scheduled to close on 9 September, the 47th anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion in upstate New York. In an echo of today's protest, the 1971 Attica riot was also framed by inmates as a push for humane conditions and basic political rights.
    But after four days of negotiations it ended in a bloodbath when New York's then governor, Nelson Rockefeller, sent in state police armed with shotguns and tear gas. Twenty-nine inmates and 10 of their hostages were killed.
    Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer prize-winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971, said that it was symbolically important that Attica was being invoked. "Attica drew a line in the sand – it was a recognition that people have a right to rebel, and will rebel, when they forced into unbelievably horrific conditions."


    4) Cost of New Coal Rules: Up to 1,400 More Deaths a Year
    By Lisa Friedman, August 21, 2018

    A power plant in Robards, Ky. The mortality numbers for the Trump administration plan are calculated using a modeling system reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences.

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Tuesday made public the details of its new pollution rules governing coal-burning power plants, and the fine print includes an acknowledgment that the plan would increase carbon emissions and lead to up to 1,400 premature deaths annually.
    The proposal, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, is a replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which was an aggressive effort to speed up the closures of coal-burning plants, one of the main producers of greenhouse gases, by setting national targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions and encouraging utilities to use cleaner energy sources like wind and solar.
    The new proposal, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, instead seeks to make minor on-site efficiency improvements at individual plants and would also let states relax pollution rules for power plants that need upgrades, keeping them active longer.
    Trump administration officials say the Clean Power Plan, in its effort to reduce carbon emissions, illegally tried to force electric utilities to use greener energy sources. The new plan, they said, would achieve many of the benefits sought by the Obama administration but in a way that is legal and allows states greater flexibility.

    "Today's proposal provides the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President Trump's goal of energy dominance," Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator of the E.P.A., said in a statement Tuesday.

    However, the hundreds of pages of technical analysis that accompany the new proposal indicate that emissions would grow under the plan.
    Compared to the Obama-era plan, the analysis says, "implementing the proposed rule is expected to increase emissions of carbon dioxide and the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health."
    The analysis also includes a section called "foregone" climate and human health benefits. That is, instead of listing the health gains of the Trump plan — preventing premature deaths, for example, or avoiding a certain number of increased emergency room visits from asthma attacks — it is instead describing the effect of the Trump plan as benefits lost.

    The proposal lays out several possible pathways that individual states might use for regulating coal-fired power plants, and what the consequences would be for pollution and human health in each case. In the scenario the E.P.A. has pegged as the most likely to occur, the health effects would be significant.
    In that scenario, the Trump E.P.A. predicts its plan will see between 470 and 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 because of increased rates of microscopic airborne particulates known as PM 2.5, which are dangerous because of their link to heart and lung disease as well as their ability to trigger chronic problems like asthma and bronchitis.

    By contrast, the Obama administration's central argument for its Clean Power Plan was that the measure protected human health as well as the climate. Specifically, it said, the plan would help avoid between 1,500 and 3,600 premature deaths annually by 2030.
    The Clean Power Plan aimed to curb planet-warming greenhouse gases by steering the energy sector away from coal and toward cleaner energy sources like wind and solar. According to its calculations, the decreased coal burning also would reduce other pollutants like sulfur dioxide, which poses respiratory risk, and nitrogen oxides that create ozone, which, in the form of smog, can damage lung tissue.
    Mr. Obama's E.P.A. also estimated that, by 2030, the Clean Power Plan would result in 180,000 fewer missed school days per year by children because of ozone-related illnesses. Asthma instances would also drop significantly, according to the analysis.
    By contrast, the Trump administration analysis finds that own its plan would see 48,000 new cases of exacerbated asthma and at least 21,000 new missed days of school annually by 2030 because those pollutants would increase in the atmosphere rather than decrease.

    "With the Trump dirty power plan we see again that the Trump administration cares more about extending the lives of coal plants than the American people," said Conrad Schneider, advocacy director of the Clean Air Task Force, an environmental nonprofit group.

    William L. Wehrum, acting administrator of the E.P.A.'s office of air and radiation, acknowledged Tuesday that there would be "collateral effects" on traditional pollutants compared to what the Clean Power Plan might have achieved. But, he said, "We have abundant legal authority to deal with those other pollutants directly, and we have aggressive programs in place that directly target emissions of those pollutants."
    The numbers in both the analysis for the Clean Power Plan as well as the Trump plan are derived from an intricate three-part modeling system reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences that the E.P.A. has used for decades to calculate the benefits and drawbacks of pollution regulation.
    The premature mortality numbers also draw from a landmark Harvard University study that definitively linked polluted air to premature deaths. The study, known as Six Cities, tracked thousands of people for nearly two decades and ultimately formed the backbone of federal air pollution regulations.
    That study itself is now under attack at E.P.A. The agency is considering a separate rule to restrict the use of any study for which raw data cannot be published, as is the case with Six Cities, which is based on the confidential health records of its participants. Scientists overwhelmingly oppose the move, pointing out that participants in long-term health studies typically agree to take part only if their personal health information won't be made public.
    If the E.P.A. finalizes that restriction rule, Mr. Schneider said, it would be able to claim in future studies a far lower premature death rate for the Clean Power Plan replacement because the Harvard study would no longer be taken into account.
    The analysis of the new Trump administration plan does include premature death scenarios based on studies that are considered less comprehensive than the Harvard study. Those analyses start at the possibility of an extra eight to 25 deaths a year under Mr. Trump's climate plan.


    5) 'Silent Sam' Confederate Statue Is Toppled at University of North Carolina
    By Alan Blinder, August 21, 2018

    Banners were used to cover the statue when people gathered during a rally on Monday.

    Protesters toppled the towering Confederate monument at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday night, perhaps ending — or perhaps only intensifying — a debate over the propriety of a divisive symbol at a renowned public institution.
    The statue, erected in 1913 and known as Silent Sam, fell after nightfall on the campus, brought down by demonstrators who condemned it as an enduring tribute to white supremacy. Although university officials had signaled their misgivings about the statue's continued presence on their campus, they had argued that state law forbade them from moving the monument without a panel's approval. It was not clear on Tuesday what would ultimately become of the damaged statue.
    Critics of the monument celebrated its downing on the night before classes began, and some tried to bury the soldier's head in the North Carolina dirt. But officials soon secured and removed the fallen statue from the area where it had stood, and by midday Tuesday, university leaders were criticizing the protesters' actions.
    Carol L. Folt, the university chancellor, acknowledged in an open letter on Tuesday that the statue "has been divisive for years, and its presence has been a source of frustration for many people not only on our campus but throughout the community." Still, in a possible signal of repercussions to come, the chancellor said Monday night's events were "unlawful and dangerous."

    The university estimated that about 250 people were involved in Monday night's demonstration. At least one person was arrested on charges of concealing one's face during a public rally and resisting arrest, the university said.
    Top officials of the statewide University of North Carolina system took a hard line in their own statement on Tuesday, calling the vandalism of the monument "unacceptable, dangerous, and incomprehensible" and adding that "mob rule and the intentional destruction of public property will not be tolerated." They said the campus police were gathering evidence to "inform a full criminal investigation."
    The statement was signed by the chairman of the university system's board of governors, Harry L. Smith Jr., and the president of the system, Margaret Spellings. The state legislature elects the board, which names the president.
    Before the statue was felled, demonstrators, who gathered to oppose possible sanctions against a student who splashed red ink and blood on the monument in April, marched across the campus and sometimes exchanged verbal barbs with counterprotesters.
    Eventually during the hourslong demonstration speckled with smoke bombs and chants, protesters erected coverings around the monument, shielding some of the statue's critics while they worked to bring down the display that had loomed above the campus for more than a century.

    Patty Matos, a 23-year-old senior who was at the protest while the statue still stood, said demonstrators had linked arms and formed concentric circles around the statue to protect those putting up banners.
    One protester, she said, handed out bandannas with the words "Sam Must Fall" printed on them.
    Eventually, Silent Sam did fall.
    "It was all smiles and joy and dancing and jubilation, to be honest," said Jasmin Howard, a 28-year-old alumna who was present for the protest and standing in the back of the crowd when the statue was brought down. "It was really a joyous moment."
    But the authorities beyond Chapel Hill, even those who opposed the statue, reacted with conspicuous caution.

    Ford Porter, a spokesman for Gov. Roy Cooper, said, "The governor understands that many people are frustrated by the pace of change and he shares their frustrations, but violent destruction of public property has no place in our communities."
    A university spokeswoman, Jeni Cook, refused on Tuesday to say whether police officers on the scene had been instructed to avoid interfering with the protesters while they were toppling the statue.

    "In keeping with public safety best practices, we do not discuss the specifics of our security operations, including staffing for events," Ms. Cook said in an email.
    Although Confederate monuments have long been a source of angst in the modern South, they have come under particular scrutiny since a white supremacist murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., in June 2015. The next month, South Carolina lawmakers removed a Confederate battle flag that flew outside the State House in Columbia, and other symbols of the Confederacy have since been removed or challenged.
    The dramatic demonstration on Monday night in Chapel Hill followed decades of controversy and protest at U.N.C. that had accelerated in the last year, after the fatal eruption of racist violence in Charlottesville, Va. The university said last year that "removing the Confederate monument is in the best interest of the safety of our campus," but U.N.C. officials also contended that a state law foreclosed any immediate, unilateral changes.
    Under that law, enacted in 2015 and similar in its language and structure to other statutes shielding Confederate-themed displays in the South, a "monument, memorial or work of art owned by the state" may not be "removed, relocated or altered in any way" without the consent of a state historical commission.
    University officials resisted calls, including one from the governor, that they invoke a loophole in the law, which allows for "an object of remembrance" to be removed without the commission's approval if it certain officials deem it "a threat to public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition."
    And the university took little action to set into motion the formal process for consideration of the monument's fate. Before Monday's protest, a state panel had planned to meet Wednesday to weigh the legal standing of private individuals who had sought the statue's removal. The commission said it had not received any requests for action from the university system or the board that oversees it.
    The statue has been a part of campus life in Chapel Hill for over a century. The United Daughters of the Confederacy proposed the monument, which the university's board approved in June 1908.

    At the time of the statue's 1913 unveiling, one speaker boasted that, just 100 yards away, he had "horsewhipped a Negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds" after his return from Appomattox. He also declared that "the whole Southland is sanctified by the precious blood of the student Confederate soldier," and that although the Confederacy was defeated, "the cause for which they fought is not lost."
    And the university president at the time of the statue's unveiling alluded to Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, when he hailed the monument as "an ornament to the campus" and as "a splendid lesson in granite and bronze to all coming generations of students throughout the years that in the words of the immortal Lee, 'Duty is the sublimest word in the English language.'"
    But the protests of recent months had suggested that the statue might endure only so much longer. Ms. Matos, the senior, attended a demonstration last year, but said that the protest Monday night felt different.
    "I felt a little bit more fed up this time around," she said. "Last year, it felt like something almost a little bit more routine."
    On Monday, she said, "It felt a little bit more determined."

    Andrew Chow, Gabe Cohn and Matt Stevens contributed reporting


    6) U.S. Military Spending Threatens More War 
    By Barry Sheppard, August 22, 2018

    With overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, the new 2019 budget for the military, beginning October 1, is a 13 percent increase over 2017, and is even more than what Trump had proposed.
    The U.S. spends more on its armed forces than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Britain, France and Japan combined, according to the United Nations. About 17 percent of the $4 trillion overall budget goes to the military.
    The official figure for next year is $716 billion. There are additional funds for the military hidden in spending by other federal departments, including the CIA, and the real figure inches toward $1 trillion, according to the Washington Post.
    A dangerous aspect is that there will be billions in new investments in nuclear weapons research and new nuclear warheads, including so-called "tactical" smaller bombs designed for the battlefield, not cities, making them more likely to be used. But any such use could easily get out of hand and spiral into a full-blown nuclear war.
    This program, euphemistically called "modernization" of the nuclear arsenal, was started by the Obama administration, and was to cost $1 trillion over ten years. The new military budget continues and expands the program.
    We should remember that it was the U.S. that first developed the atom bomb, and was the first to use it twice in 1945 against cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds-of-thousands immediately and many more from radiation-induced cancers in the years since.
    The use of these weapons, many military experts have said, was unnecessary to end the U.S.-Japan inter-imperialist war. Japan was already defeated. What Washington wanted to demonstrate was its willingness to use such weapons against civilians if it wanted to do so, a monstrous threat against the other nations of the world.
    Its immediate purpose was to threaten the USSR, as Washington prepared to turn away from its wartime alliance with the Soviet Union to active hostility. The U.S., with diplomatic help from Britain, completed this turn by 1947, and set the USSR in its sights. While the development of the bomb by the Soviet Union blocked any dreams by the U.S. of a quick atomic attack, the nuclear arms race was on. The madness of "Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)" became the norm throughout the Cold War. 
    The U.S. contemplated using the bomb in the Korean War, and directly threatened to do so in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and in the 1973 Israeli-Arab war. Fortunately, there were cooler heads in Washington during the Korean War, and in the Kremlin in 1962 and 1973 that defused these threats.
    After the Second World War, Congress ceded its Constitutional obligation to decide whether to go to war to the executive branch. The last time Congress declared war was in 1941. One aspect was to cede to one person, the President, the sole authority to launch atomic war. Trump once mused that if the U.S. has nuclear weapons, why not use them?
    Wherever the President goes, he is accompanied by an aide who carries the "football"—a briefcase with the codes to unleash such a horrific eventuality—a danger that has been brought closer by the decision to build the "tactical" nuclear weapons, which will relaunch the nuclear arms race, as other nations try to keep up.
    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which since the age of the bomb began, has printed on its cover a "doomsday clock" with a hand pointing how close we are to midnight. In the light of this recent development set in motion first by Obama, it has moved that hand closer to 12.
    Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a general relaxation of the fear of atomic war. That sentiment is now obsolete, if it ever was justified.
    Another aspect of ceding warmaking powers to the executive has been the many wars, some hot and some covert, the U.S. has been waging since 1945. These include the seemingly endless wars in the Mideast we are living through.
    Another aspect of the new military budget is additional "emergency" funding tagged for "overseas contingency operations," meaning just such wars. The budget sets asides funds for new ones down the line.
    The "Defense" Department was accurately named the Department of War until the end of the Second World War. The U.S. has not waged a defensive war since the war of 1812 against the British. I'll use the term War Department.
    The increase in military spending in the new budget has been advocated by the War Department in recent years. "Our regional competitors in the Pacific and Europe have been studying our strengths and our vulnerabilities for more than a decade," Major General Paul A. Chamberlain said in February. "Their modernization efforts are slowly eroding our competitive advantage, and this budget request addresses that, by providing the necessary resources to ensure the Army's superiority."
    "It is incumbent upon us to field a more lethal forces if our nation is to retain the ability to defend ourselves and what we stand for," War Secretary Jim Mattis said in outlining a new national war strategy in July.
    That new strategy states that "inter-state strategic competition," especially with China and Russia, and "not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security."
    This new strategy is rooted in the recognition that the old "world order" that ensured U.S. domination has eroded, and U.S. imperialism faces new challenges in a changing world. Obama tried to get out of the Middle East region with his "pivot to Asia [meaning China]" but couldn't do both. Mattis now supports a larger military footprint in Afghanistan while simultaneously preparing for conflict with China and Russia.
    This has repercussions with both Koreas. Military analysts are saying that the U.S. must keep its troops and bases in South Korea as part of its aggressive stance toward China.
    The bipartisan support for the military spending in the new bill is indicated by two quotes. "The Budget Agreement," Trump tweeted, "gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America Great."
    The Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, called the new budget a "win for the American people."
    However, Trump objected to non-spending aspects of the new law. When signing the bill Trump decreed that 50 provisions unconstitutionally encroached on his prerogatives as "Commander in Chief and as the sole representative of the Nation in foreign affairs."
    In recent decades, beginning with Ronald Reagan, such "signing statements" have been used by presidents to circumvent Congress, and amount to declarations that the provisions they object to will not be enforced. This is part of the ceding of power to the executive referred to above.
    Apparently, Congress inserted provisions in the budget law to assert some authority over the President in conducting foreign policy, which Trump has in effect nullified.
    While such signing statements are not new, Trump's use of them in this instance are part of his drive to establish an authoritarian regime of the type we have seen in Hungary and Poland, which is new. This deserves a fuller discussion in another article.   


    7) Trump's White House seizes on murder of Mollie Tibbetts with video featuring parents of victims killed by undocumented immigrants
    By Jessica Schladebeck, August 23, 2018
    "'Please remember, Evil comes in EVERY color,' her aunt Billie Jo Calderwood wrote on Facebook. 'Our family has been blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship and support throughout this entire ordeal by friends from all different nations and races. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.' Tibbetts' cousin sparred with conservative activist Candace Owens on Twitter, slamming her for putting a political spin on her family's tragedy. 'hey i'm a member of mollie's family and we are not so f---ing small-minded that we generalize a whole population based on some bad individuals,' she wrote directly to Owens. 'now stop being a f---ing snake and using my cousins death as political propaganda.'"
    This photo released by the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation shows Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student who was reported missing from her hometown in the eastern Iowa city of Brooklyn in July 2018. (/ AP)

    The arrest of an undocumented immigrant in the slaying of Mollie Tibbetts has thrust the tragic case into the middle of a contentious debate on immigration and border security, with President Trump's White House seizing on her death — against some of her family's wishes — to bolster its own agenda.
    The White House on its official Twitter account Wednesday released an emotional video that features several family members of victims of violence committed by undocumented immigrants.
    "For 34 days, investigators searched for 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts. Yesterday, an illegal alien, now charged with first degree murder led police to the cornfield where her body was found. The Tibbetts family has been permanently separated. They are not alone," the video's caption reads.
    Since launching his bid for the presidency, Trump has made immigration crackdown a cornerstone of his platform while often times sparking backlash for invoking racist stereotypes and linking immigrants to crime. The day he declared his White House run in 2015, he dubbed Mexican immigrants rapists and murders and has doubled down those comments in the years since.

    The President similarly seized on the 2015 murder of Kate Steinle, a California woman who was gunned down by an immigrant in San Francisco, throughout the campaign. He's also trotted out the families of similar victims at high-profile events, including the 2016 Republican National Convention, State of the Union and Joint Address to congress.
    But several members of the Tibbetts family have rejected being used as a political rallying point and have pushed back against the anti-immigrant narrative.
    "Please remember, Evil comes in EVERY color," her aunt Billie Jo Calderwood wrote on Facebook. "Our family has been blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship and support throughout this entire ordeal by friends from all different nations and races. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you."
    Tibbetts' cousin sparred with conservative activist Candace Owens on Twitter, slamming her for putting a political spin on her family's tragedy.
    "hey i'm a member of mollie's family and we are not so f---ing small-minded that we generalize a whole population based on some bad individuals," she wrote directly to Owens. "now stop being a f---ing snake and using my cousins death as political propaganda."
    Cristhian Bahena Rivera was arrested and charged with first-degree murder earlier this week in the death of Tibbetts, whose July disappearance sparked a massive search effort and dominated headlines nationwide. He led investigators early Tuesday to a body believed to be Tibbetts in a cornfield about 12 miles outside of Brooklyn, Iowa — where the college student was last spotted out for an evening run.

    Within hours, Trump invoked Tibbetts death and the recent arrest during a rally in West Virginia.
    "You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in, very sadly, from Mexico and you saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman," he told the crowds. "Should've never happened. Illegally in our country. We've had a huge impact, but the laws are so bad. The immigration laws are such a disgrace, we're getting them changed, but we have to get more Republicans. We have to get 'em."
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified the 24-year-old suspect as undocumented and said he'd been living in the country for the last four to seven years. Rivera's employer, Yarrabee Farms, said it was unaware he was undocumented and that he provided them with a different name at his time of hire.
    In court documents submitted Wednesday, Rivera's lawyer rejected claims that he was in the country illegally but the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services responded with a statement that there is "no record" to suggest otherwise."


    8) Major Prison Strike Spreads Across U.S. and Canada
    By Ed Pilkington
    The Guardian, August 23, 2018

    August 23, 2018—A prison strike has begun to take hold in custodial institutions across North America, with reports of sporadic protest action from California and Washington State to the eastern seaboard as far south as Florida and up to Nova Scotia in Canada.
    Details remain sketchy as information dribbles out through the porous walls of the country's penitentiaries. Prison reform advocacy groups liaising with strike organizers said Wednesday that protests had been confirmed in three states, with further unconfirmed reports emerging from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
    The confirmed cases related to a hunger strike in Folsom state prison in California. A 26-year-old inmate called Heriberto Garcia managed to dispatch to the outside world a smartphone recording of himself refusing food. The video was then posted on Twitter.
    When he was told the contents of the meal, Garcia could be heard replying: "Burritos or not, not eating today. Protest. I'm hunger striking right now."
    The second confirmed action was in the Northwest detention center in Tacoma, Washington, where as many as 200 detained immigrants joined the nationwide protest. The Canadian unrest occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where prisoners at Burnside jail put out a statement in solidarity with their striking U.S. equivalents complaining that they were being "warehoused as inmates, not treated as human beings."
    The 19-day strike is the first such nationwide action in the U.S. in two yearsand was triggered by April's rioting in Lee correctional institution in South Carolina in which seven inmates were killed. The start of the strike on Monday was symbolically timed to mark the 47th anniversary of the death of the Black Panther leader George Jackson in San Quentin prison in California.
    One of the intentions of the organizers of the current dispute is to bring to public attention the spate of deaths in custody, which in some states has reached epidemic proportions. In Mississippi, ten inmateshave died in their cells in the past three weeks alone, with no firm indication of their causes of death.
    In addition to loss of life, the strikers, led by a network of incarcerated activists who call themselves Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, have put out a set of ten demandsto overhaul America's creaking penal system. High up on the list is an end to forced or underpaid labor that the protesters call a form of modern slavery.
    Kevin Rashid Johnson, who is serving a life sentence in Sussex state prison in Waverly, Virginia, writes in theGuardianthat he sees prison work as "slave labor that still exists in the United States in 2018. In fact, slavery never ended in this country."
    Other demands laid down by the strikers include more investment in rehabilitation services and better medical treatment for mentally ill prisoners.
    In many states, prisoners have framed their own local set of demands. In North Carolina, a manifesto was released in July that focuses on ending the use of solitary confinement and scrapping lifetime sentences. "No human shall be sentenced to death by incarceration," it states.
    Earlier this week about 100 prisoners in Hyde correctional institute in Fairfield, North Carolina, were seen in the yard of the penitentiary carrying banners that said: "Parole," "Better Food" and "In solidarity."
    Among the main tactics that are being deployed in the strike are a refusal to work, a boycott of purchases at prison commissaries, sit-ins and hunger strikes.
    Advocacy groups such as the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee stressed that given the nature of high-security prisons, much of the activity involved in the strike could take days to reach the outside world if it gets out at all.
    Accounts of what was happening were already colliding, with those given by outside supporters of the action flatly contradicting statements from prison authorities. In Florida, there were unconfirmed reports of 11 of the state's 143 prisons being struck by organized protests.
    That stood in contrast to the statement of the spokesman for the Florida department of corrections that said: "We've had no stoppages, protests or lockdowns related to the strike."


    9) Prison Labor is Modern Slavery
    I've been sent to solitary for speaking out.
    By Kevin "Rashid" Johnson
    The Guardian, August 23, 2018

    August 23, 2018—This week, a nationwide strike was launched across U.S. prisons that has the potential to become the largest protest of incarcerated men and women in the history of this country.
    It's a move that is of personal interest to me, as I sit in my solitary cell in a maximum-security prison in Virginia. I've been in touch with several of the strike organizers in other prisons, and though my communications are limited under the restrictions of my confinement, I'm doing all I can to open the American public's eyes to the abuses that go on behind bars.
    Until the strike ends on September 9, 2018, I will be joining a boycott of the commissary—I will not be parting with any money so that prison companies can make profit out of me. I'll also be supporting fellow inmates here and across the nation who will be refusing to work in what amounts to a modern form of slavery.
    On July 10, 2018, I was moved to Sussex state prison in Waverly, Virginia, and placed in a cell on death row. I have never been sentenced to the death penalty, so there can be only one reason they have put me here—to shut me up and prevent me fraternizing with other prisoners as they fear I will radicalize them and encourage them to resist their oppression.
    Three death row prisoners—the last in the state of Virginia—occupy cells near mine. The prison authorities have ordered them specifically not to talk to me, but I'm heartened that the other guys don't seem minded to pay any attention to that injunction.
    That's been the pattern of my incarceration for the past many years. I resist; they retaliate.
    I have always refused to perform labor inside prison, ever since I was convicted of murder in 1990 when I was 18-years-old. (I have consistently challenged my conviction on grounds that I was subjected to a misidentification and am innocent.)
    I see prison labor as slave labor that still exists in the United States in 2018. In fact, slavery never ended in this country.
    At the end of the civil war in 1865 the 13th amendment of the U.S. constitution was introduced. Under its terms, slavery was not abolished, it was merely reformed.
    Anybody convicted of a crime after 1865 could be leased out by the state to private corporations who would extract their labor for little or no pay. In some ways that created worse conditions than under the days of slavery, as private corporations were under no obligation to care for their forced laborers—they provided no healthcare, nutritious food or clothing to the individuals they were exploiting.
    Though I've always refused to engage in this modern slavery myself, I've witnessed plenty of examples of it. The most extreme were in Texas and Florida, where prisoners are forced to work in the fields for free, entirely unremunerated.
    They are cajoled into chain gangs and taken out to the fields where they are made to grow all the food that inmates eat: squash, greens, peas, okra. They are given primitive hand-held tools like wooden sticks and hoes and forced to till the soil, plant and harvest cotton.
    They are watched over all day by guards on horseback carrying shotguns. Elite posses of prisoners are used to keep other prisoners in line, through open coercion and violence.
    Prisoners who do not agree to such abject slavery are put in solitary confinement. I know from personal experience.
    Apart from six months when I was in general population in Oregon, I have been held in isolation cells without pause since 1994.
    That hasn't prevented me speaking out about the appalling conditions inside U.S. prisons. I've helped other inmates file wrongful death lawsuits after prisoners were killed by guards. I've seen prisoners beaten by guards, starved, having their property systematically destroyed.
    Racial animus is always present. The state that now incarcerates me, Virginia, has a general population that is 19 percent African American, but 58 percent of its prison population is Black.
    A few years ago I was held in Florida prisons at a time when current and former guards were found to be card-carrying members of the Ku Klux Klan. On a personal level, I've been called a "rebellious nigger" too many times to mention.
    Because of my refusal to work, and the efforts I've made to organize strikes and publicize the horrors that go on behind bars, I have faced regular reprisals. In recent years I've been bounced around from state to state in an attempt to silence me: they sent me from Virginia to Oregon, from there to Texas and Florida, then back again to Virginia.
    Now I'm on death row, even though I'm not a death row prisoner, which is about as total a condition of isolation you can get. Yet I still found a way to get this article to the Guardian.
    Will I face reprisals for writing this column? Sure I will. Do I fear such reprisals? I am far past the point where threats concern me.
    In the past three decades I have endured every level of abuse they have to offer: I have been starved, beaten, dehydrated, put in freezing cold cells, attacked with attack dogs, rendered unconscious, chained to a wall for weeks. There's nothing left to fear.
    Kevin "Rashid" Johnson is co-founder of the New African Black Panther Party. He is serving a life sentence.


    10)  Trump's South Africa Tweet Seems to Embrace Racist Narrative on Land Dispute
    By Julia Hirschfeld Davis and Norimitsu Onishi, August 23, 2018
    "White residents, who make up about 8 percent of the population, own roughly 70 percent of the private farmland, according to government figures. "

    A "Rally for South Africa" in Sydney, Australia, over a cause embraced by white supremacists

    WASHINGTON — Like so many of President Trump's late-night tweets, this one was inspired by a segment on his favorite cable channel, Fox News.
    But when Mr. Trump announced Wednesday night that he was directing his secretary of state to scrutinize what he said was the targeting of white farmers for land seizures and "large-scale killing" in South Africa, the president waded into a complex and politically charged debate.
    And in doing that, he embraced a common talking point among white supremacists who claim white genocide is being perpetrated in South Africa and around the world.
    The presidential tweet on Wednesday appeared to be the culmination of a lengthy lobbying effort by a right-wing South African group that falsely claims that white farmers are being systematically forced off their land and killed in large numbers. Its leaders traveled to Washington this year to press their case.

    The debate over landownership has engulfed South Africa, where a proposal to seize land from white farmers has roiled a country still struggling with the effects of apartheid and widespread economic inequality.
    White residents, who make up about 8 percent of the population, own roughly 70 percent of the private farmland, according to government figures. And President Cyril Ramaphosa announced this month that the African National Congress would move ahead with a proposal to change the Constitution and allow the expropriation of some property without compensation.
    His government has said that the move is necessary to deal with longstanding inequities. Only unused land would be subject to seizure, it added, suggesting that land that is being actively farmed would be safe. But opponents of the plan include far-right groups who have said that forced expropriations are already happening, and that white farmers are being killed in alarming numbers.
    Mr. Trump's seeming endorsement of that narrative drew rebukes and jubilation on Thursday. Anti-hate organizations called his tweet racist and irresponsible, while the alt-right and white supremacists said it was an overdue and courageous recognition by the president of what they called a grave injustice.
    "This is the president of the United States taking up a narrative and an idea that has extremely strong resonance among white supremacists — that with demographic change all over the world, there is an ongoing genocide of whites that is getting worse, where minorities are literally trying to wipe out and dispossess white people," said Heidi Beirich, who monitors hate groups at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    "Within white supremacy, there's this idea of dispossession, that you are being dispossessed of your goods, your opportunities, perhaps your land," Ms. Beirich added. "And they point to South Africa to say to fellow white supremacists or people who they see as potential recruits that this is what could happen to us."
    Mike Peinovich, a white supremacist whose podcast is called "The Daily Shoah," called the president's tweet about South Africa "very big." He said on Twitter: "It may seem like a small thing, but this is how we slowly chip away at the all consuming anti-white discourse. Let's hope this is followed with action."
    Kallie Kriel, the chief executive of AfriForum, South Africa's main advocacy group for Afrikaners, said that Mr. Trump's comment had been a "huge step forward" for his organization. (Afrikaners are the white settlers of South Africa, usually of Dutch or Huguenot ancestries. Boer is sometimes used as a term for Afrikaners, typically in a specific political context.)
    On a tour of the United States this year, Mr. Kriel met with representatives of conservative think tanks in Washington, including the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, as well as an aide to Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and officials at the United States Agency for International Development.
    During the trip, Ernst Roets, the group's deputy chief executive, appeared on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Fox — a staple of Mr. Trump's cable news diet. In the studio, he and Mr. Kriel encountered John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump's national security adviser, and snapped a picture with him that Mr. Kriel posted on Twitter, marveling at their "luck."
    He said they had given Mr. Bolton a copy of "Kill the Boer," Mr. Roets's book that claims the government has been complicit in killing white farmers. It also argues, according to the official website, that "a looming process of ethnic cleansing should be regarded as a serious threat and something to be prevented."
    On Thursday, the White House did not respond to requests for comment on what had prompted Mr. Trump to tweet about the issue.

    But the president's post came after Tucker Carlson broadcast a segment on his show about the landownership dispute in South Africa. He reported that land seizures were already well underway, and blasted the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for issuing what he called an "unbelievable" statement that called the matter a "difficult" one without criticizing Mr. Ramaphosa's approach.
    The South African minister of international relations, Lindiwe Sisulu, described the tweet as "regrettable" and "based on false information." The government said it would seek clarification from the United States Embassy.
    The State Department also confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the chargé d'affaires there — the top-ranking diplomat in the country because Mr. Trump has yet to nominate an ambassador to South Africa — had met with its officials in the wake of the president's comment.
    Heather Nauert, the department's spokeswoman, labored to steer clear of the racial overtones of the president's statement. She said Mr. Trump had discussed the issue with Mr. Pompeo, and "asked the secretary to look closely at the current state of action in South Africa related to land reform."
    "The expropriation of land without compensation — our position is that that would risk sending South Africa down the wrong path," she said, refusing to say whether the State Department is concerned that it is happening.
    Asked whether Mr. Pompeo had corrected Mr. Trump on the state of affairs in South Africa, Ms. Nauert said, "We never get into the private conversations between the secretary and the president."
    Patrick Gaspard, the United States ambassador to South Africa during the Obama administration, said that with his tweet, Mr. Trump had "walked right smack into some of the most supercharged politics that exist in any of our bilateral relationships anywhere around the globe."

    "Here you have a president of the United States who is trafficking in a white supremacist story line and talking point that has caused incredible damage in the country, in the region, and that is easily disproved," he said.
    "We have seen too many instances where Trump cabinet officials and his administration have shifted policy based on the latest irresponsible, and in this case reprehensible, tweet by the president, and so I hope the State Department resists that in this case," Mr. Gaspard added.
    The number of killings of farmers, including farm workers, in South Africa is at a 20-year low, 47 in the fiscal year 2017-18, according to research published in July by AgriSA, a farmers' organization there. That is down from 66 during the previous fiscal year. The figures were consistent with a steady decline of violence since a peak in 1998, when 153 were killed.
    But in an interview on Thursday, Mr. Kriel claimed that the murders of white farmers were underreported, and said without evidence that white farmers were "three to four times" more likely than the average South African to be killed.
    The AfriForum officials were not the first right-wing South Africans to visit the United States. Last year, two members of a white Christian survivalist group called the Suidlanders toured the country for six months, meeting with conservative Christian organizations, politicians and doomsday "preppers" and appearing on talk shows such as Infowars, which circulates conspiracy theories.
    The trip was "a concerted strategical campaign" to raise funds and "awareness of and support for the Caucasian Christian conservative volk of South Africa," said Simon Roche, a spokesman, adding, "There's a natural affinity with conservative white Americans."
    Regarding themselves the world's largest nonstate civil defense force, the Suidlanders have more than 130,000 members and consider civil war imminent in South Africa. The group has drawn up plans to evacuate whites to a remote part of the country and "stand and fight and die, if that's what's necessary," Mr. Roche said.

    Among the Americans whom Suidlanders met with during their trip, Mr. Roche said, was David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Duke has been vocal in his support for Mr. Trump, and recirculated the president's tweet on Wednesday night, appending a "Thank you!"
    Mr. Trump's comment was "a natural result of our campaign, but to some extent also a snowball effect" from other lobbying, Mr. Roche said.
    The idea that whites face the possibility of genocide in Africa has gained fresh currency in the United States in the years since the shooting in Charleston, S.C., in 2015 carried out by Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who posted a racist manifesto on a website called the Last Rhodesian.
    It included photographs of Mr. Roof wearing a jacket bearing patches displaying the green-and-white flag of Rhodesia, a formerly white-run colony of Britain now known as Zimbabwe — as well as a South African flag.
    The shooting appeared to set off a wave of nostalgia for Rhodesia in alt-right and white supremacist circles, where the notion that white people must wage a violent struggle to beat back an onslaught led by blacks is prevalent.
    This year, in interviews about their pro-Rhodesian views, far-right social media personalities brought up the plight of white South African farmers, repeating the false narrative that their land was being forcibly taken and they were being murdered in large numbers. They drew a direct line between the fall of Rhodesia and what they believe is happening in South Africa now.
    On Tuesday, the radio host Michael Savage posted a petition on his website calling on Mr. Trump to give immigration priority to white South African farmers fleeing "violent confiscation of their lands."
    "The white South African population currently faces ethnic cleansing and persecutions" at the hands of the African National Congress government, the Economic Freedom Fighters party and "various individual antiwhite aggressors," said the petition, which circulated on Stormfront, a white supremacist internet forum.

    Julie Hirschfeld Davis reported from Washington, and Norimitsu Onishi from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Kimon de Greef contributed reporting from Cape Town, and Edward Wong and John Ismay from Washington.


    11) States Show the Way on the Opioid Epidemic
    By The Editorial Board, August 24, 2018

    The opioid epidemic is far from contained — the national death toll from drug overdoses climbed to a record high last year. But some states and cities are bucking the trend and showing how governments can get a grip on the worst drug crisis in American history.
    In 2017, overdose deaths in the United States jumped 10 percent, to about 72,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week. The new data show that people are dying from opioids that are more potent and more dangerous than were available in years past. The C.D.C. also found that many people who overdose are simultaneously using multiple drugs like heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamines and benzodiazepine, an anti-anxiety medicine, and that the crisis has spread across the country, from rural and suburban areas to cities. 
    Given all this grim news, the areas where overdose deaths are decreasing — Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming, per the C.D.C. — stand out. Some of these states have taken a more thoughtful approach to helping people who suffer from what experts call opioid use disorder and have worked to prevent more people from becoming addicted to prescription pain pills. Along with some cities, like San Francisco, these states have been at the forefront of increasing access to the anti-overdose medicine naloxone and to anti-addiction medicines like buprenorphine and methadone, which experts say can help people who are dependent on opioids live relatively normal lives.
    The successes on these fronts can be attributed in part to efforts to boost rates of insured individuals — people who are dependent on drugs often struggle financially and cannot afford treatment without health coverage. Massachusetts and Vermont, where overdose deaths are falling, have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and have helped people sign up for private insurance. In 2016, just 2.5 percent of people in Massachusetts were uninsured and only 3.7 percent lacked health insurance in Vermont, compared with 8.6 percent for the country as a whole.

    It’s no surprise, then, that most people with opioid use disorder in those states — more than 60 percent of them — received medication-assisted treatment, according to a Blue Cross Blue Shield Association report. By comparison, less than 30 percent of people with the disorder received treatment in Florida, Georgia and Texas, which have not expanded Medicaid and where the uninsured rate was more than 12 percent.
    This disparity highlights how important it is for state governments to take advantage of the health care act, and how wrong it is that the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers have been doing everything they can to weaken that law and reduce the number of people who benefit from it. One of Mr. Trump’s biggest supporters, Gov. Paul LePage of Maine, for example, has refused to expand Medicaid even though a sizable majority of his state voted to do so last year.


    12) Football Players Are Protesting Police Violence, Not the Anthem
    There are consequences to mischaracterizing the reason players aren’t standing
    By Kashana Cauley, August 25, 2018

    Members of the Dallas Cowboys taking a knee during the national anthem before a game last year.

    Now that the N.F.L. preseason has begun, some of the league’s players are again refusing to stand during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. A number of news organizations have mischaracterized the protests as “anthem protests,” and President Trump has gone further, saying they just “wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define.” He keeps coming back to this issue over and over. 
    Most of those players are black men. They have lived with the reality of police brutality their whole lives. This slander is an insult to them. But even if everyone who frames the kneeling as “anthem protests” is unintentionally making a mistake, it’s a harmful one.
    The protests have always been intended to draw attention to police brutality and the economic and social oppression of people of color. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Colin Kaepernick, who started the protests, after a preseason game in 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Calling the protests “anthem protests” is a dishonest way to change the conversation from systemic issues that the protests have raised again and again.
    The false claim that they are “anthem protests” also implies that protesting police violence is inconsistent with patriotism. In fact, African-Americans have a long history of staging protests during the national anthem because of a deep understanding and internalization of the anthem’s patriotic significance.

    In 1892, at a meeting in a Chicago A.M.E. church after a lynching in Memphis, a pastor asked the 1,000 black people in the audience to sing “My Country, ’Tis of Thee,” the de facto national anthem of the time. But everyone refused. One man argued, “I don’t want to sing that song until this country is what it claims to be, ‘sweet land of liberty.’”
    Kevin Kruse, a history professor at Princeton, told me in an email: 
    At the 1968 Olympics, medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the playing of the anthem to draw attention to a variety of concerns, including black poverty and the legacy of lynching in America. While their stance was dismissed by some as radical at the time, more mainstream black athletes understood their stance and agreed with it. A few years later, Jackie Robinson wrote in his memoir “I Never Had It Made”: “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”
    Wayne Collett, the African-American silver medalist in the 400-meter dash in the 1972 Munich Olympics, also refused to face the flag while the anthem played at the medal ceremony. “I couldn’t stand there and sing the words, because I don’t believe they’re true,” he is reported to have said. “I believe we have the potential to have a beautiful country, but I don’t think we do.” 
    Last year, the football player Richard Sherman echoed this sentiment: “There isn’t liberty and justice for all. I think guys for a while — at least a year now — have been protesting that by taking a knee, sitting down, putting up a fist.” 
    These are the words of people who love their country, who have thought long and hard about the national anthem and what it says, and simply wish to hold America accountable to the promises it makes in its anthem. 
    If we have to stand and honor a song about freedom, why can’t all our country’s citizens be free, instead of subject to state violence and extrajudicial killings?

    There’s one last reason to avoid calling the N.F.L. protests “anthem protests.” In an era where people are worried that they’re getting fake news, and also possibly tempted to dismiss the reality of racism in the United States, it’s important that people who comment on or cover the N.F.L. protests tell their audiences the truth of what the protests are really about. 
    So don’t call them “anthem protests.” Call them what they are — “protests against racist police violence.”
    Kashana Cauley (@kashanacauley) is a television and freelance writer and a contributing opinion writer. 


    13) Palestinians Blast Trump’s Aid Cut as Political ‘Blackmail’
    By Isabel Kershner, August 25, 2018

    Medics evacuated a wounded youth amid tear gas fired by Israeli troops near the border with the Gaza Strip on Friday.

    Aid being given out at a United Nations food distribution center in a refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip this month.

    JERUSALEM — Palestinian officials denounced the Trump administration’s cancellation of more than $200 million in aid, accusing Washington of “weaponizing” humanitarian assistance by using it as a tool to coerce political concessions.
    The aid cut, announced Friday, was the latest in a series of measures apparently aimed at forcing the Palestinian leadership to return to the negotiating table with Israel while American officials work on a long-awaited peace proposal, the details of which remain opaque.
    An earlier freeze by Washington of tens of millions of dollars of funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which assists Palestinian refugees, and the move in May of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem, had already infuriated the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas.
    The Palestinians, who claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, expressed defiance this weekend, blaming the Trump administration for forsaking the role its predecessors had long sought as an honest broker in the dispute with Israel.

    “This administration is dismantling decades of U.S. vision and engagement in Palestine,” Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s general delegation to the United States, said in a statement.
    “This is another confirmation of abandoning the two-state solution and fully embracing Netanyahu’s anti-peace agenda,” he added, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. “Weaponizing humanitarian and developmental aid as political blackmail does not work.”
    Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, said, “the Palestinian people and leadership will not be intimidated and will not succumb to coercion.”
    “The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale,” Ms. Ashrawi added. “There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation.”

    The withdrawal of the assistance comes as the Trump administration considers canceling nearly $3 billion in foreign aid projects around the world. The State Department says it intends to redirect funds that were meant for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to higher-priority projects elsewhere.

    During a visit to Israel this week, John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, said there were no decisions yet about the details of the American peace plan or when it would be unveiled.
    Referring to the American plan, Mr. Netanyahu, who heads a right-wing government, many of whose ministers oppose a Palestinian state, said during a visit to Lithuania on Friday that, “It may come, even though I don’t see any urgency on the matter.”
    Palestinian officials said the aid withdrawal could affect many programs of the United States Agency for International Development, the principal body administering American foreign assistance in the West Bank and Gaza. The agency oversees support for a wide range of issues in the Palestinian territories, including debt relief, economic growth, water and sanitation, education, health and governance.
    Washington provided about $290 million to the Palestinians in 2016 through the agency and has provided about $5.2 billion in total since 1994.
    The United States also supplies funds for security assistance, public diplomacy and mine clearance operations.
    The United States Consulate General in Jerusalem recently announced that more than 1,000 Palestinian students had graduated in July from an 18-month program to improve their English and community leadership skills. That program costs more than $2 million a year.

    European Union support to the Palestinians amounted to nearly 359 million euros, or about $416 million, in 2017. As well as humanitarian assistance, that money helps fund the salaries of Palestinian Authority employees.
    R. David Harden, a former mission chief in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the United States Agency for International Development, wrote on Twitter that the funding had been “a force for stability” and that the cut would empower forces like Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza.
    Daniel B. Shapiro, who served as the United States ambassador to Israel from 2011 to 2017, said that successive Israeli governments had seen “great value” in the American humanitarian assistance, in part because it saved Israel shouldering the cost and also because it provided a more secure environment.
    “This decision represents a terrible decision by Trump’s team, which seems to think it will put pressure on the Palestinians to come to the table (it won’t),” he wrote on Twitter.
    In an additional blow to the Palestinians, FIFA, the global soccer governing body, on Friday banned Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, from all soccer-related activity for a year for “inciting hatred and violence” over a planned exhibition match between Israel and Argentina that was canceled in June.


    14)  Giraffe Parts Sales Are Booming in the U.S., and It’s Legal
    An investigation showed imports made into pillows, boots and other items have become increasingly popular, at a time when the animal’s global population is dwindling.
    By Karen Weintraub, August 23, 2018

    Giraffe products for sale captured in an investigation include, clockwise from top left, a giraffe leather Bible cover, a skull, a hide for making custom shoes or clothes in a New York tailor’s shop, and feet and ankles.

    At a time when the giraffe population is plummeting in the wild, the sale of products made with giraffe skin and bone is booming. 
    According to a report to be released Thursday by Humane Society of the United States and its international affiliate, more than 40,000 giraffe parts were imported to the United States from 2006 to 2015 to be made into expensive pillows, boots, knife handles, bible covers and other trinkets. 
    The sale of these products is legal, but the organization argues that restrictions are needed. Along with other advocacy groups, it has petitionedthe United States Fish and Wildlife Service to provide that protection by listing giraffes as an endangered species. 
    They are issuing the report now “to ramp up the pressure and show the public the true nature of the giraffe trade in the U.S., and show the administration that the public loves giraffes and really wants their government to take action to protect this animal,” said Adam Peyman, manager of wildlife programs and operations for the Humane Society International.

    In 2016, a study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources determined that the worldwide giraffe population had plummeted from 150,000 to 100,000 since 1985. Giraffes face two main threats, the report found: habitat loss and poaching by locals in search of bushmeat.

    Trophy hunting seems to be the primary source of the animals arriving in the United States, but isn’t driving the animals to extinction, Mr. Peyman said. But any market for giraffe products puts more pressure on the species. Listing under the Endangered Species Act means that imports, exports and interstate commerce require a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service, which must determine whether the action enhances the survival of the species.
    “We can’t afford any additional pressure amidst what experts have dubbed the silent extinction,” he said. “These are products that most people wouldn’t be interested in, but I think it’s important to raise awareness among the public to the fact that these things are sold across the country.”
    A giraffe and other animals goods at the National Wildlife Property Repository near Denver, Colo.
    The trophy hunters, Mr. Peyman said, often take the head and part of the neck of the giraffe for their own use, leaving the rest of the animal to be sold off by the outfitter who arranged the hunt.
    The Safari Club International, which promotes hunters’ rights and wildlife conservation, said in a statement that “despite the rhetoric in the media, legal regulated hunting is one of the most effective means of conservation.” The statement also referenced the same 2016 IUCN study to argue that giraffe populations are healthier in nations like Angola where there is legal hunting; and have declined precipitously in Kenya where hunting is illegal. 
    There is little solid data on the number of sales of giraffe parts in the United States, but the Humane Society obtained U.S. Fish and Wildlife data showing that there were nearly 40,000 giraffe products legally imported to the United States from 2006 to 2015. 
    The market for giraffe products, Mr. Peyman said, may have inadvertently been increased by a ban on importing some elephant products, which was upheld by the Trump administration late last year. 
    The American public generally opposes big game hunting, according to a Marist poll in 2016 that found 86 percent disapprove. 
    An investigator with the society’s United States organization went undercover to 21 locations to track giraffe sales and talk to sellers. 
    The investigator found a taxidermied body of a juvenile giraffe, selling for $7,500, according to the Humane Society, and a pillow made with an animal head, intact down to its eyelashes.
    video produced by the investigator wearing a hidden camera showed a seller explaining that the giraffes had to be killed because they were aggressive, and endangered the lives and livelihoods of African villagers. But Mr. Peyman said there is no evidence that giraffes pose any threat to people or crops. The animals evolved to eat leaves from trees and are not aggressive, he noted.


    15) Big Tobacco’s Global Reach on Social Media
    The tobacco industry says it no longer tries to hook new generations of smokers. So what’s behind the legions of beautiful young people in smoking, vaping and partying posts with the same hashtags?
    By Sheila Kaplan, August 24, 2018

    It’s been years since the tobacco industry promised to stop luring young people to smoke cigarettes. 
    Philip Morris International says it is “designing a smoke-free future.”British American Tobacco, likewise, claims to be “transforming tobacco”into a safer product. 
    But while the Food and Drug Administration weighs plans to cut nicotine in cigarettes, making them less addictive, Big Tobacco has been making the most of the time it still has using social networks to promote its brands around the world.
    Most countries, like the United States, imposed rules back in the 1970s against marketing tobacco to youths; many have banned cigarette commercials on television and radio.

    So the industry that brought the world the Marlboro Man, Joe Camel and slogans like “Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet” has latched onto the selfie generation’s screens in a highly adaptive way that skirts the advertising rules of old.
    “What they are doing is a really effective way to get around existing laws to restrict advertising to young people,” said Robert V. Kozinets, a public relations professor at the University of Southern California, who led an international team of researchers examining the tobacco industry’s use of social media. 
    “The most surprising thing to me was the level of sophistication of these different global networks. You get incredible campaigns, the likes of which I’ve never seen before.”
    International public health organizations are pushing back against tobacco companies around the world. Earlier this month, Bloomberg Philanthropies chose three international research centers to lead a new $20 million global tobacco watchdog group called Stop (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products), with partners in the United Kingdom, Thailand and France, that will partly focus on social marketing. 
    Dr. Kozinets’s work, paid for by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group, analyzed social media in 10 countries by looking for hashtags that connect to tobacco cigarette brands.

    By promising anonymity, Dr. Kozinets’s researchers were able to interview paid and unpaid “ambassadors” and “microinfluencers” to reveal the connection between the tobacco companies, their communications agencies and social media posts on Instagram and Facebook.

    The results of this study, along with research in a total of 40 countries, led the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association and other public health groups to file a petition on Friday with the Federal Trade Commission against four tobacco companies.
    The petition claims that Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands are targeting young American consumers with deceptive social media marketing in violation of federal law. The petition calls on the F.T.C. to stop the practices. 
    Several of the tobacco companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the petition. A spokesman for Philip Morris International said on Friday afternoon that the company had yet to review the documents and therefore could not comment. 
    According to Caroline Renzulli, who oversaw the project for the campaign, 123 hashtags associated with these companies’ tobacco products have been viewed 8.8 billion times in the United States alone and 25 billion times around the world. 
    Representatives of some of the companies said they market only to adult smokers and comply with the laws of countries where they sell their products. Jonathan Duce, a spokesman for Japan Tobacco, said company-involved events were intended “to switch existing adult smokers to our brands from those of our competitors.”

    “If smokers or vapers choose to share their social activity,” he added, “it is completely their choice.”
    Simon Evans, a spokesman for Imperial Brands, acknowledged that the company paid “public opinion formers” to attend and post social media content about promotional events. 
    “Where this is the case, however, we make it clear to them they are not to post branded content,” Mr. Evans said.
    Some posts use hashtags that are closely connected to the brands: #lus or #likeus for Lucky Strikes, for example. Other posts are more subtle, featuring cigarettes but no brand name, or appealing hashtags that signal autonomy or independence: #YouDecide, #DecideTonight and #RedIsHere are popular ones affiliated with Marlboro as is #FreedomMusic for Winston. 
    Sometimes the posts omit the cigarettes altogether, but mention upcoming parties and other events where cigarettes are promoted in giant displays and given away. The party décor colors often match those of a specific brand.

    The image below is from Indonesia, where a pack of Dunhill cigarettes is a subtle prop. After a press inquiry, BAT said they would take down the post.

    Lucky Strike ambassadors received these instructions last year in Italy, according to Dr. Kozinets, and they included a note to cover up images “required to be on the packages by law”(presumably the warning labels).

    In an email, Simon Cleverly, an executive with British American Tobacco, said the company’s team in Italy was reviewing the above documents, which researchers translated into English. The Like Us campaign ran from 2012 through 2017, he said.

    Some themes repeated in several countries were British American Tobacco’s #TasteTheCity, which promoted Dunhill and Kent brands, and Philip Morris International’s #Newland and #Neuland, and #IDecideTo/#YouDecide.

    Bruno Nastari, a Brazilian business strategist, spent more than three years working for Geometry Global, in São Paulo, according to his LinkedIn page. His accounts included British American Tobacco brands Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Kent, his page noted. 
    Describing the strategy he used, Mr. Nastari wrote, “Our insight was that Dunhill is the brand that transforms the city into a platform of discoveries, delivering exclusive experiences to younger audiences. Make Dunhill recognized as a modern, bold and sassy brand, thus being more appealing to the average smoker under 30 years. All this considering Brazil’s legal restrictions of cigarette advertising.”
    Mr. Nastari did not respond to a reporter’s inquiry, but these notes are no longer available on LinkedIn. 
    The New York Times reached out to the social media posters included in this article. Several, including tico13, vikicecarelli1 and Mr. Nastari, acknowledged receipt but declined to be interviewed. 
    Representatives for British American said that the company believed that neither tico13 nor Polpettadiriso were posting on its behalf. She also said that the company was not aware of the Lucky Us platform.

    In Uruguay, the researchers interviewed several ambassadors paid to post by Wasabi, a public relations firm working for Philip Morris International.

    Corey Henry, a spokesman for Philip Morris International, said that none of the company’s marketing is aimed at recruiting new smokers, and that promotions include health warnings. He also said that no digital programs were conducted in Brazil this year. 
    He said the company’s Uruguay affiliate uses digital programs to “research trends among current adult smokers,” not to market cigarettes. 
    “As we transform our business toward a smoke-free future, we remain focused on maintaining our leadership of the combustible tobacco category outside China and the U.S.,” Mr. Henry said.
    The researchers flagged posts they believe are designed to promote electronic cigarettes to youth. This post, from Romania, features iFuse, the tobacco heating product sold by British American Tobacco.
    Mr. Cleverly, the spokesman for British American Tobacco, said all promotional material and events were geared toward adult smokers and were in line with local regulations in its 200 markets. 
    “Across the BAT Group, we are clear that social media can only be used for activities that do not involve the advertising of any of our cigarette brands,” Mr. Cleverly said in an email. “We sometimes use social media, and we also sometimes work with bloggers and brand ambassadors, for posting unbranded content (i.e. showing no tobacco brands or products), ” he said. 
    The petition filed by the antismoking advocacy groups asks the F.T.C. to require tobacco companies to disclose all pictures, videos and hashtags that are paid advertising or endorsements by adding some new, and likely less viral, hashtags: #Sponsored, #Promotion, or #Ad.


    16) 3 Are Charged in Toppling of ‘Silent Sam’ Statue
    By Julia Jacobs, August 24, 2018

    University of North Carolina police officers surrounded the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier earlier this week. The university police filed charges against three people in connection with the demonstration.

    Three people were charged this week in connection with the toppling of the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an act of protest that supporters say demolished a symbol of white supremacy.
    The individuals, who were not named but who were said to have no affiliation with the university, face misdemeanor charges of rioting and defacing a public monument, Randy Young, a spokesman for the university’s police force, said in a statement on Friday. Mr. Young said none of the three had been arrested yet.
    On Monday night, demonstrators brought down the 105-year-old Confederate monument, prompting sharp criticism from Republican lawmakers and university leaders. The next day, university leaders warned that they would rely on “the full breadth of state and university processes to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.”
    The first charges connected with the demonstration come as university officials warn of potential demonstrations planned for Saturday on campus. In a statement on Friday, the university said it was preparing for a possible rally surrounding the monument and urged students to stay away.

    The statue, unveiled in 1913 with support from the United Daughters of the Confederacy, depicts a Confederate soldier grasping his rifle. The soldier is considered “silent” because he is without ammunition to fire his weapon.
    The university chancellor, Carol L. Folt, told reporters on Thursday that there were no concrete plans for what to do next with the statue.

    The university has previously taken the position that removing the statue would be in the “best interest of the safety of our campus,” but cited a 2015 state law in keeping the monument where it was. Under that law, a “monument, memorial or work of art owned by the state” may not be “removed, relocated or altered in any way” without the consent of a state historical commission.
    That law was also cited on Friday by Thom Goolsby, a member of the university system’s board of governors, who said that it required the university to reinstall the statue within 90 days. The board of governors is elected by the Republican-led state Legislature, and it did not appear as if Mr. Goolsby was speaking on behalf of the university.

    “We will preserve the laws of the state of North Carolina,” Mr. Goolsby said in a video message. “We will not allow anarchy to reign on our campuses.”
    He said the university would work to keep people off campus “who are committing crimes.”
    Mr. Young, the university spokesman, said that the investigation into the demonstration on Monday night was continuing and that the police might file additional charges.
    Confederate monuments have been under heightened scrutiny since 2015, when a white supremacist murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. The protests over the statue on the U.N.C. campus had intensified over the past year in the aftermath of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
    Leaders in the university’s student government said in a statement this week that “Silent Sam” was erected on a foundation of bigotry and that toppling the statue “corrected a moral and historical wrong.”
    University officials said that some students had received threats connected to the demonstration and urged anyone who felt unsafe to call 911.


    17)  Should I Flush It? Most Often, the Answer Is No
    By Christina Caron, August 25, 2018

    Raking wipes and other waste into a bin for disposal at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn.

    It might seem harmless at first: a thread of dental floss tossed in the toilet, a contact lens swirling down the drain of the bathroom sink. But even the tiniest of items can contaminate waterways.
    The small fragments of plastic contact lenses are believed to be contributing to the growing problem of microplastic pollution. Pharmaceuticals, which are also frequently flushed down the drain, have been found in our drinking water, and the consequences are not fully known.
    Larger products like wipes and tampons are also clogging sewer systems, resulting in billions of dollars in maintenance and repair costs.
    Wondering what’s safe to flush or wash down the drain? We spoke with several wastewater management experts who explained why many frequently disposed items belong in a garbage can, not the toilet.

    Disposable wipes

    Many wipes claim on their packaging to be “flushable,” but almost all of them contain rayon or viscose, said Rob Villée, executive director of the Plainfield Area Regional Sewerage Authority in Middlesex, N.J.
    “Unfortunately, the natural water bodies these get into do not have the heat or micro-organism levels to effectively degrade these,” he added. “That is why we see rayon accumulating in the oceans.”
    While toilet paper will break down in anywhere from a minute to four minutes, wipes take at least six hours to disintegrate, Mr. Villée said.
    Furthermore, the pumps at collection systems that move waste downstream to treatment plants cannot tear them apart.
    “We see pumps that are designed to pump up to half a million gallons a day clogging,” Mr. Villée said. Now that wipes are used around the world, he added, “it’s a problem internationally.”

    (Remember the giant “fatberg” in London?)

    Dental floss

    Dental floss, which is usually made of nylon or Teflon, should also stay out of the toilet.
    “It seems like, ‘Oh, it’s just a little string,’ but it tends to wrap things up,” Mr. Villée said. “It’ll collect other things and make kind of a big wad of stuff. It’s incredibly strong.”

    Contact lenses

    When contact lenses are flushed down the toilet or washed down the sink, they do not biodegrade easily. As a result, they may make their way into surface water, causing environmental damage, new research has shown.
    [The science of why contact lenses may have a dark side if they are improperly disposed]
    The lenses are also impervious to the bacteria that break down biological waste at treatment plants. When researchers at Arizona State University submerged contacts in chambers with the bacteria, they found that the lenses appeared intact seven days later.
    “We discourage any kind of plastics because it can make its way through a treatment plant and end up in the receiving water,” said Vincent Sapienza, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
    Contact lenses “have densities similar to water, so they don’t readily float or sink at wastewater treatment plants,” he added, which means they are not captured and removed at the plant.


    It is often assumed that tampons can be flushed down the toilet, in part because they are so small. But their absorbent materials, including the string, do not break down easily: They cannot be processed by wastewater treatment centers, and can damage septic systems.

    KotexPlaytex and Tampax advise women to throw them away instead.
    “It’s best to simply wrap a used tampon in toilet paper and toss it in the garbage or, if you’re in a public washroom, place it in the waste receptacle for feminine hygiene products,” Playtex says on its website.


    Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to filter out pharmaceuticals, so drugs that are disposed of in the toilet or the sink drain end up entering streams, rivers and lakes.
    The first major study to document this, conducted by the United States Geological Survey, found low levels of organic wastewater compounds, including prescription and nonprescription drugs and hormones, in 139 streams across the United States during 1999 and 2000. One or more of these chemicals were found in 80 percent of the streams sampled.
    more recent study, which sampled water from 25 drinking-water treatment plants in the United States, found that some pharmaceuticals persisted despite water treatment processes.
    The technology that would be required to remove pharmaceuticals from the water at treatment plants is cost-prohibitive, said Ed Gottlieb, the industrial pretreatment coordinator at the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility. It is far cheaper to use take-back programs that collect unused medications before they enter the water supply, he added, because those cost only $2 to $5 for each pound of medication collected.
    During its nationwide take-back event in April, the Drug Enforcement Administration collected 474.5 tons of pharmaceuticals. The next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Oct. 27.
    “The amount of pounds they collect is phenomenal,” Mr. Gottlieb said. “It’s huge. And yet there are studies done that show only a very small percentage of what’s out there is being collected.”

    Kitty litter

    Kitty litter will not dissolve in water and can create clogs, even if it is labeled flushable.
    Gene Weingarten, a syndicated columnist, described what happened when he flushed a small amount of cat litter down his daughter’s toilet last year.
    “Cat litter is a preternaturally absorptive substance, apparently designed to expand to roughly 60,000 times its original volume in some horrible malignant process like cancer, only worse,” he wrote. “Molly’s toilet resembled one of those baking-soda-and-vinegar volcanoes the dumb kids in middle school made every year for science fairs.”


    Condoms should never be flushed.
    “I’ve heard condoms called sewer lilies because they fill with air or gas and float to the top,” said Cynthia Finley, the director of regulatory affairs at the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.
    “As a society, I think we’ve become more germophobic,” she said, adding that there is a tendency to want to flush anything that has bodily fluids. But wastewater treatment plants are not designed to handle anything except for human waste and toilet paper, she said.

    Facial tissues, paper towels and cotton swabs

    Facial tissues might seem safe to flush because they look so much like toilet paper. But unlike toilet paper, facial tissues have been treated with a chemical binder that takes time to release and break apart when flushed, Ms. Finley said.
    Likewise, paper towels and cotton swabs are also formulated to stay intact.

    When in doubt, throw it out (in a trash can)

    If you’re not sure, follow a simple rule: If it is not human waste or toilet paper, it should not be disposed of in the toilet, Ms. Finley said.
    The cost of both drinking water and wastewater go into a water bill, said Mr. Sapienza, the New York environmental official. When cities have to send crews to unclog sewers or, in worst-case scenarios, replace them, the cost is passed down to everyone who gets a water bill, he added.

    A YouTube video created by the City of Spokane Department of Wastewater Management showed what happened when items like flushable wipes were agitated in water. The wipes did not disintegrate. Kitty litter remained a sandy wet mass. The dental floss spun and spun.

    “If you define flushable as ‘Yes, it will go down the toilet,’ then everything here is flushable,” Tracy Stevens, a pretreatment technician, says in the video. If you define it as whether it will make it to the treatment plant, she added, some of the waste will and some will not.
    More important, the treatment plants are not equipped to process these products.
    If hundreds of thousands of people are flushing those items, “they’re going to cause trouble,” she said.


    8)  Money Really Does Lead to a More Satisfying Life
    By Justin Wolfers, August 24, 2018



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