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.

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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




*!URGENT PRESS RELEASE FOR SISTA RAMONA AFRICA!* WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21 AT 4504 KINGSESSING AVENUE SHE HAS GIVEN SO MUCH OF HER LIFE FOR ALL LIFE NOW IT'S OUR TURN, COME COVER THE STORY SPREAD IT FAR AND WIDE ONAMOVE 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 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 215-387-4107 or Marilyn Kai Jewett 215-379-1163 MEDIA ADVISORY UPDATE ON RAMONA AFRICA 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.





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.

Letter of Support for the 2018 Prison Strike from Termite Collective in Canada

News Article
August 25, 2018
August 21, 2018
To who it may concern,
We are a group made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including volunteers, former inmates, and currently incarcerated inmates. Many of our members are inmates serving life sentences, several of our group members have been incarcerated for more than a quarter century and two have been incarcerated for more than forty years (each). We have accumulated over 300 years of incarceration in Canadian penitentiaries.
Recently we read an article about the call for a National Prison Strike (America). While our countries may not be the same and the names of the draconian laws and policies are different; the results are the same.
The prison industrial complex exists to make money off and from the needless suffering of human beings. While conditions in most Canadian prisons seems to be, if not better, shall we say different than in America? We have much in common. We too are over incarcerated, overcrowded, over worked, underpaid, under fed, under educated. We too suffer undue delays of parole hearings. We too are separated from our loved ones. We too suffer poor healthcare (in Canada, a country with free universal healthcare) and we too are tired of being subjected to the abuses of callous and masochistic staff.
Up until a few years ago, our system was much better than it is now. Then we had our own Donald Trump moment; our was not a former reality TV star, ours was a right wing religious nut case named Steven Harper. He made sweeping "prison reforms" such as cutting inmate pay in half, cutting most rehabilitation programs, and cutting many other services, especially those designed for lifers. He even cut most of the chaplaincy staff, and then outsourced the remaining chaplaincy to another country (America). Recently, a decision was made in Orlando, Florida to cut the number of chaplains in a Canadian prison. A full time chaplain lost his position, for which he was only being paid 4 hours a week; and no reason was even given. Luckily, after some outside pressure, that particular decision was reversed.
All in all, our Trump-lite, Steven Harper, introduced a huge piece of legislation he named Safer Streets and Communities. Everyone else commonly referred to it as the omnibus crime bill. In this lovely bit of legislation, he rolled the Canadian prison system back at least 50 years. He had plans to go even further; he wanted to revoke our right to vote. Yes, convicted felons in Canada can still vote, even while still incarcerated, even lifers. But, Harper wanted to take away that right! Harper also wanted to introduce a life means life (no change for parole) policy and at one point he talked about making all sentences indefinite sentences (life); meaning that you would only get out (even for minor offenses) when the powers that be say you are reformed. Which, in most cases, would be never!
Thankfully he was defeated before he could implement those particular heinous policies. The current government made a lot of promises for change, but have actually done very little. I guess we have to be thankful that at least they haven't made things any worse.
In short, yes this was a rather long-winded way to say something, in short; but here it goes:
We the inmates in Canadian prisons offer you our support, our solidarity, and our prayers; we hope that your demands will be met and that your conditions will improve. No human beings should be kept in cages and treated worse than animals; in fact, if animals were treated like prisoners, PETA would go off!
The practice of making money from the suffering of other human beings (prisoners) must stop! All incarcerated and detained men and women are entitled to respect, dignity, humane treatment, proper healthcare, and access to rehabilitation programs and release from prison.
Respectfully yours,
the Termite Collective

Recent Articles:

Strike Statement to the Press; August 22, 2018
Comrade Malik speaks out on nationwide program of political repression against prison organizers
How to Make Anti-Repression Phone Calls to a Prison
Solidarity rally with nationwide prison strike in Milwaukee
Support Prisoners Who Vowed to Strike!

Get Involved

Support IWOC by connecting with the closest localsubscribing to the newsletter or making a donation.



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

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TODAY, 4:00 PM, 14th and Broadway, Oakland ! 

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 and 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

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."






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


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.






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!




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



    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) 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.


    2) 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. 


    3) 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.


    4)  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.
    A 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.


    5) 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.


    6) 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.


    7)  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

    New research suggests that more money really does lead to a more satisfying life. Surveys of thousands of Swedish lottery winners have provided persuasive evidence of this truth.
    Lottery winners said they were substantially more satisfied with their lives than lottery losers. And those who won prizes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars reported being more satisfied than winners of mere tens of thousands.
    These effects are remarkably durable. They were still evident up to two decades after a big win. (The researchers lacked the data to trace out even longer-term consequences.)
    The findings appear in a research report, "Long-Run Effects of Lottery Wealth on Psychological Well-Being," that has generated a lot of buzz among economists over the summer. The working paper, by Erik Lindqvist from the Stockholm School of Economics, Robert Ostling from Stockholm University and David Cesarini from New York University.

    New research suggests that more money really does lead to a more satisfying life. Surveys of thousands of Swedish lottery winners have provided persuasive evidence of this truth.
    Lottery winners said they were substantially more satisfied with their lives than lottery losers. And those who won prizes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars reported being more satisfied than winners of mere tens of thousands.
    These effects are remarkably durable. They were still evident up to two decades after a big win. (The researchers lacked the data to trace out even longer-term consequences.)
    The findings appear in a research report, "Long-Run Effects of Lottery Wealth on Psychological Well-Being," that has generated a lot of buzz among economists over the summer. The working paper, by Erik Lindqvist from the Stockholm School of Economics, Robert Ostling from Stockholm University and David Cesarini from New York University.

    The authors persuaded the Swedish statistical authorities to try to survey every winner of three of the country's major lotteries over more than a decade, and then used government records to track other aspects of the winners' lives. The researchers examined the same indicators for Swedes who had entered but lost the same lotteries, or who won minor prizes.
    Their surveys took several approaches to measuring subjective well-being. The measure most robustly linked to income asks people how satisfied they are with their lives as a whole. By contrast, responses to a question asking about happiness showed less of a connection to lottery winnings, and these effects could not be reliably distinguished from the effects of chance. Social scientists widely view questions about life satisfaction as eliciting a broad-based evaluation of one's life while questions about happiness yield responses more related to current moods or feelings.
    A further set of questions probed the mental health of respondents, finding that greater income had no effect, although in related work, the same authors find that lottery winners are prescribed fewer mental health drugs. I interpret this as suggestive but not conclusive evidence that wealth improves one's mental health.
    Other studies by these authors — sometimes with other scholars — have tracked the economic lives of these lottery winners to further explore the consequences of wealth. Contrary to popular stereotypes, those who win hundreds of thousands of dollars don't blow most of their winnings at once. Instead, they slowly spend their newfound wealth over many years. Many don't quit their jobs, but they do tend to work a bit less and retire a bit earlier.
    Surprisingly, the increase in wealth caused by winning the lottery has few effects on the physical health of the winners or their children. It seems possible that family wealth might have quite different effects in a less egalitarian society, like the United States.
    These results provide strong evidence in support of the standard economic view that money increases well-being, albeit not in an entirely uniform manner. It runs counter to the view championed by many psychologists that people largely adapt to their circumstances — including their financial situation.
    In an email, Mr. Cesarini characterized that perspective as the "widespread misperception that science has proved that winning the lottery often makes people miserable."

    That misperception most likely comes from an earlier generation of lottery studies. Perhaps the most famous of them is a 1978 study, "Lottery Winners and Accident Victims: Is Happiness Relative?" With the benefit of hindsight, that study appears to illustrate changing standards of empirical research more than any truths about well-being.
    It compared the subjective well-being of 22 winners of the Illinois State Lottery with a control group of 22 people. The lottery winners rated themselves as happier after winning their prizes, but because the sample size was so small, the researchers concluded that this might reflect the influence of chance and failed to note that these data were consistent with the idea that the lottery winners were substantially happier. The problem with small samples is that it's hard to be sure of anything.
    That same study also surveyed 29 paraplegic accident victims, finding them to be less happy than other people. Yet many popular accounts of this study describe it as if it supported the opposite proposition, that people adapt to personal tragedies.
    I've seen this pattern before, as a counterintuitive finding captures the public's imagination, taking on a life of its own. In time, the facts become too interesting to check.
    But eventually, science corrects itself. After 40 years, three determined economists, thousands of lottery winners and reams of detailed data have revealed a more reliable but less romantic truth: Money really does help people lead a more satisfying life.

    Justin Wolfers is a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan. 


    9)  Pope Francis Long Knew of Cardinal McCarrick's Abuses, Archbishop Says
    By Jason Horowitz, August 26, 2018

    Pope Francis in Knock, Ireland, on Sunday, where he begged "the Lord's forgiveness" for the clerical sexual abuse scandals that threaten his church.

    DUBLIN — The former top Vatican diplomat in the United States alleged in a letter published on Sunday that Pope Francis knew about the abuses of a now-disgraced American prelate years before they became public.
    The bombshell accusation, leveled by Carlo Maria Viganò, a staunch critic of Francis, immediately threatened to derail the pope's difficult mission to demonstrate his commitment to combating the clerical sex abuse scandals that threaten his church. And it came on the same day Francis was visiting Ireland, where he begged "the Lord's forgiveness" for the scandals at a shrine.
    Instead, Francis and several other top-ranking Vatican officials were now accused of being part of the cover-ups as Archbishop Viganò called for their resignations.
    The Vatican had no immediate reaction to the letter.
    In a detailed, 7,000-word letter published Sunday morning by several conservative Catholic outlets antagonistic to Francis, including The National Catholic Register and Lifesite News, Archbishop Viganò alleges that much of the Vatican hierarchy was complicit in covering up accusations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians.

    Last month, Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal McCarrick, the first such resignation in living memory, after The New York Times and other news outlets published accounts of the alleged abuse and an internal investigation by the American church deemed credible an accusation that he had sexually abused a minor.
    But Archbishop Viganò alleges that Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, had already punished Cardinal McCarrick for his abuse of seminarians and priests. The archbishop writes that Benedict banned the American cardinal from publicly celebrating Mass, living in a seminary and traveling to give lectures.

    The National Catholic Register, which has been a preferred platform for some of Francis' most aggressive critics, reported that it had independently confirmed the allegations, but it did not publish any on-the-record corroboration and asserted, without attribution, that Pope Benedict "remembers" telling his second-in-command, Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, "to impose measures but cannot recall their exact nature."
    Cardinal McCarrick led several public Masses throughout Benedict's papacy, but Archbishop Viganò alleges that the penalties were known about within the hierarchy and that he had personally informed Francis of them in June 2013.

    He said that Francis had failed to apply the sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick and had instead rehabilitated and empowered him to help choose powerful American bishops. Archbishop Viganò despises those bishops, and he complained in the letter of being deprived the voice typically given to a papal nuncio in choosing them.
    "He knew from at least June 23, 2013, that McCarrick was a serial predator," Archbishop Viganò writes of Francis, calling for the pope's resignation.
    "In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick's abuses and resign along with all of them."
    At a 2013 reception in the library of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican shortly after Francis was elected pope, Archbishop Viganò was effusive with praise for Francis, calling him "a man you may talk to with an open heart" and saying his audience was "extremely nice, extremely warm."
    But in the letter, he said he had received an icy reception from Pope Francis. And he said the pope had told him on June 23, 2013: "The bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing." Francis then added, according to Archbishop Viganò, "They must not be left-wing, and when I say left-wing I mean homosexual."

    It was then that Francis asked his opinion of Cardinal McCarrick, to which Archbishop Viganò said he had replied: "Holy Father, I don't know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests, and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance."

    Archbishop Viganò, who blames homosexuals for the child abuse crisis that has destroyed the church's standing in many countries, dedicates entire sections of the letter to outing cardinals who he claims belong to what he characterizes as a pernicious "homosexual current" within the Vatican.
    "These homosexual networks," he wrote, "which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc., act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire church."
    Archbishop Viganò is no stranger to stirring trouble in the Vatican.
    A cultural conservative born into a wealthy family in Varese, Italy, he received the title of archbishop from Pope John Paul II in 1992. He later joined the church's diplomatic corps, which is one of the traditional sources of power in the Vatican, and which gave him access to much of the information he alleges in the letter. In 2009, he was installed by Pope Benedict XVI as secretary of the governorate of Vatican City State, a position not unlike the mayor of Vatican City.
    Benedict wanted the ambitious Italian with a taste for good red wine to enact government overhauls, but Archbishop Viganò's efforts in pursuit of that goal earned him powerful enemies.
    In early 2011, hostile anonymous articles attacking Archbishop Viganò began appearing in the Italian news media, the bulletin board of Vatican power politics. Archbishop Viganò appealed to Benedict's second in command, Cardinal Bertone, who instead echoed the articles' complaints about his rough management style and removed Archbishop Viganò from his post.
    Those appeals and protests, later leaked by the pope's butler, became the heart of the church scandal known as VatiLeaks, which many church observers say contributed to the resignation of Benedict XVI.

    Francis removed Archbishop Viganò from his job as nuncio to the United States in 2016, in part for nearly ruining the pope's trip the United States by giving papal face time to Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk whose refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Soon after his departure, a criminal investigation into a bishop in Minneapolis-St. Paul revealed a memo that Archbishop Viganò had written in 2014 in an effort to suppress a church investigation into alleged homosexual activity by the Minnesota bishop.
    Since his return to Rome, Archbishop Viganò has run with a crowd of traditionalist Catholics deeply critical of Pope Francis and recently attended a raucous meeting of anti-Francis prelates and faithful in the basement of a Rome hotel, where he could be seen talking to the Lifesite news reporter who translated the letter into English.
    Archbishop Viganò's extensive letter, while especially inconvenient for the pope, who spent the morning praying for abuse victims in at a shrine in Knock, Ireland, also goes after a broad array of current and past Vatican officials and American prelates. He names all of them.
    He said his predecessors in the Vatican's embassy in Washington, now deceased, knew about Cardinal McCarrick's alleged relationships with seminarians and priests and had reported it to the Vatican but that successive secretaries of state — Angelo Sodano, Cardinal Bertone and Pietro Parolin — did nothing.
    He said he wrote another memo in 2006 about new allegations against Cardinal McCarrick and delivered it in December of that year to his superior with recommendations to strip the cardinal of his rank and defrock him before he brought scandal to the church.
    He alleges that he delivered another memo in May 2008 that also went nowhere, but then writes that he learned through another cardinal that Pope Benedict had at a certain point imposed sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick.

    He blamed Cardinal Bertone, his old rival, for the delay.
    Archbishop Viganò said that he had personally met with then-Cardinal McCarrick to remind him that he was under sanction during their first meeting after he arrived in the United States.
    "The cardinal, muttering in a barely comprehensible way, admitted that he had perhaps made the mistake of sleeping in the same bed with some seminarians at his beach house," he writes.
    After bumping into Cardinal McCarrick at the pope's residence in the Vatican, and listening to the American boast about his freedom to travel, Archbishop Viganò wrote that he contacted Cardinal Parolin, the secretary of state and top adviser to Francis, in April 2014 inquiring if the sanctions were still in force.
    He said Cardinal Parolin nor a host of other Vatican officials had replied, but that when he had brought up the subject with Cardinal McCarrick's replacement in Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, "it was immediately clear to me that he was fully aware of it."
    "In spite of what Archbishop Viganó's memo indicates, Cardinal Wuerl did not receive any documentation or information during his time in Washington regarding any actions taken against Archbishop McCarrick." Ed McFadden, a spokesman for Cardinal Wuerl, said Sunday.
    Some survivors of clerical abuse called the allegations a distraction.
    "This is infighting between curia factions that are exploiting the abuse crisis and victims of clergy sexual abuse as leverage in the struggle for church power," said Peter Isely, a survivor. "The sexual abuse crisis is not about whether a bishop is a liberal or a conservative. It is about protecting children."

    But the controversy over the letter is expected to grow in the coming days, and it is likely to require a response from Francis, who is to return to the Vatican on Sunday evening after celebrating Mass at Phoenix Park in Dublin.
    "None of us can fail to be moved by the stories of young people who suffered abuse, were robbed of their innocence, who were taken from their mothers, and left scarred by painful memories," Francis said on Sunday after praying quietly for abuse survivors at a shrine to the Virgin Mary in Knock.
    "This open wound challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice," he said. "I beg the Lord's forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God's family."


    10) U.N. Says Saudi-led Airstrike Killed at Least 22 Yemeni Children
    By Rick Gladstone, August 24, 2018

    A photograph distributed by Houthi rebels purported to show Yemenis carrying the bodies of children killed in a Saudi-led airstrike near Al Hudaydah.

    The United Nations said Friday that a Saudi-led airstrike had killed at least 22 children and four women in Yemen as they fled a fighting zone — the second mass killing of Yemeni civilians by Saudi Arabia and its military partners in two weeks.
    Mark Lowcock, the top United Nations relief official, asserted without qualification that the Saudi-led coalition warring with Yemen's Houthi rebels was responsible for the attack, which happened on Thursday in a pro-Houthi district near the Red Sea port of Al Hudaydah. He said an additional airstrike in the area had killed four more children.
    The assertion by Mr. Lowcock, in a statement on his office's website, came as the Saudi coalition and the Houthis were accusing each other of the attack, which has underlined the vulnerability of civilians in a war that has lasted more than three years and become what the United Nations considers the world's worst man-made humanitarian crisis.
    Criticism of Saudi Arabia and its partners has been growing over thousands of civilian casualties, many of them caused by munitions fired from the coalition's warplanes.

    Humanitarian groups and antiwar activists have also aimed criticism at the United States, a main provider of the Saudi coalition's weapons, intelligence, warplane refueling and guidance technology for missiles and bombs.
    The Saudis and their partners have said they aim for military targets and go out of their way to avoid civilians. But an Aug. 9 Saudi-led aerial assault that struck a school bus in northern Yemen and killed dozens, including many children, raised new doubts about the targeting.
    Congress has shown increasing concern. A defense policy bill that President Trump signed on Monday included a bipartisan provision that requires Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to certify that Saudi Arabia and a close ally, the United Arab Emirates — the two countries leading the coalition — are taking steps to prevent civilian deaths.
    Mr. Lowcock, the United Nations under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, did not explain in the statement how he knew the Saudi-led coalition had been responsible for the latest attack, in the Al Durayhimi district about 12 miles south of Al Hudaydah.
    A spokesman for Mr. Lowcock, Russell Geekie, said by phone that "U.N. partners verified the information" on the ground in Yemen.

    There was no immediate response from Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
    Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, also had no immediate comment. After the Aug. 9 school bus attack, which Ms. Haley described as appalling, she exhorted the Saudis to "quickly complete their investigation into this incident, take appropriate accountability measures and release the results publicly."
    The United States has not called for an independent investigation of that attack, in contrast to the United Nations and humanitarian groups that operate in Yemen.
    Human Rights Watch, an outspoken critic of the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, said in a report released Friday that the coalition's record of examining its own possible war crimes in Yemen has lacked credibility.
    The work of the investigative body established for that purpose, known as the Joint Incidents Assessment Team, "has fallen far short of international standards regarding transparency, impartiality and independence," Human Rights Watch said.
    Mr. Lowcock said the assault on Thursday underscored what he called the need for "an impartial, independent and prompt investigation into these most recent incidents."
    In a country where three in four Yemenis need emergency assistance, Mr. Lowcock said, "parties to the conflict must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and those with influence over them must ensure that everything possible is done to protect civilians."
    There was no way to independently ascertain the circumstances or death toll in the Thursday assault, which hit part of a group of villages where residents sympathize with the Houthis. United Arab Emirates ground forces have been trying to gain control there as they gather on the southern outskirts of Al Hudaydah.

    A recent spate of fighting in the Al Hudaydah area has also hit facilities that provide health care, water and sanitation, raising alarms of a resurgence in the cholera epidemic that has ravaged Yemen twice during the war.
    Mr. Geekie said United Nations officials were concerned about a possible "third wave" of the epidemic, which has infected more than one million Yemenis and killed 2,300 people since April 2017, the largest outbreak on record.

    Mohammad Ali Kalfood contributed reporting.


    11) Did Juul Lure Teenagers and get "Customers for Life?"
    The e-cigarette company says it never sought teenage users, but the F.D.A. is investigating whether Juul intentionally marketed its devices to youth
    By Matt Richter and Shelia Kaplan, August 27, 2018
    "From a virtual standing-start in 2015, it is now valued by investors at $16 billion."

    Juul is under federal investigation for marketing its discreet, flash-drive-resembling e-cigarette product to youth.

    SAN FRANCISCO — The leaders of a small start-up, PAX Labs, gathered at a board meeting in early 2015 to review the marketing strategy for its sleek new electronic cigarette, called Juul. They watched video clips of hip young people, posed flirtatiously holding Juuls. And they talked about the name of the gadget, meant to suggest an object of beauty and to catch on as a verb — as in "to Juul."
    While the campaign wasn't targeted specifically at teenagers, a former senior manager said that he and others in the company were well aware it could appeal to them. After Juuls went on sale in June 2015, he said, the company quickly realized that teenagers were, in fact, using them because they posted images of themselves vaping Juuls on social media.
    The former manager said the company was careful to make sure the models in its original campaign were at least 21, but it wasn't until late 2016 or January 2017 that the company said it decided the models in all Juul ads should be over age 35 — to be "better aligned" with a mission of focusing on adult smokers. Only in June of this year did the company again change its policy, this time to using only real people who had switched from cigarettes to Juul.
    The company recently modified the names of its flavors — using creme instead of crème brûlée and cucumber instead of cool cucumber. Juul said it "heard the criticism" that teenagers might be attracted to the flavors and "responded by simplifying the names and losing the descriptors."

    The sales campaigns for Juuls — now hugely popular with teenagers across the nation — are at the heart of a federal investigation into whether the company intentionally marketed its devices to youth. The attorney general of Massachusetts, also investigating the company, contends that Juul has been luring teenagers to try the product and has introduced many to nicotine. Her investigation will examine Juul's efforts to audit its own website and other online retailers that sell its products to see how effective they are at preventing minors from accessing Juul or Juul-compatible products. (Federal law prohibits sales of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18.)
    "From our perspective, this is not about getting adults to stop smoking," the Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey, said in an interview. "This is about getting kids to start vaping, and make money and have them as customers for life."
    And Cult Collective, the marketing company that created the 2015 campaign, "Vaporized," claims on its website that the work "created ridiculous enthusiasm" for the campaign hashtag, part of a larger advertising effort that included music event sponsorships and retail marketing. A spokesman for Cult Collective declined to comment.
    Examples of Juul's advertising from 2015. The company's current marketing is far more sober-looking affair, with a less colorful, more adult design.

    The company, now called Juul Labs, denies that it ever sought to attract teenagers. James Monsees, one of the company's co-founders, said selling Juuls to youth was "antithetical to the company's mission."

    The original sales campaign was aimed at persuading adult smokers in their 20s and 30s to try an alternative to cigarettes, but it "failed to gain traction on social media and failed to gain sales" and was abandoned after five months, in the fall of 2015, said a company spokesman, Matt David.
    Mr. David said sales didn't take off until 2017, after Juul had improved its sales and distribution expertise, and, by then, had a more sober online marketing campaign.
    The former Juul manager, who spoke to The New York Times on the condition that his name not be used, saying he worried about facing the ire of the company, said that within months of Juul's 2015 introduction, it became evident that teenagers were either buying Juuls online or finding others who made the purchases for them. Some people bought more Juul kits on the company's website than they could individually use — sometimes 10 or more devices.
    "First, they just knew it was being bought for resale," said the former senior manager, who was briefed on the company's business strategy. "Then, when they saw the social media, in fall and winter of 2015, they suspected it was teens."
    The Food and Drug Administration announced it was investigating Juul's marketing efforts in April. Juuls and other e-cigarettes are regulated by the F.D.A. as tobacco products because nicotine derives from tobacco leaves. E-cigarette users inhale far fewer toxins than do smokers of traditional cigarettes. The nicotine inhaled while vaping is less a concern for adults than these toxins, but it remains a serious health issue for teenagers, whose brains are still developing.
    The Juul story highlights a central dilemma in public health. Cigarettes remain the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 people a year. But will it be possible to get people who are addicted to cigarettes to switch to e-cigarettes, which are less harmful, without enticing a new generation of non-smokers to try them?

    The F.D.A. commissioned research, published in January, that found "limited evidence" that e-cigarettes lead smokers to quit. And some evidence now suggests that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try cigarettes.

    Juul, in a letter responding to the F.D.A.'s demand for documents, said it had converted one million smokers to Juul, but the company data is drawn from self-reported surveys on its website and is unverifiable.
    Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who heads the F.D.A., declined to comment on the agency's investigation of Juul. But he has long been hopeful that e-cigarettes or other similar devices, properly regulated, will prove a safer alternative to smoking and help people quit the deadly habit. Before becoming F.D.A. commissioner, he served on the board of directors of Kure, a retailer that sells e-cigarette products.
    "Two-thirds of adult smokers have stated they want to quit," he said. "They know it's hard, and they've probably tried many times to quit. We must recognize the potential for innovation to lead to less harmful products."
    But Eric Lindblom, a former F.D.A. tobacco official who heads the tobacco control program at Georgetown Law, said Juul's internal concerns about teenage use demonstrate they are in some ways "no different than the cigarette industry."
    "They are going to maximize their sales and profits any way they can," he said. "They are going to do that within the law, but they are going to press the gray areas as much as they can."
    Juuling becomes a verb

    Over the last three years, Juul has had a meteoric rise. It has become the dominant seller of e-cigarettes, now controlling a remarkable 72 percent of the market, according to Nielsen data. In July, the company completed a round of fund-raising for $1.2 billion, putting it in rarefied air. From a virtual standing-start in 2015, it is now valued by investors at $16 billion.

    Across the country, Juuls have become so popular that "Juuling" has indeed become a verb, and officials from several state governments have sent alerts to schools warning them about the problem.
    A survey of adolescent drug use last year found that 11 percent of 12th graders, 8.2 percent of 10th graders and 3.5 percent of eighth graders had vaped nicotine in the previous 30 days.
    Juul's other co-founder, Adam Bowen, said that he was aware early on of the risks e-cigarettes posed to teenagers, and that the company had tried to make the gadgets "as adult-oriented as possible," purposely choosing not to use cartoon characters or candy names for its flavors.
    The F.D.A. has ordered Juul to turn over the company's research and marketing documents, including focus group data and toxicology reports, to determine whether it intentionally courted the youth market.
    The day after receiving the F.D.A. letter, Juul announced it would spend $30 million to combat underage vaping and recruited Tom Miller, the attorney general of Iowa, who helped lead the multistate 1998 master settlement with tobacco companies, to run an advisory board to counsel Juul on its efforts. Mr. Miller said recommendations might include more controls on social media marketing and better surveillance of retail outlets, but the ultimate decision on how to spend the money remains with Juul.
    Mr. Miller says he sees huge potential in e-cigarettes. He believes Juul and other e-cigarette companies have already helped lower the adult smoking rate to 13.9 percent in 2017 from 16.8 percent in 2014. "The only plausible explanation is e-cigarettes," he said.

    A report from Citigroup, citing Nielsen data, said that sales of traditional cigarettes dropped 6 percent in the first quarter of this year and "it's impossible to say what has caused the change for sure but the most obvious case is Juul."

    Juul recently deleted months of social media posts, including ones with images of cool-looking young people vaping Juuls. This spring it made major changes to its website, which had prominently displayed a Juul surrounded by luscious-looking images of fruit and the words "Mango, it's back." The site is now a more sober-looking affair, featuring video of adults vaping with a tagline "For smokers. By design." Across the top of the page, visitors are invited to "learn about our youth prevention efforts."

    A nicotine fad's origin story

    Mr. Bowen, 42, and Mr. Monsees, 38, the company's founders, met in 2003 in a graduate product-design program at Stanford University, bonding over brainstorming sessions and cigarettes. Both had been smokers since their teens, and both have since quit; Mr. Monsees regularly uses a Juul.
    The culmination of the program was a masters thesis, and both had struggled to find a worthy subject. In 2004, about six months before the thesis was due, they got to talking about their smoking habits and, within days, were excitedly sending emails back and forth about developing an alternative to cigarettes.
    Big tobacco companies were experimenting with e-cigarettes, but there was no real market for them until around 2010, when NJoy, an Arizona company, became the industry's first darling. By 2013, e-cigarettes were a $1.7-billion-a-year business, still only a small fraction of the $90 billion cigarette business.
    But then NJoy gambled on an e-cigarette that looked virtually identical to a cigarette. It was a mistake, said Craig Weiss, the chief executive who pushed the so-called cigalike strategy and now consults for Juul. As NJoy's fortuned flagged, he said he realized that people didn't want a product that looked so much like a cigarette that it still left them with the stigma of being a smoker. NJoy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016, later re-emerging.

    Juul initially developed a product in 2010 that looked like a fountain pen and distributed it in specialty vape shops. Its sales grew to a modest $30 million by 2015.
    Then the company found its current design, a sleek stick that looks like a flash drive, and largely stumbled onto a new way of delivering nicotine: it mixes nicotine with a chemical called benzoic acid. The result is that when Juul users inhale, they get a very quick and powerful burst of nicotine. This gives smokers a more cigarette-like experience, but medical researchers say it also makes the product more addictive for youth.

    The company launched its new product in June 2015, with starter kits costing $35, and packs of four nicotine refill cartridges selling for $16 — each roughly the equivalent of the cost of a pack of cigarettes. According to Nielsen, sales in the first month were roughly $1,500 and reached over $1 million that December. It began a steady climb, and then experienced explosive growth in the beginning of 2017, with sales rising 627 percent in the four weeks ending June 17, 2017, according to Nielsen and Wells Fargo Securities.
    The company said that toward the end of 2016 and around the beginning of 2017, it changed its social marketing campaign and guidelines to require all models to be over the age of 35.
    In the last two months, Juul has removed the flavor focus and now uses only "real people" who have used Juul to switch from smoking cigarettes, the company said.
    Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that he was prepared to be a fan of a product like Juul if it is responsibly marketed and shown to help adults quit smoking. But he cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in 2017 2.1 million high schoolers and middle schoolers used e-cigarettes — "and the reports about high school students using Juul are rampant," he said.

    Mr. Myers observed that Juul "delivers nicotine so much better than any comparable product on the market," and so its popularity means that "both the hopes of the e-cig fans, and fears of those concerned about e-cigs and kids, rise exponentially."

    A tobacco industry tactic

    On Jan. 23, The Boulder Daily Camera published a front-page story about the growing concerns of local educators in Colorado about student use of Juuls.
    Five days later, Carrie Yantzer, the principal at Nederland Middle-Senior High School, received an email that immediately struck her as suspicious. The writer introduced himself as Bruce Harter, a former educator working with Juul to develop an anti-vaping curriculum for schools.

    "I read about the challenges you're having with Juul," Mr. Harter wrote. He offered a free, three-hour curriculum provided by Juul to discourage teens from using e-cigarettes by teaching them about their brains and giving them mindfulness exercises.
    "What we've found from focus groups with teenage Juul users is that young people don't understand the dangers of nicotine addiction," the letter read. "They sometimes feel 'pushed' by friends to use e-cigarettes. We also found that they don't have operative ways to deal with stress and the emotional ups and downs of their lives right now."
    Ms. Yantzer was angry. "It sounded preposterous," she said, and the company "deceptive."
    She wasn't the only school administrator to get such a letter. The Boulder school district and, ultimately, the state of Colorado condemned the offer as a brand-building exercise that was tone-deaf at the very least.

    "The way we see this is a fox guarding the henhouse," said Alison Reidmohr, tobacco communications specialist for the Colorado Department of Public Health. "A company that stands to profit from, and currently profit off, youth using a product can't be trusted to prevent use of this product."
    Ashley Gould, Juul's chief administrative officer, said the company, because it has not built management around former tobacco-industry employees, was unaware the tactic had been used by cigarette companies. However, Juul's board of directors includes experienced investors, including Nicholas Pritzker, a billionaire whose family controlled one of the country's largest chewing tobacco companies, Conwood, which was acquired in 2006 by Reynolds American for $3.5 billion.
    For its part, Juul said it was still deciding what to do with that school program. Ms. Gould said the company did not realize the curriculum would offend or that the idea harked to a tactic big tobacco companies used decades ago. "We didn't know," she said. "We should've known."

    Juul goes to Washington

    Juul has a new innovation in the works, a Bluetooth-enabled version of its e-cigarette that it hopes could push more smokers to switch without risking youth uptake. Mr. Monsees called it a "smart" e-cigarette.

    The Bluetooth-equipped Juul might provide a way for adult vapers to measure their nicotine use. It also might discourage teen use by disabling the device unless it's in the presence of its adult buyer, perhaps by linking it to the buyer's cellphone. The solution would still require effective controls on sales to minors at brick-and-mortar stores and online retail outlets.
    Juul officials contend their ability to offer such innovations is hamstrung by regulatory policies. The company is building a high-powered operation in Washington to help it navigate such issues. It's run by Tevi Troy, a political strategist who worked with Dr. Gottlieb, the F.D.A. commissioner, at the Department of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush and who wrote an opinion article with him for The Wall Street Journal.

    The company has also hired Jim Esquea, who was an assistant secretary at the health department during the Obama administration, and Gerald Masoudi, a former F.D.A. chief counsel.
    The company is also ratcheting up its lobbying efforts. It has reported spending $450,000 on lobbying so far in 2018 — substantially more than the $120,000 reported spent for all of 2017. It also recently started a political action committee, although no donations have yet been reported. In June, Kevin Burns, Juul's chief executive, gave $50,000 to the Republican congressional leadership fund.
    The centerpiece of Dr. Gottlieb's tobacco control strategy is a plan that would potentially greatly benefit e-cigarette companies, including Juul. It would require tobacco companies to reduce nicotine levels in traditional cigarettes so much that they were no longer addictive. The proposal is still in the early discussion phase, with the tobacco industry strongly opposed. But it would potentially make Juul, a potent nicotine delivery device, far more appealing to smokers.
    Mr. Monsees, a Juul co-founder, says he believes that e-cigarettes are a key to reducing smoking, and can be profitable without sales to teenagers.
    "Yes, I want to make money," he said. "I'm on the board with a fiduciary duty that obligates me to make money."
    But he added, "The best investor return in the long term comes from more adults turning away from combustible cigarettes."

    Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks contributed reporting from Washington.


    12)  Prison Strike Organizers Aim to Improve Conditions and Pay
    By Mitch Smith, August 26, 2018

    The Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C., after a riot killed seven inmates in April. A number of American prisoners have declared a strike demanding changes to correctional institutions including pay and living conditions.

    The inmates at North Carolina's Hyde Correctional Institution hung three banners from the prison fence last week as supporters gathered outside. One sign asked for better food; another requested parole; the third said, "In solidarity."
    The protest came in support of a nationwide prisoner strike to call attention to the low inmate wages, decrepit facilities and harsh sentences that organizers say plague prison populations across the country. Though it is unclear how widespread such demonstrations have been, activists said they had shown a new ability to reach inmates across state lines at a time when prison unrest and in-custody deaths are frequently in the news.
    "Prisoners aren't oblivious to their reality," said Paul Wright, the executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and a longtime critic of prison conditions. "They see people dying around them. They see the financial exploitation. They see the injustice."
    Inmate protests have been happening for generations, but it is only in the last few years that organizers have had success coordinating from penitentiary to penitentiary and state to state. In 2010, Georgia inmates used contraband cellphones to coordinate protests across at least six prisons. And in 2016, prisoners in several states stopped reporting for work to protest their wages.

    Much of the recent activism has focused on inmate pay, which can range from nothing at all in states like South Carolina and Texas to, at best, a few dollars for a day of hard labor in other places. Prisoners frequently refer to it as "slave labor," and organizers of this year's strike have called for inmates to be paid the prevailing wage for the cleaning, cooking and other work they perform behind bars.
    "People are starting to realize how disgusting it is how human beings can be paid pennies," said Amani Sawari, a spokeswoman for Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, a group organizing the strike.
    The current pay leaves many prisoners struggling to afford phone calls to family members or toothpaste and deodorant from the commissary, experts said. Even after years of hard work inside, they frequently have little or nothing saved to help with rent or other necessities when they are released.
    "If they were being paid — even something less than minimum wage, but some reasonable amount of money — they could get out and have at least a little bit of money to get started again," said Michele Deitch, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin who once served as a court-appointed monitor of that state's prison system.
    Ms. Sawari said inmates in several states planned to participate in the strike, which started last week and is scheduled to run through Sept. 9. In addition to increased pay and better living conditions, strikers were calling for changes to sentencing laws and expanded access to rehabilitation and educational opportunities for inmates, among other requests.

    Ms. Sawari's group has suggested that inmates could stop reporting for work, stop eating or perform subtler protests, such as no longer buying supplies from the prison commissary. She said word of the protests has spread through the news media, word of mouth and outreach to different prisons.
    "Prisoners have heard on the radio, they've seen on TV," said Ms. Sawari, whose group has also supported demonstrations in recent days outside of prisons. "We know that this is widespread. We just don't know what specific actions and what specific prisoners."

    Prison officials in several states downplayed the impact of the protests and, in many cases, denied that they were occurring.
    Knowing what is happening in prisons in real time is notoriously difficult. When strikes played out across the country in 2016, activists said it often took weeks or months to fully understand the scope of the protests. Members of the public cannot witness what is going on inside a prison, inmates are limited in their ability to relay their accounts and corrections departments have little incentive to publicize discord.
    In California last week, activists circulated video that appeared to show an inmate turning down a burrito and saying he was on a hunger strike. State officials said they could not confirm that the footage was real.

    "I'm aware of the video but I have no way of identifying the inmate in the video or verifying where it was recorded," Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said in an email. "I can tell you we have had no reported incidents or activities from inmates related to the national prison strike."

    Activists said detainees at a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Washington State were on a hunger strike. A department spokeswoman, Lori K. Haley, said Sunday that those were "false rumors."
    Officials in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New York and South Carolina, where protest activity had either been reported or rumored, all denied on Sunday that anything was amiss at their facilities. Officials in Ohio, New Mexico and at the Federal Bureau of Prisons did not respond to requests for comment.
    "There are no strikes occurring in Georgia," wrote Joan Heath, a corrections spokeswoman there, in a message that was typical of the other states. "We have been, and will continue to monitor the situation."
    Advocates working on behalf of inmates say there is an urgency in this year's strike, which they are convinced is gaining momentum despite the lack of corroboration. In April, seven inmates died in a riot in a South Carolina prison, and already in August, at least 10 Mississippi inmates have died, most in cases that officials believe were from natural causes.
    By inmates stopping work and calling attention to the problems, their supporters said, there is a hope that conditions might eventually improve.
    "Do we expect that, hey, there's a prison strike and all of a sudden tomorrow prisoners are going to be paid the minimum wage and get adequate health care?" asked Mr. Wright, of the Human Rights Defense Center. "Probably not," he said, "but it's a process."



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