On August 9th, the Saudis bombed a school bus in Yemen! Dozens of young children have been killed, and many more wounded. The local health department chief in Saada province said 43 were killed and at least 61 injured. Most are children under the age of 10. The bombs that killed these children were made in the USA. For people living in the United States, the blood is on our hands!

Call the State Department ASAP at 202-647-6575 and press 8 for the comment line. Say something like: "I want the State Department to condemn the Saudis for bombing Yemeni children and I want the US to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia."

Since the Saudis intervened militarily in an internal Yemeni conflict in 2015, they have been committing war crimes by repeatedly bombing civilians, including marketplaces, hospitals, schools and homes. According to Yemen Data Project, an independent group collecting data about the Yemen conflict, the Saudi-UAE coalition carried out 258 airstrikes on Yemen in June alone — nearly one-third of which hit residential areas.

Meanwhile, US weapons companies, particularly Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, make billions of dollars from this carnage. If you want to stop this global proliferation of weapons, join our #Divestfromwar team by contacting divest@codepink.org.

Let the US government know how disgusted you are. Call the State Department right now at 202-647-6575 and press 8. Let them know that you want them to condemn the Saudis for bombing Yemeni children and you insist that the US stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Share now on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word!



With heavy hearts,

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



The Song Of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist

by Graeme Darling

I've been working my arse off for years,

So that parasites can sit on theirs,

Counting all the money they have stolen from me.

These venal cannibals are legal criminals,

Cloaking their immorality in the joke of respectability.

It's the same story in every capitalist trap;

The most essential employees ( exploitees ) are treated like crap.

Decent folk on scrimping wages strain, scrub and mop,

While bloodsucking turds ride on their backs to the top.

You don't need to know the Communist Manifesto

To recognise injustice that's manifestly so.

This situation blights every organisation, I'm telling you true;

The higher the pay, the less work they do!

I'm sick and tired of being trod into the ground,

I'd turn this crazy pyramid the right way round.

The bosses in armchairs should clean toilets and stairs,

And experience an existence of struggling for subsistence.

Along with a decent minimum, I'd have a wage maximum.

Four to one should be the widest disparity;

Anything more is an utter obscenity.

This economic system of domination wreaks global exploitation;

Our training shoes are made by kids in sweatshops,

The Earth is ravaged for our phones and laptops.

We must side with the oppressed of every form and nation;

The universal kinship should be our motivation.

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

By Jenny Farrell, August 3, 2018








"Give me your tired, your poor 

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. 

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 

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

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"















Lezley McSpadden started a petition demanding Missouri Governor, Mike Parson, appoint a special prosecutor to reopen the case of Mike Brown.

Tell Missouri Gov. Mike Parson: 

Appoint a special prosecutor for Mike Brown's case!

Four years ago, my son, Mike Brown, was fatally gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson as he surrendered with arms in the air, pleading for his life. The world erupted and nothing has been the same since that nightmarish summer. My family and community took their outrage and pain to the streets. We made public pleas for the officer who murdered my son in broad daylight to be indicted and convicted. Yet, we were denied justice. My heart was broken over and over again. It has been 4 years, but I cannot forget. I will not stop fighting until Mike gets the justice he deserves.

Newly elected Missouri Governor, Mike Parson, has the opportunity to right this terrible wrong by appointing a special prosecutor to reopen my son's case. 

Over the course of three months after Mike was murdered, my family and I waited as St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, Bob McCulloch presented my son's case to a grand jury before the police investigation was over. McCulloch completely ignored standard protocol for a Prosecuting Attorney by enlisting the help of a grand jury to determine the charges against Officer Darren Wilson. It was a setup from the beginning. McCulloch abdicated his role as a County Prosecutor by making a politically calculated move that would shield him from criticism from the police and the media. 

Here are the facts:

  • McCulloch overwhelmed the jury with redundant and misleading information in an effort to manipulate the jury's confidence in Wilson's guilt.
  • A lawsuit was filed by one of the grand jurors detailing challenges and exposing their experiences on the grand jury.2
  • McCulloch admitted to allowing witnesses he knew were NOT telling the truth to testify before the grand jury. 3

The evidence is too significant to ignore. McCulloch thought he could avoid public scrutiny and accountability at the conclusion of this case. But he is wrong. I will not allow Bob McCulloch to get away with obstructing justice for my son. 

McCulloch cannot be allowed to get away with forgoing any and all responsibility as a high-level prosecutor. McCulloch's actions set a horrible precedent for prosecutors across the country. The primary charge for a prosecuting attorney is to fairly seek and achieve justice. McCulloch instead chose to make a political move with no regard for my family's pain. Furthermore, the relentless state-sanctioned violence against Black people has been nonstop since this nightmare began. Year after year, month after month, day after day, Black people remain targets for a bloodthirsty police force. This year alone, there have been over 600 incidents of deadly police encounters.4 Prosecutors are one of the few leverage points we have over the police. We must send a strong message to not only people in Missouri but to everyone around the country - killer cops will be held accountable.  

I am holding onto all hope that we get the justice we deserve. I believe in the resilience of our communities. And I believe that we will win. 

With love, 

Lezley McSpadden


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

Sign Here:




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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


sent by Haiti Action Committee




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

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

Lafayette Park, Washington D.C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to endorse this protest against racism:




Free Mumia Now!

Mumia's freedom is at stake in a court hearing on August 30th. 

With your help, we just might free him!

Rally To Free Mumia

Tuesday August 28th

4 pm at 14th & Broadway, Oakland CA

A Philadelphia court now has before it the evidence which could lead to Mumia's freedom. The evidence shows that Ronald Castille, of the District Attorney's office in 1982, intervened in the prosecution of Mumia for a crime he did not commit. Years later, Castille was a judge on the PA Supreme Court, where he sat in judgement over Mumia's case, and ruled against Mumia in every appeal! 

According to the US Supreme Court in the Williams ruling, this corrupt behavior was illegal!

But will the court rule to overturn all of Mumia's negative appeals rulings by the PA Supreme Court? If it does, Mumia would be free to appeal once again against his unfair conviction. If it does not, Mumia could remain imprisoned for life, without the possibility for parole, for a crime he did not commit.

The Philadelphia DA's office has turned over some, but not all, evidence of Castille's complicity in this frame-up prosecution. Call DA Krasner at: (215) 686-8000 to demand full disclosure!

• 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?

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, and the Oscar Grant Committee. 

Endorse and participate in this action! Send your info to: cskinder44@gmail.com



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

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity,

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



Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Self Portrait, 2013

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

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

Click here to sign this petition.

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

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

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

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

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

Help by adding your name here.

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

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

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

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

-- The RootsAction.org Team

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


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

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



immigrant camps

US Military Ordered to Host Massive Immigrant Concentration Camps

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

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

Potential locations have been identified as:

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

to support resistance

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

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

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



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

www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist





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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keith H. Washington


McConnell Unit

3100 South Emily Drive

Beeville, TX 78103



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

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018


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

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

On today's episode:

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



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

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

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

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

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

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

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

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

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

In Solidarity,

Ramon Mejia

Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War

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

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



Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

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

They need to hear from us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 

about the draft in decades . . .

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

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




Incarceration Nation

Emergency Action Alert:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read statements from the reps: 

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



"There Was a Crooked Prez"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

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

He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,

They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,

And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

"Trumpty Dumpty"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

Trumpty Dumpty sat on his wall,

Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the kingpin's forces and all the KKKlansmem

Couldn't put Trumpty together again.

July 25, 2018

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



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

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

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

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

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

Onward in divestment,

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

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



October 20-21, 2018

Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Different wings of the same warbird

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

In response, Sheehan stated that: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MPN News, February 20, 2018






Major George Tillery




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

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

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

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

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

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

Major Tillery and family


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

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

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

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


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

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



    Free Leonard Peltier!

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

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

    USP Coleman I 

    P.O. Box 1033 

    Coleman, FL 33521

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

    Charity for the Wealthy!

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

    By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017







    1) Puerto Rican Government Acknowledges Hurricane Death Toll of 1,427

    By Frances Robles, August 9, 2018


    Hundreds of pairs of shoes in San Juan, P.R., paid tribute to the victims of Hurricane Maria. The storm's official death toll of 64 has not yet been changed.

    SAN JUAN, P.R. — The government of Puerto Rico has quietly acknowledged in a report posted online that in all likelihood more than 1,400 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria — a figure that is more than 20 times the official death toll.

    Hurricane Maria cut through the island on Sept. 20, knocking out power and initially killing about a dozen people. The government's official count eventually swelled to 64, as more people died from suicide, lack of access to health care and other factors. The number has not changed despite several academic assessments that official death certificates did not come close to tallying the storm's fatal toll.

    But in a draft of a report to Congress requesting $139 billion in recovery funds, scheduled for official release on Thursday, the Puerto Rican government admits that 1,427 more people died in the last four months of 2017 compared with the same time frame in the previous year. The figures came from death registry statistics that were released in June, but which were never publicly acknowledged by officials on the island.

    "Although the official death count from the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety was initially 64, the toll appears to be much higher," said the report, titled "Transformation and Innovation in the Wake of Devastation."

    In another section, it said: "According to initial reports, 64 lives were lost. That estimate was later revised to 1,427."

    The government was widely criticized for undercounting the number of people who died on the island as the power outage stretched for months, causing deaths from diabetes and sepsis to soar. Many people died from lack of access to hospitals, or because there was no power to run the machines they used to breathe.

    After a New York Times analysis in December showed that even the preliminary data from the Demographic Registry of Puerto Rico indicated that hurricane-related deaths may have risen to 1,052, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló commissioned a study from George Washington University's school of public health. The report is expected to be released this month.

    "We definitely acknowledge this is a realistic estimate," Pedro Cerame, a spokesman for the Puerto Rican government's Federal Affairs Administration, said of the numbers in the upcoming report to Congress. "We don't want to say it out loud or publicize it as an official number. The official number will come, and it could be close. But until we see the study, and have the accuracy, we won't be able to recognize the number as official."

    Mr. Cerame acknowledged that the final version of the report hedges the language to say that the additional deaths "may or may not be attributable" to the storm; the 1,427 figure was also deleted from a chart.

    "I want to emphasize, though, that we have always expected the number to be higher," he said in an email. "The estimate provided was done using data from the Demographic Registry which was made available to the members of the media."

    The official death toll has not been updated, he said, because officials are awaiting the outcome of the George Washington University study to provide certainty: "Once GW's study is out, the number will be updated."

    Researchers at Penn State University had reached an estimate very similar to The Times' assessment. A much-publicized study from Harvard University showed the deaths could have ranged from 800 to 8,500.

    The final version of the recovery plan being submitted to Congress outlines ambitious projects for Puerto Rico that include major highway renovations, $15 billion for the Department of Education and $26 billion for the energy grid. The government has asked for $6 billion for repair and replacement of public buildings and $3.9 billion for environmental use, according to an announcement from the governor's office.

    "Puerto Rico has a unique opportunity to innovate and rebuild the Puerto Rico that we all want," Governor Rosselló said in a statement.



    2)  Argentina's Senate Narrowly Rejects Legalizing Abortion

    By Daniel Politi and Ernesto Londoño, August 9, 2018


    The Senate vote to legalize abortion brought thousands of demonstrators to a main avenue in Buenos Aires on Wednesday night, with supporters on the left and opponents on the right

    BUENOS AIRES — Argentina's Senate on Thursday narrowly rejected a bill to legalize abortion, dealing a stinging defeat to a grass-roots movement that pushed reproductive rights to the top of the country's legislative agenda and galvanized activist groups throughout Latin America.

    The vote gripped the nation as opposing camps fought to sway undecided senators until the final hours. As legislators debated the bill into the early hours of Thursday, thousands of advocates on both sides waited outside Congress in the winter cold, and the Roman Catholic Church held a "Mass for Life" at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral.

    Proponents of the bill — which would have allowed abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy — had hoped Argentina would begin a sea change in reproductive rights in a largely Catholic region where 97 percent of women live in countries that ban abortion or allow it only in rare instances.

    In the end, thirty-eight lawmakers voted against the bill, 31 voted in favor of it and two abstained.

    Just weeks ago, the abortion-rights campaigners appeared to have a good chance of success, stunning opponents and thrilling women's rights advocates in nearby countries who were inspired by the Argentine battle. But opposition in Argentina hardened as Catholic Church leaders spoke out forcefully against abortion from the pulpit and senators from conservative provinces came under intense pressure to stand against the bill.

    While the proposal's defeat was considered a major setback for the grass-roots activists who backed it, analysts said the movement's improbable rise had already begun to change the region in ways that would have been impossible just years ago.

    "Abortion rights was a priority and it will be deeply discouraging to have come this far and fail," said Benjamin Gedan, an Argentina expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. But he said women's rights advocates had already had successes.

    The Argentine campaign is credited with inspiring debate on a variety of women's issues — including domestic violence — in a socially conservative region where such subjects have long been taboo.

    Yesterday, demonstrators rallied in support of the Argentine bill in Uruguay, Mexico, Peru, and neighboring Chile, where they gathered in front of the Argentine embassy in Santiago, chanting and wearing the green handkerchiefs that became the symbol of that country's abortion rights movement.

    And in Argentina, activists have already scored a victory with the passage of a law that seeks to have an equal number of male and female lawmakers.

    "If we make a list of the things we've gained and the things we've lost, the list of things we've gained is much bigger," said Edurne Cárdenas, a lawyer at the Center for Legal and Social Studies, a human rights group in Argentina that favors legalized abortion. "Sooner or later, this will be law."

    In the region, only Uruguay, Cuba, Guyana and Mexico City allow any woman to have an early-term abortion.

    On Thursday, emotions in Argentina were raw after weeks of suspense when it seemed possible the bill might become law.

    "We will no longer be silent and we won't let them win," said Jimena Del Potro, a 33-year-old designer who fought back tears as she spoke. Abortion will be legal soon. Very soon."

    Opponents expressed relief.

    María Curutchet, a 34-year-old lawyer, was smiling despite spending almost eight hours in the bitter cold to make her feelings clear.

    "It was a very emotional day," she said. "We were out in huge numbers and showed that we will defend the two lives, no matter the cost."

    For Argentina, the debate over abortion has tugged at the country's sense of self.

    It is the birthplace of Pope Francis, the leader of the world's Catholics, who recently denounced abortion as the "white glove" equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics program.

    But the country in recent years has inched away from a close church-state relationship.

    In 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to allow gay couples to wed — a move the church fought with a vigor similar to its battle against abortion, organizing protests involving thousands of people. Francis, then the archbishop of Buenos Aires, called that bill a "destructive attack on God's plan."

    The fight over abortion divided the political class and forced leaders to grapple with their personal and political convictions. President Mauricio Macri, a center-right leader who opposes legalized abortion, told allied lawmakers to vote their conscience and said he would sign the law if it was approved by Congress.

    Some prominent female political leaders came out publicly against the measure, including Vice President Gabriela Michetti.

    But Mr. Macri's health minister, Adolfo Rubinstein, testified in Congress in favor of legalization and has estimated that some 354,000 clandestine abortions are carried out every year in the country. Complications as a result of those abortions are the single leading cause of maternal deaths in the country, according to Mariana Romero, a researcher at the Center for the Study of the State and Society, a nonprofit organization.

    The grass-roots movement that pushed the bill started in 2015 with the brutal murder of a pregnant 14-year-old girl by her teenage boyfriend. Her mother claimed the boyfriend's family didn't want her to have the baby.

    As debates about violence against women on social media grew into wider conversations about women's rights, young female lawmakers gave a fresh push to an abortion bill that had been presented repeatedly in the past without going anywhere.

    In June, the activists scored an unexpected victory when the lower house of Congress narrowly approved a bill allowing women to terminate pregnancy in the first 14 weeks. Current law allows abortions only in cases of rape or when a mother's life is in danger.

    While the measure failed in the Senate, it made some inroads. Among the senators who voted for it was Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who as president had opposed legalizing abortion.

    "The ones who made me change my mind were the thousands and thousands of girls who took to the streets," she said before the vote early Thursday.

    Despite the loss, the close vote — and how closely it was watched in neighboring countries — was an indication that the ground on women's rights had shifted somewhat not only in Argentina, but the region.

    In neighboring Brazil, activists this month urged the Supreme Court to rule that the country's abortion restrictions, which are similar to Argentina's, are unconstitutional.

    Advocates in Chile, meanwhile, have been fighting to expand abortion rights, building on last year's partial legalization, as have those in El Salvador.

    "Society as a whole has moved forward on this issue," said Claudia Piñeiro, a writer and abortion-rights activist in Argentina.

    "Church and state are supposed to be separate, but we're coming to realize that is far from the case," Ms. Piñeiro said as it became clearer that the push for legalization would lose. "That will be the next battle."

    Daniel Politi reported from Buenos Aires, and Ernesto Londoño from New York.



    3)  Renewed Clashes Between Israel and Gaza Interrupt Talk of Cease-Fire

    By Isabel Kershner, August 8, 2018


    An Israeli airstrike in Gaza late Wednesday.

    JERUSALEM — Talk of a long-term cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza was abruptly interrupted by cross-border fire late Wednesday and early Thursday as the Israeli military traded blows with Palestinian militants, the latest in a series of recent sharp clashes.

    Hours into the exchange, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said that a pregnant woman, Inas Khammash, and her 18-month-old daughter had been killed in an airstrike that hit their home in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. An Israeli military spokeswoman could not immediately comment on the report of civilian casualties.

    Palestinian militant groups fired about 70 rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel by midnight, according to the Israeli military. Most landed in open ground, but at least four slammed into the Israeli border town of Sderot, causing several injuries and property damage.

    At least 11 rockets headed for developed areas were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system.

    The Israeli Air Force carried out waves of attacks against targets across Gaza, including what the military described as a factory producing tunnel parts and a tunnel shaft. The military also distributed video of a missile strike on a vehicle that it said was carrying a squad that had just launched a rocket at Israeli territory.

    The Gaza Health Ministry said a 30-year-old man was killed in that strike. At least nine Palestinians, including Ms. Khammash's husband, were reported to have been injured in the series of airstrikes.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel met with his defense minister and military chiefs for an emergency session after midnight.

    The Israeli airstrikes did not immediately appear as intense as some previous rounds over the past few weeks, and the Palestinian fire was mostly calibrated to hit border areas rather than population centers. There were reports of hurried efforts by Egyptian mediators to restore the shaky cease-fire.

    But there was also a danger the hostilities could turn into a broader conflict. Israel is seeking to end the rocket fire and the flaming kites and balloons flown by Gaza militants across the border fence. Hamas, the Islamic militant group that has ruled Gaza for 11 years, has been trying to change the balance of deterrence in the area, responding to every Israeli strike against Gaza.

    "The Qassam Brigades are ready and well prepared to confront the aggression and defend their people," Issam Daalees, a Hamas leader, said in a statement, referring to Hamas's armed wing. "The enemy must understand that it cannot unilaterally impose the rules of confrontation and it must bear the consequences of its stupidity."

    In Sderot, a piece of a rocket penetrated the roof of a house and crashed into the living room.

    Albert Hofi, the owner of the house, told an Israeli television reporter that moments before it was hit he had moved his disabled wife, Shula, to the safety of the basement. The rocket shard left a round hole in the ceiling and broke floor tiles, but the rest of the living room was intact.

    "Unfortunately we have gotten used to the situation," Mr. Hofi told the reporter, explaining his calm demeanor. A rocket alert sounded as they spoke, and Mr. Hofi and the television crew headed to the basement.

    The week began with a rare sense of possible progress. A high-level delegation of Hamas officials, including some living in exile, convened in Gaza to discuss Egyptian and United Nations proposals to stabilize the cease-fire with Israel in return for an easing of the Israeli and Egyptian-imposed blockade of Gaza.

    Mr. Netanyahu postponed a visit to Colombia and met with his security cabinet last Sunday for a strategic discussion about the situation.

    Yet there were no signs that a broad deal was imminent. At the end of the hourslong cabinet meeting, Israel released a terse statement saying the military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, had "updated the security cabinet on the situation regarding Gaza" and that the military was "prepared for any scenario."

    A senior Hamas official, Khalil al-Hayya, suggested earlier Wednesday that Hamas was open to a deal, but he accused Israel of violating the cease-fire agreement and added that Hamas would not allow Israel "to impose new equations or rules of engagement on the ground."

    By nightfall even the prospect of a limited deal — involving emergency humanitarian assistance for Gaza in return for quiet along the border — seemed uncertain.

    "For months I have been warning that the humanitarian, security and political crisis in Gaza risks a devastating conflict that nobody wants," Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special envoy to the region, said in a sharply worded statement early Thursday.

    Tensions have mounted since late March when Hamas began orchestrating mass, often-violent protests along the fence dividing Israel and Gaza. Israeli snipers have killed more than 150 mostly unarmed Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials, while the Israeli military says it has been acting to prevent breaches of the fence and to fend off attacks by Gaza militants against its soldiers or civilians in border communities.

    That friction has morphed into escalating exchanges of Palestinian mortar and rocket fire and waves of Israeli airstrikes.

    An apparent miscalculation played a role in this latest round of violence.

    On Tuesday, the Israeli military said shots had been fired from a Hamas post toward soldiers across the border fence. The military fired a tank shell at the post, killing two Hamas militants.

    But Hamas said its snipers had fired as part of a military exercise and were not aiming at the Israeli forces — an assertion later confirmed by the Israeli military.

    Hamas vowed to respond. On Wednesday afternoon, shots were fired from Gaza at civilians constructing a new barrier along the border. An engineering vehicle was hit, but the driver escaped injury. Israeli tank fire hit a Hamas post that had already been evacuated. Hours later, Hamas responded with rocket fire.

    Ibrahim El-Mughraby and Iyad Abuheweila contributed reporting from Gaza City.



    4)  Airstrike Hits School Bus in Yemen, Killing Dozens

    By Shuaib Almosawa and Ben Hubbard, August 9, 2018

    "The attack, in a busy market area, hit a bus carrying students on a recreational trip with a Quran memorization program. It killed at least 43 people and wounded 63, according to Muhammad Hajar, an official in charge of emergency services for the Health Ministry. He said the final toll could be higher because rescue operations were ongoing."


    Medical staff tending to a boy injured by an airstrike in Sada, Yemen, on Thursday.Credit

    IBB, Yemen — An airstrike from the Saudi-led coalition struck a school bus in northern Yemen on Thursday and killed dozens of people, many of them children, local medical officials and international aid groups said.

    The attack sent a flood of victims to overwhelmed hospitals struggling to cope in what the United Nations considers one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

    The coalition said it had hit missile launchers and called the attack a "legitimate military operation," but the attack and the justification for it were condemned and drew new attention to the tremendous human toll of the war in Yemen, especially on children.

    "No excuses anymore!" Geert Cappelaere, Unicef's regional director in the Middle East and North Africa, said on Twitter. "Does the world really need more innocent children's lives to stop the cruel war on children in Yemen?"

    The attack, in a busy market area, hit a bus carrying students on a recreational trip with a Quran memorization program. It killed at least 43 people and wounded 63, according to Muhammad Hajar, an official in charge of emergency services for the Health Ministry. He said the final toll could be higher because rescue operations were ongoing.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross said at least 29 of those killed were children under the age of 15, and that 48 people were wounded, including 30 children.

    Yemen's conflict began in 2014, when rebels from the north of the country known as the Houthis seized control of much of the northwest, including the capital, Sana.

    Saudi Arabia, which considers the Houthis a proxy force for Iran, and its allies responded with a military intervention intended to push back the Houthis and restore Yemen's internationally recognized government.

    Three years later, the war continues to grind on, and much of Yemen, which was already the Arab world's poorest country, has been plunged into crisis, with poverty, malnutrition and diseases like cholera spreading.

    The attack on Thursday took place in Sada Province, the Houthis' ancestral homeland, which the Saudi-led coalition has bombed heavily since the start of the war, reducing much of it to rubble. It is also the area from which Houthi fighters frequently launch attacks on Saudi Arabia.

    "Under international humanitarian law, civilians must be protected during conflict," the Red Cross said on Twitter.

    The head of the group's delegation in Yemen, Johannes Bruwer, said it had sent supplies to the area to help hospitals "cope with the influx" of patients.

    Saleh Jarban, the head of the Jumhouri Hospital in the provincial capital of Sada Province, also called Sada, said that 14 dead and 29 wounded had been brought to his hospital. Ten of the dead and at least 20 of the wounded were children, he said.

    The rest of the victims had been taken to other facilities in the area, he said.

    In a statement released by the Saudi state news agency, the coalition said it had launched airstrikes on missile launchers that had been used to attack the city of Jizan in southern Saudi Arabia, recently killing a Yemeni civilian there.

    It called the attack "a legitimate military operation" and accused the Houthis of using children as human shields.

    The strikes were "carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law," the statement said.

    Shuaib Almosawa reported from Ibb, and Ben Hubbard from Beirut, Lebanon



    5)  5 Indigenous Australian Films (and One TV Series) Everyone Should See

    By Damien Cave, August 8, 2018


    A scene from "Toomelah."Credit

    The Indigenous Department at Screen Australia, the government agency charged with supporting Australian film and television production, is celebrating its 25th year and rather than send a cake, we figured we'd seek out some guidance on what to watch.

    Penny Smallacombe heads up the department. A member of the Maramanindji people from the Northern Territory, she sent us her five top movies, plus her favorite television series — all of which are must-see creations from Australia's Indigenous communities.

    "This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we've been funding over the years but these were game changers," she said in an interview. "They broke through with audiences and had a strong Indigenous point of view."

    I asked her to choose productions that we could all access one way or another. That meant leaving out her favorite film, "Samson and Delilah," which she raved about, and which she hopes will become more widely available soon.

    In the meantime, here are her picks and why she chose them.

    "Sweet Country" (2018)

    Directed by Warwick Thornton

    A period western set in 1929 on the Northern Territory frontier where justice itself is put on trial. It won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival and the Platform award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

    The cast includes Sam Neill, Bryan Brown, Hamilton Morris, Ewen Leslie and Thomas M. Wright.

    Penny's Take: "'Sweet Country' is one of the most important and exquisite films to come out of this country, from acclaimed director Warwick Thornton, who is recognised around the world. It offers a vital and rich Indigenous perspective of how Aboriginal people have been treated historically."

    Watch on iTunes, Google Play, FetchTV.

    "Mystery Road" (2013)

    Directed by Ivan Sen

    An Indigenous cowboy detective, Jay Swan, returns to his outback hometown, to solve the murder of a teenage girl. Alienated from both the white-dominated police force and his own community, Jay stands alone in his determination to fight back for his town and his people.

    The cast includes Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving and Jack Thompson.

    Penny's Take: "Director Ivan Sen is one of Australia's most talented filmmakers. All of his films raise important questions of identity, race and belonging. The strong characters in this film and the intrigue built around them, combined with the incredible West Australian landscape, has allowed for this story to continue beyond this first feature film. The follow-up feature "Goldstone" also received critical acclaim.

    Watch on iTunes, Google Play, FetchTV for free on ABC iview until 30 August.

    "Spear" (2016)

    Directed by Stephen Page

    "Spear" is a contemporary Aboriginal story, told through movement and dance, of a young man, Djali, as he journeys through his community to understand what it means to be a man with ancient traditions in a modern world. Spanning from the outback of Australia to the gritty city streets of Sydney, it is a poignant reflection of the continuing cultural connection of Indigenous people.

    The cast includes Hunter Page-Lochard (the director's son) and Aaron Pedersen.

    Penny's Take: "Spear" provided an opportunity for the first-time film director and current artistic director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre, Stephen Page, to cross art forms from dance and into film. This film is stunning cinematically, but also significant because of its ability to bring ancient and contemporary stories about Indigenous life in Australia to the screen. Hunter Page-Lochard, director Stephen Page's son, and Aaron Pedersen deliver exceptional performances."

    Watch on iTunes, Google Play, FetchTV

    "The Sapphires" (2012)

    Directed by Wayne Blair

    Gail, Cynthia, Julie and Kay are sexy, black, young and talented — and they've never set foot outside Australia. Until, in the chaos of 1968, they're plucked from the obscurity of a remote Aboriginal mission, promoted as Australia's answer to The Supremes and — grasping the chance of a lifetime — dropped into the jungles of Vietnam to entertain the troops.

    The cast includes Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell and Chris O'Dowd.

    Penny's Take: "Director Wayne Blair is an incredibly talented filmmaker and the Indigenous Department is proud to have played a key role in supporting his career development. 'The Sapphires' told a uniquely Australian story and helped launch the screen careers of some of Australia's most accomplished Indigenous actors, including Miranda Tapsell, Shari Sebbens and Jessica Mauboy. This feel-good film also has great music!

    Watch on Google Play, FetchTV, iTunes, Netflix.

    "Toomelah" (2011)

    Directed by Ivan Sen

    In a remote Aboriginal community, 10-year-old Daniel yearns to be a "gangster" like the male role models in his life. Skipping school and running drugs for Linden, who runs the main gang in town, Daniel is well on his way, when a rival drug dealer, Bruce, returns from prison and a violent showdown ensues. Daniel is suddenly alone and forced to make a choice for a better future.

    Penny's Take: "'Toomelah' is a powerful film that provides a raw insight into a young boys' life on an mission as he is exposed to the violence, drugs, and alcoholism taking place around him. Selected to play at the Cannes International Film Festival in Un Certain Regard, it showed a side of Indigenous Australia that had rarely been seen.

    Watch on iTunes

    "Redfern Now" (TV Series, 2012 — 2014)

    Directed by Rachel Perkins, Wayne Blair, Leah Purcell, and Catriona McKenzie

    "Redfern Now" explores contemporary inner-city Indigenous life. These powerful, moving, funny, bittersweet stories focus on a diverse group of individuals exploring their strength, flaws and resilience. It is a series about extraordinary events in ordinary lives.

    Penny's Take: "'Redfern Now' was a pivotal moment in Australian television. Written and directed by both emerging and established Indigenous filmmakers, the series enriched Australian television screens with authentic contemporary Indigenous stories being told by a collection of our nation's best storytellers. The string of awards the series won is testament to its well-crafted development."

    Watch on Google Play, iTunes and Netflix.



    6) Attacker With Bike Lock Used Racial Slurs, Victim Says

    By Melissa Gomez, August 8, 2018


    Ketchazo Paho, 34, took a picture of himself after he was treated. Mr. Paho said he was assaulted with a bicycle lock Monday morning by a bicyclist who yelled racial slurs at him repeatedly.

    As Washington braces for a "white civil rights" rally and counter-protests, the police are investigating an attack in which the victim says a cyclist hurledracial slurs and hit him with a bike lock.

    The victim, Ketchazo Paho, 34, of Maryland, said he was driving through Georgetown on his way home early Monday when he was assaulted by the bicyclist who struck him in the head with the metal lock.

    Mr. Paho said he fears similar attacks could happen this weekend amid plans for a "Unite the Right" rally and counter-protests this weekend.

    The Metropolitan Police Department arrested a white suspect, Maxim Smith, and charged him with one count of assault with a dangerous weapon. The police said they were investigating to determine if the crime was motivated by hate or bias.

    Mr. Smith, 24, was being held in jail pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday morning. It was unclear who would be representing him.

    Mr. Paho, who is black, said that racial slurs had been slung at him before.

    "What happened to me Monday is not foreign," he said, though he added that slurs had never escalated to an attack before. With the "Unite the Right" rally coming up this weekend, Mr. Paho said he wanted members of minority groups to be aware of the dangers the protest could bring.

    Last August in Charlottesville, Va., hundreds of white nationalists gathered to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. The rally became violent: One woman died and more than a dozen people were injured after a man plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters. An organizer of last year's event has planned a "white civil rights" rally in Lafayette Park this weekend.

    A National Park Service spokesman said on Wednesday that no permit for the organizers had been issued, but that one had been granted to a group called D.C. Unite Against Hate, which is planning to protest the rally.

    A Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman said it was preparing for the rally with help from the United States Park Police.

    About 1:40 a.m. on Monday, Mr. Paho had honked at the bicyclist, who was stopped in the middle of the road, according to a statement from S. Lee Merritt, Mr. Paho's lawyer. The man turned and shouted "What do you want?" and Mr. Paho, who wanted to avoid a confrontation, decided to go around the bicyclist, Mr. Merritt said.

    As he drove by, Mr. Paho said, Mr. Smith struck his black Ford Fusion with the metal bicycle lock. Mr. Paho turned the corner and pulled over to inspect his car. He called 911 to report the damage. That was when he said Mr. Smith confronted him and began yelling racial slurs at him, including calling him the N-word, Mr. Merritt said.

    When Mr. Paho told Mr. Smith he would be paying for the damage to the car, he recalled, Mr. Smith became aggressive. Mr. Paho said he called 911 again during the argument, and he grabbed onto Mr. Smith's bicycle to keep him there until the police arrived.

    Mr. Smith then bashed him in the head with the bicycle lock, causing a two-inch cut, according to a police report. Blood poured onto his gray shirt, and Mr. Paho said he had to restrain himself from hitting back.

    Mr. Paho was taken to a hospital, where he received 18 staples in his head, Mr. Merritt said.

    Mr. Paho said it was scary that Mr. Smith had felt comfortable using the N-word so freely.

    "They feel entitled," he said, suggesting Mr. Smith was motivated by racism. "That's something I think needs to be addressed."

    Mr. Merritt said he wanted the city and law enforcement officials to be prepared for what could happen during the rally. Mr. Merritt said he also represents DeAndre Harris, who was injured during the 2017 rally after he was attacked by a group. Mr. Harris was later acquitted of an assault chargerelated to an incident that happened moments before he was attacked.

    "These kind of attacks are likely to occur during the second coming of the 'Unite the Right' rally," Mr. Merritt said, "and it's going to be important for law enforcement to take measures."



    7) Cables Detail C.I.A. Waterboarding at Secret Prison Run by Gina Haspel

    By Julian E. Barnes and Scott Shane, August 10, 2018


    During her confirmation hearing for C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel claimed the techniques yielded valuable intelligence but disavowed them and said their use "should not have been undertaken."

    WASHINGTON — In late November 2002, C.I.A. interrogators at a secret prison in Thailand warned a Qaeda suspect that he had to "suffer the consequences of his deception."

    As interrogators splashed water on the chest of the man, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, he pleaded that he was trying to recall more information, according to a newly released C.I.A. cable. As he cried, the cable reports, the "water treatment was applied."

    The "water treatment" was bureaucratic jargon for waterboarding, and 11 newly released top-secret cables from the time that Gina Haspel, now the C.I.A. director, oversaw the base provide at times graphic detail on the techniques the agency used to brutally interrogate Qaeda captives. Agency leaders and officers were racing to uncover what they feared were large-scale plots against the United States in the chaotic months and years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    As the chief of the base, Ms. Haspel would have written or authorized the cables, according to Tom Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, a research organization at George Washington University. The cables, obtained by the archive in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, were redacted to eliminate the names of interrogators and C.I.A. officers involved.

    ProPublica previously reported on cables from the Thailand black site, which also offered details of the C.I.A.'s methods. Like those documents, the new cables describe the waterboarding of Mr. Nashiri as well as the use of other torture techniques.

    The C.I.A. declined to comment.

    Mr. Nashiri, a Saudi accused of masterminding the 2000 bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole off the coast of Yemen, admitted his involvement during the harsh interrogation sessions, according to the cables. While he revealed knowledge of aborted plots against ships in the Strait of Hormuz, it does not appear, at least in the readable portions, that he had knowledge of continuing plots.

    The cables describe interrogators shaving Mr. Nashiri, locking him in a box and slamming him against the wall.

    Though heavily redacted, the documents suggest that, as a 2014 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded, the waterboarding and other brutal treatment of Mr. Nashiri produced little or no new intelligence about existing plots or imminent attacks.

    The excesses and missteps that surrounded the C.I.A. enhanced interrogation program occurred in large measure because the agency had no experience or expertise in interrogation. To create the program, the C.I.A. hired two former military psychologists, Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, to develop the techniques. The two men drew on survival training for military personnel that teaches them how to try to survive torture if captured by the enemy.

    As she was trying to win confirmation as C.I.A. director this spring, Ms. Haspel claimed the techniques yielded valuable intelligence but disavowed them and said their use "should not have been undertaken." During his campaign, President Trump flirted with the idea of reviving waterboarding — insisting that "torture works" — and has never denounced the harsh techniques used by the C.I.A.

    Mr. Nashiri's former lawyer, Richard Kammen, said that his client was brutally tortured by the C.I.A. and that he hopes the truth comes out before Mr. Nashiri goes on trial. "Ultimately, the public will be horrified by the level of brutality employed by the C.I.A.," Mr. Kammen said.

    The military commission hearing Mr. Nashiri's case collapsed after his defense lawyers quit amid accusations that the government was monitoring their conversations with their client. The government is appealing to try to force them to take up the case once more. Mr. Nashiri is being held at the wartime prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    Mr. Nashiri was facing the death penalty over charges he helped plot the Cole attack, which killed 17 sailors, as well as an attack on a French-flagged oil tanker in 2002 that killed a Bulgarian man.

    In one early interrogation, outlined in the new documents, Mr. Nashiri had his clothes ripped off him and "whimpered that he would do anything interrogators wanted." The interrogators told him that "if he refused to cooperate, he would suffer in ways he never thought possible." They then shaved Mr. Nashiri's head while he wailed and moaned.

    During the interrogation, the officers returned to versions of the threat that Mr. Nashiri's life would "get much worse."

    Eventually, the interrogators moved from shoving him against the wall and confining him to various-size boxes to waterboarding.

    "Interrogation escalated rapidly from subject being aggressively debriefed by interrogators while standing at the walling wall, to multiple applications of the walling technique, and ultimately, multiple applications of the watering technique," another document said.

    At times, the interrogators called Mr. Nashiri names — "a little girl," "a spoiled little rich Saudi," a "sissy" — and threatened to turn him over to "other people" who, they said, "would certainly kill him," one cable said. Pointing to the black-clad team that carried out the torture, they told Mr. Nashiri that its members had volunteered for the job after hearing he was responsible for the bombing of the Cole and "had something to avenge."

    In the late November session, after Mr. Nashiri was waterboarded several times, the interrogators said they were willing to deliver the same treatment for months until he cooperated. When they were finished, Mr. Nashiri crawled into "the small box" in which he was confined.

    The interrogators continually told Mr. Nashiri they did not believe he was telling everything he knew, threatening him with worse treatment if he did not tell them more. The prisoner, already subjected to the whole array of C.I.A. torture techniques — loud noise, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, wall-slamming and waterboarding — insisted he was trying to remember and tell them everything.

    But the interrogators appear to have ultimately concluded that Mr. Nashiri was not lying. Some of the cables back to headquarters, apparently written by Ms. Haspel, described him as "compliant and cooperative," according to the 2014 report on the interrogation program by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    Officials at C.I.A. headquarters were displeased by such comments, directing the field officers to stop making such "sweeping statements" about Mr. Nashiri's compliance. The superiors in Langley, Va., insisted that he knew more than he was saying.

    Ms. Haspel arrived to oversee the Thailand black site in late October 2002. The site was shut weeks later, on Dec. 4, 2002.

    With the last of the newly released cables, dated Dec. 1, 2002, the writing style shifts dramatically, aspiring to a literary flair. The cable says the interrogator and linguist "strode, catlike, into the well-lit confines of the cell" and one of them "deftly removed the subject's black hood with a swipe," addressing him in "a deep, measured voice." The change in style suggests, though it does not prove, that the final cable may not have been written by Ms. Haspel, Mr. Blanton said.



    8)  If We Silence Hate Speech, Will We Silence Resistance?

    By Erik Nielson, Dr. Nielson has become well-known as an expert in the use of rap music as evidence in criminal trials., August 9, 2018


    A Black Lives Matter protester at a demonstration in Sacramento, Calif., in March.

    Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and most other major internet distributors took a bold step this week when they all but banned content from Infowars, a website run by the right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The tech companies cited their policies against hate speech for their decision, rather than the trafficking in fake news by Infowars. 

    It's tempting to applaud this move, but we should be wary. While Mr. Jones's rhetoric is certainly repugnant, mounting pressure from the political left to censor hateful speech may have unintended consequences, especially for people of color.

    That's because "hate" is a dangerously elastic label, one that has long been used in America to demonize unpopular expression. If we become overzealous in our efforts to limit so-called hate speech, we run the risk of setting a trap for the very people we're trying to defend.

    History offers countless examples. Consider black nationalists of the 1960s and 1970s. Impatient with the lack of progress for African-Americans after the civil rights movement, leaders like Malcolm X routinely inveighed against white America using inflammatory rhetoric. He had no trouble expressing animosity toward the "white devil," and he contemplated violent resistance.

    Malcolm X at a Harlem rally in 1963.

    That put him in the cross hairs of law enforcement, most notably J. Edgar Hoover's F.B.I. Of course, the FBI spied on many other so-called black radicals. Under Hoover's Counterintelligence Program, groups like the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers were subject to routine surveillance, harassment and even violence. Hoover's justification? He labeled them hate groups. It was a cynical but effective way to turn the tables, framing them as antagonists in the centuries' long struggle for racial equality. 

    Hoover is gone, but the tendency to label black radical organizations as hate groups persists, even among groups with more admirable intentions. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist and hate organizations across the country, makes the dubious claim that nearly 25 percent of the 954 "hate groups" they follow are "black nationalist" groups. 

    There's no question that black nationalists often argue for racial separation or that many have engaged in bigotry. But it's false equivalence to label black nationalists and white supremacists alike as hate groups. Doing so ignores the centuries of racial terror that gave rise to black nationalism, as well as the power imbalance that keeps it alive. And it gives a powerful tool to people who want to silence radical perspectives. They can call these viewpoints hate speech.

    Take, as one example, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, a Palestinian-led initiative that endorses a series of nonviolent measures to end Israel's systematic oppression of the Palestinians. As it has gained traction in the United States, in large part because of support from prominent African-American intellectuals and organizations, state and federal lawmakers have increasingly tried to shut the movement down by accusing it of hate speech.

    The pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement has increasingly been the target of lawmakers who accuse it of hate speech.

    The New York State Senate, for example, recently passed a bill that would prohibit from receiving public funds "student organizations that participate in hate speech, including advocating for the boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel and American allied nations." Meanwhile, Congress (with support from many Democrats) has been trying to criminalize the movement for years. 

    If people engaged in a boycott can be silenced, even criminalized, for discriminating against the group they accuse of discrimination, we begin to see how problematic it is to punish "hate" speech. It can devolve into the politics of choosing sides, and that is usually bad news for people who lack political clout to begin with.

    Black Lives Matter would know. A movement formed in response to police violence against African-Americans, it has been accused by law enforcement officials, and even some state legislators, of being a hate group, despite the fact that it renounces violence and welcomes allies from all walks of life. 

    By accusing Black Lives Matter of peddling hate, politicians effectively turned the tables on the movement, allowing lawmakers, in some cases, to strengthen protections for the police. Since 2016, several "Blue Lives Matter" bills have been enacted across the country, many of which seek to add police as a protected class covered by hate crimes laws. Following this logic, Black Lives Matter's opposition to police brutality is a kind of hate itself, from which the police require additional protection. Yet killings by police officers are increasing while line-of-duty deaths of police officers are decreasing.

    It is difficult to imagine a more ridiculous outcome. But it speaks to one of the most serious perils of limiting speech: a measure to protect minority perspectives can instead be used to further marginalize them. 

    Despite this, a significant number of young Americans, especially young Americans of color, believe that hate speech should be limited by the government or on college campuses. In addition, some scholars have recently argued for legal restrictions on hate speech.

    But how would stronger limits on hate speech affect progressive protests against white supremacy? What would have been the fate, for example, of the historic Million Man March in 1995, an event organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan? The Nation of Islam is a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group, and Mr. Farrakhan has openly made anti-Semitic comments for years. At the same time, the March was a landmark effort focused on uniting black men in the face of widespread inequality and racism.

    Participants in the 1995 Million Man March, a day of atonement and reconciliation conceived by Louis Farrakhan for African-American men.

    What about the equally historic Women's March in 2017, after it was revealed that some of the event's most prominent organizers had ties to Mr. Farrakhan? Or that they openly revered Assata Shakur, a black revolutionary who was convicted (albeit questionably) of killing a police officer and is now on the F.B.I.'s list of most-wanted terrorists? Predictably, they have been accused by some of embracing hate, yet they organized one of the most significant protests in United States history.

    If we allowed these voices to be silenced on grounds that they promote hate, we'd find ourselves scrambling to defend the radical poets, musicians, filmmakers and other artists who have pushed the boundaries of expression into what could arguably amount to hate speech, but who have done so from the vanguard of social and political protest. 

    That almost certainly explains the response from the music industry when Spotify announced its decision to stop promoting artists who engage in hateful speech or conduct. A number of people, including representatives from Kendrick Lamar's record label, Top Dawg Entertainment, expressed concerns that such a policy would lead to censorship and threatened to pull their music from the service. 

    Within weeks, Spotify reversed course, noting that its policy was "vague." But by silencing Mr. Jones on its platform, it's not exactly clear where Spotify is drawing the line.

    And that's the inherent danger in attempting to limit something like hate. It can be so broadly defined that our efforts to counteract it will be broad, too. 

    If that happens, we risk silencing the voices and perspectives we can least afford to lose. That's not a triumph over hate. That's falling victim to it.

    Erik Nielson (@ErikNielson) is an associate professor of liberal arts at the University of Richmond.

    My comment on this article:

    The flaw in Dr. Nielson's argument is that Black Lives Matter is not lynching white people or running them over with cars; Malcolm X never advocated lynching white people nor did he ever physically attack or threaten white people; Lewis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam never lynched, drove over or beat up white people; The BDS movement never built a wall around Jewish people, nor do they advocate violence against Jewish people. But the Alt-Right does ALL OF THAT AND MORE. These are groups that actively perform violence against Black people and people of color. They speak HATE SPEECH! ——Bonnie Weinstein



    9) Melania Trump's Parents Become U.S. Citizens, Using 'Chain Migration' Trump Hates

    By Annie Correal and Emily Cochrane, August 9, 2018


    Melania Trump's parents, Amalija and Viktor Knavs, flank their lawyer, Michael Wildes, heading to their naturalization ceremony in Manhattan on Thursday.

    President Trump has repeatedly and vehemently denounced what he calls "chain migration," in which adult American citizens can obtain residency for their relatives.

    On Thursday, his Slovenian in-laws, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became United States citizens in a private ceremony in Manhattan by taking advantage of that same family-based immigration program.

    Asked if the Knavses had obtained citizenship through "chain migration," their lawyer, Michael Wildes, said, "I suppose."

    He said chain migration is a "dirtier" way of characterizing what he called "a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification."

    Melania Trump had sponsored her parents for their green cards, Mr. Wildes said in describing the process by which the Knavses had become United States citizens. "Once they had the green card, they then applied for citizenship when they were eligible," he said.

    Even as his in-laws were going through the process, Mr. Trump was denouncing it. In November, he tweeted, "CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!"

    Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's communications director, said that because the Knavses are not part of the administration, "I'm not commenting on them."

    Ms. Grisham directed further questions concerning the president's views on immigration — and the immigration status of his in-laws — to the West Wing, which did not immediately respond to emails and phone calls requesting comment.

    The Knavses have a relatively high profile for presidential in-laws. They frequently travel with the Trumps and split their time between New York, Palm Beach and Washington, where they stay in the White House.

    Since initial reports emerged in February that the Knavses had obtained permanent residency in the United States, there has been a lack of clarity about when or how the couple received green cards. And unless the couple themselves divulge the timeline of their citizenship process, the applications and petitions are protected by privacy law.

    Under immigration statutes, the Knavses would have needed to have their green cards for at least five years in order to apply for citizenship, along with fulfilling character, residency and civic knowledge requirements. The time to process an application for naturalization in New York City typically ranges from 11 to 21 months, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

    Their lawyer said that the couple had met the five-year requirement, but added, "I can't give further comment."

    News of the ceremony prompted an immediate response on Twitter.

    Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and political commentator, tweeted, "I guess when it's Melania's Family, it's 'family reunification' and should be applauded. Everybody else, it's 'chain migration' and must be stopped."

    But Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that supports tighter controls on immigration, said in an interview that the Knavses were following the law. "It's the current system," he said. "The question is what is the policy, and if a different policy is better, I'm all for it, but it doesn't mean people working within the current policy are doing anything morally wrong."

    The president often rails against family-based immigration at his rallies, and has called it a pathway for terrorists to enter the country. He frequently reminds his audiences of the October terror attack in New York, where Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, plowed a pickup truck down a bike lane, killing eight people near the World Trade Center. While the president never names Mr. Saipov, who obtained his green card through the equally maligned diversity lottery, which grants visas to people from countries that have had fewer immigrants, he has been known to detail the attack.

    "He said, 'Hey look, there's people, nice people, they're relaxing, some are jogging,'" Mr. Trump said during a rally last week in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., lamenting the lives lost and those who were injured. "He decides to kill them."

    "They lost arms. They lost limbs. They lost so much. They lost their life. But they lost so much," Mr. Trump added. "So, we have to change this and we're going to change it."

    Typically, naturalization ceremonies at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building at 26 Federal Plaza are large events, where groups of immigrants are sworn in as citizens en masse, after reciting an oath and the Pledge of Allegiance.

    The Knavses' lawyer said their ceremony was kept private for "security reasons." Thomas Cioppa, New York district director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, presided over the 20-minute ceremony, Mr. Wildes said. As is customary, the couple held their hands over their hearts and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, he said.

    The Knavses, both in their 70s, raised Mrs. Trump in Sevnica, a Slovenian town of around 4,500 people. There, Mr. Knavs was a traveling car salesman and belonged to the Communist Party. Mrs. Knavs had harvested onions on her family's farm, then worked in a textile factory, and sewed her two daughters' clothes.

    Mrs. Trump was born in 1970 and during her childhood Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia, was ruled by Josip Broz Tito, a Communist dictator who nonetheless allowed more freedoms than other Eastern bloc leaders. When Mrs. Trump began her modeling career, while still a teenager, the whole family sensed opportunity, according to those who knew them in Slovenia.

    According to news reports, she entered the country in 2001 on a so-called Einstein visa for "individuals of extraordinary ability" as a model. She became a United States citizen in 2006.

    Mrs. Trump was not present for the ceremony, and her parents told their lawyer she was in Bedminster, N.J., where the president spends time in the summer at Trump National Golf Club.

    The Federal Building also houses immigration court and the local offices of the Department of Homeland Security, and its subsidiary, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    It is not infrequently the site of protests, but on Thursday, things were quiet as the first lady's parents came and went. Curious about the cameras, bystanders wandered over. William White, a 74-year-old actor, said, with his eyebrows raised, "I'm happy for them."

    He went on: "It seems like we now have two immigration systems. One for the people who have no power, and one for the people who we are letting in through the V.I.P. entrance. We saw an example of that today."

    Katie Rogers contributed reporting from Washington. 



    10) Nebraska Plans First Execution in 21 Years. Not So Fast, Drug Company Says.

    By Richard A. Oppel Jr., August 9, 2018


    Carey Dean Moore is set to be executed on Tuesday. Fresenius Kabi, a German pharmaceutical company, has asked a judge to block the use of its drugs in his execution.

    Carey Dean Moore, who faces the death penalty next week for killing two taxi drivers in Omaha in 1979, has stopped fighting his looming execution. But his life may be extended by a German drugmaker that says it produced two of the drugs that are to be injected into Mr. Moore's veins.

    Fresenius Kabi, one of Germany's largest companies, has asked a judge to block the use of its drugs in Nebraska's first execution in 21 years and its first-ever lethal injection. Use of the drugs, the company says, will cause grave harm to its reputation if products intended to help treat people are used to kill.

    A hearing is planned for Friday afternoon in Federal District Court in Lincoln, and if the judge grants the company's request for an injunction it could delay the execution, scheduled for Tuesday.

    Two drugs Fresenius says it manufactured, along with two other drugs, are set to be used in Mr. Moore's execution.

    Fresenius says it takes no position on capital punishment, but that it has strict contracts with distributors that ban sales to prisons for executions or to anyone other than hospitals and other medical users. It says Nebraska illegally obtained both a muscle relaxant and a drug that, when given at extremely high doses, can stop a beating heart.

    In Nebraska, any delay could further complicate matters because the state's supply of one of the drugs, potassium chloride, expires in three weeks, and its supply of the other, cisatracurium, expires on Oct. 31, according to Scott R. Frakes, the state corrections director. The drugs used in lethal injection have become increasingly difficult to obtain as pharmaceutical companies try to clamp down on their use and death penalty opponents argue that new drug protocols are unproven or inhumane.

    On Thursday night, Tennessee carried out its first execution since 2009, putting Billy Ray Irick to death for the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl in 1985. The state used a combination of drugs that Mr. Irick's lawyers had argued could make the condemned feel like they were burning alive and drowning.

    According to The Tennessean newspaper, Mr. Irick "was coughing, choking and gasping for air" and "his face turned dark purple as the lethal drugs took over."

    In its lawsuit, Fresenius has raised the specter that use of the drugs could lead to a botched execution, saying that its drugs, when obtained improperly, are at risk of being handled or transported in ways that leave them adulterated and chemically altered. For example, it says cisatracurium, the muscle relaxant, loses effectiveness when not refrigerated in the carton between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, but that Nebraska's execution protocols call for the drugs to be stored at "room temperature storage conditions."

    The company says it determined it was the maker of the potassium chloride because an inventory of drugs kept by the state showed that its stockpile came in vials of 30 milliliters. Fresenius says it is the only manufacturer that packages the drug in vials of that size.

    "We made no sales to the Department of Correctional Services, nor have any of our authorized distributors," Fresenius Kabi wrote in a statement. "So we can only conclude Nebraska may have acquired this product from an unauthorized seller."

    Nebraska is fighting separate legal efforts to force it to disclose where it got the drugs. A statement issued by Attorney General Doug Peterson said the drugs "were purchased lawfully and pursuant to the state of Nebraska's duty to carry out lawful capital sentences."

    But neither the statement, nor state officials on Thursday, said which company manufactured the drugs, what temperature they are being stored at or whether an injunction would delay the execution. The offices of Mr. Peterson and the Nebraska governor, Pete Ricketts, did not respond to messages on Thursday.

    The planned execution of Mr. Moore, 60, is also notable because it would be the first-ever lethal injection in the United States that uses fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is at the heart of the nation's overdose crisis. Mr. Moore has ceased efforts to prevent his execution.

    It is also the second time in a month that pharmaceutical manufacturers have sought to block a state from using their drugs in an execution.

    In July, the execution of Scott Dozier in Nevada was delayed after a drug maker, Alvogen, said one of the drugs in the state's execution protocol had been obtained illicitly. Two other companies that also make drugs that Nevada wants to use in the execution, Sandoz and Hikma Pharmaceuticals, have also sought to block the state from using their products.

    Maya Foa, the director of Reprieve, a human rights organization in London, said there is now consensus in the pharmaceutical industry that it should fight to prevent its products from being used in executions.

    "We've come to a tipping point in terms of the industry's desire to see their contracts and rights respected and enforced," Ms. Foa said.

    On top of that, she said, state governments are undermining public health by using murky or illegal drug distribution channels to traffic in powerful narcotics and other drugs.

    "That's scandalizing in a climate where we're seeing a hundred people dying every day from the opioid epidemic," she said.

    The drug companies' aggressive maneuvers have put officials in some death penalty states on the defensive. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the Nevada Supreme Court in the Dozier case, 15 other states contend that the drug companies' arguments are groundless.

    Their lawsuits "do not even need to succeed on the merits in order to achieve the desired outcome and prevent an execution," their brief states. "Instead, they merely have to obtain an injunction preventing a state from carrying out an execution on the scheduled date. And that alone might delay an execution long enough that a state's drugs could expire."

    Leslie Rutledge, the attorney general of Arkansas, one of the 15 states, argued that the companies "are being pressured by anti-death-penalty advocates to stop supplying the drug to carry out lawful executions," adding: "The families of these victims deserve justice."

    The other states supporting Nevada's effort to execute Mr. Dozier over the drug companies' objections are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.


    Judge Rejects Drugmaker's Attempt to Block Nebraska Execution




    11) Trump Used Racial Slur During 'Celebrity Apprentice,' Former Aide Says

    By Maggie Haberman, August 20, 2018


    Omarosa Manigault Newman was a contestant on the first season of "The Apprentice" and later served was an adviser to Donald J. Trump on the campaign trail and at the White House.

    President Trump frequently used the word "nigger" while he was the host of the reality television show "Celebrity Apprentice" and there are tapes that can confirm it, according to a new memoir by one of Mr. Trump's former White House advisers, Omarosa Manigault Newman.

    The claim is among the more explosive that Ms. Manigault Newman makes in the book, "Unhinged." It was first reported by the British publication The Guardian, which had an early copy.

    Ms. Manigault Newman said she never heard Mr. Trump use the word herself, a point that critics of her credibility are certain to seize on. But she said that by the time she was fired by the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, she had come to realize that Mr. Trump was a "racist."

    "It had finally sunk in that the person I'd thought I'd known so well for so long was actually a racist," she said in the memoir. "Using the N-word was not just the way he talks but, more disturbing, it was how he thought of me and African Americans as a whole.''

    Ms. Manigault Newman worked with Mr. Trump on the show as a first-season contestant, and then was an adviser to his campaign and later in the White House. She was fired in December 2017, after what White House aides said were multiple instances of misconduct, including misuse of a car service and attempting to photograph her wedding on White House grounds. The White House has declined to respond to the allegations in her book so far, although several advisers have privately questioned her credibility and pointed out that she was very upset at being dismissed.

    In her book, Ms. Manigault Newman suggested she now believes she was pushed out because she was close to getting hold of the secret tapes revealing Mr. Trump using the racist word.

    She also wrote that she has been investigating the existence of tapes that prove Mr. Trump used the word since late 2016.

    "By that point, three sources in three separate conversations had described the contents of this tape," she said. "They all told me that President Trump hadn't just dropped a single N-word bomb. He'd said it multiple times throughout the show's taping during off-camera outtakes, particularly during the first season of 'The Apprentice.'"

    She added, "I would look like the biggest imbecile alive for supporting a man who used that word."

    When she was fired, she said she had a "growing realization that Donald Trump was indeed a racist, a bigot and a misogynist.''

    She continued: "My certainty about the N-word tape and his frequent uses of that word were the top of a high mountain of truly appalling things I'd experienced with him, during the last two years in particular."



    12)  E.P.A. Staff Objected to Agency's New Rules on Asbestos Use, Internal Emails Show

    By Lisa Friedman, August 10, 2018


    Workers removed asbestos debris from the site of a home destroyed by a wildfire in Coffey Park, Calif., in December. The E.P.A. has proposed new rules governing use of the material.

    WASHINGTON — Top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency pushed through a measure to review applications for using asbestos in consumer products, and did so over the objections of E.P.A.'s in-house scientists and attorneys, internal agency emails show.

    The clash over the proposal exposes the tensions within the E.P.A. over the Trump administration's efforts to roll back environmental rules and rewrite other regulations that industries have long fought.

    Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral and known carcinogen, was once common in insulation and fireproofing materials, but today most developed countries ban it. The United States still allows limited use in products including gaskets, roofing materials and sealants.

    The proposed new rule would create a new process for regulating uses of asbestos, something the E.P.A. is obliged to do under a 2016 amendment to a toxic substances law.

    The E.P.A. says it is toughening oversight. However, the way its new rule is written has spawned a spirited debate over whether it will actually make it easier for asbestos to come back into more widespread use. Consumer groups say the agency should be looking for ways to prohibit asbestos entirely.

    "The new approach raises significant concerns about the potential health impacts," wrote Sharon Cooperstein, an E.P.A. policy analyst, in one of the emails. She, along with a veteran E.P.A. scientist and a longtime agency attorney, said the proposal as designed left open the possibility that businesses could start using asbestos in some cases without getting the government's assessment, putting the public at risk.

    The asbestos plan, which was introduced with little fanfare in June, stems from the E.P.A.'s responsibility to regulate chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act and fulfill an Obama-era amendment that requires the agency to regularly re-evaluate the harmfulness of toxic materials. Asbestos is the most prominent of the current batch of substances the E.P.A. is deciding how best to regulate in the future.

    Andrew R. Wheeler, E.P.A.'s acting administrator, said the E.P.A.'s plan would make it more difficult to use asbestos in products. The E.P.A., he wrote on Twitter, "is proposing a new rule that would allow for the restriction of asbestos manufacturing and processing of new uses of asbestos."

    The Trump administration has made government deregulation — of environmental rulesbanking guidelines and myriad other regulatory areas — a centerpiece of its policy agenda, and the E.P.A. has been at the forefront of the effort. In recent weeks the agency detailed one of its most significant efforts, a major weakening of federal auto-emissions regulations.

    The United States tried to ban asbestos use in the 1970s, but that effort was overturned by the federal courts in 1991. However the ruling did retain a ban on new uses of asbestos. Because of that (and the potential legal liability), use of asbestos declined in the United States.

    Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts is leading an effort among Democratic state attorneys to fight the asbestos plan, calling it a threat to human health. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma and other ailments.

    "In recent years, tens of thousands have died from mesothelioma and other diseases caused by exposure to asbestos and other dangerous chemicals," she said. "If the Trump administration's erosion of federal chemical safety rules continues, it will endanger our communities and the health of all Americans."

    The United States no longer mines or manufactures asbestos. Until recently, Brazil had been the source of about 95 percent of all asbestos used in America, according to the E.P.A., but last year that country banned its manufacture and sale. Since then, Russia has stepped in as a supplier.

    One Russian producer recently signaled enthusiasm for the American market. Last month, the Russian firm Uralasbest posted on Facebook an image of its asbestos packaging that featured President Donald J. Trump's face along with the words: "Approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States." The company is one of the world's largest producers and sellers of asbestos.

    Uralasbest did not respond to a request for comment.

    The new E.P.A. proposal is called a "significant new-use rule" that sets out the guidelines for what types of asbestos uses the federal government considers risky enough to evaluate and perhaps restrict or ban.

    The internal E.P.A. emails indicate that, this year, top E.P.A. officials sought a last-minute change in the language of the rule.

    "Upper management asked us to take a different approach," wrote Robert T. Courtnage, an associate chief in E.P.A.'s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, in an April 25 email sent to 13 members of an agency group working on the then-forthcoming proposal. Specifically: Rather than call for all new uses of asbestos to come before the E.P.A. for a risk review, the rule would include just 15 specific uses that would trigger a federal assessment.

    The list of 15 included a number of specific and relatively common uses for asbestos, including as separators in fuel cells and batteries and as a component in vinyl-asbestos floor tile and high-grade electrical paper.

    Mr. Courtnage in his email did not identify who had sought the change. He and other E.P.A. officials who wrote the emails did not respond to requests for comment.

    Critics of the rule argue that limiting the review to 15 uses means other potential uses would avoid examination.

    "This is presuming there's nothing under the sun you could ever do with asbestos other than these 15 things," said Betsy Southerland, former director of the E.P.A.'s office of science and technology, in an interview. Ms. Southerland resigned from E.P.A. last year over the Trump administration's leadership of the agency and is working on opposing the asbestos rule and others for the Environmental Protection Network, a group of agency alumni.

    Narrowing the list to 15 potential uses took E.P.A. scientists and attorneys by surprise, the emails indicate. Three staff members argued in the emails that the agency could not anticipate all future uses of asbestos, and therefore risked letting some uses take place without being weighed for safety risks.

    Under the E.P.A.'s approach, if the agency "failed to correctly anticipate some other new use, then it seems to me that the manufacture of such a product would not be subject to" the new-use rule, wrote Susan Fairchild, an environmental scientist who has worked at the agency since 1991.

    "Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance with no safe exposure amount," Mark Seltzer, an attorney who has been with E.P.A. more than a decade, noted in another email

    A spokesman for the E.P.A., James Hewitt, said the emails indicated staff and other members of the working group on asbestos "did not fully understand the proposal being developed."

    In a telephone interview this week, Nancy B. Beck, the E.P.A.'s deputy assistant administrator in the agency's chemical safety office, said the rules would to restrict and perhaps even ban some uses of asbestos where no means of doing so currently exist. "Obviously someone out there thinks we are increasing exposure to asbestos when we are doing the opposite," she said.

    The E.P.A. has set a Friday deadline for the public to comment on the asbestos rule, which it intends to finalize this year.

    Before joining the E.P.A. Ms. Beck served as an executive at the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry's main trade association. (An E.P.A. spokeswoman also noted that Ms. Beck also previously worked for the Washington State Department of Health and served in the Office of Management and Budget under two former presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.)

    The American Chemistry Council has not weighed in directly on the proposed asbestos rule.

    Ms. Beck said that, since there is no ban on asbestos, no regulatory process currently exists to stop a company that chooses to put it in something like flooring or roofing materials. But under the rule, some of those ways of employing asbestos — which had over the decades become less common — would now be considered a significant new use. That will force companies to notify the E.P.A. and face an evaluate the risks.

    "If you want to put asbestos in flooring materials you have to come to us first and we have to do a thorough risk evaluation and approve it," she said. "Or we simply prohibit it."

    Asked why the rule specified 15 uses instead of applying to all prospective uses, Ms. Beck said the agency was confident it had included all foreseeable uses of asbestos. "We think we have identified all of the potential possible uses that are out there and could come back into manufacturing," Ms. Beck said. "The universe is covered."



    13)  He Spoke for the Tree. Then He Got Fired.

    By Andy Newman, August 10, 2018


    Alec Baxt, a former arborist at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, suggested that people should cancel their memberships after garden management had a London plane tree removed.

    On a little hillside in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, there is a patch of brown mulch that, until very recently, was a tree.

    It was not a rare kind of tree. It was not even a whole tree. It was the 10-foot-high living stump of what was once a mighty London plane tree, with a hollow inside big enough for people to stand in.

    The hollow tree had friends and fans. Children played in it. Adults stood in it and contemplated the inside-out view of the landscape. It served as shelter in downpours. People called it the treehouse tree.

    But according to the garden's management, the treehouse tree was an accident waiting to happen. It had sprouted a bushy head of new branches that it could not support in the long run. Playing inside it was against the garden's rules. The garden wanted to take the tree down to make room for a "vigorous young tree" that would help "make for a much healthier collection overall," it said in a letter to members.

    The garden's own arborists, seeing how curious and interested visitors were in the tree, proposed a way to maintain it by pruning the new growth. One arborist, Alec Baxt, participated in a social media campaign to save the tree. More than 150 people signed an online petition urging the garden's president, Scot D. Medbury, to spare it.

    On July 23, the garden cut it down.

    Mr. Baxt wrote a post on a Facebook page created for the tree criticizing the garden's leadership. The post, now deleted, asked garden members to "consider canceling your membership for a year."

    The next day, he was fired.

    The garden would not say why, other than "for cause," citing the confidentiality of personnel maters, but a spokeswoman, Elizabeth Reina-Longoria, said, "We were saddened" by the recommendation that people cancel their memberships.

    Mr. Baxt, 41, who worked at the garden for eight years, said the Lorax-like battle over one tree reflected a broader problem at the garden, a 52-acre preserve famed for its Cherry Esplanade and Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and visited by nearly a million people a year.

    For years, he said, the leadership of the garden, focusing on building new features and expanding attendance, has disregarded the input of its professional boots on the ground. He said several trees had ended up injured or dead because of the simple failure to include garden staff in planning.

    "This is ultimately a desperate plea for the garden to stop causing harm to itself," he said.

    The garden, for its part, disagreed strongly, saying Mr. Baxt's representation was "inaccurate" and that "staff on all levels, as well as outside horticultural scientists, landscape architects and engineers with relevant expertise and knowledge" were involved. "Staff recommendations and feedback are always welcome and carefully considered," Ms. Reina-Longoria said in an email.

    The treehouse tree was planted around a hundred years ago near what is now the Fragrance Garden. London planes are towering trees with camouflage-patterned bark that are planted along boulevards around the city because of their majesty and durability. This one grew to be about 65 feet tall, with a trunk more than four feet across. But the garden's arborists determined that the tree could no longer safely hold up its spreading canopy, and this spring, they cut it off.

    By early July, a riot of green shoots, called suckers, had sprouted directly from the top of the stump.

    The question of whether these posed a danger was a matter of considerable debate.

    The garden said that because the tree's base was compromised, new branches would eventually pose a risk of falling, and that while the new growth could be pruned, that would require "disproportionate attention."

    Mr. Baxt said pruning the tree would have taken only an hour or two a year.

    As clamor built to save the tree, the garden retained an arboricultural consultant, James R. Clark, co-author of one of the tree trade's standard textbooks. He examined photographs and determined that the hollowed trunk would keep decaying. "That's really just an untenable situation," he said by phone on Friday.

    A different expert, who a garden staff member recommended, reached the opposite conclusion. Guy Meilleur of Historic Tree Care in North Carolina, who has written dozens of peer-reviewed articles, looked at a photo of the cut-down trunk and said that almost all the sapwood was healthy and that the tree had successfully walled off the decayed part from the healthy part.

    Before the tree was cut down, people would play in its hollow core.

    "You can't get any safer for a tree than a standing solid trunk with no load on it," he said. "To say it might be unsafe if branches grow out and get big enough to fall and hurt somebody — you could say that about any tree."

    Mr. Baxt returned to the garden on Thursday for the first time since his termination. A security guard greeted him with a fist bump. "I'm mad, man," the guard said.

    Mr. Baxt stopped to point out a place where a tall shingle oak fell a few months ago, years after sustaining what he said was an easily avoidable wound at the base of the trunk, caused by construction equipment, that allowed fungus to enter and weaken the tree.

    The garden said the construction took place around 2004, before the current management was in place.

    "This is a museum, and the plants are the museum's collection," Mr. Baxt said. "If you think about it like MoMA — if they hire people to renovate and the staff says, 'You should really take these paintings off the wall first,' and they say, 'No, we're just going to paint, we'll avoid the edges of the paintings,' — how many years do you do that and just watch these paintings get slopped over?"

    Mr. Baxt led a reporter and photographer over to the scar where the treehouse tree had stood, about 50 feet from the garden's administrative offices. The three visitors were quickly escorted off the grounds in a golf cart.

    The garden's head arborist, Christopher Roddick, declined to comment by phone, but he echoed some of Mr. Baxt's broader concerns about management culture in a Facebook post after the firing. "In these times," he wrote, "the message the executive class is sending is clear: working women and men should blindly obey orders with no questions asked, even when they are experts in their field."

    A former educator at the garden, LaShaun Ellis, said she missed the treehouse tree already.

    "It was just the sweetest thing," she said, "the way people gathered around it and just sort of fell in love with it as a sort of miniature bonsai version of its former self." Being inside a tree, she said, "brings you a lot closer to nature."



    14) Can You Imagine Living Like This?' Pregnant Woman and Toddler Among Those Killed in Israel's Latest Vicious Assault on Gaza

    "As Israeli airstrikes persist and the living situation gravely worsens, Palestinians in Gaza are on the brink of a full-blown humanitarian crisis due to Israel's 10-year siege. Everyday life in besieged Gaza is shaped by Israeli policy."


    Jake Johnson, August 9, 2018


    Smoke rises after an Israeli aircraft bombed a multi-story building in Gaza City August 9, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

    After a massive Israeli bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning killed a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old daughter, Israel's vicious assault on the occupied Palestinian territory continued throughout the day on Thursday as the nation's air force leveled a major civilian cultural center in Gaza City and slammed more than a 150 other targets.

    Israel's latest attack on Gaza was characterized as the largest escalation since 2014, when Israel killed more than 2,000 Palestinians in a seven-week military operation. Videos and images of Thursday's wave of bombings spread quickly across social media, revealing the intensity and scope of the airstrikes as they pounded buildings and densely populated areas.

    According to Haaretz, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) intentionally targeted civilians "with the goal of causing the residents to understand the price of escalation and placing Hamas in a problematic situation."

    While Israeli officials insisted that their large-scale attack on Gaza was in response to Hamas rocket fire, Haaretz reports that it was in fact the Israeli army that sparked the escalation by killing two Palestinians with tank fire, after they allegedly mistook a training exercise for an actual attack.

    As Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, put it, the "current Israeli bombardment sequence in Gaza started when the Israeli military killed two Palestinians, lied about why, and later admitted to doing so just as a high level Palestinian delegation was on its way to Cairo to discuss longer term cease-fire."

    Angry that major media outlets are highlighting the fact that its latest wave of bombings killed a pregnant woman and her young child, the Israeli government has begun openly pressuring news outlets that dare to report its war crimes accurately.

    After the BBC published a headline that read, "Israeli air strikes 'kill woman and a toddler,'" the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a formal complaint to the British outlet, and it ultimately changed the headline to, "Gaza air strikes 'kill woman and child' after rockets hit Israel."

    "This is a disgrace," the anti-occupation Jewish advocacy group IfNotNow tweeted in response to the BBC's decision to cave to the demands of the Israeli government. "Even the most respected news sources bow Israeli pressure to present Israel's war crimes as passively as possible."

    Israel's latest bombing campaign in Gaza comes just weeks after Israeli F-16s carried out "wide-scale" airstrikes throughout the occupied territory. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned last month that Israel is preparing to launch a "large and painful military operation," and Thursday's bombardment appeared to be a step in that direction.

    "We don't see the end of the escalation. We are closing in on operation in Gaza," a senior IDF official told Haaretz on Thursday.

    As Israel continues to attack Gaza and strangle its economy with measures that have been denounced as "genocidal policies of collective punishment," the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) noted that "Palestinians in Gaza are on the brink of a full-blown humanitarian crisis due to Israel's 10-year siege."

    "Everyday life in besieged Gaza is shaped by Israeli policy," IMEU added, posting a video compilation that captures the living conditions of millions of the nearly two million people living in the occupied Gaza Strip.

    "The U.N. says Gaza will be unlivable by 2020," IMEU observes. "But can you imagine living like this today?"



    15) Massive Israeli armored convoy heads to Gaza for potentially largest operation since 2014

    By Leith Aboufadel, August 9, 2018


    BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – A massive Israeli armored convoy was seen heading towards the Gaza Strip, today, following an intense confrontation last night.

    According to local Palestinian activists, this Israeli armored convoy has position themselves around the Gaza Strip and is preparing to launch a major military operation that is bigger than the one that took place in the Summer of 2014.

    This move by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) comes just hours after the Palestinian forces fired more than 150 rockets towards the settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip.

    Egypt is reportedly attempting to mediate between the Israeli and Palestinians in order to prevent any further escalations.



    16) DNA Links Colorado Murders From 34 Years Ago to an Inmate

    By Christopher Mele, August 10, 2018


    Alexander C. Ewing in a 2008 Nevada prison photo. Mr. Ewing, who is serving a sentence for attempted murder and other crimes in Nevada, was linked by DNA to the murders of four people in 1984 in Colorado, the authorities said on Friday.

    The murders were as inexplicable as they were gruesome: separate killings six days apart in 1984 near Denver that claimed the lives of four people, including a mother and father and their 7-year-old daughter.

    The father suffered 16 blows to the top of his head with a hammer and his throat had been cut, according to court documents. The daughter's and mother's skulls were fractured and the daughter had been sexually assaulted.

    Another daughter, who was 3, was also sexually assaulted and survived blunt-force injuries. Police officers found her next to a teddy bear in a bloody bed.

    In the other murder, a 50-year-old woman was eating a Wendy's hamburger at home when an attacker wielding a hammer struck her 17 times in the head, court records say. She too was sexually assaulted.

    The killings haunted the police officers who responded to the scenes, the authorities would later say, and for decades detectives in the two communities where the murders occurred, Aurora and Lakewood, Colo., pursued leads and developed theories. Some of them retired or died, but the search for answers eluded them — until last month.

    On Friday, officials said that the DNA profile of a man in a Nevada prison on unrelated attempted murder charges matched with evidence found at the Colorado murder scenes.

    At a news conference to announce the break in the cases, Peter Weir, the district attorney for the first judicial district in Colorado, said: "Justice in this case has been delayed. I am confident that justice is not going to be denied."

    An arrest warrant has been issued for the inmate, Alexander C. Ewing, 57, and the authorities will seek to extradite him to Colorado, where he faces murder, sexual assault, burglary and related charges in connection with the four killings.

    Court papers tell a story of what appear to be random home invasions with unclear motives.

    The 50-year-old woman who was killed, Patricia Smith of Lakewood, was found wearing a ring with a gold coin. In the killings of the family — Bruce Bennett, 27; his wife, Deborah Bennett, 26; and their 7-year-old daughter — there appeared to be minimal ransacking.

    While investigators recognized similarities between the murders from the start, technology then was limited. It was not until 2010 that a DNA link was established between the two cases.

    Mr. Ewing has an extensive criminal history in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada of attempted murders, burglary and escape.

    In Arizona, he was charged in 1984 with breaking into a man's home and beating him on the head with a 25-pound slab of granite, according to court records. The man survived.

    While he was being held on those charges and transported, Mr. Ewing escaped in Nevada and attacked a couple with a wooden ax handle, according to court records. The Arizona case was dismissed after he was convicted in Nevada and sentenced to eight to 40 years.

    The break in the Colorado murders began after Nevada in 2013 mandated the collection of DNA samples from all inmates convicted of felonies. A previous state law applied only to those individuals convicted of a felony after 1997.

    It was not until 2016 that the state attorney general issued an opinion clarifying that the rule applied retroactively to all felons regardless of when they were convicted; Mr. Ewing had been in Nevada prisons since 1984.

    It was not immediately clear when Mr. Ewing's DNA sample was collected, but on July 11, Lakewood detectives were told that the national database had linked his DNA to that found at the murder scenes, court records said.

    "There's got to be a mistake," he told detectives who confronted him in prison, according to court papers.

    He offered no explanation for how his DNA might have been found. Lab reports estimated that the probability of an unrelated individual at random having a matching DNA profile would be 1 in 230 quadrillion, based on evidence from one of the scenes analyzed.

    The Aurora police chief, Nicholas Metz, said at the news conference that officials hoped that the victims' families would gain a "sense of justice and be able to heal just a little bit more."

    In a statement, the family of Ms. Smith said: "It is difficult to imagine how much more fulfilling our lives would have been if Patricia Smith's life had not been taken from us. It's more difficult to imagine her death remaining a mystery. There is some relief."
























































































    Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com
    Reply via web post Reply to sender Reply to group Start a New Topic Messages in this topic (1)

    Have you tried the highest rated email app?
    With 4.5 stars in iTunes, the Yahoo Mail app is the highest rated email app on the market. What are you waiting for? Now you can access all your inboxes (Gmail, Outlook, AOL and more) in one place. Never delete an email again with 1000GB of free cloud storage.