Prison Facts from the American Friends Service Committee

1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, AFSC.org

Lifetime likelihood of imprisonment for..

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

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



Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/

Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org




*!URGENT PRESS RELEASE FOR SISTA RAMONA AFRICA!* WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21 AT 4504 KINGSESSING AVENUE SHE HAS GIVEN SO MUCH OF HER LIFE FOR ALL LIFE NOW IT'S OUR TURN, COME COVER THE STORY SPREAD IT FAR AND WIDE ONAMOVE PAM AFRICA 267 760 7344 We are asking our community and our supporters to come out or watch via live stream. since sista Pam will be speaking This is a battle for our warrior sister Ramona AFRICA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 215-387-4107 or Marilyn Kai Jewett 215-379-1163 MEDIA ADVISORY UPDATE ON RAMONA AFRICA PHILADELPHIA, August 21, 2018 – The MOVE Organization will hold a news conference 10:00AM, Wednesday, August 22 in front of 4504 Kingsessing Avenue to provide an update on the health of its Minister of Communications Ramona Africa. Ramona, the sole survivor of the May 13, 1985 Holocaust that murdered 11 men, women and children, has been gravely ill for the past few months. She has been hospitalized due to complications from post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted in a stroke. During her diagnosis, it was discovered that Ramona also has cancer. "Ramona's dis- ease is a direct result of the on-going war waged on our Move Family by this government," said Pam Africa. "Two of our family members died in prison under suspicious circumstances termed "cancer." Now Ramona is diagnosed with "cancer" and once again, she's battling to be a survivor. We are standing strong and fighting for the proper medical care for our sister." The hospital has informed the MOVE Family that Ramona's insurance will no longer cover her hospital and therapy bills, and that she will be released from both hospital and therapy unless she can pay the bills herself. To that end, a Go Fund Me page has be established to raise money for her care. People can donate funds at www.gofundme.com/helpsaveramonaafrica. The M OVE Family will provide details on Ramona's medical diagnosis and what is needed for her care and recovery. Your coverage is encouraged.





Prisoner Hunger Strike August 21-September 9

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



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

News Article

August 25, 2018

August 21, 2018

To who it may concern,

We are a group made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including volunteers, former inmates, and currently incarcerated inmates. Many of our members are inmates serving life sentences, several of our group members have been incarcerated for more than a quarter century and two have been incarcerated for more than forty years (each). We have accumulated over 300 years of incarceration in Canadian penitentiaries.

Recently we read an article about the call for a National Prison Strike (America). While our countries may not be the same and the names of the draconian laws and policies are different; the results are the same.

The prison industrial complex exists to make money off and from the needless suffering of human beings. While conditions in most Canadian prisons seems to be, if not better, shall we say different than in America? We have much in common. We too are over incarcerated, overcrowded, over worked, underpaid, under fed, under educated. We too suffer undue delays of parole hearings. We too are separated from our loved ones. We too suffer poor healthcare (in Canada, a country with free universal healthcare) and we too are tired of being subjected to the abuses of callous and masochistic staff.

Up until a few years ago, our system was much better than it is now. Then we had our own Donald Trump moment; our was not a former reality TV star, ours was a right wing religious nut case named Steven Harper. He made sweeping "prison reforms" such as cutting inmate pay in half, cutting most rehabilitation programs, and cutting many other services, especially those designed for lifers. He even cut most of the chaplaincy staff, and then outsourced the remaining chaplaincy to another country (America). Recently, a decision was made in Orlando, Florida to cut the number of chaplains in a Canadian prison. A full time chaplain lost his position, for which he was only being paid 4 hours a week; and no reason was even given. Luckily, after some outside pressure, that particular decision was reversed.

All in all, our Trump-lite, Steven Harper, introduced a huge piece of legislation he named Safer Streets and Communities. Everyone else commonly referred to it as the omnibus crime bill. In this lovely bit of legislation, he rolled the Canadian prison system back at least 50 years. He had plans to go even further; he wanted to revoke our right to vote. Yes, convicted felons in Canada can still vote, even while still incarcerated, even lifers. But, Harper wanted to take away that right! Harper also wanted to introduce a life means life (no change for parole) policy and at one point he talked about making all sentences indefinite sentences (life); meaning that you would only get out (even for minor offenses) when the powers that be say you are reformed. Which, in most cases, would be never!

Thankfully he was defeated before he could implement those particular heinous policies. The current government made a lot of promises for change, but have actually done very little. I guess we have to be thankful that at least they haven't made things any worse.

In short, yes this was a rather long-winded way to say something, in short; but here it goes:

We the inmates in Canadian prisons offer you our support, our solidarity, and our prayers; we hope that your demands will be met and that your conditions will improve. No human beings should be kept in cages and treated worse than animals; in fact, if animals were treated like prisoners, PETA would go off!

The practice of making money from the suffering of other human beings (prisoners) must stop! All incarcerated and detained men and women are entitled to respect, dignity, humane treatment, proper healthcare, and access to rehabilitation programs and release from prison.

Respectfully yours,

the Termite Collective

Recent Articles:

Strike Statement to the Press; August 22, 2018

Comrade Malik speaks out on nationwide program of political repression against prison organizers

How to Make Anti-Repression Phone Calls to a Prison

Solidarity rally with nationwide prison strike in Milwaukee

Support Prisoners Who Vowed to Strike!

Get Involved

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



Tell Missouri Gov. Mike Parson: 

Appoint a special prosecutor for Mike Brown's case!

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

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

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

Here are the facts:

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

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

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

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

With love, 

Lezley McSpadden


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

Sign Here:




Free Mumia Now!

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

With your help, we just might free him!

Check out this video:

This video includes photo of 1996 news report refuting Judge Castille's present assertion that he had not been requested at that time to recuse himself from this case, on which he had previously worked as a Prosecutor:

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

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

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

• Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and framed!

• Mumia Abu-Jamal is a journalist censored off the airwaves!

• Mumia Abu-Jamal is victimized by cops, courts and politicians!

• Mumia Abu-Jamal stands for all prisoners treated unjustly!

• Courts have never treated Mumia fairly!

Will You Help Free Mumia?

Call DA Larry Krasner at (215) 686-8000

Tell him former DA Ron Castille violated Mumia's constitutional rights and 

Krasner should cease opposing Mumia's legal petition.

Tell the DA to release Mumia because he's factually innocent.



Free Julian Assange NOW!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018, 12:00 Noon

San Francisco UK Consulate

1 Sansome Street, San Francisco

(Near Market Street, Montgomery BART Station)

Don't Allow The Arrest Of Journalist Whistleblower Julian Assange

Initiated By Bay Area Free Julian Assange Action Committee (BAFJAAC)
Endorsed by: United Public Workers For Action

http://www.upwa.info, WorkWeek Radio

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

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

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

Don't Force Assange Out Of Ecuadorian Consulate!

Hands Off Journalists and Whistleblowers!  

Prosecute the Real Criminals!

Free Julian NOW!

Additional media:

Solidarity Rally For Julian Assange In San Francisco

Australian Journalist Union Supports Assange

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



Labor will Rise on September 8th to march as one in a Labor Contingent for Climate Jobs & Justice that will gather on Steuart Street just below Market at Embarcadero Plaza, at 10 a.m. The ILWU Drill Team and a Fire Engine driven by members of SF Firefighters Local 786 honoring first responders will lead the contingent. The Brass Liberation Orchestra will bring up the rear.

The march will call on the political leaders convening later in the week at the Global Climate Action Summit called by Governor Jerry Brown to take urgent, effective action to address climate change and the threat of runaway global warming. The time for half-measures and symbolic gestures is over. We need a transition to a renewable and sustainable energy system that is rapid, just and equitable for impacted workers and front-line communities.

Please plan to attend. Wear union colors. Bring union banners. Help Labor Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice on Saturday, September 8th. RSVP at CA.RiseforClimate.org

Sign the Labor Pledge and check out the Labor Council's resolutionendorsing the march.

For more information visit the event's Facebook page or write to http://bit.ly/LaborRiseGoogleGroup.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity,

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



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


September 30 - October 6, 2018

Come for all or part of the week!


Shut Down Creech 2016

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

Ramstein's "partner drone base," CREECH AFB, plays an equally important role as a CENTRAL DRONE COMMAND CENTERin the U.S. 

Learn more about Ramstein and Creech in this important Intercept investigative report.

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


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


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



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

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

We hope to see you there,

Eleanor, Maggie, Toby, Ann, Mary and Tim

Sponsored by S.F. Bay Area CODEPINK

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

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

In Closing: Inspiring words

from Rafael Jesús González, Poet Laureate of Berkeley, Xochipilli Men's Circle

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






Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Different wings of the same warbird

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

  In response, Sheehan stated that: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  —MPN News, February 20, 2018





The Quakers about Jamil Al-Amin

Newark Office

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

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

July 7, 2018

Dear John Lewis:

I am addressing this to you with copies to others because this is both a professional as well as a personal letter. I spent almost eight years in the south during the civil rights era, serving in Tennessee under the leadership of Maxine and Vasco Smith of the Memphis NAACP and then at Highlander for a year and a half. Professionally, I have the privilege of directing the Prison Watch Program for the American Friends Service Committee. The AFSC is a faith based Quaker organization with a deep belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome injustice. Our Prison Watch Program has been providing witness to conditions of confinement in United States prisons for over four decades, speaking truth to power via publications, public speaking and all forms of media.

In my professional capacity as a monitor of US prisons, I am often called upon to document the treatment endured by a specific person in our criminal legal system. Imam Jamil Al-Amin has been of special interest to me because of his leadership during that important era opposing the racism with which this country has governed. Since then, he has been convicted of serious charges in Georgia, spending the last 18 years in different prisons. He has sustained a number of physical transfers away from his family in Georgia, including spending many of those years in solitary confinement in both the state and federal systems, with no explicit charges for this type of placement. The use of isolated confinement for political dissidents from the civil rights era has been well documented. It was Andrew Young who, as US representative to the United Nations, noted that the United States had what he "would consider political prisoners". In later years, any number of us noted the differential treatment borne by political dissenters who ended up in US prisons. The use of extended isolation was used on many of them, including the Imam. The impact of this extended isolation has been medically documented as extremely damaging to the human psyche.

This should serve as a letter of human rights concern about the Imam. Of specific and current concern is his medical condition, as well as his age. The Imam was diagnosed at the federal Butner Medical Center in 2014 with a pre-cursor stage of multiple myeloma, an incurable form of cancer related to leukemia. This disease causes weight loss, kidney failure, rib fractures and other skeletal abnormalities. It is a medical condition which needs regular medical monitoring. He has been moved twice since his time in a medical facility and is currently at the USP in Arizona. His family and supporters feel continuing concern about his well-being. His disease coupled with his age make the Arizona weather often difficult for him. The long physical, and therefore emotional, separation from family is wearing on the Imam and his entire family. Punishment for a verdict of guilt in the United States is removal from society. The isolation and neglect he endured at ADX, and the current isolation from his home state of Georgia is beyond acceptable. It is hard for me, as a professional witness, to fathom the rationale for this ongoing placement. It also remains difficult for me to understand why this person, or any other person in prison, would be denied access to scholars and journalists. Because of his well-documented history of activism, there are those who would like to interview the Imam as a way of authenticating and studying this history.

Because I have been an activist since the Civil Right Era, my personal awareness of the Imam's life has been ongoing during the decades I have coordinated the AFSC Prison Watch Program. I remain profoundly impacted by the treatment of the Imam and other imprisoned political dissenters from my era of activism. They have endured inappropriate torture in the form of years of solitary confinement. Many, including the Imam, have also endured what can only be described as purposeful medical neglect. It seems to me that it is time for legislators of conscience to investigate our elderly imprisoned citizens, many who have suffered severely for their political beliefs. They need to be released. Short of that, they need to be close to home and cared for medically.

On a personal level, I have always felt very attached to my brave generation - from those who served in Vietnam to those who marched in the South. My own youthful experience in the south was full of many of those people being murdered, being spit at, called a race traitor and feeling unprotected from such hatred. I remember not understanding what there was to hate so deeply and feeling as if we were in a war against black and brown people. H. Rap Brown was an integral part of that very important force to the country towards real social change.

I have been witness since that time to what has happened to so many protesters from my generation who ended up in US prisons. You cannot give me a reason for their "specialized" treatment - the poor medical care which feels purposeful; for keeping families miles apart for no understandable reason; and for the general cruelty to the elderly in our society's prisons no matter why they were convicted. The Imam is currently 75 years old and is serving a life sentence without parole. It doesn't seem logical to keep him from his family, from Georgia or from dialogue with those who seek that with him. It certainly doesn't speak well of our criminal legal system to not provide appropriate medical care.

We need legislators of integrity to consider interceding in what can only be seen as ill-chosen restrictions and neglect. I am specifically reaching out to you because I have imagined a dialogue between you and the Imam, and I wondered if even you would be allowed to see him. Aside from his conditions of confinement issues, perhaps the most disturbing thing of all is that his voice has been deliberately silenced.


Bonnie Kerness, MSW


Prison Watch Program

Cc: Ben Chavis

Bennie Thompson

# # #



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

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Self Portrait, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- The RootsAction.org Team

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






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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keith H. Washington


McConnell Unit

3100 South Emily Drive

Beeville, TX 78103



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

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018


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

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

On today's episode:

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



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

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

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

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

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

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

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

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

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

In Solidarity,

Ramon Mejia

Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War

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

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



Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

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

They need to hear from us!

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

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

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

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

  • September 19/21, 2018: Los Angeles, CA

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 

about the draft in decades . . .

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

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




Incarceration Nation

Emergency Action Alert:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read statements from the reps: 

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



"There Was a Crooked Prez"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

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

He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,

They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,

And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

"Trumpty Dumpty"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

Trumpty Dumpty sat on his wall,

Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the kingpin's forces and all the KKKlansmem

Couldn't put Trumpty together again.

July 25, 2018

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



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

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

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

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

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

Onward in divestment,

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

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





Major George Tillery




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

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

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

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

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

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

Major Tillery and family


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

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

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

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


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

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



    Free Leonard Peltier!

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

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

    USP Coleman I 

    P.O. Box 1033 

    Coleman, FL 33521

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



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

    Charity for the Wealthy!

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

    By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017






    1) Did Juul Lure Teenagers and get "Customers for Life?"

    The e-cigarette company says it never sought teenage users, but the F.D.A. is investigating whether Juul intentionally marketed its devices to youth

    By Matt Richter and Shelia Kaplan, August 27, 2018

    "From a virtual standing-start in 2015, it is now valued by investors at $16 billion."


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

    SAN FRANCISCO — The leaders of a small start-up, PAX Labs, gathered at a board meeting in early 2015 to review the marketing strategy for its sleek new electronic cigarette, called Juul. They watched video clips of hip young people, posed flirtatiously holding Juuls. And they talked about the name of the gadget, meant to suggest an object of beauty and to catch on as a verb — as in "to Juul."

    While the campaign wasn't targeted specifically at teenagers, a former senior manager said that he and others in the company were well aware it could appeal to them. After Juuls went on sale in June 2015, he said, the company quickly realized that teenagers were, in fact, using them because they posted images of themselves vaping Juuls on social media.

    The former manager said the company was careful to make sure the models in its original campaign were at least 21, but it wasn't until late 2016 or January 2017 that the company said it decided the models in all Juul ads should be over age 35 — to be "better aligned" with a mission of focusing on adult smokers. Only in June of this year did the company again change its policy, this time to using only real people who had switched from cigarettes to Juul.

    The company recently modified the names of its flavors — using creme instead of crème brûlée and cucumber instead of cool cucumber. Juul said it "heard the criticism" that teenagers might be attracted to the flavors and "responded by simplifying the names and losing the descriptors."

    The sales campaigns for Juuls — now hugely popular with teenagers across the nation — are at the heart of a federal investigation into whether the company intentionally marketed its devices to youth. The attorney general of Massachusetts, also investigating the company, contends that Juul has been luring teenagers to try the product and has introduced many to nicotine. Her investigation will examine Juul's efforts to audit its own website and other online retailers that sell its products to see how effective they are at preventing minors from accessing Juul or Juul-compatible products. (Federal law prohibits sales of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18.)

    "From our perspective, this is not about getting adults to stop smoking," the Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey, said in an interview. "This is about getting kids to start vaping, and make money and have them as customers for life."

    And Cult Collective, the marketing company that created the 2015 campaign, "Vaporized," claims on its website that the work "created ridiculous enthusiasm" for the campaign hashtag, part of a larger advertising effort that included music event sponsorships and retail marketing. A spokesman for Cult Collective declined to comment.

    Examples of Juul's advertising from 2015. The company's current marketing is far more sober-looking affair, with a less colorful, more adult design.

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

    The original sales campaign was aimed at persuading adult smokers in their 20s and 30s to try an alternative to cigarettes, but it "failed to gain traction on social media and failed to gain sales" and was abandoned after five months, in the fall of 2015, said a company spokesman, Matt David.

    Mr. David said sales didn't take off until 2017, after Juul had improved its sales and distribution expertise, and, by then, had a more sober online marketing campaign.

    The former Juul manager, who spoke to The New York Times on the condition that his name not be used, saying he worried about facing the ire of the company, said that within months of Juul's 2015 introduction, it became evident that teenagers were either buying Juuls online or finding others who made the purchases for them. Some people bought more Juul kits on the company's website than they could individually use — sometimes 10 or more devices.

    "First, they just knew it was being bought for resale," said the former senior manager, who was briefed on the company's business strategy. "Then, when they saw the social media, in fall and winter of 2015, they suspected it was teens."

    The Food and Drug Administration announced it was investigating Juul's marketing efforts in April. Juuls and other e-cigarettes are regulated by the F.D.A. as tobacco products because nicotine derives from tobacco leaves. E-cigarette users inhale far fewer toxins than do smokers of traditional cigarettes. The nicotine inhaled while vaping is less a concern for adults than these toxins, but it remains a serious health issue for teenagers, whose brains are still developing.

    The Juul story highlights a central dilemma in public health. Cigarettes remain the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 people a year. But will it be possible to get people who are addicted to cigarettes to switch to e-cigarettes, which are less harmful, without enticing a new generation of non-smokers to try them?

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

    Juul, in a letter responding to the F.D.A.'s demand for documents, said it had converted one million smokers to Juul, but the company data is drawn from self-reported surveys on its website and is unverifiable.

    Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who heads the F.D.A., declined to comment on the agency's investigation of Juul. But he has long been hopeful that e-cigarettes or other similar devices, properly regulated, will prove a safer alternative to smoking and help people quit the deadly habit. Before becoming F.D.A. commissioner, he served on the board of directors of Kure, a retailer that sells e-cigarette products.

    "Two-thirds of adult smokers have stated they want to quit," he said. "They know it's hard, and they've probably tried many times to quit. We must recognize the potential for innovation to lead to less harmful products."

    But Eric Lindblom, a former F.D.A. tobacco official who heads the tobacco control program at Georgetown Law, said Juul's internal concerns about teenage use demonstrate they are in some ways "no different than the cigarette industry."

    "They are going to maximize their sales and profits any way they can," he said. "They are going to do that within the law, but they are going to press the gray areas as much as they can."

    Juuling becomes a verb

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

    Across the country, Juuls have become so popular that "Juuling" has indeed become a verb, and officials from several state governments have sent alerts to schools warning them about the problem.

    A survey of adolescent drug use last year found that 11 percent of 12th graders, 8.2 percent of 10th graders and 3.5 percent of eighth graders had vaped nicotine in the previous 30 days.

    Juul's other co-founder, Adam Bowen, said that he was aware early on of the risks e-cigarettes posed to teenagers, and that the company had tried to make the gadgets "as adult-oriented as possible," purposely choosing not to use cartoon characters or candy names for its flavors.

    The F.D.A. has ordered Juul to turn over the company's research and marketing documents, including focus group data and toxicology reports, to determine whether it intentionally courted the youth market.

    The day after receiving the F.D.A. letter, Juul announced it would spend $30 million to combat underage vaping and recruited Tom Miller, the attorney general of Iowa, who helped lead the multistate 1998 master settlement with tobacco companies, to run an advisory board to counsel Juul on its efforts. Mr. Miller said recommendations might include more controls on social media marketing and better surveillance of retail outlets, but the ultimate decision on how to spend the money remains with Juul.

    Mr. Miller says he sees huge potential in e-cigarettes. He believes Juul and other e-cigarette companies have already helped lower the adult smoking rate to 13.9 percent in 2017 from 16.8 percent in 2014. "The only plausible explanation is e-cigarettes," he said.

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

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

    A nicotine fad's origin story

    Mr. Bowen, 42, and Mr. Monsees, 38, the company's founders, met in 2003 in a graduate product-design program at Stanford University, bonding over brainstorming sessions and cigarettes. Both had been smokers since their teens, and both have since quit; Mr. Monsees regularly uses a Juul.

    The culmination of the program was a masters thesis, and both had struggled to find a worthy subject. In 2004, about six months before the thesis was due, they got to talking about their smoking habits and, within days, were excitedly sending emails back and forth about developing an alternative to cigarettes.

    Big tobacco companies were experimenting with e-cigarettes, but there was no real market for them until around 2010, when NJoy, an Arizona company, became the industry's first darling. By 2013, e-cigarettes were a $1.7-billion-a-year business, still only a small fraction of the $90 billion cigarette business.

    But then NJoy gambled on an e-cigarette that looked virtually identical to a cigarette. It was a mistake, said Craig Weiss, the chief executive who pushed the so-called cigalike strategy and now consults for Juul. As NJoy's fortuned flagged, he said he realized that people didn't want a product that looked so much like a cigarette that it still left them with the stigma of being a smoker. NJoy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016, later re-emerging.

    Juul initially developed a product in 2010 that looked like a fountain pen and distributed it in specialty vape shops. Its sales grew to a modest $30 million by 2015.

    Then the company found its current design, a sleek stick that looks like a flash drive, and largely stumbled onto a new way of delivering nicotine: it mixes nicotine with a chemical called benzoic acid. The result is that when Juul users inhale, they get a very quick and powerful burst of nicotine. This gives smokers a more cigarette-like experience, but medical researchers say it also makes the product more addictive for youth.

    The company launched its new product in June 2015, with starter kits costing $35, and packs of four nicotine refill cartridges selling for $16 — each roughly the equivalent of the cost of a pack of cigarettes. According to Nielsen, sales in the first month were roughly $1,500 and reached over $1 million that December. It began a steady climb, and then experienced explosive growth in the beginning of 2017, with sales rising 627 percent in the four weeks ending June 17, 2017, according to Nielsen and Wells Fargo Securities.

    The company said that toward the end of 2016 and around the beginning of 2017, it changed its social marketing campaign and guidelines to require all models to be over the age of 35.

    In the last two months, Juul has removed the flavor focus and now uses only "real people" who have used Juul to switch from smoking cigarettes, the company said.

    Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that he was prepared to be a fan of a product like Juul if it is responsibly marketed and shown to help adults quit smoking. But he cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in 2017 2.1 million high schoolers and middle schoolers used e-cigarettes — "and the reports about high school students using Juul are rampant," he said.

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

    A tobacco industry tactic

    On Jan. 23, The Boulder Daily Camera published a front-page story about the growing concerns of local educators in Colorado about student use of Juuls.

    Five days later, Carrie Yantzer, the principal at Nederland Middle-Senior High School, received an email that immediately struck her as suspicious. The writer introduced himself as Bruce Harter, a former educator working with Juul to develop an anti-vaping curriculum for schools.

    "I read about the challenges you're having with Juul," Mr. Harter wrote. He offered a free, three-hour curriculum provided by Juul to discourage teens from using e-cigarettes by teaching them about their brains and giving them mindfulness exercises.

    "What we've found from focus groups with teenage Juul users is that young people don't understand the dangers of nicotine addiction," the letter read. "They sometimes feel 'pushed' by friends to use e-cigarettes. We also found that they don't have operative ways to deal with stress and the emotional ups and downs of their lives right now."

    Ms. Yantzer was angry. "It sounded preposterous," she said, and the company "deceptive."

    She wasn't the only school administrator to get such a letter. The Boulder school district and, ultimately, the state of Colorado condemned the offer as a brand-building exercise that was tone-deaf at the very least.

    "The way we see this is a fox guarding the henhouse," said Alison Reidmohr, tobacco communications specialist for the Colorado Department of Public Health. "A company that stands to profit from, and currently profit off, youth using a product can't be trusted to prevent use of this product."

    Ashley Gould, Juul's chief administrative officer, said the company, because it has not built management around former tobacco-industry employees, was unaware the tactic had been used by cigarette companies. However, Juul's board of directors includes experienced investors, including Nicholas Pritzker, a billionaire whose family controlled one of the country's largest chewing tobacco companies, Conwood, which was acquired in 2006 by Reynolds American for $3.5 billion.

    For its part, Juul said it was still deciding what to do with that school program. Ms. Gould said the company did not realize the curriculum would offend or that the idea harked to a tactic big tobacco companies used decades ago. "We didn't know," she said. "We should've known."

    Juul goes to Washington

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

    The Bluetooth-equipped Juul might provide a way for adult vapers to measure their nicotine use. It also might discourage teen use by disabling the device unless it's in the presence of its adult buyer, perhaps by linking it to the buyer's cellphone. The solution would still require effective controls on sales to minors at brick-and-mortar stores and online retail outlets.

    Juul officials contend their ability to offer such innovations is hamstrung by regulatory policies. The company is building a high-powered operation in Washington to help it navigate such issues. It's run by Tevi Troy, a political strategist who worked with Dr. Gottlieb, the F.D.A. commissioner, at the Department of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush and who wrote an opinion article with him for The Wall Street Journal.

    The company has also hired Jim Esquea, who was an assistant secretary at the health department during the Obama administration, and Gerald Masoudi, a former F.D.A. chief counsel.

    The company is also ratcheting up its lobbying efforts. It has reported spending $450,000 on lobbying so far in 2018 — substantially more than the $120,000 reported spent for all of 2017. It also recently started a political action committee, although no donations have yet been reported. In June, Kevin Burns, Juul's chief executive, gave $50,000 to the Republican congressional leadership fund.

    The centerpiece of Dr. Gottlieb's tobacco control strategy is a plan that would potentially greatly benefit e-cigarette companies, including Juul. It would require tobacco companies to reduce nicotine levels in traditional cigarettes so much that they were no longer addictive. The proposal is still in the early discussion phase, with the tobacco industry strongly opposed. But it would potentially make Juul, a potent nicotine delivery device, far more appealing to smokers.

    Mr. Monsees, a Juul co-founder, says he believes that e-cigarettes are a key to reducing smoking, and can be profitable without sales to teenagers.

    "Yes, I want to make money," he said. "I'm on the board with a fiduciary duty that obligates me to make money."

    But he added, "The best investor return in the long term comes from more adults turning away from combustible cigarettes."

    Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks contributed reporting from Washington.



    2)  Prison Strike Organizers Aim to Improve Conditions and Pay

    By Mitch Smith, August 26, 2018


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

    The inmates at North Carolina's Hyde Correctional Institution hung three banners from the prison fence last week as supporters gathered outside. One sign asked for better food; another requested parole; the third said, "In solidarity."

    The protest came in support of a nationwide prisoner strike to call attention to the low inmate wages, decrepit facilities and harsh sentences that organizers say plague prison populations across the country. Though it is unclear how widespread such demonstrations have been, activists said they had shown a new ability to reach inmates across state lines at a time when prison unrest and in-custody deaths are frequently in the news.

    "Prisoners aren't oblivious to their reality," said Paul Wright, the executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and a longtime critic of prison conditions. "They see people dying around them. They see the financial exploitation. They see the injustice."

    Inmate protests have been happening for generations, but it is only in the last few years that organizers have had success coordinating from penitentiary to penitentiary and state to state. In 2010, Georgia inmates used contraband cellphones to coordinate protests across at least six prisons. And in 2016, prisoners in several states stopped reporting for work to protest their wages.

    Much of the recent activism has focused on inmate pay, which can range from nothing at all in states like South Carolina and Texas to, at best, a few dollars for a day of hard labor in other places. Prisoners frequently refer to it as "slave labor," and organizers of this year's strike have called for inmates to be paid the prevailing wage for the cleaning, cooking and other work they perform behind bars.

    "People are starting to realize how disgusting it is how human beings can be paid pennies," said Amani Sawari, a spokeswoman for Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, a group organizing the strike.

    The current pay leaves many prisoners struggling to afford phone calls to family members or toothpaste and deodorant from the commissary, experts said. Even after years of hard work inside, they frequently have little or nothing saved to help with rent or other necessities when they are released.

    "If they were being paid — even something less than minimum wage, but some reasonable amount of money — they could get out and have at least a little bit of money to get started again," said Michele Deitch, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin who once served as a court-appointed monitor of that state's prison system.

    Ms. Sawari said inmates in several states planned to participate in the strike, which started last week and is scheduled to run through Sept. 9. In addition to increased pay and better living conditions, strikers were calling for changes to sentencing laws and expanded access to rehabilitation and educational opportunities for inmates, among other requests.

    Ms. Sawari's group has suggested that inmates could stop reporting for work, stop eating or perform subtler protests, such as no longer buying supplies from the prison commissary. She said word of the protests has spread through the news media, word of mouth and outreach to different prisons.

    "Prisoners have heard on the radio, they've seen on TV," said Ms. Sawari, whose group has also supported demonstrations in recent days outside of prisons. "We know that this is widespread. We just don't know what specific actions and what specific prisoners."

    Prison officials in several states downplayed the impact of the protests and, in many cases, denied that they were occurring.

    Knowing what is happening in prisons in real time is notoriously difficult. When strikes played out across the country in 2016, activists said it often took weeks or months to fully understand the scope of the protests. Members of the public cannot witness what is going on inside a prison, inmates are limited in their ability to relay their accounts and corrections departments have little incentive to publicize discord.

    In California last week, activists circulated video that appeared to show an inmate turning down a burrito and saying he was on a hunger strike. State officials said they could not confirm that the footage was real.

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

    Activists said detainees at a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Washington State were on a hunger strike. A department spokeswoman, Lori K. Haley, said Sunday that those were "false rumors."

    Officials in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New York and South Carolina, where protest activity had either been reported or rumored, all denied on Sunday that anything was amiss at their facilities. Officials in Ohio, New Mexico and at the Federal Bureau of Prisons did not respond to requests for comment.

    "There are no strikes occurring in Georgia," wrote Joan Heath, a corrections spokeswoman there, in a message that was typical of the other states. "We have been, and will continue to monitor the situation."

    Advocates working on behalf of inmates say there is an urgency in this year's strike, which they are convinced is gaining momentum despite the lack of corroboration. In April, seven inmates died in a riot in a South Carolina prison, and already in August, at least 10 Mississippi inmates have died, most in cases that officials believe were from natural causes.

    By inmates stopping work and calling attention to the problems, their supporters said, there is a hope that conditions might eventually improve.

    "Do we expect that, hey, there's a prison strike and all of a sudden tomorrow prisoners are going to be paid the minimum wage and get adequate health care?" asked Mr. Wright, of the Human Rights Defense Center. "Probably not," he said, "but it's a process."



    3) Swimming While Black in the Age of Trump

    By Bill Berkowitz for Buzzflash at Truthout


    Water park in Durham, NC.

    With an escalating number of reports of incidents at swimming pools across the country, harassment and discrimination against African Americans enjoying this summer pastime is, to paraphrase Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown), "as American as cherry pie."

    "This summer, a black boy was harassed by a white woman in South Carolina; a black woman was asked to provide identification by a white man in North Carolina; and a black man wearing socks in the water had the police called on him by a white manager of an apartment complex in Tennessee," The New York Times' Niraj Choksi recently pointed out.

    Last month, at the Foster Brown public swimming pool in Wilmington, Delaware, several young African American girls were told they had to get out of the pool because of their hijabs (headscarves) and their modest clothing, which included t-shirts and longer shorts. The pool manager claimed that the cotton clothing the children were wearing would clog the pool's filtration system. "There's nothing posted that says you can't swim in cotton," Tahsiyn Ismaa'eel, who runs an Arabic enrichment program for young people and has taken the children there for the past four years, told The News Journal. "At the same time, there are other kids with cotton on. … I asked, 'Why are my kids being treated differently?'"

    As the lead sentence of Choksi's piece stated, "The poolside confrontations keep coming."

    These incidents may actually only be the tip of an iceberg, representing only those that have been videoed and/or reported. In light these events, The New York Times' Choksi looks at the history of harassment and discrimination experienced by African Americans at swimming pools around the country. In the age of Trump, while barefaced racism at public swimming pools no longer manifests itself institutionally, it is not a stretch to expect more incidents similar to the ones catalogued above.

    "Pools have historically been the sites of major feuds over race, income, and access," journalist Olga Khazan pointed out in a recent piece in The Atlantic magazine.

    In his book Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, (2007, University of North Carolina Press), author Jeff Wiltse, a history professor at the University of Montana, provides a social and cultural history of swimming pools in the United States, taking an uncompromising look at discrimination, harassment, and violence perpetrated over the years by white people against African Americans at swimming venues.

    In the Introduction, Wiltse's delves into the long and complicated history of municipal swimming pools; how what was once open to all, eventually "served as stages for social conflict." "People who might otherwise might come in no closer contact than passing on the street, now waited in line together, undressed next to one another, and shared the same water." These things ultimately led to municipal pools becoming "contested civic spaces."  

    There were health scares; Whites accused African Americans of bringing diseases and sanitation issues to pools. There were attempts to integrate neighborhood pools that were met with white-led mob violence. There were incidents where hundreds of white people harassed, chased, and beat African Americans daring to use public pools. In 1964, arrests were made when African American protesters held a "dive in" at a pool at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Florida.

    To combat integrated pools, public pools were built in areas where African Americans were not welcome.

    Contested Waters describes a heartbreaking incident in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1951. After a Little League team won the city championship, they decided to celebrate at the local pool. "To celebrate their baseball victory, coaches, players, parents, and siblings showed up at the pool, but not all were admitted. One player, Al Bright, was denied entrance because he was black." While everyone else played in the pool, the lifeguards forced Bright to sit outside the fence surrounding the pool. There was enough of a protest that the lifeguards changed their tune, sort of. It was decided that Bright could enter the pool as long as everyone else got out and he sat inside a rubber raft. "Just don't touch the water," the lifeguard reminded the young boy as he pushed him around the pool. "Whatever you do, don't touch the water."

    Wiltse recently told Raw Story that "For nearly a century, blacks and whites have mostly swum separately from one another. Gender integration was a direct cause of racial segregation. Most whites did not want black men interacting with white women at such intimate public spaces."

    Court-ordered desegregation did not solve the issue, as whites "retreated to public pools located within thoroughly white neighborhoods, where intimidation still worked to maintain de facto segregation," Wiltse pointed out.

    In addition, The Atlantic's Olga Khazan pointed out, "As civil-rights activists pushed to desegregate [pools], many cities privatized the facilities rather than be forced to integrate them. Private and exclusive pools became more common; public ones, less so."

    "In the many places where residential segregation persists, however, blacks and whites still swim separately. This is especially apparent at private club pools and private community pools," Wiltse noted. "They mostly remain sites of whites-only recreation, even though their racial exclusivity today results more from economic inequality, residential segregation, and the legacy of past discrimination than from overt acts of present-day discrimination."

    According to a 2017 U.S.A. Swimming Foundation study, the sport's national governing body found that 64 percent of African-American children have no or low swimming ability, compared with 45 percent Hispanic children and 40 percent of Caucasian children. While these numbers are unfortunate, given the historic discrimination against African Americans in swimming pools across the country, they are not surprising.

    In an article (.PDF) titled "The Black-White Swimming Disparity in America: A Deadly Legacy of Swimming Pool Discrimination" (Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 2014), Jeff Wiltse "contends that past discrimination in the provision of and access to swimming pools is largely responsible for the current swimming disparity and thus indirectly responsible, at least in part, for the current drowning disparity."

    In his 2014 piece, Wiltse wrote: "During much of the 20th century, Black Americans faced widespread discrimination that severely limited their access to swimming pools and swim lessons. The most consequential discrimination occurred at public swimming pools and took three basic forms. Public officials and White swimmers denied Black Americans access to pools earmarked for Whites. Cities provided relatively few pools for Black residents, and the pools they did provide were typically small and dilapidated. And, third, cities closed many public pools in the wake of desegregation, just as they became accessible to Black Americans."

    During the period from 1920 to 1940, when swimming "first became popularized in the United States," Black Americans "faced restricted access to Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) pools and YMCA swim lessons." Wiltse pointed out that "Black Americans were systematically denied access to the tens of thousands of suburban swim clubs opened during the 1950s and 1960s. These pools spurred a second great leap forward in the popularity of swimming, but only for the millions of White families that were able to join."

    Historic discrimination is one of the things that has resulted in the fatal drowning rate for African-American kids ages 5 to 14, to be almost three times higher than that of white children in the same age range, according to the most recent years for which Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data is available, ABC News recently reported.

    Cullen Jones, the gold medalist and four-time Olympian who nearly drowned as a child, is "working to teach more people of color how to swim, while also raising awareness about water safety," ABC News reported.

    Despite historic discrimination, some African American swimmers are excelling in their chosen sport. In 2004, Maritza McClendon became the first black female U.S. Olympic team member. Twelve years later, at the Brazil Olympics, Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual swimming medal. Her Stanford teammate Lia Neal had captured a silver medal as a part of the 4×100 freestyle relay. "I'm super glad with the fact I can be an inspiration to others and hopefully diversify the sport," she said at the time. She then added, "I would like there to be a day where there are more of us and it's not Simone, the black swimmer."

    Hopefully, the much publicized accomplishments of these athletes will open up opportunities for African American youth to learn how to swim. Meanwhile, in the age of Trump, racially charged incidents at swimming pools across the country will likely continue to escalate.



    4) Australia Sends Migrants Found in Crocodile-Infested Waters to Detention

    By Isabella Kwai, August 28, 2018


    A boat carrying 17 migrants ran aground in Queensland, Australia, on Sunday. Those aboard waded through dangerous waters before being picked up by fishermen and the authorities.

    SYDNEY, Australia — For the first time in nearly four years, a group of migrants was caught illegally entering the Australian mainland by sea this week, after surviving a shipwreck and several days in crocodile-infested waters, the authorities said.

    By Tuesday, all 17 migrants believed to be aboard the boat were found in the area near the mangrove swamps of Far North Queensland, two days after the vessel ran aground and law enforcement officials began a search of the area.

    Once the migrants were all accounted for, the government said on Tuesday that the group would be deported to Christmas Island, an Australian territory nearly 1,000 miles from the closest point in continental Australia, where they would be detained and their immigration statuses determined.

    "Under Australia's strict border protection policies, no one who travels to Australia illegally by boat is permitted to remain in Australia," the Department of Home Affairs said in a statement released on Tuesday. "These individuals are being processed on Christmas Island."

    It is rare for migrants to reach mainland Australia by sea. The country has strict, and contentious, rules that ban such journeys. Since 2013, migrants who are caught in Australia's territorial waters are subject to deportation or detention at offshore facilities on the islands of Nauru and Manus, Papua New Guinea.

    But the government also maintains such a facility on Christmas Island, where more than 200 migrants were being held as of June. Unlike Nauru and Manus, Christmas Island is an Australian territory, and detainees there are entitled to some of the protections afforded by Australian law.

    Around 1,600 asylum seekers remain on Nauru and Manus, according to the most recent report from Human Rights Watch.

    The government says its zero-tolerance policy toward migrants who make the journey by sea is in place to discourage human trafficking and dangerous trips, but critics contend the rules are discriminatory and violate migrants' rights.

    The trip to Christmas Island will prolong an already long and perilous journey for the 17 Vietnamese citizens who escaped the beached vessel.

    Justin Ward, a fisherman from Wonga Beach, said he found two of the migrants on Sunday afternoon on a mangrove bank while traveling from Snapper Island.

    "We pulled the boat up and helped them get into the boat," Mr. Ward said in an interview.

    "I felt very sorry for them — I would have liked to taken them home and given them a feed and shower if possible, and showed them some Australian hospitality before they got shipped back," he said. "But of course you can't do that. They shouldn't be here."

    Peter Dutton, the home affairs minister, said: "I want to confirm for you today that Australia, we believe, has received the first vessel; the first people-smuggling venture in over 1,400 days. The people smugglers need to hear the message from this government very, very clearly: They will not succeed in putting people onto boats to get to Australia."

    The boat's evasion of the border authorities was a "failing" in surveillance, Mr. Dutton said, adding that since 2014, the government had stopped 33 boats and disrupted over 70 people-smuggling operations.

    A boat carrying six Chinese citizens arrived in 2017 on Saibai Island, a territory controlled by Australia that is closer to Papua New Guinea.

    On Tuesday morning, the Queensland State Emergency Service said that all those on board the abandoned boat had been detained, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Fifteen of the migrants were found by Monday, according to Mark Ryan, the police minister of Queensland. Local news reporters saw the remaining two men arrested on Tuesday.

    A passing fisherman first reported the grounded boat to the Port Douglas Marine Rescue around 7 a.m. on Sunday. There were no signs of people on board, but officials said it appeared to be an Indonesian fishing vessel.

    In order to reach civilization, the migrants would have had to navigate by foot the swampy waters that are home to crocodiles, said Ross Wood, president of the Port Douglas Marine Rescue.

    "You don't want to go in any of the rivers around here," he said.

    Mr. Ward, the fisherman who picked up two of the migrants, said the men were "very humble, polite."

    Although they spoke little English, he understood they were brothers from north of Hanoi, Vietnam. One man was in his 20s, the other in his 30s. Mr. Ward said he offered them water, which they accepted, and food, which they turned down.

    "I said, 'Dude, you must be hungry.' Whether they were too polite to accept it — I think might have been the case," Mr. Ward added.

    Mr. Ward said he felt he had no choice but to report them to the police, but decided to break the news to the migrants gently. For the next hour, they picked up crab pots, spotted some crocodiles in the river and took pictures before he dropped them on a private boat ramp on a nearby beach, where the police were waiting.

    For locals, the fate of the migrants was an unexpectedly stark reminder of the realities of Australia's immigration policy.

    "I agree we can't have everybody moving into the country," Mr. Ward said. "It's just hard when they end up on your boat."



    5) 'The Whole World Is Watching': The 1968 Democratic Convention, 50 Years Later

    On Aug. 28, 1968, violent clashes in Chicago between demonstrators and the police produced one of the most polarizing showdowns of the 1960s. People are still debating what it all meant.

    By Maggie Astor, August 28, 2018


    Protesters clashed with National Guard members outside the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago in August 1968.

    CHICAGO — Inside the convention hall, the choreography of American politics stumbled on. 

    Vice President Hubert Humphrey won the Democratic presidential nomination with 1,761 votes to 601 for Senator Eugene McCarthy. The delegates adopted Mr. Humphrey's platform, which continued President Lyndon Johnson's unpopular Vietnam policies, and rejected Mr. McCarthy's antiwar plank. But their attention was on the radios and television screens reporting chaos outside.

    A few miles away, thousands of protesters streamed out of Grant Park into a sea of tear gas and billy clubs. Some were caught in a crush against the facade of a Hilton hotel and fell through the plate glass, cutting themselves on shards. People on upper floors threw crystal ashtrays, one of which struck a passer-by and shattered, embedding glass in his eyes. Blood ran from skulls into gutters. Someone tried to overturn a police van. All the while, the crowd was chanting. 

    "The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching."

    It was on this night, Aug. 28, that all the anxiety and rage of 1968 exploded. Numerous groups were involved, with different motives and tactics. There were Yippies who said they would get high and have sex outdoors, and black and Latino Chicagoans, including the Puerto Rican leftist group the Young Lords, who wanted to challenge police brutality; McCarthy supporters who sought change within "the system," and Students for a Democratic Society activists who wanted to shred it. 

    Some protesters taunted the police, and a small number threw bags of feces at them. But an official report found that the police acted out of proportion to the provocations and largely targeted people who had done nothing to provoke officers. It was, the report concluded, a "police riot" driven partly by Mayor Richard J. Daley, who had earlier given the police license to "shoot to kill" in certain circumstances.

    Here is a look at that week and its legacy through the eyes of nine peoplewho experienced it, condensed from interviews and from a panel discussion last week at the Chicago Public Library.

    From left, Omar Lopez, Don Rose, Marilyn Katz and Michael Klonsky.

    Sunday, Aug. 25: 'He was exploding with anger'

    MARILYN KATZ, then 21, S.D.S. security chief: I was pretty exuberant. We were having a good time. We had Allen Ginsberg and all these adults who were our idols coming to say how wonderful we were. It wasn't just in Chicago — it was Paris, Mexico City, Prague. We were part of a worldwide youth movement, and we really thought we were the future.

    TAYLOR PENSONEAU, 27, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter: There was some humor at the start. The Yippies brought a pig into the Civic Center [on Aug. 23] and nominated it for president. They demanded immediate Secret Service protection for the pig. Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman were arrested, and the pig was "arrested." I watched them put the pig in a paddy wagon. 

    KATZ: That night, these fire trucks with big lights and tear gas come from the Lake Shore Drive part of Lincoln Park. Officers with batons are just running over this crowd. And that was where, for the first time, after being tear-gassed to death, people turned around and grabbed something from a garbage can and threw something back. People felt better not just taking it, and it was a pretty exhilarating moment.

    MICHAEL KLONSKY, 25, S.D.S. national secretary: I saw a kid who had come from Michigan, 16 years old, his parents are diplomats. After the police attacked, he picked up a brick, and he was so angry he was going to throw it through this bank window. You could see the look on his face. He was exploding with anger. The crowd started yelling, "Throw it, throw it." And finally he took all his courage and threw it.

    A group of Yippies marched in front of the convention on Aug. 25, 1968.

    Monday, Aug. 26: 'This time we're ready for a fight'

    KATZ: During the day, we were practicing snake dances. The Yippies were passing out dope-laced brownies. Allen Ginsberg was meditating. There were speeches. We were probably under 500 people, hardly an occupying force. 

    But that night, people just poured into Lincoln Park, and this time we're ready for a fight. This is not the era of the Weathermen. We were not two well-matched forces. The police cleared out the park, and there was a battle on the corner. People proceeded down Clark and Wells Street, Young Lords territory. 

    OMAR LOPEZ, 25, Young Lords information minister: We were already established in Lincoln Park as a street gang. At the beginning, we didn't participate. We're saying, "That's not our fight." It was primarily white youth. It's not us. 

    But that night, when the fighting started, we said, "Wait a minute." We saw that they were beating up the youth, and we related to that. For us, the convention was a trigger in terms of politicizing the youth, especially Puerto Rican youth, in the Lincoln Park community. By Monday we were participating, not in the big groups in Grant Park, but in whatever came into the neighborhood.

    Protesters near Lincoln Park in Chicago on Aug. 26, 1968.

    Tuesday, Aug. 27: 'You could see the fear in their faces'

    DON ROSE, 29, National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnampress organizer: We had an "anti-birthday party" for L.B.J. maybe until 9, and then we moved to the front of the Hilton. The whole area directly across from the Hilton was packed. We had a police cordon on the sidewalk that kept us back on the grass. They were all brandishing their nightsticks.

    Suddenly we see coming down Michigan Avenue these bizarre jeeps with a huge mesh of barbed wire on the front. That's when the National Guard takes over from the Chicago cops. They're standing there with bayonets fixed, and we're still chanting and trying to figure out what in the hell is going on. 

    KATZ: What was scary is they're our age, and they're as scared as we were. You could see the fear in their faces.

    ROSE: I started singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," and everyone picks it up, and we're singing it to the National Guard. 

    KATZ: The S.D.S. faction was not joining in.

    ROSE: One young guardsman picked up his rifle as if he was going to use the butt as a club, and he was immediately pulled away and replaced. We started negotiating. The first concession, they said we could stay there all night — and people started breaking up. It was scary, but there was no violence.

    Vice President Hubert Humphrey won the Democratic presidential nomination with 1,761 votes to 601 for Senator Eugene McCarthy.

    Wednesday, Aug. 28: 'The tear gas comes in'

    KATZ: We were all in Grant Park at the bandshell. It's hot, it's sunny. The crowd is massive. 

    ROSE: People are just coming in. I actually saw the flag coming down, the famous flag drop, which later turned out to be the work of a police mole. I saw the police attack people from the rear. As they're getting into their seats, they're being clubbed from behind.

    KATZ: This phalanx of cops comes into the back of the crowd and just is whaling into the crowd. People are running and getting knocked to the ground. There is just no way our puny little snake dance and locking arms blocks any of that. 

    EDWARD BURKE, 24, Chicago police officer: Some cops did lose their cool, but to put it in proper perspective, everybody was working 12-hour shifts. All days off were canceled. Cops didn't have body armor like they do today.

    BERNARD SIERACKI, Roosevelt University student who witnessed the protests: Before the convention, there were threats that they [the Yippies] were going to kill the candidates, kidnap delegates' wives, pose as cabdrivers and take the delegates God knows where. I think we have to look at the whole mosaic. 

    ROSE: Then David Dellinger says we're going to have a nonviolent march on the convention, and we have to walk on the sidewalk and obey the traffic laws. We go a block or two, and we're stopped at Balbo [Drive]. The police are not letting us go. And after half an hour or so, I heard some explosions. The tear gas comes in, and that's where this group of marchers starts breaking up and running toward Michigan Avenue. 

    TODD GITLIN, 25, former S.D.S. president: The police had arranged it so there was only one direction to exit. So you had lots of people, including me, running through the clouds of gas until you could find a way out of the park. 

    The police had built a cage, essentially. They were surrounding the crowd on three sides, walking right into the wall of the Hilton. There was a big plate-glass window for the Haymarket lounge. There was nowhere to move. Had somebody not had the wit to smash the window, there could very well have been a stampede and a lot of deaths.

    Chicago police removed a protester near the Hilton.

    ROSE: People were being thrown into the vans. I saw blood flowing in the streets. There was a young guy who we found out later was a seminarian, who had been knocked out. His head was split and he was bleeding into the gutter. 

    KLONSKY: I got a billy club across my back as I was high-tailing it. I remember barely escaping their wrath by running to the L station and jumping on a train, and I ended up uptown someplace. 

    LOPEZ: The police came all the way to Lincoln Park, and the only reason the Young Lords came out was because of that. And we did pick up rocks. We did pick up bottles. We did attack the squad cars. For us, that was a natural thing to do.

    PENSONEAU: Even at 1 or 2 in the morning, I saw police chasing protesters down the middle of the street and alleys. I saw clubbings. Sometimes I saw protesters who had gotten a billy club away from a cop and were beating a cop. 

    GITLIN: It was just holy hell for the rest of the day.

    Looking back: 'Our numbers began to swell'

    RICHARD SIMPSON, Illinois campaign manager for McCarthy: The first impact of the clash was Humphrey lost. The convention had simply torn apart the Democratic Party. 

    GITLIN: It was the beginning of the rollback. It was the Southern strategy, it was the Dixiecrat conversion to the Republicans, it was the feebleness and division of the left.

    KATZ: We did not lose the vote for Hubert Humphrey. The backlash began in '64 when five Southern states, [most of them] for the first time since Reconstruction, voted for a Republican. After the civil rights legislation, it was over. The turning point comes in '64 but is blamed on the "lawlessness" of the convention.

    ROSE: I think it played a part. It was only 69 days before the election. The polling was clearly on Daley's side and the police's side and against the hippies and dippies. Race is the largest factor, but there are many factors. 

    KLONSKY: The events here radicalized a lot of kids who grew up in middle-class families. The system would give them everything if they had gone straight, but because of the times, they didn't want to go straight.

    Protesters outside of the Hilton.

    KATZ: Our numbers began to swell. Every college campus suddenly had a growing S.D.S. chapter. Fred Hampton formalized the black movement and the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers. The Young Lords began to grow. 

    KLONSKY: Without the protests, you wouldn't have had those grass-roots changes.

    KATZ: One of the myths is that we were just spoiled kids, we didn't accomplish anything. We changed the world! You can disagree with what we did and why we did it, but we were very impactful. History is not a straight line.

    GITLIN: I think once you step back, what really happened here was not the beginning of the revolution but the beginning of the counterrevolution.



    6) Why Are U.S. Bombs Killing Civilians in Yemen?

    The United States, by providing weapons and support to the Saudi-led coalition waging indiscriminate war in Yemen, shares in the blame.

    By The Editorial Board, August 28, 2018


    The top American air commander in the Middle East voiced frustration in an interview last week over the murderously incompetent Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen. Though welcome, his sentiment was far too mild. It should have been more like horror — and shame over American complicity in what a new United Nations report views as criminal carnage.

    Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies intervened in Yemen more than three years ago to rout Iran-backed Shiite rebels who had driven the internationally recognized government out of the capital and into Saudi exile. As the conflict has dragged on, the rebels have also been accused of atrocities, but the United Nations body and human rights groups say it is the Saudi-led air war that has done the most to turn an already impoverished country into a humanitarian nightmare and an indiscriminate killing field.

    Again and again, Saudi-led airstrikes have struck civilian targets, slaughtering innumerable innocents. Last Friday, the United Nations said the coalition killed at least 22 children and four women as they fled a battle zone. Two weeks earlier, on Aug. 9, a coalition air assault struck a school bus, killing dozens of children. Countless more civilians have been killed by bombs at markets, weddings, funerals — more than 6,500 by the official count, but certainly many, many more. Millions more civilians are suffering from shortages of food and medical care.

    That's the horror. The shame: The bomb that annihilated the school bus and its young passengers was American. According to CNN, it was a 500-pound, laser-guided bomb sold to Saudi Arabia in an approved arms deal — similar to the bomb that devastated a funeral hall in October 2016, in which 155 people were killed. After that, then-President Barack Obama banned the sale of precision-guided military technology to Saudi Arabia. The ban was overturned by the Trump administration in March 2017.

    report published last week by Human Rights Watch focused on the "woefully inadequate" investigations conducted by the coalition's own mechanism; they often amount to cover-ups of what are likely war crimes. "Many of the apparent laws-of-war violations committed by coalition forces show evidence of war crimes — serious violations committed by individuals with criminal intent," Human Rights Watch stated. Yet far from holding anyone accountable, King Salman of Saudi Arabia in July issued a sweeping pardon of all military personnel involved in the Yemen operation.

    The report also disparaged claims by the United States, which provides operational, logistical and intelligence support to the coalition, that the coalition has "improved" targeting practices. In fact, the report said, the United States, Britain and France, all of which sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, risk complicity in unlawful attacks.

    Given the record of the Saudi-led band, it is hardly surprising that American military commanders are becoming increasingly exasperated. "Clearly, we're concerned about civilian casualties, and they know about our concern," Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, soon to complete an assignment as the senior American air commander in the Middle East, said in the telephone interview with The Times.

    t was the bluntest critique of several that have been voiced by senior American officials. But words are not enough. It's time for the United States and its Western allies to stop selling arms or giving any military assistance to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners.

    The horror in Yemen has gone way past any discussion of who's right and who's wrong, and it has become clear that only a negotiated peace agreement can bring the killings to an end. Saudi Arabia and its allies seem to have little compunction about slaughtering children as long as more bombs can be bought, so it's up to the enablers to call a halt.

    President Trump, alas, is not likely to lean on Saudi Arabia, but military officers have begun to speak out and Congress has begun to act. A defense policy bill includes a bipartisan provision to require certification by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the coalition is taking steps to prevent civilian deaths. The next move should be to cut off military aid to Saudi Arabia until it is prepared to talk about ending the assault on Yemen.



    7) Want to Protect the Right to Abortion? Train More People to Perform Them

    By Jody Steinauer, August 29, 2018


    An abortion-rights rally at the Missouri Capitol.

    When I was in medical school in the 1990s, it was rare to hear abortion mentioned as an option for pregnant women at all — let alone for there to be in-depth training on how to counsel patients on a full range of pregnancy options, including termination. My generation of physicians simply wasn't prepared to provide basic, comprehensive reproductive health care. Even though it had been 20 years since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, only 12 percent of obstetrics and gynecology residency programs at the time included abortion training. 

    Twenty-five years later, the training situation has, fortunately, improved. But there is still work to do: More than a third of ob-gyn residency programs don't offer routine abortion training. Some programs offer training only on treating someone who is managing a miscarriage, so those residents do not gain skills in counseling and caring for women who want to end their pregnancies. Most family medicine residency programs still have no abortion training at all, even though family physicians are critical for providing high-quality family planning within primary care services. 

    And yet the need for qualified abortion providers has never been more urgent. Roe is hanging in the balance. It's time for a national commitment to training and supporting the next generation of providers to meet the needs of patients whose rights are under threat.

    With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, it appears more than likely that Roe will be overturned or severely undermined. The Center for Reproductive Rights identifies 22 states at high risk of banning abortion outright. We know that abortion doesn't go away when it becomes illegal; it just becomes less safe. Some women will be able to self-manage their abortions safely thanks to major advances in medication abortion that didn't exist before Roe. But many women will still need support from a medical professional.

    Since medication abortion is most effective early in pregnancy, women will need to know as soon as possible when they are pregnant, understand where to get the medication, what to expect from the process and how to know it has worked. Providers can play an important role by providing this care before and after medication abortions, especially in cases where the medication would not be available legally. Such an approach is considered a "harm-reduction" model and has been shown to decrease maternal mortality outside of the United States. Additionally, many women will be too far along for a medication abortion or might prefer a non-medication abortion. And some women, because of lack of access to safe abortion methods, may become desperate and seek unsafe options, and will need post-procedure care.

    For these women, we need clinicians trained and ready. We will need clinicians skilled in providing abortions in border areas to serve women who are forced to travel across state lines. We will need providers who are trained in more complex second-trimester abortions, because travel and other hurdles will cause delays in care. We will need clinicians of all specialties to treat the inevitable complications that will come when women without options seek unsafe methods of ending their pregnancies. We will need clinicians in all states to employ the harm-reduction model and be a resource for women to seek help in managing their own abortions without fear of criminalization. Current and future medical and nursing students should commit to not just learning these skills themselves but also pushing for this training within their institutions so that all graduates will be prepared to address the many situations in which a woman may need abortion care.

    States with legislatures that support reproductive health can step up to clear hurdles to increasing the number of trained abortion providers. Here in California, we showed that certified nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can safely provide first-trimester abortions. The state legislature responded by passing the Early Access to Abortion bill that allowed these advanced-practice clinicians to offer abortion services. Forty-one states still have "physician only" requirements. Nurses are making headway challenging this unnecessary requirement in court in Montana and Maine. Following California's lead could significantly improve availability of abortion care across the country.

    Everyone can play a part in making it easier for people to serve their communities as abortion providers. Support organizations like Medical Students for Choice that work to ensure abortion training. Contribute to local funds that provide financial assistance to women needing abortion, including support for travel to other states when necessary. Call your state legislators and tell them to eliminate obstacles that block trained clinicians from providing care and patients from getting it. Volunteer and support your local clinics to become part of the community that helps abortion providers overcome the obstacles that politicians and protesters throw their way.

    Our country needs to act now to have providers ready for the challenges ahead. Advances in medication abortion are vital and important, but not enough. In the darkest times for abortion access in this country in decades, women still need providers capable of providing quality, compassionate care that both protects their health and honors their autonomy. As we confront the uncertain future of Roe and fight to preserve it, we must train, inspire and come together to support the next generation of clinicians to carry out this mission.

    Dr. Jody Steinauer is an obstetrician-gynecologist, the director of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, and the founder of Medical Students for Choice, a nonprofit that advocates abortion training on medical school curriculums.

    My NYT Comment:

    My mother almost died from an illegal abortion. With two kids already, my parents just couldn't afford another child. Both my parents had to work. My mother went to an apartment where she met her abortionist. The procedure was performed on a kitchen table. After the procedure, a "nurse" took her to a movie theater and forced her to sit there until the movie was over to provide cover for the "doctor/butcher." When my mom came home, she started to hemorrhage. My sister and I were only three and five years old. My dad called an ambulance and we were hysterical--screaming and crying. It was very traumatic. She survived, but do we really want to go back to those days? —Bonnie Weinstein




    8) 9-Year-Old Boy Killed Himself After Being Tormented by Bullies, His Mom Says

    By Julie Turkewitz, August 28, 2018

    "Even as access to mental health care has expanded, the suicide rate in the United States has risen 25 percent since 1999. Middle schoolers are now just as likely to die from suicide as they are from traffic accidents."


    Leia Pierce and her son, Jamel Myles. Ms. Pierce says her son committed suicide after a year in which he and his older sister were bullied at school.

    DENVER — Leia Pierce shuffled out the front door on Tuesday. Her son, Jamel Myles, 9, had killed himself last week, and she was still struggling with the basics. Eating. Sleeping. "I took a shower, but I put the same clothes back on," she said, staring at the ground. "I need him back."

    Jamel, a fourth grader at Joe Shoemaker Elementary School in Denver, hanged himself in his bedroom last Thursday, according to the county coroner, and his death has plunged a mother into despair and a community into disbelief.

    Ms. Pierce says her son committed suicide after a year in which he and his older sister were bullied frequently at school. Over the summer, he had told his mother he was gay. Now, she is angry at the school, which she believes should have done more to stop the taunts and insults.

    Will Jones, a spokesman for Denver Public Schools, said administrators planned to conduct a thorough review of the case. "We are deeply committed to our students' well-being," he said in a statement.

    Jamel's death comes amid a startling rise in youth suicides, part of a larger public health crisis that has unfolded over a generation: Even as access to mental health care has expanded, the suicide rate in the United States has risen 25 percent since 1999. Middle schoolers are now just as likely to die from suicide as they are from traffic accidents.

    Staff at schools like Joe Shoemaker have had to navigate a new media landscape in which cruelty can be spread by anyone old enough to use a smartphone. This has left teachers and administrators — already overburdened — wrestling with expanded responsibilities. In recent years, some parents have begun suing schools over bullying, raising questions over how much teachers can possibly be expected to do to stop the behavior.

    On Monday, Joe Shoemaker Elementary had a crisis team of psychologists and social workers on hand to help.

    Ms. Pierce, 31, works at a hardware store and was raising three children — Jamel, Taniece, 10, and Shayla, 14. Jamel, who was obsessed with cartoons and computers, woke each morning to style his own curly hair, just like his older sisters, his mother said. Last school year, Ms. Pierce said she had been in frequent contact with administrators about behavior and bullying issues.

    Ms. Pierce with her daughter Taniece, 10, in Denver on Tuesday. "My heart breaks every second," Ms. Pierce said.

    Thursday was Jamel's fourth day of fourth grade. Ms. Pierce picked him up, they stopped at Starbucks and went to dinner as a family. Back home, Ms. Pierce sent the children to clean their rooms.

    Jamel left his door ajar. When Ms. Pierce went in, she found him dead.

    She tried CPR, she said, but it was too late. Later, Taniece told her that the bullying that had plagued them last year had continued into this year.

    On Monday, Ms. Pierce went to see her son's body for the last time, she said, lying next to him for two hours while she watched his favorite cartoons. She also sang to him.

    On Tuesday, standing outside her mother's brick home, where she has been staying, Ms. Pierce was still in the same T-shirt she was wearing the last time she had hugged Jamel. Across the street, a woman watered a bright green lawn.

    "We need to be more loving, more caring, more accepting of each other," Ms. Pierce said. "My heart breaks every second."

    Taniece, now the youngest child, said she had been dreaming about her brother. "Every time I wake up, I see a vision of Jamel," she said. "And, well, it kind of freaks me out. And it gets me a little worried. And I miss him very much."

    Inside, Shayla, the eldest, curled into a brown leather couch, watching television.

    Ms. Pierce's mother, Jacque Miller, 53, said she could not blame the school for her grandson's death. "The statement that it takes a village to raise a child is true," she said. "And the village is broken."

    If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.

    Alain Delaquérière contributed research.



    9) Why Are Black People Still Punished for Their Hair? 

    Only black people are shamed when they choose to wear hairstyles consistent with their natural hair texture.

    By Ria Tobacco Mar, August 29, 2018


    Afropunk Festival, Brooklyn, 2016.

    It was the fall of my first year of law school, in 2005, and I was headed to my first interview for a legal internship. I wore my only interview outfit, a conservative navy skirt suit and a cream blouse. A classmate complimented me on the look. Then she added, "But you'll never look really professional with your hair in dreadlocks."

    I was reminded of that day as I watched video footage of a black student in Gretna, La., crying as she was forced to leave school because school officials objected to her hair. They claimed her box braids violated a dress code prohibition against "unnatural" hair styles because the braids included hair extensions. Extensions are sometimes used in black hairstyles, like braids, that don't require the use of damaging chemical straighteners. The student and a classmate sent home for the same reason were not allowed to return until a judge issued a temporary restraining order against the school after both girls had missed several days of classes.

    Far too often, black students are humiliated, shamed or banned from school because of bias against natural black hair. Just one week earlier, a 6-year-old black boy in Florida was barred from school because of his locs, also known as dreadlocks. And last year, twin sisters in Massachusettswere barred from extracurricular activities and threatened with suspension from their charter school because of hair extensions in their box braids, even though white students at the school were allowed to wear hair extensions in other styles.

    The shaming and regulation of black people's hair starts in school, or even earlier, but it doesn't end there. Consider the case of Chastity Jones, who was selected for a customer support position in Mobile, Ala. After Ms. Jones completed an interview, the company's human resources manager told her she could not be hired "with the dreadlocks." Locs, the manager feared, "tend to get messy," although she acknowledged that Ms. Jones's weren't. When Ms. Jones refused to cut off her hair, she was told she would not be hired.

    Ms. Jones sued the company for race discrimination, arguing that its hair policy was unfair toward black employees, but a federal appeals court in Atlanta rejected her claim. The court reasoned that discrimination based on race is forbidden because, it said, race is immutable, while hairstyles can be changed. It's true that hairstyles involve some degree of personal choice, but that doesn't give employers free rein to discriminate against workers who wear dreadlocks, a hairstyle said to be named by slave traders who viewed African hair texture as "dreadful."

    When it comes to hair, only black people and multiracial people of African descent are punished when they choose to wear styles consistent with their natural hair texture. It's unthinkable that a court would uphold a policy that effectively required white workers to alter their hair texture through costly, time-consuming procedures involving harsh chemicals. Yet that's exactly what the appeals court apparently expected Ms. Jones to do to keep her job. In May, the Supreme Court refused even to allow Ms. Jones to petition for review, letting the appeals court's bad reasoning stand uncorrected.

    I was luckier than Chastity Jones; I got the internship. But I never forgot the hurtful comment. 

    Years later, when I joined a large corporate law firm, I noticed that I was the only professional woman of color with natural hair. Most young lawyers at the firm removed their suit jackets when they arrived at work and didn't put them on again until they left the building. I wore mine whenever I stepped away from my desk, afraid people would see me without it and assume I wasn't a lawyer.

    It's frustrating that schools, employers and federal courts continue to judge us based not on what we can contribute but on who we are and how we wear our hair. 

    But there has been some progress. Last year, the Army lifted its ban on locs and twists; the Marine Corps did the same in 2015. That move is a powerful antidote to the notion that hairstyles involving untreated black hair are unnatural and unprofessional. After all, if service members can do their jobs while wearing locs, surely the rest of us can, as well.

    Ría Tabacco Mar (@RiaTabaccoMar) is a senior staff lawyer for the A.C.L.U.'s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and H.I.V. Project.




    10) Detroit Schools Turn Off Drinking Water, Citing Elevated Lead and Copper

    By Jacey Fortin, August 30, 2018


    A charter school in Detroit. When public school students return to classes next week, they will get their drinking water from bottles or coolers, not fountains.

    When public school students in Detroit return to their classrooms next week for the first day of the school year, the water fountains will be dry.

    Since 2016, water testing in the district has found elevated levels of lead or copper in dozens of schools. And while it is unclear how many of the district's 106 schools currently have water quality issues, the drinking water will be turned off in all of them, Superintendent Nikolai P. Vitti said on Wednesday.

    The latest round of water quality tests was conducted this year, and the results for 24 schools came in last week. Of those, 16 had at least one water source with elevated levels of lead, copper or both. That, coupled with testing results from 2016, brought the total number of schools with known water issues to 34.

    It could take one more month for all of the schools' test results to come back, Dr. Vitti said. He decided not to wait.

    "Now that we're seeing these higher levels of lead and copper, there's no need to roll the dice," he said of his decision to shut off the drinking water in all of the district's public schools. He added that he had seen no indication that any students had suffered health problems because of the water.

    The district had already shut off drinking water at certain schools because of concerns about lead and copper levels, but Dr. Vitti said he could not recall that decision ever being made across the entire district.

    He said that students would still be able to wash their hands and flush the toilets, but that drinking water would come from water bottles and water coolers rather than fountains or sinks.

    In a joint statement, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and the Great Lakes Water Authority, which serves customers in several counties including Detroit's, said city residents were not affected by the schools' water quality issues. It said that "aging school infrastructure," such as old plumbing, could be the source of the problem.

    The Detroit school district has struggled with deteriorating infrastructurefor years. State-appointed emergency managers ran the district from 2009 until 2016, when it was split into two so the Detroit Public Schools Community District — of which Dr. Vitti is now in charge — could shed millions of dollars in debt.

    But the deal imposed new restrictions on the district's ability to borrow money, and Dr. Vitti pointed to an assessment this year that found that it would cost about half a billion dollars to bring the schools' crumbling buildings up to standard.

    Students and teachers have complained of abysmal conditions in Detroit's public schools, including moldy walls, crumbling roofs and a lack of adequate heat or air conditioning.

    Critics of the state government have compared the district's water quality issues to the situation in Flint, Mich., where state-appointed emergency managers presided over a crisis that left residents with dangerous levels of lead in their tap water starting in 2014.

    Dr. Vitti said he was unsure how long the drinking water in Detroit public schools might be shut off. He said he was working with the governor's office and the mayor's office to put together a task force to determine whether old pipes, faulty filtration systems or other issues might be affecting water quality in the schools.



    11) Australia Plans to Deny Chelsea Manning an Entry Visa, Citing 'Criminal Record'

    By Isabella Kwai, August 29, 2018


    Chelsea Manning at a conference in Montreal in May.

    SYDNEY, Australia — The Australian government said on Wednesday that it would not grant a visa to Chelsea Manning, a former American soldier sentenced to prison for sharing classified government documents, because she failed a character test required for entry.

    Ms. Manning was scheduled to conduct a speaking tour of Australia through September, beginning with an appearance this Sunday at the Sydney Opera House with the American journalists Ronan Farrow, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Maureen Dowd.

    On Wednesday, Ms. Manning said she would "work it out," reported Guardian Australia, and the group organizing the event said it would push for her to be allowed into the country.

    "We are very disappointed to learn that the Department of Home Affairs has taken this approach and will be vigorously advocating for her ability to enter Australia," Think Inc., the event's organizer, said in a statement on Thursday.

    The department, in a notice sent Wednesday to Ms. Manning, wrote that she did not pass the character test required for entry into Australia because of her "substantial criminal record."

    In 2013, Ms. Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, was found guilty of leaking more than 700,000 classified government documents to WikiLeaks, including reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and dossiers on detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    She received a 35-year sentence for violating the Espionage Act, but after serving seven years, her sentence was commuted last year by President Barack Obama in one of his last acts before leaving office. Soon after her sentencing, Ms. Manning announced she was transgender and would begin her transition to becoming a woman.

    A divisive figure who is seen by some as a whistle-blower and others as a traitor, Ms. Manning has encountered pushback over other speaking engagements. She declined one at Harvard University after criticism prompted the dean to revoke a fellowship offer there.

    Suzi Jamil, Think Inc.'s president, called on the Australian government to reconsider its impending decision.

    "We hope that the minister for Home Affairs and his department will not stand in the way of the Australian people hearing Ms. Manning's story," she said in a statement, citing the need for people "to hear about vital issues around data privacy, artificial intelligence and transgender rights."

    Think Inc. said Thursday it had submitted an application to the two ministers overseeing home affairs and immigration asking them to "apply their ministerial discretion to allow Ms. Manning entry into Australia."

    In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Home Affairs said it did not comment on individual cases.

    The news comes as questions have emerged over a decision by the former minister of immigration, Peter Dutton, to use his discretionary powers andgrant a tourist visa to an au pair after she was to be deported. Mr. Dutton has denied doing anything improper. On Thursday, Penny Wong, a lawmaker for the opposition, called for an explanation from the government, saying the action seemed "inconsistent," on Radio National.

    The Australian government has canceled visas or prevented entry of other notable public figures, including the singer Chris Brown, the rapper Snoop Dogg and David Irving, a Holocaust denier.

    But those critical of the government's actions have pointed to recent visits from contentious figures like Lauren Southern, a far-right Canadian commentator, and Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing British commentator.

    Conservative politicians in New Zealand have also called for Ms. Manning to be banned from entering that country, where she is slated to speak next month.

    "This is a convicted felon, sentenced to 35 years in jail, coming in here for money," Michael Woodhouse, a former minister of immigration for the National Party, told the news site Stuff.

    "She is wanting to be hailed as a hero for stealing military secrets and state secrets."



    12) Who'd Be on Your Spaceship? A School Exercise Backfires in Ohio

    By Christina Caron, August 30, 2018


    A downtown area of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. A controversial class exercise assigned to some of the city's middle school students has inflamed parents.

    An Ohio school superintendent has apologized for a class exercise that asked middle school students to choose from a list of racially, ethnically and religiously diverse candidates to save or leave behind if Earth were "doomed for destruction."

    The assignment presented 12 potential spaceship passengers, including "a militant African-American medical student," "a Hispanic clergyman who is against homosexuality," "an Asian, orphaned 12-year-old boy," "a homosexual male professional athlete," and a "60-year-old Jewish university administrator." The students were instructed to select eight to take to safety on another planet, ranking them from the most deserving to the least.

    "It's disturbing all the way around," said Bernadette Hartman, whose son completed the assignment during an eighth-grade social studies class at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls, a large suburb near Akron.

    A photo of the exercise was shared widely online. The teacher used it as an "icebreaker," the superintendent, Todd M. Nichols of the Cuyahoga Falls School District, said in a statement.

    The intent was to "promote tolerance and break down stereotypes," he said, and help fulfill the district's goal of engaging in conversations about "diversity awareness and social justice."

    "The teacher and district offer their most sincere apologies for the offense caused by the content used in this assignment," the statement said. "Future assignments on this topic will be more carefully selected."

    The group exercise, which was given to four seventh- and eighth-grade classes at Roberts Middle School, was not the teacher's invention and had been used at this and other schools for some years.

    Dr. Nichols said the assignment was retrieved from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Houston, which posts diversity activities online that are geared toward college students, faculty and staff.

    Niya N. Blair, the center's director, said on Wednesday that the exercise could help students understand their biases, both conscious and unconscious, but that it required proper guidance. Her team receives months of training before administering such exercises, she said.

    "The wrap-up and the facilitation, that's the most important part of it," Ms. Blair said. "I think with any diversity activity, it's important to understand the audience as well as your environment."

    Ms. Hartman, who said her son has a learning disability, said that "no context was given" in class.

    "It's not that I was offended by the text," she said. "I was offended that it wasn't even explained properly to the students, which just furthers bias and tensions."

    Ms. Hartman asked her son about the exercise after discovering it amid his schoolwork early last week.

    "He said, 'Well, we had to rate who we would take — it was kind of like "Survivor,"'" she recalled. "So he honestly had no idea what the purpose of it was."

    Ms. Hartman contacted the school on Aug. 21 and received a voice mail message from the teacher in response, but she said the message only raised more questions. She tried unsuccessfully to reach the principal, she said, before deciding to post a photo of the exercise on Facebook. It caught the attention of other parents and a Cuyahoga Falls councilman, Adam Miller.

    The councilman also posted the assignment on Facebook, stoking widespread outrage. He wrote that the project was "implanting prejudicial thoughts in these young impressionable minds."

    The assignment was not fostering a "culture of caring," Councilman Miller wrote. "This is building a culture of animosity, antagonism & hostility!"

    The teacher, who has taught math and social studies at the school for 15 years, will receive a "strongly worded letter" in his personnel file indicating that he "erred in judgment," Dr. Nichols said in an interview on Tuesday.

    The teacher did not respond to multiple requests for comment this week.

    Cuyahoga Falls is more than 90 percent white, according to the latest census figures.

    "They call it Caucasian Falls," said Andrea Hensley, whose 12-year-old daughter completed the assignment in her math class. "I think it's the reason the community has to address diversity in some of these subjects, because the kids don't have the exposure unless it's sought out."

    Her daughter identifies as gay and wasn't upset by the exercise, she said. She said her daughter chose the gay athlete.

    "I think our kids are confronted by these labels every day," she said. "And so what are we hiding from?"

    Parents said the students chose to focus only on the more innocuous labels during their discussions, rather than the hot-button issues of race and religion.

    Cassie Jebber, whose son is in seventh grade, said "my heart sunk" when she discovered how the characters were described. But then she learned that her son had focused mainly on the characteristics that would allow each candidate to help others on the new planet.

    "What they were talking about together as a class was how to build this better world," she said. But the labels were not shocking. "When I have CNN on and our politicians are speaking, they hear much worse."

    Her son wanted to save the doctor, because he would be able to help people survive, Ms. Jebber said.

    "He didn't pick the police officer because they were really hoping in this new world there wasn't going to be a lot of crime," she added. (The police officer was described as a "racist" who has been "accused of using excessive force.")

    Dr. Nichols said that when he became aware of the exercise last week, he questioned whether it was age-appropriate for seventh and eighth graders.

    "I do think that maturity plays a role in it," he said.

    Ms. Blair, the director of the diversity and inclusion center, explained that, ideally, students will think deeply about their selections and how the rationale plays out in other areas of their lives. It is often uncomfortable, she added.

    "Talking about issues of difference around our identities isn't something that we do often, but we should," she said. "If we're not talking and having these conversations, how can we move forward?"

    Susan Beachy contributed research.






























































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